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- The Adolescent Stress Response to a Naturalistic Driving Stressor
- The proposed study examined the role of anxiety and risk-taking in driving performance in adolescents. In addition to examining the sample as a whole, gender differences were assessed given earlier reports from our laboratory and others indicating that males and females differ with respect to risky behaviors to driving performance and anxiety. Adolescents' subjective and physiological responses to a driving simulator task were assessed. Anxiety was measured via self report and salivary cortisol. Participants provided a baseline saliva sample and 3 post-task samples for cortisol analysis. Subjective anxiety scores were obtained at both baseline and following the driving stressor. Information concerning impulsivity, as well as other psychological constructs was also collected at baseline. Unlike the pilot study, there were no relationships (with or without respect to gender) between salivary cortisol and both self-reported anxiety (state and trait) or impulsively measures for this sample. These results suggest that this group of adolescents may not have been anxious about the driving task. This discrepancy may stem from error introduced by the smaller sample size obtained from the initial findings or to other factors remaining outside the parameters of the current study. The task did, however, induce a slight hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis response indicating some physiological arousal. Males had significantly higher cortisol levels at baseline than females and at time point 3 while approaching significance at time points 2 and 4. Females possessed significantly higher trait anxiety than males and all post task cortisol levels were positively correlated to age while time points 2 and 4 (with time point 3 approaching significance, p=0.09) were inversely correlated with Self Depreciation scores. Additionally, females had Persecutory Ideas scores that were also negatively correlated with cortisol at time points 3 and 4. For both the entire sample and males only, the correlation between post-task cortisol and driving performance was positive and approached significance (p=0.07 and p=0.08, respectively), suggesting that some HPA activation may be facilitative for successful driving task performance. Correlations between driving performance and psychological constructs were explored and discussed with and without respect to gender.
- Age-Dependent Effects Of Chronic GABAA Receptor Blockade In Barrel Cortex
- GABAA receptor binding is transiently increased in rat whisker barrels during the second postnatal week, at a time when neurons in the developing rat cortex are vulnerable to excitotoxic effects. To test whether these GABAA receptors might serve to protect neurons from excessive excitatory input, polymer implants containing the GABAA receptor antagonist bicuculline were placed over barrel cortex for a 4-day period in young (postnatal days 8 - 12) and adult rats. In the cortex of young, but not adult rats, the chronic blockade of GABAA receptors resulted in substantial tissue loss and neuron loss. The greater loss of neurons in young rats supports the hypothesis that a high density of GABAA receptors protects neurons from excessive excitatory input during a sensitive period in development.
- Aging Is a Determinant in Anoxia Stress Tolerance in Caenorhabditis Elegans
- Oxygen availability is critical for survival for most organisms. The nematode, C. elegans, has been useful for studying genetic regulation of anoxia tolerance due to the oxygen deprivation response mechanisms shared with other metazoans. Studies examining long-term anoxia (72h, LTA) tolerance have only been conducted at adult day 1. To investigate the effect of aging on anoxia tolerance wild-type and mutant strains were exposed to LTA between adult day 1 and day 9. Wild-type isolates and daf-16(mu86) (FOXO transcription factor regulated by insulin-signaling) and aak-2(gt33) (catalytic subunit of AMP-activated protein kinase) strains were anoxia sensitive at day 1 and displayed increased LTA tolerance with aging correlated with reproductive senescence followed by a decline in survivorhsip through day 9. The daf-2(e1370) (insulin receptor homologue of C. elegans), glp-1(e2141) (a lin-12/Notch receptor) and fog-2(q71) (required for spermatogenesis) strains were LTA-tolerant through day 5. I conclude that aging influences LTA-tolerance in a strain- and age-dependent manner. In addition to being LTA-tolerant the daf-2(e1370) and glp-1(e2141) strains have a longevity phenotype that is suppressed by loss of kri-1 or daf-12. While loss of kri-1 did not suppress the LTA-tolerant phenotype of glp-1(e2141) at day 1 the portion of impaired survivors increased at day 3 and by day 5 tolerance was suppressed. Similarly, when exposed to 4 days of anoxia the glp-1(e2141);daf-12(rh41rh611) double mutant had a reduced survivor rate at all ages analyzed compared to glp-1(e2141) controls. To better understand formation of an anoxia-tolerant physiology I exposed adults to one or more 24h bouts. Recurrent bouts increased LTA tolerance in wild-type hermaphrodites in a dose-dependent manner. Bout-treated daf-16(mu86) animals had increased survival rate compared to controls yet maximum survival remained below age-matched wild-type. Anoxia bouts decreased LTA-tolerance in aak-2(gt33) mutants, indicating the requirement for ATP regulation in establishing an LTA-tolerant phenotype. These data support the idea that anoxia tolerance is multi-factorial and influenced by environment, metabolism, food, reproduction, sex phenotype and likely additional factors.
- Alterations in Human Baroreceptor Reflex Regulation of Blood Pressure Following 15 Days of Simulated Microgravity Exposure
- Prolonged exposure to microgravity is known to invoke physiological changes which predispose individuals to orthostatic intolerance upon readaptation to the earth's gravitational field. Attenuated baroreflex responsiveness has been implicated in contributing to this inability to withstand orthostatic stress. To test this hypothesis, eight individuals were exposed to 15 days of simulated microgravity exposure using the 6° head-down bed rest model. Prior to, and after the simulated microgravity exposure, the following were assessed: a) aortic baroreflex function; b) carotid baroreflex function; c) cardiopulmonary baroreflex function; and d) the degree of interaction between the cardiopulmonary and carotid baroreflexes.
- Analysis of Phytoplankton Responses to Water Chemistry Dynamics in a Moderately Eutrophic North Texas Reservoir
- Canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) was used to explore relationships between measured environmental variables and in situ phytoplankton communities in a moderately eutrophic North Texas Reservoir.
- Analysis of the Trypanosoma brucei Genome and Identification and Characterization of a Gene Family Encoding Putative EF-Hand Calcium-Binding Proteins
- The flagellum of Trypanosoma brucei contains a family of antigenically related EF-hand calcium-binding proteins which are called the calflagins. Genomic Southern blots indicated that multiple copies of calflagin genes occur in T brucei. All of the copies were contained in a single 23 kb Xhol-Xhol fragment. Genomic fragments of 2.5 and 1.7 kb were cloned that encoded calflagin sequences. Two new members of the calflagin family were found from genomic clone sequences. The deduced amino acid sequences of the genomic clones showed the calflagin genes were arranged tandemly along the genomic fragments and were similar to previously described calflagins. The calflagin genes were related by two unrelated 3' flanking sequences. An open reading frame that was unrelated to any calflagin was found at the 5' end of the 2.5 kb genomic fragment. Each encoded protein (~24,000u) contained three EF-hand calcium-binding motifs and one degenerate EF-hand motif. In general, variability among the T. brucei calflagins is greater than related proteins in T. lewisii and T. cruzi. This variability results from amino acid substitutions at the amino and carboxy termini, and duplication of internal segments.
- Application of Cultured Neuronal Networks for Use as Biological Sensors in Water Toxicology and Lipid Signaling.
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This dissertation research explored the capabilities of neuronal networks grown on substrate integrated microelectrode arrays in vitro to be applied to toxicological research and lipid signaling. Chapter 1 details the effects of chlorine on neuronal network spontaneous electrical activity and pharmacological sensitivity. This study demonstrates that neuronal networks can maintain baseline spontaneous activity, and respond normally to pharmacological manipulations in the present of three times the chlorine present in drinking water. The findings suggest that neuronal networks may be used as biological sensors to monitor the quality of water and the presence of novel toxicants that cannot be detected by conventional sensors. Chapter 2 details the neuromodulatory effects of N-acylethanolamides (NAEs) on the spontaneous electrical activity of neuronal networks. NAEs are a group of lipids that can mimic the effects of marijuana and can be derived from a variety of plant sources including soy lecithin. The most prominent NAEs in soy lecithin, palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) and linoleoylethanolamide (LEA), were tested individually and were found to significantly inhibit neuronal spiking and bursting activity. These effects were potentiated by a mixture of NAEs as found in a HPLC enriched fraction from soy lecithin. Cannabinoid receptor-1 (CB1-R) antagonists and other cannabinoid pathway modulators indicated that the CB1-R was not directly involved in the effects of NAEs, but that enzymatic degradation and cellular uptake were more likely targets. The results demonstrate that neuronal networks may also be a viable platform for the elucidation of biochemical pathways and drug mechanisms of action.
