106 research outputs found

    Determinants in early life for asthma development

    Get PDF
    A reliable screening test in newborns for the subsequent development of bronchial asthma (BA) has not been found yet. This is mainly due to the complexity of BA, being made up by different types and underlying mechanisms. In different studies, a number of risk factors for BA have been identified. These include a positive family history of BA, passive smoking (also during pregnancy), prematurity (including pulmonary infections, RDS and BPD), early viral respiratory infections (such as RSV-bronchiolitis), male gender, early lung function abnormalities and atopic constitution. The major risk factor for persistent BA is an underlying allergic constitution. Therefore, early symptoms and markers of allergy (i.e. The Allergic March) and a positive family history for allergy should be considered as important risk factors for the development of BA

    Evidence-based assessment of antiosteoporotic activity of petroleum-ether extract of Cissus quadrangularis Linn. on ovariectomy-induced osteoporosis

    Get PDF
    The increasing incidence of postmenopausal osteoporosis and its related fractures have become global health issues in the recent days. Postmenopausal osteoporosis is the most frequent metabolic bone disease; it is characterized by a rapid loss of mineralized bone tissue. Hormone replacement therapy has proven efficacious in preventing bone loss but not desirable to many women due to its side-effects. Therefore we are in need to search the natural compounds for a treatment of postmenopausal symptoms in women with no toxic effects. In the present study, we have evaluated the effect of petroleum-ether extract of Cissus quadrangularis Linn. (CQ), a plant used in folk medicine, on an osteoporotic rat model developed by ovariectomy. In this experiment, healthy female Wistar rats were divided into four groups of six animals each. Group 1 was sham operated. All the remaining groups were ovariectomized. Group 2 was fed with an equivolume of saline and served as ovariectomized control (OVX). Groups 3 and 4 were orally treated with raloxifene (5.4 mg/kg) and petroleum-ether extract of CQ (500 mg/kg), respectively, for 3 months. The findings were assessed on the basis of animal weight, morphology of femur, and histochemical localization of alkaline phosphatase (ALP) (an osteoblastic marker) and tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP) (an osteoclastic marker) in upper end of femur. The study revealed for the first time that the petroleum-ether extract of CQ reduced bone loss, as evidenced by the weight gain in femur, and also reduced the osteoclastic activity there by facilitating bone formation when compared to the OVX group. The osteoclastic activity was confirmed by TRAP staining, and the bone formation was assessed by ALP staining in the femur sections. The color intensity of TRAP and ALP enzymes from the images were evaluated by image analysis software developed locally. The effect of CQ was found to be effective on both enzymes, and it might be a potential candidate for prevention and treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis. The biological activity of CQ on bone may be attributed to the phytogenic steroids present in it

    Diversity Effects on Productivity Are Stronger within than between Trophic Groups in the Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Symbiosis

    Get PDF
    The diversity of plants and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) has been experimentally shown to alter plant and AMF productivity. However, little is known about how plant and AMF diversity interact to shape their respective productivity.We co-manipulated the diversity of both AMF and plant communities in two greenhouse studies to determine whether the productivity of each trophic group is mainly influenced by plant or AMF diversity, respectively, and whether there is any interaction between plant and fungal diversity. In both experiments we compared the productivity of three different plant species monocultures, or their respective 3-species mixtures. Similarly, in both studies these plant treatments were crossed with an AMF diversity gradient that ranged from zero (non-mycorrhizal controls) to a maximum of three and five taxonomically distinct AMF taxa, respectively. We found that within both trophic groups productivity was significantly influenced by taxon identity, and increased with taxon richness. These main effects of AMF and plant diversity on their respective productivities did not depend on each other, even though we detected significant individual taxon effects across trophic groups.Our results indicate that similar ecological processes regulate diversity-productivity relationships within trophic groups. However, productivity-diversity relationships are not necessarily correlated across interacting trophic levels, leading to asymmetries and possible biotic feedbacks. Thus, biotic interactions within and across trophic groups should be considered in predictive models of community assembly

    Arbuscular mycorrhizal colonisation of roots of grass species differing in invasiveness