- Assembly of Pseudomonas putida Aspartate Transcarbamoylase and Possible Roles of the PyrC' Polypeptide in the Folding of the Dodecameric Enzyme
- Aspartate transcarbamoylase (ATCase) of Pseudomonas putida consists of two different polypeptides, PyrB and PyrC' (Schurr et al, 1995). The role of the PyrC' and the assembly of PyrB and PyrC' have been studied. The ATCase made in vitro of P.putida PyrB with P.putida PyrC', and of E.coli PyrB with P.putida PyrC ' were generated under two different conditions, denaturation and renaturation, and untreated. It was found that PyrC' plays a role in the enzymatic regulation by ATP, CTP and UTP. In addition to playing a role in substrate binding, the PyrB polypeptide is also involved in effector binding (Kumar et al., manuscript in preparation). The most energetically preferred form of the P.putida WT is a dodecamer with a molecular mass of 480 kDa. The ratio between the PyrB and the PyrC' is 1:1. In studies of nucleotide binding, it was discovered that the P.putida PyrB was phosphorylated by a protein kinase in the cell extract. In the presence of 20 mM EDTA, this phosphorylation was inhibited and the inhibition could be overcome by the addition of divalent cations such as Zn2+ and Mg2+. This result suggested that the phosphorylation reaction required divalent cations. In the CAD complex of eukaryotes, phosphorylations of the CPSase and the linker region between ATCase and DHOase did not occur in the presence of UTP and it was hypothesized (Carrey, 1993) that UTP and phosphorylation(s) regulated the conformational change in the enzyme complex. Therefore, the same idea was approached with P.putida ATCase, where it was found that 1.0 mM UTP inhibited the phosphorylation of PyrB by more than 50%. These results suggested that the regulation of the conformational change of the P.putida ATCase might be similar to that of CAD. Furthermore, peptide mapping for phosphorylation sites was performed on P.putida ATCase WT, WT --11 amino acids and WT --34 amino acids from the N-terminus of the PyrB polypeptide. The results showed that the phosphorylation sites were located on the fragment that contained amino acid number-35 to amino acid number-112 from the N-terminus of the PyrB polypeptide.
- Automated Low-cost Instrument for Measuring Total Column Ozone
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Networks of ground-based and satellite borne instruments to measure ultraviolet (UV) sunlight and total column ozone have greatly contributed to an understanding of increased amounts of UV reaching the surface of the Earth caused by stratospheric ozone depletion. Increased UV radiation has important potential effects on human health, and agricultural and ecological systems. Observations from these networks make it possible to monitor total ozone decreases and to predict ozone recovery trends due to global efforts to curb the use of products releasing chemicals harmful to the ozone layer. Thus, continued and expanded global monitoring of ozone and UV is needed. However, existing automatic stratospheric ozone monitors are complex and expensive instruments. The main objective of this research was the development of a low-cost fully automated total column ozone monitoring instrument which, because of its affordability, will increase the number of instruments available for ground-based observations. The new instrument is based on a high-resolution fiber optic spectrometer, coupled with fiber optics that are precisely aimed by a pan and tilt positioning mechanism and with controlling programs written in commonly available software platforms which run on a personal computer. This project makes use of novel low-cost fiber optic spectrometer technology. A cost advantage is gained over available units by placing one end of the fiber outdoors to collect sunlight and convey it indoors, thereby allowing the spectrometer and computer to be placed in a controlled environment. This reduces the cost of weatherproofing and thermal compensation. Cost savings also result from a simplified sun targeting system, because only a small pan and tilt device is required to aim the lightweight fiber optic ends. Precision sun-targeting algorithms, optical filter selection, and software to derive ozone from spectral measurements by the spectrometer are a major contribution of this project. This system is a flexible platform which may be adapted to study other atmospheric constituents such as sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxides, and haze.
- Autonomic Reflexes of the Heart During Acute Myocardial Ischemia
- This study investigated whether acute myocardial ischemia of the anterior left ventricular wall induced an increase in cardiac sympathetic efferent nerve activity and thereby affected regional myocardial blood flow and contractile function.
- Autoradiographic Localization of Carbachol-Induced Second Messenger Response in the Rat Spinal Cord Following Inflammation.
- This study examined central mechanisms of persistent pain using an autoradiographic technique to localize phosphoinositide hydrolysis (PI) in the rat spinal cord dorsal horn. The lateral half of laminae I-II showed the highest levels of baseline PI turnover and carbachol-stimulated PI turnover in normal animals as well as after inflammation. Inflammation resulted in increased baseline PI turnover in this region of the ipsilateral (76%) and contralateral (65%) dorsal horns. Carbachol increased PI turnover in this region in normal rats (55%) and following inflammation (ipsilateral: 46%, contralateral: 45%). The absolute magnitudes of these increases were 1.85, 2.71, and 2.51 nCi/mg, respectively. The results of this study demonstrate the involvement of PI turnover in neural mechanisms of persistent pain, and provide evidence for the involvement of cholinergic systems in this process. Because spinal cholinergic systems have been reported to be anti-nociceptive, the present results appear to reflect an upregulation of anti-nociceptive activity in response to inflammation. Thus, the spinal cholinergic system may be a regulatory site within the anti-nociceptive pathway, and may provide an attractive target for the development of new therapeutic agents.
- Benthic Macroinvertebrates of Temperate, Sub-Antarctic Streams: The Effects of Altitudinal Zoning and Temperature on the Phenology of Aquatic Insects Associated to the Robalo River, Navarino Island (55°S), Chile
- The Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve, within the remote Sub-Antarctic ecoregion is a reservoir of expressions of biological and cultural diversity. Although it is considered one of 24 wilderness areas remaining in the world, it is not free from local and global threats, such as invasive species, and climate change. Field biologists and philosophers associated to the Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Conservation Program and the Omora Ethnobotanical Park, have worked to describe the region’s biocultural diversity, linking ecological and philosophical research into education, ecotourism, and conservation, through a methodology called field environmental philosophy (FEP), which integrates ecological sciences and environmental ethics through a 4-step cycle consisting of: 1) interdisciplinary research; 2) composition of metaphors; 3) design of field activities with an ecological and ethical orientation; and 4) implementation of in situ conservation areas. In this context, the purposes of this dissertation were to: 1) provide a comprehensive review of publications regarding the conservation status of aquatic and terrestrial insects at a global scale and with an emphasis in southern South America; 2) study the distribution of benthic macroinvertebrates through the sharp altitudinal gradient of the Róbalo River watershed; 3) describe the life histories of Gigantodax sp (Simuliidae: Diptera) and Meridialaris chiloeense (Leptophlebiidae: Ephemeroptera) in the Róbalo River and to assess the potential effects of climate change on their phenology; and 4) to apply FEP methodology in order to better understand and communicate the intrinsic and instrumental values of freshwater invertebrates in the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve.
- Biochemical Identification of Molecular Components Required for Cyanide Assimilation in Pseudomonas fluorescens NCIMB 11764
- Utilization of cyanide as a nutritional nitrogen source in P. fluorescens NCIMB 11764 was shown to involve a novel metabolic mechanism involving nonenzymatic neutralization outside of cells prior to further enzymatic oxidation within. Several cyanide degrading enzymes were produced by NCIMB 11764 in response to growth or exposure to cyanide, but only one of these cyanide, oxygenase (CNO), was shown to be physiologically required for assimilation of cyanide as a growth substrate.
- Biodiversity of Caddisflies (Trichoptera) of the Interior Highlands of North America
- Caddisflies (Trichoptera) were collected from over 500 different locations throughout the Interior Highlands (Ozark, Ouachita, Arbuckle, and Wichita Mountains) between March 1990 and March 1994. I systematically sampled representative lotic and lentic habitats in 131 natural watersheds that comprise the 17 different physiographic subregions of this area. From my examination of approximately 60,000 specimens, surveys of regional museum collections, and review of literature records, I document 229 species distributed in 16 families and 58 genera. Included in this total are 27 endemic species and 15 new regional records. Descriptions are provided for a species new to science (Cheumatopsyche robisoni), four larvae (Helicopsyche limnella, H. piroa, Marilia species A, Polycentropus crassicornis) and a female (Helicopsyche piroa). Hydropsyche reiseni Denning, previously known only from the Arbuckle Mountains, is reduced in synonymy with H. arinale Ross. Further, I provide illustrated family, generic, and selected species-level keys that reflect this regional biodiversity.