    Get PDF
    Recent research indicates that the soil microbial community, particularly arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF), can influence plant invasion in several ways. We tested if 1) invasive species are colonised by AMF to a lower degree than resident native species, and 2) AMF colonisation of native plants is lower in a community inhabited by an invasive species than in an uninvaded resident community. The two tests were run in semiarid temperate grasslands on grass (Poaceae) species, and the frequency and intensity of mycorrhizal colonisation, and the proportion of arbuscules and vesicles in plant roots have been measured. In the first test, grasses representing three classes of invasiveness were included: invasive species, resident species becoming abundant upon disturbance, and non-invasive native species. Each class contained one C3 and one C4 species. The AMF colonisation of the invasive Calamagrostis epigejos and Cynodon dactylon was consistently lower than that of the non-invasive native Chrysopogon gryllus and Bromus inermis, and contained fewer arbuscules than the post-disturbance dominant resident grasses Bothriochloa ischaemum and Brachypodium pinnatum. The C3 and C4 grasses behaved alike despite their displaced phenologies in these habitats. The second test compared AMF colonisation for sand grassland dominant grasses Festuca vaginata and Stipa borysthenica in stands invaded by either C. epigejos or C. dactylon, and in the uninvaded natural community. Resident grasses showed lower degree of AMF colonisation in the invaded stand compared to the uninvaded natural community with F. vaginata responding so to both invaders, while S. borysthenica responding to C. dactylon only. These results indicate that invasive grasses supposedly less reliant on AMF symbionts have the capacity of altering the soil mycorrhizal community in such a way that resident native species can establish a considerably reduced extent of the beneficial AMF associations, hence their growth, reproduction and ultimately abundance may decline. Accumulating evidence suggests that such indirect influences of invasive alien plants on resident native species mediated by AMF or other members of the soil biota is probably more the rule than the exception

    Dimethyl Sulfoxide (DMSO) Exacerbates Cisplatin-induced Sensory Hair Cell Death in Zebrafish (Danio rerio)

    Get PDF
    Inner ear sensory hair cells die following exposure to aminoglycoside antibiotics or chemotherapeutics like cisplatin, leading to permanent auditory and/or balance deficits in humans. Zebrafish (Danio rerio) are used to study drug-induced sensory hair cell death since their hair cells are similar in structure and function to those found in humans. We developed a cisplatin dose-response curve using a transgenic line of zebrafish that expresses membrane-targeted green fluorescent protein under the control of the Brn3c promoter/enhancer. Recently, several small molecule screens have been conducted using zebrafish to identify potential pharmacological agents that could be used to protect sensory hair cells in the presence of ototoxic drugs. Dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) is typically used as a solvent for many pharmacological agents in sensory hair cell cytotoxicity assays. Serendipitously, we found that DMSO potentiated the effects of cisplatin and killed more sensory hair cells than treatment with cisplatin alone. Yet, DMSO alone did not kill hair cells. We did not observe the synergistic effects of DMSO with the ototoxic aminoglycoside antibiotic neomycin. Cisplatin treatment with other commonly used organic solvents (i.e. ethanol, methanol, and polyethylene glycol 400) also did not result in increased cell death compared to cisplatin treatment alone. Thus, caution should be exercised when interpreting data generated from small molecule screens since many compounds are dissolved in DMSO.National Institutes of Health (U.S.) (DC010998)National Institutes of Health (U.S.) (NIH DC010231)Harvard College (1780- )Sarah Fuller Foundation for Little Deaf Childre

    Soil fungal networks maintain local dominance of ectomycorrhizal trees

    Get PDF
    The mechanisms regulating community composition and local dominance of trees in species-rich forests are poorly resolved, but the importance of interactions with soil microbes is increasingly acknowledged. Here, we show that tree seedlings that interact via root-associated fungal hyphae with soils beneath neighbouring adult trees grow faster and have greater survival than seedlings that are isolated from external fungal mycelia, but these effects are observed for species possessing ectomycorrhizas (ECM) and not arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi. Moreover, survival of naturally-regenerating AM seedlings over ten years is negatively related to the density of surrounding conspecific plants, while survival of ECM tree seedlings displays positive density dependence over this interval, and AM seedling roots contain greater abundance of pathogenic fungi than roots of ECM seedlings. Our findings show that neighbourhood interactions mediated by beneficial and pathogenic soil fungi regulate plant demography and community structure in hyperdiverse forests

    Linking the community structure of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and plants: a story of interdependence?

    Get PDF
    Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) are crucial to plants and vice versa, but little is known about the factors linking the community structure of the two groups. We investigated the association between AMF and the plant community structure in the nearest neighborhood of Festuca brevipila in a semiarid grassland with steep environmental gradients, using high-throughput sequencing of the Glomeromycotina (former Glomeromycota). We focused on the Passenger, Driver and Habitat hypotheses: (i) plant communities drive AMF (passenger); (ii) AMF communities drive the plants (driver); (iii) the environment shapes both communities causing covariation. The null hypothesis is that the two assemblages are independent and this study offers a spatially explicit novel test of it in the field at multiple, small scales. The AMF community consisted of 71 operational taxonomic units, the plant community of 47 species. Spatial distance and spatial variation in the environment were the main determinants of the AMF community. The structure of the plant community around the focal plant was a poor predictor of AMF communities, also in terms of phylogenetic community structure. Some evidence supports the passenger hypothesis, but the relative roles of the factors structuring the two groups clearly differed, leading to an apparent decoupling of the two assemblages at the relatively small scale of this study. Community phylogenetic structure in AMF suggests an important role of within-assemblage interactions

    A Late Role for bmp2b in the Morphogenesis of Semicircular Canal Ducts in the Zebrafish Inner Ear

    Get PDF
    BACKGROUND:The Bone Morphogenetic Protein (BMP) genes bmp2 and bmp4 are expressed in highly conserved patterns in the developing vertebrate inner ear. It has, however, proved difficult to elucidate the function of BMPs during ear development as mutations in these genes cause early embryonic lethality. Previous studies using conditional approaches in mouse and chicken have shown that Bmp4 has a role in semicircular canal and crista development, but there is currently no direct evidence for the role of Bmp2 in the developing inner ear. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:We have used an RNA rescue strategy to test the role of bmp2b in the zebrafish inner ear directly. Injection of bmp2b or smad5 mRNA into homozygous mutant swirl (bmp2b(-/-)) embryos rescues the early patterning defects in these mutants and the fish survive to adulthood. As injected RNA will only last, at most, for the first few days of embryogenesis, all later development occurs in the absence of bmp2b function. Although rescued swirl adult fish are viable, they have balance defects suggestive of vestibular dysfunction. Analysis of the inner ears of these fish reveals a total absence of semicircular canal ducts, structures involved in the detection of angular motion. All other regions of the ear, including the ampullae and cristae, are present and appear normal. Early stages of otic development in rescued swirl embryos are also normal. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE:Our findings demonstrate a critical late role for bmp2b in the morphogenesis of semicircular canals in the zebrafish inner ear. This is the first demonstration of a developmental role for any gene during post-embryonic stages of otic morphogenesis in the zebrafish. Despite differences in the early stages of semicircular canal formation between zebrafish and amniotes, the role of Bmp2 in semicircular canal duct outgrowth is likely to be conserved between different vertebrate species

    Lineage-specific evolution of the vertebrate Otopetrin gene family revealed by comparative genomic analyses

    Get PDF
    Background: Mutations in the Otopetrin 1 gene (Otop1) in mice and fish produce an unusual bilateral vestibular pathology that involves the absence of otoconia without hearing impairment. The encoded protein, Otop1, is the only functionally characterized member of the Otopetrin Domain Protein (ODP) family; the extended sequence and structural preservation of ODP proteins in metazoans suggest a conserved functional role. Here, we use the tools of sequence-and cytogenetic-based comparative genomics to study the Otop1 and the Otop2-Otop3 genes and to establish their genomic context in 25 vertebrates. We extend our evolutionary study to include the gene mutated in Usher syndrome (USH) subtype 1G (Ush1g), both because of the head-to-tail clustering of Ush1g with Otop2 and because Otop1 and Ush1g mutations result in inner ear phenotypes. Results: We established that OTOP1 is the boundary gene of an inversion polymorphism on human chromosome 4p16 that originated in the common human-chimpanzee lineage more than 6 million years ago. Other lineage-specific evolutionary events included a three-fold expansion of the Otop genes in Xenopus tropicalis and of Ush1g in teleostei fish. The tight physical linkage between Otop2 and Ush1g is conserved in all vertebrates. To further understand the functional organization of the Ushg1-Otop2 locus, we deduced a putative map of binding sites for CCCTC-binding factor (CTCF), a mammalian insulator transcription factor, from genome-wide chromatin immunoprecipitation-sequencing (ChIP-seq) data in mouse and human embryonic stem (ES) cells combined with detection of CTCF-binding motifs. Conclusions: The results presented here clarify the evolutionary history of the vertebrate Otop and Ush1g families, and establish a framework for studying the possible interaction(s) of Ush1g and Otop in developmental pathways
    corecore