- Biodiversity of Dragonflies and Damselflies (Odonata) of the South-Central Nearctic and Adjacent Neotropical Biotic Provinces
- The south-central United States serves as an important biogeographical link and dispersal corridor between Nearctic and Neotropical elements of western hemisphere odonate faunas. Its species are reasonably well known because of substantial collections, but there has been no concerted effort to document the extent of biodiversity and possible geographic affinities of dragonflies and damselflies of this region. The recent discoveries of Argia leonorae Garrison, Gomphus gonzalezi Dunkle and Erpetogomphus heterodon Garrison from southern and western Texas and northern Mexico suggest that Odonata species remain to be discovered in this area, particularly from far south Texas and northern Mexico. I have documented a total of 12,515 records of Odonata found in 408 counties within the south-central U.S. A total of 73 species of damselflies and 160 species of dragonflies was revealed in the region. The 233 (197 in Texas) Odonata species are distributed among 10 families and 66 genera. Illustrated family, generic, and species-level keys are provided. Since the beginning of this work in the Fall of 1993, one species has been added each to the Louisiana and Oklahoma faunas, and 12 species have been added, previously unreported from Texas, including four new to the U.S. The area of highest Odonata biodiversity overall (161 spp.) is in the Austroriparian biotic province. The greatest degree of faunal similarity between the south-central U.S. and other intra-continental regions was observed for the eastern (64%) United States. Diversity is a function of area, and as expected, the numbers of breeding birds and Odonata, in each contiguous U.S. state are positively correlated (r=0.376, n=33, p=0.031). There is, however, no strong correlation between land area and species diversity within the region, but those natural biotic provinces (Austroriparian, Texan, Balconian) where aquatic systems and topographic heterogeneity are the greatest provide a broader spectrum of potential Odonata habitats and thus support a greater number of Odonata species.
- Biogeographic Relationships of Pocket Gophers (Geomys breviceps and Geomys bursarius) in the Southeastern Portion of Their Ranges
- This research utilized population genetic analyses (protein starch-gel electrophoresis and DNA sequencing of the cytochrome b mtDNA gene), host-parasite specificity (lice coevolution), remote sensing of satellite data, and geographic information systems (GIS) to characterize newly discovered populations of pocket gophers (genus: Geomys) in Arkansas. These populations are isolated and occur in seemingly unsuitable habitat in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas. Analyses of electrophoretic and ectoparasite data suggested the populations in the Ozark Mountains represented isolates allied to Geomys bursarius, a species not known to occur in Arkansas. Comparison of mitochondrial DNA sequence data of the cytochrome b gene with that of other taxa and morphometric analyses confirmed that these populations are most closely allied to G. bursarius occurring to the north in Missouri. Moreover, these mtDNA sequence analyses indicated a degree of differentiation typical of that between other subspecies of pocket gophers. Therefore, these populations represent a distinct genetic entity in an intermediate stage of speciation and should be designated as a new subspecies, Geomys bursarius ozarkensis. Molecular clock analysis revealed a time of lineage divergence for this new subspecies as approximately 511,000 YBP. Due to the isolated nature and limited distribution of this subspecies, an evaluation of critical habitat needs was initiated. Remote sensing and GIS technologies were used to identify and describe suitable habitat Computerized classification of satellite imagery of suitable vegetation, integrated with ancillary digital information on soil associations, roads, and water systems, revealed that human activity had played a positive role in the establishment and dispersal of pocket gophers in this area. This research represents an initial combination of classical systematic tools with remote sensing and GIS to investigate biogeographic patterns and evolution. This project establishes a framework for using an interdisciplinary approach to studying organisms with limited distributions, determining evolutionary status, and providing recommendations for conservation.
- Biogeography of Montane Mammals on the Colorado Plateau and Adjacent Regions
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This study identifies the biogeographic factors that structure small mammal communities on mountains of the Colorado Plateau and adjacent regions. Forty six isolated ranges were characterized across a 5-state study area encompassing the Colorado Plateau, including the central high plateaus of Utah and the Basin and Range Province (i.e. the Great Basin and mountains of Arizona and New Mexico). Presence/absence data of 25 montane mammal species were used to explore the interactions between historical and ecological processes affecting local and regional diversity patterns. Multivariate analyses, such as non-metric dimensional scaling, were used to explore factors which influence community composition. Results of these analyses revealed the Colorado River as a significant biogeographic barrier that affects montane mammal community structure. MtDNA cytochrome b sequence variation was analyzed among populations of the long-tailed vole, Microtus longicaudus, sampled from five interior ranges of the Colorado Plateau- Abajo, LaSal, Henry, and Chuska Mts., and Boulder Mountain of the Aquarius Plateau-and analyzed using traditional phylogenetic approaches (parsimony and likelihood) as well as nested clade analysis. Results support previous documentation of a major east-west phylogeographic break occurring between populations southeast of the Colorado River (eastern Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming and New Mexico) and all other western populations, which include a central clade, a northwest clade, and an Alaskan island clade. Evidence also supports differentiation of a 'southern Rockies' clade and a distinct 'southwest island' clade. Populations of M. longicaudus north and west of the Colorado River (Boulder and Henry Mts.) share two haplotypes, form a well-supported subclade with populations from the Kaibab plateau, and are closely related to the Northwest clade. Past approaches to studying montane mammal communities utilizing theory based on island biogeography have overemphasized area and isolation as the only forces structuring insular communities. As a result, there has been a lack of recognition of the influences of environmental factors, species turnover, and barriers that create and maintain regional diversity on the Colorado Plateau and adjacent areas.
- Biological and Toxicological Responses Resulting from Dechlorination of a Major Municipal Wastewater Treatment Plant Discharge to the Trinity River
- Federal regulations such as the Clean Water Act (P.L. 92-500), and its amendments, direct the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) to implement programs to control the releases of conventional pollutants and toxics into the waterways of the United States. The EPA began requiring treatment plants to conduct toxicity tests (biomonitoring) of their effluent discharges. To control toxicity caused by chlorination of wastewater discharges, the EPA also began requiring some treatment facilities to dechlorinate their wastewater before discharging. This research was funded by the EPA to document the changes that occurred in the Trinity River from the dechlorination of the effluent from Ft. Worth's Village Creek municipal wastewater treatment plant. The study occurred over a two year period beginning in August 1990. A wide variety of biological field assessments and toxicological assays were used to measure various responses. Seven river stations, covering approximately twenty river miles, and the treatment plant effluent were assessed. Two of the river stations were upstream from the treatment plant and used as reference sites. The remaining five river stations were downstream from the treatment plant, spread out over seventeen river miles. The study evaluated the impact of chlorination prior to dechlorination, which served as a baseline. Responses determined during dechlorination were compared to the baseline data. An overall improvement in species richness and diversity was seen at those river stations which had previously been adversely impacted by chlorine. Aquatic toxicity tests, such as those required to be used by dischargers, were conducted during this study. Periodic toxicity was observed with these tests in the effluent and river samples after dechlorination was initiated. Those tests, along with in situ toxicity assays, proved to be good predictors of biological community responses.
- Biological Nitrogen Fixation in Two Southwestern Reservoirs
- This investigation has determined the presence of biological nitrogen fixation in two reservoirs in the southwestern United States: Lake Arlington and Lake Ray Hubbard. Subsequent tests have gathered baseline data on the effects of various biological, chemical, and physical parameters on in situ nitrogen fixation in these reservoirs. Of specific importance is the relationship between nitrogen fixation arid occasional blooms of blue-green algae which produce such problems as testes and odors in these water-supply impoundments.
- Blood Pressure Regulation During Simulated Orthostatism Prior to and Following Endurance Exercise Training
- Cardiovascular responses and tolerance to an orthostatic stress were examined in eight men before and after eight months of endurance exercise training. Following training, maximal oxygen consumption and blood volume were increased, and resting heart rate reduced. Orthostatic tolerance was reduced following training in all eight subjects. It was concluded that prolonged endurance training decreased orthostatic tolerance and this decrease in tolerance appeared associated with attenuated baroreflex sensitivity and alterations in autonomic balance secondary to an increased parasympathetic tone noted with training.
- Carbon Flux in Reservoir Sediments
- The central objective of the study was to fractionate sedimenting organic materials according to their source (allochthonous or autochthonous) and ultimately to determine the degree of biodegradability of contributions from either source with particular reference to activities at the mud-water interface.
- Cardio-Respiratory Ontogeny and the Transition to Bimodal Respiration in an Air Breathing Fish: Morphological and Physiological Development in Normoxia and Hypoxia.
- As selection pressures exist for not only adults, but for every life history stage, it is important to understand how environmental factors shape developing animals. Despite the significance placed on aquatic hypoxia as a driving force in the evolution of air breathing, this is the first known study to examine the effects of hypoxia on cardio-respiratory ontogeny of an air breathing fish. Blue gouramis are obligatory air breathing fish that possess a labyrinth-like structure that serves as the air breathing organ. Gouramis were reared for up to 90 d in normoxia or hypoxia, and morphological and physiological development was observed. Hypoxic larvae had increased lamellar and labyrinth organ surface areas. Bradycardia and increased gill ventilation rates were observed when larvae from either rearing group were briefly exposed to hypoxia. Hypoxic larvae also showed a reduced heart rate and gill ventilation rate in the absence of a hypoxic stimulus, possibly indicative of a more comprehensive, long-term respiratory plasticity. The similarity of routine oxygen consumption between rearing groups suggests that metabolic demand did not change for hypoxic larvae, but that they were more efficient at oxygen acquisition. This is further supported by increased resistance time of hypoxic gouramis to extreme hypoxia. The onset of air breathing was between 20 and 25 d post-fertilization, and was not affected by either rearing or exposure environment. It may be that this behavior is associated with the inability of smaller larvae to successfully overcome water surface tension, rather than with the necessity of aerial respiration at this stage. Hypoxia is commonly experienced by most air breathing fishes, and studies of hypoxia-induced developmental effects may provide critical insights into the evolution of air breathing. The studies presented here provide novel data on the plasticity of cardio-respiratory development of an air breathing fish reared in hypoxia, and can serve as a solid foundation for future studies.
- Characteristics of Primary Cilia and Centrosomes in Neuronal and Glial Lineages of the Adult Brain
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Primary cilia are sensory organelles that are important for initiating cell division in the brain, especially through sonic hedgehog (Shh) signaling. Several lines of evidence suggest that the mitogenic effect of Shh requires primary cilia. Proliferation initiated by Shh signaling plays key roles in brain development, in neurogenesis in the adult hippocampus, and in the generation of glial cells in response to cortical injury. In spite of the likely involvement of cilia in these events, little is known about their characteristics. Centrosomes, which are associated with primary cilia, also have multiple influences on the cell cycle, and they are important in assembling microtubules for the maintenance of the cell’s cytoskeleton and cilia. The cilia of terminally differentiated neurons have been previously examined with respect to length, incidence, and receptors present. However, almost nothing is known about primary cilia in stem cells, progenitors, or differentiated glial cells. Moreover, it is not known how the properties of cilia and centrosomes may vary with cell cycle or proliferative potential, in brain or other tissues. This dissertation focuses first on neurogenesis in the hippocampal subgranular zone (SGZ). The SGZ is one of the few brain regions in mammals that gives rise to a substantial number of new neurons throughout adulthood. The neuron lineage contains a progression of identifiable precursor cell types with different proliferation rates. This present study found that primary cilia were present in every cell type in the neuronal lineage in SGZ. Cilium length and incidence were positively correlated among these cell types. Ciliary levels of adenylyl cyclase type III (ACIII) levels relative to ADP-ribosylation factor-like protein 13b (Arl13b) was higher in neurons than in precursor cells and glia, and also changed with the cell cycle. G-protein coupled receptors, SstR3, MCHR1, and Gpr161 receptors were only found in neuronal cilia. The levels and distribution of three centrosomal proteins, γ-tubulin, pericentrin and cenexin in neurons was different from the distributions in precursors and glia. The second focus of study is glial responses to injury in the neocortex, which has been widely studied as an injury model. This study found that in the normal adult somatosensory cortex, primary cilia were present in astrocytes and polydendrocytes but not in microglia. Following injury, the incidence of primary cilia decreased in astrocytes. Also, a new cell type expressing GFAP, NG2 and Olig2 was seen 3 days following injury, but was not present in normal mice. The characteristics of primary cilia and centrosome described here suggest that in stem cells and progenitors their characteristics may be well suited for proliferation, whereas in neurons, the cilia and centrosomes are important for other sensory functions.
- Characterizing the Molecular Changes of Austrofundulus Limnaeus As It Develops Towards and Enters Diapause Ii
- Austrofundulus limnaeus is a species of annual killifish which inhabits ephemeral ponds in South America. The species is able to survive seasonally desiccating ponds due to their ability to produce robust embryos. The embryos of this species are capable of entering a developmental arrest, termed diapause II, which precedes the onset of drought. While in this arrested state embryos exhibit the greatest tolerance to anoxia of any characterized vertebrate at 25ºC. Furthermore, when raised at 30ºC, embryos escape the entrance to diapause II and go on to develop directly. Currently, little is known about the molecular mechanisms which induce and maintain this developmentally arrested state. In this study I have developed methods to analyze changes in histone modifications in the context of diapause II. Histone modifications were chosen due to their extreme conservation and well characterized role as modulators of gene expression in other systems. Results utilizing adapted immunobased assays show significant changes in the global amount of H3S10P, H3K27me and H3K4me, as the embryos progress from early embryogenesis through the exit of diapause. Additionally, it is revealed that there exists a degree of phenotypic plasticity with regards to the entrance into diapause II which is modulated by the environment (severe hypoxia 0.1% O2). This work builds a foundation for future histone modification studies and contributes the development of several tools to the field. This study contributes to a greater molecular understanding of the cue(s) which influence the remarkable phenomenon of obligate developmental arrest in a vertebrate embryo.
- Comparative biochemistry and genetic analysis of nucleoside hydrolase in Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Pseudomonas fluorescens.
- The pyrimidine salvage enzyme, nucleoside hydrolase, is catalyzes the irreversible hydrolysis of nucleosides into the free nucleic acid base and D-ribose. Nucleoside hydrolases have varying degrees of specificity towards purine and pyrimidine nucleosides. In E. coli, three genes were found that encode homologues of several known nucleoside hydrolases in protozoa. All three genes (designated yaaF, yeiK, and ybeK) were amplified by PCR and cloned. Two of the gene products (yeiK and ybeK) encode pyrimidine-specific nucleoside hydrolases, while the third (yaaF) encodes a nonspecific nucleoside hydrolase. All three were expressed at low levels and had different modes of regulation. As a comparative analysis, the homologous genes of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and P. fluorescens (designated nuh) were cloned. Both were determined to encode nonspecific nucleoside hydrolases. The nucleoside hydrolases of the pseudomonads exhibited markedly different modes of regulation. Both have unique promoter structures and genetic organization. Furthermore, both pseudomonad nucleoside hydrolase were found to contain an N-terminal extension of 30-35 amino acids that is shown to act as a periplasmic-signaling sequence. These are the first two nucleoside hydrolases, to date,that have been conclusively demonstrated to be exported to the periplasmic space. The physiological relevance of this is explained.
- Comparative Morphology of Sensilla Styloconica on the Proboscis of North American Nymphalidae and Other Selected Taxa: Systematic and Ecological Considerations.
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Sensilla styloconica on the proboscis of 107 species of North American and tropical butterflies were comparatively studied using the scanning electron microscope. Focus was on 76 species of North American Nymphalidae representing 45 genera and 11 subfamilies. Nomenclature for generalized and specific types of nymphalid sensilla is proposed. Written descriptions and micrographs are presented for each species studied. Morphological features were generally consistent for all or most species within genera and sometimes within subfamilies, with specified exceptions. Statistical analysis revealed significant differences for six of eight variables tested between two distinct feeding guilds of North American Nymphalidae. Average number, density, extent of proboscis coverage with sensilla, their total length, and shoulder spine length were all significantly greater in the non-nectar feeding guild than in nectar feeders, and may indicate adaptation for greater efficiency in feeding on flat surfaces. The greater frequency of apical shoulder spines in non-nectar feeders may represent adaptation for protection of sensory pegs from mechanical abrasion during feeding, or for anchoring the flexible proboscis tip to the surface. Correlation analysis revealed 9 out of 28 positive correlations in nectar feeders and 5 out of 28 in non-nectar feeders. Results of preliminary cladistic analysis were not considered to be meaningfully robust due to few available characters. The stylar characters identified in this study should be more useful in future analyses when included with characters from other lines of evidence. The presence of sensilla styloconica in all subfamilies of Nymphalidae, except Danainae, largely supports Ehrlich's (1958) higher classification concept for the family. The presence of less conspicuous sensilla in the Danainae, and other characteristics are presented as further evidence that they should be reconsidered for full family status. Sensilla styloconica in nymphalid butterflies appear to function as extensions that provide greater sensory reach during feeding. The role of these sensilla in liquid uptake, pollen feeding, and host plant selection is discussed.
- A Comparative Study of Passive Transfer Mechanisms of Tuberculin and Chemical Contact Delayed Hypersensitivities in the Guiea Pig
- This study is concerned with a critical comparison of the passive transfer mechanisms of tuberculin and chemical contact hypersensitivities in the guinea pig by use of a four phase experimental approach.
- A Contravention of Established Principles of Interspecific Allometric Metabolic Scaling in Developing Silkworms, Bombyx Mori.
- Established interspecific metabolic allometric relationships do not adequately describe the complexity and variable physiological states of developing animals. Consequently, intraspecific allometric relationships of oxygen consumption and carbon dioxide production as a function of body mass; the respiratory quotient; the function of the silk cocoon; and body composition were investigated for each distinct developmental stage of the silkworm, Bombyx mori. Whole animal O2 consumption in Bombyx ranged from 0.00064 + 0.000047 ml O2 .hr-1 at larval instar I to 0.77 + 0.06 ml O2 .hr-1 in pre-pupal, falling to 0.21+ 0.01 ml O2 .hr-1 in the pupae. Those instars having a significant relationship between O2 consumption as a function of body mass, the slope of the line relating O2 consumption to body mass varied between 0.99 and 1.02, while across all instars the slope was 0.82. Developmental allometry should be presented for individual developmental stages because the individual allometric exponents of the stages can be significantly different from the overall allometric exponent throughout development and in some cases, the overall allometric exponent can be a statistical artifact. The first larval instar of Bombyx mori has the lowest cross sectional area of high metabolic tissue of the midgut (27%) and had one of the highest percentages of some metabolically inert tissues (i.e. lipid, 7.5%). Body composition of the first instar does not support the idea that smaller mass animals having the highest O2 consumption are composed of a greater percentage of metabolically active organs when compared to larger animals. However, this developmental stage has the highest percentage of the mitochondrial marker cytochrome oxidase, which correlates well with the high O2 consumption rate of the smaller mass. Therefore, established interspecific principles should not be assumed to function as valid models for intraspecific developmental relationships of metabolism as a function of body mass. Developmental allometry should include an analysis of individual stages of development as well as an analysis of development as a whole to gain a comprehensive understanding of the complexity of allometry of the developing animal such as the silkworm.
- Dalbergia and Albizia: Plantlet Production via Tissue Culture, Karyological Evaluation, and Seed Anatomy with Scanning Electron Microscopy
- A publication by the National Academy of Sciences, USA (1979) outlined some of the research need for a great variety of economically important woody species whose remaining genetic resources need urgently to be collected and conserved. A viable regeneration system was established via tissue and cell suspension culture for Albizia falcataria and A. lebbeck, two important wood yielding leguminous tree species. The culture medium was standardized after several trials to obtain callus from the leaflet explants of these two tree species. The optimum use of casein hydrolysate (w/v) and coconut milk (v/v) in addition to 6-Benzylaminopurine and Indole-3-butyric acid could induce morphogenesis and somatic embryogenesis in the cultured tissue. This reports the first observation on somatic embryogenesis ofA. lebbeck using leaflets as the explants. Scanning Electron Microscopy and histological studies were done on the different stages plant development following standard techniques. Embryogenesis in suspension culture followed regeneration of plantlets in A. lebbeck. In A.falcaaria the regenerative process followed via organogenesis from the shoot buds developed on the leaf explants. After hardening the regenerated plants were transferred to the greenhouse. Some of the trees grew more than 25 feet tall within a few months outside the greenhouse. Karyotype of the three leguminous trees Albizia lebbeck, A. falcataria, and Dalbergia sissoo was analyzed. In D. sissoo, various chromosomal anomalies were observed in the cultured tissue. The abnormality indices and ploidy level varied with the age and the frequency of the subculture. In the aged culture the regenerative potential declined but was reinstated to some extent with the addition of two complex growth factors, coconut milk and casein hydrolysate. Seed anatomy of 26 species of 4 leguminous genera was studied with SEM. The main distinguishing anatomical features observed in the seed sections were uniseriate or multiseriate epidermis, epidermal projections, and number of rows and nature of columns of hypodermal layer, especially the nature of endosperm. Three species of Dalbergia, Acacia and Cassia and two species of Albizia are difficult to distinguish externally even with seed coat study under SEM, but this study with cross sections provided enough characteristic features to distinguish one from the other.
- Determination of Bioconcentration Potential of Selected Pharmaceuticals in Fathead Minnow, Pimephales promelas, and Channel Catfish, Ictalurus punctatus
- The primary objective of this work was to determine the tissue-specific bioconcentration factors (BCFs) of the selected pharmaceuticals: norethindrone (NET), ibuprofen (IBU), verapamil (VER), clozapine (CLZ) and fenofibrate (FFB) in two freshwater fishes: fathead minnow and channel catfish. BCF tests on fathead followed the standard OECD 42-day test while a 14-day abridged test design was used in catfish exposures. Additional objectives included a) comparing the measured BCFs to the US EPA's BCFWIN model predicted values, b) comparing the BCF results from the standard and reduced tests, and c) prediction of chronic risk of the pharmaceuticals in fish using the human therapeutic plasma concentrations. Each test included uptake and depuration phases to measure tissue-specific kinetic BCFs. The results indicated that all the pharmaceuticals, except IBU, have the potential for accumulation in fish. Estimated BCFs for NET, VER and FFB may not be significant in view of the current regulatory trigger level (BCF ≥ 2000); however, CLZ's BCF in the liver had approached the criterion level. Significant differences were noticed in the tissue-specific uptake levels of the pharmaceuticals with the following general trend: (liver/kidney) > (gill/brain) > (heart/muscle) > plasma. IBU uptake was highest in the plasma. When compared to the measured BCFs, predicted values for NET, IBU, VER and FFB were slightly overestimated but did not differ largely. However, the measured BCF of CLZ in the liver was approximately two-orders of magnitude higher than the predicted level. The tissue-BCFs for the two species were not widely different indicating the potential usefulness of the reduced BCF test. Comparison of fish and human plasma levels indicated that NET, CLZ and VER have the potential to cause chronic effects in fish.
- Development of Cardiovascular Regulation in Embryos of the Domestic Fowl (Gallus Gallus), with a Partial Comparison to Embryos of the Desert Tortoise (Gopherus Agassizii)
- In adult vertebrates, cardiovascular regulation is accomplished by numerous systems with neural, hormonal and local components responsible for the majority of regulation. These regulatory components work in concert to maintain the essential function of blood perfusion to adult tissues. Given the essential nature of this function it is therefore surprising that the development of cardiovascular regulation during gestation is poorly understood. The majority of what is known is based on a single vertebrate model, the fetal lamb. The fetal lamb has been used in multiple studies due to the clear clinical applications and has been pivotal in understanding the onset of regulation in developing vertebrates. However, study on the fetal lamb is limited to the latter 40% of gestation and has the added complication of an in-utero developmental strategy. Therefore the primary focus of this dissertation was to characterize basic cardiovascular regulation in the chicken embryo to provided the needed information for it's use an alternative to the fetal lamb. Developing chicken embryos rely on both alpha and beta adrenergic tones to maintain normal heart rate and arterial blood pressure during incubation. However, on day 21, just prior to hatch, these animals lose both tones on arterial pressure suggesting the onset of adult regulation. Cholinergic tone, however, was absent throughout chicken development indicating that it must mature during the neonatal life. Adult cardiovascular reflexes become apparent late in chicken development with a clear baroreflex specifically operating initially on day. However, an adult response to changes in ambient gas tension was absent during incubation suggesting embryos possess unique regulatory systems that are absent in adult chickens. This mechanism is comprised entirely of adrenergic systems with no cholinergic action during change in ambient gas tension. Similar developmental patterns were determined in embryos of the desert tortoise suggesting fundamental differences between in-utero and ex-utero developing vertebrates.
- The Developmental Physiology of the Zebrafish: Influence of Environment and Cardiovascular Attributes
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Temperature effects on the development of the zebrafish embryos and larvae and adults were examined. It was found that the earlier in development a temperature change was performed on an embryo, the more significant the change in survival and/or subsequent development. Thus, viable temperature ranges for zebrafish widened significantly as development proceeded. Adults reared and bred at 25oC produced embryos that were significantly more successful at the lower range of rearing temperatures compared to embryos produced from adults reared at 28oC. The majority of this study focused on the physiological effects of swim training during development in the zebrafish. The earlier in development the zebrafish larvae were trained, the greater the mortality. Trained free swimming larvae had a significantly higher routine oxygen consumption after 11 days of training, and a higher mass specific routine metabolic rate after 8 and 11 days of training. Trained free swimming larvae consumed significantly less oxygen during swimming and were more efficient at locomotion, compared to control larvae. Training enhanced survival during exposure to extreme hypoxia in all age groups. Performance aspects of training were investigated in attempt to quantify training effects and in most cases, trained fish performed significantly better than controls. As blood vessels formed during development, they decreased in cross sectional area from days two to six. It was also shown that the variability in visual stroke volume measurements could be reduced significantly by using a third dimension in the analysis with a more accurate volume equation. Finally, the ontogeny of cardiac control was evaluated. The adrenergic receptors were the first to respond to pharmacological stimulation but were closely followed by cholinergic pharmacological stimulation a few days later. There was a significant cholinergic tone present in day 15 zebrafish larvae which persisted. Although an adrenergic tone was not documented in this study, this does not prove its lack of existence.
- Discovery and Characterization of Two Tn5 Generated pyrA Mutants in Pseudomonas putida and the Generation of Hfr Strains
- A pyrA mutation in Pseudomonas putida was isolated using transposon mutagenesis for the first time. Transposon Tn5 was used to inactivate the pyrA gene for carbamoylphosphate synthetase in these mutants. Accordingly, these mutants were defective in pyrimidine and arginine biosynthesis. The suicide vector, pM075, from Pseudomonas aeruginosa, was used to introduce the transposon into the cells. Tn5 was subsequently used to supply homology so that the plasmid pM075 could be introduced in its entirety into the Pseudomonas putida chromosome at the locus of the Tn5 insertion in the pyrA gene. Consequently, these strains exhibited high frequency of recombination and were capable of chromosome mobilization.
- The Ecology and Paleobiogeography of Freshwater Mussels (Family: Unionidae) from Selected River Basins in Texas
- This dissertation has two overall objectives: first, to demonstrate the utility of paleozoological data for ongoing and future mussel-conservation efforts in Texas and second, to evaluate whether simple measures of habitat (e.g., water depth, velocity and particle size) are important for demonstrating the within-habitat spatial separation of mussels. Although these topics may seem disparate, both are important for increasing our understanding of unionid ecology and biogeography. Chapters 1 through 3 examine the use of paleozoological data for mussel conservation. Although these types of data are not new they have rarely been used in mussel conservation efforts within Texas. This is unfortunate because paleozoological data can provide an excellent record of the mussel fauna prior to wide-scale modern impacts and in areas where historical survey data are lacking. Chapter 4 examines whether assessments of microhabitat for mussels using simple measures of habitat (e.g., water velocity, depth and particle size) are useful. Recent studies have suggested that these measures do not explain the mussel distribution in flowing streams. If this is correct, instream flow studies using this approach need to be revised. Results of Chapter 4 indicate that mussels in the lower Brazos River basin are constrained in distribution by the availability of heterogenous substrate. Appendix A, details the first account of a living population of Truncilla macrodon, which is a candidate species for the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The population was found while conducting mussel instream flow studies in the lower Brazos River basin.
- Ecology and Recolonization of Benthic Macroinvertebrates in a Groundwater-dependent Stream in North Central Texas During a Supra-seasonal Drought
- Extreme climatic events such as droughts are known to eliminate aquatic biota and alter community structure and function. Perennial headwater springs provide important drought refugia to benthic macroinvertebrates and an important source of colonists via drift or aerial adults to intermittent streams post-drought. During a supra-seasonal drought in North-central Texas summer and fall 2006, benthic macroinvertebrates from persistent groundwater-dependent macrohabitats of varying hydrological connectivity and riparian shading were studied: perennial riffles, connected pools, shaded disconnected pools, and full sun disconnected pools. Riffles were a distinct habitat with significantly higher taxa richness, proportion of lotic taxa, diversity and evenness than other macrohabitats. Macrohabitats were found to be important refugia for 106 benthic macroinvertebrates and 4 microcrustacean taxa. Throughout the extreme drought, perennially flowing habitats were refugia to 19 taxa (17.9% total taxa) not collected in disconnected pools. Shaded disconnected pools contained lotic taxa not previously known to be able to complete their lifecycles in lentic habitats, emphasizing the importance of groundwater effluent and shading. With the resumption of flow at a downstream intermittent site of Ash Creek in mid-October 2006, an annual recolonization study was conducted comparing the perennial headwaters’ benthic macroinvertebrate taxa richness, densities and community ecology with the downstream intermittent site. The headwaters supported higher mean taxa richness than the intermittent site over the duration of the study (ANOVA P < 0.001). However, the unexpected result of overall decreasing taxa richness at the perennial headwater site from August 2006 to April 2008 appears to reflect lag effects of the supra-seasonal drought combined with effects of multiple spates of 2007, which are factors confounding the point of recovery for taxa richness. Recovery of taxa richness at the intermittent site took 9 months compared to 1 to 2 months reported in other arid and semi-arid streams in the United States recovering from seasonal drying and floods. Sustainable use of groundwater resources and conservation of riparian corridors is vital to protecting groundwater-dependent ecosystems that play a vital role in maintaining regional biodiversity by serving as biotic refugia during catastrophic disturbance.
- Effect of Acute Alcohol Ingestion on Resistance Exercise Induced Mtorc1 Signaling in Human Muscle
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The purpose of this project was to further elucidate the effects post-exercise alcohol ingestion. This project had many novel aspects including using a resistance exercise (RE) only exercise design and the inclusion of women. To our knowledge, we are the first to investigate the effect of post-RE alcohol ingestion in women. In the first chapter of this project, information on the prevalence of alcohol use and the importance of skeletal muscle as a dynamic and metabolic tissue was provided. In chapter two, the effects of post-RE alcohol ingestion in men and women are detailed. The major findings of this study was that although RE elicited similar mTORC1 signaling both in men and in women, alcohol ingestion appeared to only attenuate RE-induced phosphorylation of the mTORC1 signaling pathway in men. The third chapter focused on examining the effects of post-RE alcohol ingestion on acute testosterone bioavailability. The primary findings of this study was that alcohol substantially elevated serum total and free testosterone concentrations during recovery from a bout of resistance exercise. The fourth chapter detailed factors that contribute to bone density in men. The major findings of this study was that young adult male long-distance runners who participated in resistance training at least once per week had greater bone mineral density than their non-resistance trained and non-exercise trained peers.
- The Effect of Curcumin Supplementation on Physical and Biological Indices of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness and Inflammation Following Muscle Injury
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In this project, the effects of dietary polyphenols on exercise-induced muscle damage and vascular health are examined. Dietary polyphenols exert well-known anti-inflammatory effects; however, how these effects are realized with respect to vascular health and EIMD is relatively unknown. I begin by reviewing the available literature surrounding the impact of three dietary polyphenols (curcumin, catechins, and quercetin) on inflammation associated with EIMD. It is well established that their primary means of anti-inflammation is through alterations of NF-κB and AP-1 transcription activities. Given this, their inclusion into training strategies seems reasonable. Consistent evidence is presented making a case for the anti-inflammatory effects of dietary polyphenols following EIMD. I follow this review up by completing an in-depth study on the consumption of curcumin prior to EIMD. I found curcumin (1000 mg/day) can reduce subjective soreness and decrease inflammation compared to placebo controls. To further understand the effects of dietary polyphenols on health, I investigate the effects of a four-week supplementation period of cocoa (catechins) on vascular. I concluded that atherogenic risk in obese women is reduced after consumption of cocoa. In addition to these experimental projects, I developed two novel methods that can be used to investigate vascular health (EMP concentration) and intracellular protein and mRNA production using flow cytometry.
- Effects of Carbaryl (1-Naphthyl-n-methylcarbamate) on Trichocorixa Reticulata (Hemiptera: Corixidae) and Glyptotendipes Barbipes (Diptera: Chironomidae)
- My study of the effects of carbaryl in aquatic systems under controlled laboratory conditions emphasized four major objectives: (1) to determine the acute toxicity of carbaryl to the herbivorous adult and immature Trichocorixa reticulata (Guerin)(Hemiptera: Corixidae), and to the omnivorous larvae of Glyptotendipes barbipes (Staeger) (Diptera: Chironomidae) under static bioassay; (2) to adapt a quantitative method of analysis for carbaryl in water and whole insect tissue extract; (3) to measure the accumulation of the insecticide by G. barbipes under static exposure; and (4) to quantify the uptake and loss of carbaryl by G. barbipes under daily-renewed sublethal dosages.
- The Effects of Inbreeding on Fitness Traits in the Critically Endangered Attwater’s Prairie-chicken
- The goals of captive breeding programs for endangered species include preserving genetic diversity and avoiding inbreeding. Typically this is accomplished by minimizing population mean kinship; however, this approach becomes less effective when errors in the pedigree exist and may result in inbreeding depression, or reduced survival. Here, both pedigree- and DNA-based methods were used to assess inbreeding depression in the critically endangered Attwater’s prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus cupido attwateri). Less variation in the pedigree-based inbreeding coefficients and parental relatedness values were observed compared to DNA-based measures suggesting that errors exist in the pedigree. Further, chicks identified with high parental DNA-based relatedness exhibited decreased survival at both 14- and 50-days post-hatch. A similar pattern was observed in later life stages (> 50 days post-hatch) with birds released to the wild; however, the pattern varied depending on the time post-release. While DNA-based inbreeding coefficient was positively correlated with mortality to one month post-release, an opposite pattern was observed at nine months suggesting purging of deleterious alleles. I also investigated whether immunocompetence, or the ability to produce a normal immune response, was correlated with survival; however, no significant correlation was observed suggesting that inbreeding was a more important factor influencing survival. Pairing individuals for breeding by minimizing DNA-based parental relatedness values resulted in a significant increase in chick survival. This study highlights the importance of using DNA-based methods to avoid inbreeding depression when errors exist in the pedigree.
- Effects of Methanol, Atrazine, and Copper on the Ultrastructure of Pseudokirchneriella Subcapitata (Selenastrum Capricornutum).
- The toxicity of methanol, atrazine, and copper to Pseudokirchneriella subcapitata (Korshikov) Hindák historically referred to as Selenastrum capricornutum Printz were determined following 96 hrs growth in a modified Goram's growth media. Methanol and atrazine inhibited fluorescence readings in the cultures by 50% (IC50) at concentrations of 2% and 82 µg/l respectively. These toxicity values compared favorably to other published reports. The IC50 for copper was 160 µg/l which is substantially higher than reported values. This is understandable because of the high chelating capacity of Goram's media. The use of stereologically derived relative volume in the chloroplasts, mitochondria, lipid bodies, phosphate bodies, and nucleus was investigated to determine if it could be used as a sensitive endpoint in toxicity tests. The volume fractions for the chloroplasts and mitochondria were normally distributed in control cells while the nuclei, phosphate bodies, and lipid bodies were not. The chloroplasts were the most dominate organelle occupying a mean relative volume of 46% and mitochondria occupied a mean relative volume of 3%. The nucleus and phosphate bodies occupied a median relative volume of 7% and 2% respectively. The lipid bodies were rare in section profile and no meaningful median relative volume could be calculated. Up to the 82nd percentile of sectioned profiles contained no recognizable lipid bodies. The use of relative volume was not a sensitive endpoint for use in toxicity tests. No significant differences in relative volume could be detected in the nucleus or phosphate bodies following any treatment. Limited differences were detected in the mitochondria, chloroplasts, and lipid bodies. The only significant differences that appear to be biologically significant occurred in methanol treated cells where an increase in the lipid bodies' relative volume was apparently concentration dependent. Significant differences in the relative volume of mitochondria and chloroplasts do not appear to be biologically significant.
- The Effects of Organic Surface Amendments on Soil Nutrients and Initial Tree Establishment
- This study examined the effects of replicating woodland soil surface horizonation on the nutrient status of underlying soils and the initial establishment and growth of trees. A total of 283 container grown trees were planted in a bufferzone around a future landfill site. Control amendments consisted of an 8 cm layer (0.5 m3) of wood chips applied in a circular area of 4.6 m2 around the trees' planting pit. For the treatment, a 2.5 cm layer of composted biosolids (0.15 m3 or 80 Mg/ha) was applied in a circular area of 4.6 m2 around the trees' planting pit followed by an 8 cm layer (0.5 m3) of wood chips. The results indicate that the replication of woodland soil surface attributes using composted biosolids can significantly improve the nutrient status of underlying soil. Some significant effects were seen under control conditions, too. However, the effects on tree establishment and growth parameters were, for the most part, not statistically significant.
- Effects of Peripheral Nerve Injury on the Cells of the Dorsal Root Ganglion: a Role for Primary Cilia
- Primary cilia are ubiquitous sensory organelles found on most cell types including cells of the dorsal root ganglia (DRG). The DRG are groups of peripheral neurons that relay sensory information from the periphery to the CNS. Other cell types in the DRG include a type of glial cell, the satellite glial cells (SGCs). The SGCs surround the DRG neurons and, with the neurons, form functional sensory units. Currently are no reports describing the numbers of DRG cells that have cilia. We found that 26% of the SGCs had primary cilia. The incidence of cilia on neurons varied with neuron size, a property that roughly correlates with physiological characteristics. We found that 29% of the small, 16% of the medium and 5% of the large neurons had primary cilia. Primary cilia have been shown to have a role in cell proliferation in a variety of cell types. In some of the cells the cilia mediate the proliferative effects of Sonic hedgehog (Shh). In the CNS, Shh signaling through primary cilia affects proliferation during development as well as following injury, but no studies have looked at this function in the PNS. The SGCs and neurons of the DRG undergo complex changes following peripheral nerve injury such as axotomy. One marked change seen after axotomy is SGC proliferation and at later stages, neuronal death. We found that following axotomy there is a significant increase in the percentage of SGCs with primary cilia. We also found a significant increase in the percentage of medium-sized neurons with primary cilia. In other experiments we tested the idea that Shh plays a role in SGC proliferation. When Shh signaling was blocked following axotomy we found decreased proliferation of SGCs. This is the first report of a change in the percentage of cells with cilia following injury in the PNS, and the first report of a role for Shh in SGC proliferation following axotomy.
- Effects of Triclosan, Triclocarban, and Caffeine Exposure on the Development of Amphibian Larvae.
- Triclosan and triclocarban are antimicrobials found in numerous consumer products, while caffeine is the most commonly consumed stimulant by humans. This study was undertaken to determine the effects of triclosan, triclocarban, and caffeine on the development and physiology of amphibian larvae. LC50 values of triclosan and triclocarban were determined after 96 hours for three North American larval species: Acris crepitans blanchardii, Bufo woodhousii woodhousii, Rana sphenocephala, and for a common amphibian developmental model: Xenopus laevis. Amphibian larvae were most sensitive to triclosan and triclocarban exposure during early development based upon 96-hour LC50 values. Heart rates for X. laevis and North American larvae exposed to triclosan were variable throughout development. However, significantly lower heart rates were observed in all larvae exposed to triclocarban. Metabolic rates of X. laevis and R. sphenocephala larvae exposed to triclosan were significantly affected in larvae exposed to ½ LC50 and the LC50 concentration. Metabolic rates of X. laevis larvae exposed to triclocarban were significantly affected by exposure to ½ LC50 concentrations in three of four stages investigated. No significant differences were observed in North American larvae exposed to triclocarban. Tissue uptake, lipid uptake, tissue bioconcentration factor (BCF) and lipid BCF of triclosan and triclocarban were investigated in three developmental stages of X. laevis, and in one developmental stage of B. woodhousii woodhousii, and R. sphenocephala. For most tissue and lipid uptake values, a significant increase was observed as exposure concentration increased. Tissue and lipid BCF values were dependent upon both stage and species. Chronic and acute effects of caffeine were determined in X. laevis larvae. Acute 96-hour LC50 values in four developmental stages were > 75,000 ug L-1 caffeine and heart rates were significantly different at the two earliest developmental stages. Larvae chronically exposed to caffeine reached metamorphosis at the same time as controls. Changes in chronic heart rate were dependent upon stage of development and exposure concentration. This research indicates that the toxicity of amphibian larvae exposed to triclosan, triclocarban, and caffeine appears to be dependent upon species and developmental stage, with early developmental stages being most sensitive to contaminant exposure.
- Effects of Whisker-Trimming on GABAA Receptors in S1 Cortex
- A number of studies have shown that sensory deprivation is associated with selective decreases in GABA, GAD, and GABA receptors, in deprived areas of visual and somatosensory cortex. Those studies focused on layer 4, a recipient of direct thalamocortical sensory input. However, supragranular layers 2/3 have been recently identified as a major locus of functional plasticity in sensory deprivation and long-term potentiation. To examine whether GABAA receptors in layers 2/3 are affected by sensory deprivation, rats had mystacial vibrissae in middle row C or rows ABDE trimmed for 6 weeks beginning in early adulthood. Layers 2/3 above the deprived and adjacent whisker barrels were located in tangential sections, using patterns of radial blood vessels as fiducial marks. In deprived whisker barrel columns, [3H]muscimol binding to GABAA receptors decreased by 12.8% ± 1.2 (P < 0.001) in layers 2/3 and 11.4% ± 1.2 (P<0.001) in layer 4. Altered levels of GABAA α1 subunit (Fritschy et al., 1994) were indicated by reduced optical density of immunostaining, both in deprived layers 2/3 (6.4% ± 0.7; P< 0.001) and in layer 4 (3.4% ± 1.0; P < 0.005). Interestingly, Nissl staining density also decreased in deprived layers 2/3 (12.7% ± 1.8 P < 0.001) and in 4 (6.0 ± 0.7 (P < 0.001). The percent decreases were greater in layers 2/3 than in 4 for both GABAA α1 (P < 0.05) and Nissl substance (P < 0.005). The present results suggest that down-regulation in GABAA receptors may underlie the physiological signs of disinhibition observed in neurons of layer 2/3 and 4 in deprived whisker barrel columns.
- Endocrine Disruption of Levonorgestrel in Early-life Stages of Fathead Minnows, Pimephales Promelas
- Pharmaceuticals have routinely been detected in the environment resulting in a growing concern about whether these drugs could elicit effects on aquatic organisms. The concerns are centered on the highly conserved nature of mammalian therapeutic targets in fish. These pharmaceuticals are found at very low levels in the environment, which can result in sub-lethal effects in aquatic organisms. Therefore, 28 d early-life stage studies were conducted on six pharmaceuticals to assess their impacts on survival and growth fathead minnow larvae. Two pharmaceuticals tested, carbamazepine and fenofibrate, resulted in no alterations to survival and growth. However, amiodarone, clozapine, dexamethasone, and levonorgestrel (LNG) reduced survival at concentrations tested with LNG being the most potent at 462 ng/L. Survival was increased with amiodarone and clozapine; however LNG significantly decreased growth at 86 ng/L. Therefore, the most potent pharmaceutical tested was the synthetic progestin LNG with survival and growth impacts at concentrations less than 1 μg/L. Further analysis was conducted by measuring specific endocrine related mRNA transcript profiles in FHM larvae following the 28 d ELS exposure to LNG. Transcripts of 3β-HSD, 20β-HSD, and FSH were significantly down-regulated following 28 d exposure to both 16.3 and 86.9 ng/L LNG. Also, CYP19a expression was significantly down-regulated at 86.9 and 2392 ng/L LNG. Subsequently, a second study examined time periods that may be most sensitive (e.g., windows of sensitivity) for FHM larvae exposed to LNG. Larvae were exposed to a single concentration of LNG (i.e. LOECgrowth of 86.2 ng/L as determined in the 28 d ELS study) for different time periods starting with fertilized egg through 28 dph. Growth and mRNA expression of the four differentially expressed transcripts from the first study were measured. Regardless of the duration of exposure, LNG significantly decreased growth in fathead minnow larvae at day 28. For both 20β-HSD and CYP19a, mRNA expression was decreased following exposure to LNG; however, these transcripts returned to baseline levels after removal of LNG. 3β-HSD and FSH showed similar trends after exposure to LNG with 7-14 d and 14-28 d exposures exhibiting a decrease in expression; however, FSH expression returned to baseline once removed for LNG exposure. Based on these data, 3β-HSD was the only transcript to remain down regulated after LNG exposure. Together these data suggest LNG can negatively impact FHM larval survival and growth, with significant alterations in endocrine related responses. However, these changes in endocrine related responses may not directly correlate to the changes in growth demonstrated with LNG exposure to fathead minnows. Therefore, additional research is warranted to ascertain additional mechanisms, either endocrine related or non-endocrine functions, related to changes in growth of larval fathead minnows.
- Environmental Modulation of the Onset of Air-breathing of the Siamese Fighting Fish and the Blue Gourami
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This study determined the effect of hypoxia on air-breathing onset and physiological and morphological characters in larvae of the air breathing fishes Trichopodus trichopterus and Betta splendens. Larvae were exposed intermittently (12/12 h daily) to 20, 17, and 14 kPa of PO2 from 1 to 40 days post-fertilization. Survival, onset of air breathing, wet body mass, O2, Pcrit were measured every 5 dpf. Hypoxia advanced by 4 days, and delayed by 9 days, the onset of air breathing in Betta and Trichopodus, respectively. Hypoxia increased larval body length, wet mass, and labyrinth organ respiratory surface of Betta, but did not affect these factors in Trichopodus. Hypoxic exposure increased O2 by 50-100% at each day throughout larval development in Betta, but had no effect on larval Trichopodus. Hypoxia decreased Pcrit in Betta by 37%, but increased Pcrit in Trichopodus by 70%. Larval Betta reared in hypoxia showed a modified heart rate:opercular rate ratio (3:1 to 2:1), but these changes did not occur in Trichopodus. Compared to Betta, the blood of Trichopodus had a higher P50 and much smaller Bohr and Root effects. These interspecific differences are likely due to ecophysiological differences: Betta is a non- obligatory air-breather after 36 dpf with a slow lifestyle reflected in its low metabolism, while Trichopodus is an obligatory air-breather past 32 dpf with an athletic fast lifestyle and accompanying high metabolism.
- Enzyme Assays Using Earthworms for Assessing Innate and Nonspecific Immunotoxicity of Xenobiotics
- Principal objectives of my research were to: (1) report for the first time that coelomocytes are able to reduce NBT dye and confirm the presence of lysozyme-like activity in earthworm; (2) develop a standard methodology for determination of NBT reduction and lysozyme-like activity in earthworms; (3) compare NBT reduction and lysozyme-like activity in earthworms with those of murine and human cells and fluids; and (4) demonstrate the sensitivity of earthworm NBT reduction and lysozyme-like activity as the assays using matrics in refuse-derived fuel fly ash (RDFF) and CuSO4.
- The Eosinophil Response in Mice Infected with Trichinella spiralis or Trichinella pseudospiralis as Indicated by Phospholipase B Activity
- The host eosinophil response was compared in mice infected with either T. spiralis or T. pseudospiralis by determination of levels of splenic and intestinal phospholipase B, a marker enzyme for eosinophils. Primary infection of naive mice and challenge infection of homologously sensitized mice with T. pseudospiralis resulted in significantly lower tissue phospholipase B activities than infection with T. spiralis. Mice homologously challenged with T. pseudospiralis did exhibit an anamnestic eosinophil response compared to mice given a primary T. pseudospiralis infection. This anamnestic response, however, was significantly lower than the eosinophil response seen in sensitized mice given a homologous T. spiralis challenge. Mice sensitized to T. spiralis or T. pseudospiralis and heterologous challenge demonstrated an elevated eosinophil response compared to mice given a primary infection with either parasite. The heterologous challenge response, however, was not as intense as found for sensitized mice given a homologous challenge.
- Establishing genetic and physiological baselines for the black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus).
- The black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) has experienced dramatic declines over much of its historical range due to habitat loss, plague, poisonings, and shootings. Many populations now occur as isolated genetic relicts. A multiple locus genetic profile was obtained using microsatellite analyses of six polymorphic nucleotide repeats from 319 black-tailed prairie dogs collected from 16 colonies throughout the state of Texas. This assessment revealed that existing populations have sufficient variation at all six loci to verify the usefulness of this approach as a primary genetic tool in conservation and preservation. The data reveals regional-dependent frequency patterns as well as support for founder/bottleneck effects for several of the 16 sites. Although the prairie dog population in Texas as a whole may appear genetically diverse, considerable genetic divergence has already occurred among the subpopulations (FST = 0.164). Isolation by distance is supported by genic differentiation analysis (P < 0.001) and pairwise correlation analysis between genetic distance and geographic distance (P < 0.001). Prairie dogs from six (COC, LUBA, LUBC, LUBD, LUBE, and TAR) of the original 16 sites have been relocated or exterminated, or were in the process of being relocated. Results indicated the following colonies (COT, DAL, HOW, and HUD) are of sufficient size and possess ample genetic diversity to be characterized as candidate foundation populations for future preservation efforts. The proximity of small colonies (< 20 hectares) such as HEMB, LUBB, and PEC, to other colonies should be examined to determine if they are isolated or part of a metapopulation. Colonies (HAR, HEMA, and SCH) with low genetic diversity would be ideal candidates for supplementation. Alternatively, these colonies could be relocated or blended with other similar but genetically distinct colonies. Baselines for healthy, pet prairie dog hematology and blood chemistries were also established. Results signify that data gathered from pet prairie dog blood analyses should be referenced against hematology and blood chemistry baselines established using pet prairie dog subjects.
- Eutrophic Levels of Different Areas of a Reservoir: A Comparative Study
- It was the purpose of this investigation to attempt to demonstrate if differences in eutrophic levels existed among selected areas of Garza-Little Elm, and to demonstrate the role that sediments play in affecting eutrophication.