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 Degree Discipline: Biology
 Collection: UNT Theses and Dissertations
Acute Effects of the Antibiotic Streptomycin on Neural Network Activity and Pharmacological Responses
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The purpose of this study is to find out that if antibiotic streptomycin decreases neuronal network activity or affects the pharmacological responses. The experiments in this study were conducted via MEA (multi-electrode array) technology which records neuronal activity from devices that have multiple small electrodes, serve as neural interfaces connecting neurons to electronic circuitry. The result of this study shows that streptomycin lowered the spike production of neuronal network, and also, sensitization was seen when neuronal network pre-exposed to streptomycin. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc700026/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc5557/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc5792/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4467/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc801939/
Chemotactic Response of Lumbricus terrestris Coelomocytes to Larval and Adult Stages of Rhabditis pellio
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Experiments were performed to assess the suitability of Rhabditis pellio, a nematode found in earthworms, as a challenge organism for use in development of a biomarker assay to determine the potential of chemicals to suppress the immunocompetence of the non-specific immune system. To accomplish this goal, information on the life cycle of R. pellio was determined; including effects of incubation time and temperature on growth rates; along with information on the immune response elicited in the earthworm, Lumbricus terrestris. Immune parameters measured were coelomocyte migration toward and attachment to R. pellio larvae and adults. Preliminary background information showed that R. pellio has potential as a challenge organism for development of a biomarker assay. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc5507/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc3002/
Determination of Dissociation Constants for GABAA Receptor Antagonists using Spontaneously Active Neuronal Networks in vitro
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Changes in spontaneous spike activities recorded from murine frontal cortex networks grown on substrate-integrated microelectrodes were used to determine the dissociation constant (KB) of three GABAA antagonists. Neuronal networks were treated with fixed concentrations of GABAA antagonists and titrated with muscimol, a GABAA receptor agonist. Muscimol decreased spike activity in a concentration dependent manner with full efficacy (100% spike inhibition) and a 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50) of 0.14 ± 0.05 µM (mean ± SD, n=6). At 10, 20, 40 and 80 µM bicuculline, the muscimol IC50 values were shifted to 4.3 ± 1.8 µM (n=6), 6.8 ± 1.7 µM (n=6), 19.3 ± 3.54 µM (n=10) and 43.5 µM (n=2), respectively (mean ± SD). Muscimol titration in the presence of 10, 20, 40 µM of gabazine resulted in IC50s values of 20.1 (n=2), 37.17 (n=4), and 120.45 (n=2), respectively. In the presence of 20, 80, and 160 µM of TMPP (trimethylolpropane phosphate) the IC50s were 0.86 (n=2), 3.07 (n=3), 6.67 (n=2) µM, respectively. Increasing concentrations of GABAA antagonists shifted agonist log concentration-response curves to the right with identical efficacies, indicating direct competition for the GABAA receptor. A Schild plot analysis with linear regression resulted in slopes of 1.18 ± 0.18, 1.29 ± 0.23 and 1.05 ± 0.03 for bicuculline, gabazine and TMPP, respectively. The potency of antagonists was determined in terms of pA2 values. The pA2 values were 6.63 (gabazine), 6.21 (bicuculline), and 5.4 (TMPP). This suggests that gabazine has a higher binding affinity to the GABAA receptor than bicuculline and TMPP. Hence, using spike rate data obtained from population responses of spontaneously active neuronal networks, it is possible to determine key pharmacological properties of drug-receptor interactions. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4911/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc2854/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc804831/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc801906/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc822746/
Evaluation of City of Denton Sub-Watershed by Benthic Macroinvertebrate Field Experimental Approach
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In this study, two different field experiments were designed to assess the relative influence of urbanization on benthic communities. During spring and summer, four urban and one reference sites from Denton County, Texas were selected for benthic macroinvertebrate evaluation. Statistically significant differences in colonized benthic macroinvertebrate taxa on artificial substrates were observed among the four urban sites and the reference site. Oligochaetes and chironomids were the dominant taxa at all sites. Identification of chironomid larvae at the subfamily and genus level to detect differences between sites had higher statistical power than the evaluation based on total chironomids. At the reference site, Caenis, Cladotanytarsus, Orthocladius, and Ceratopogonidae were the dominant taxa, while the urban sites were dominated by Dero, Physella, Ancylidae, Chironomus, Dicrotendipes, Glyptotendipes, Polypedilum, Pseudochironomus, Stenochironomus, and Tanytarsus. These differences may have been dependent upon differences in hydrologic regime and water quality between sites. Significant differences (ANOVA, p < 0.01) in water quality parameters (alkalinity, hardness, nitrates, phosphates, chlorides, sulfates, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and triazine) were found among water samples collected from the reference and urban sites. During the transfer period, most of the Ephemeroptera and Trichoptera taxa and a few other taxa disappeared from artificial substrates that were colonized at the reference site and then moved to the urban sites. Also, local abundant taxa from the urban site significantly (t test, p < 0.05) increased in number on the transferred artificial substrates. Seasonal differences in colonization patterns were also observed between the spring and summer experimental periods, which indicate that temporal variation is equally important, as is the anthropogenic effect in benthic community evaluation. Field survival and growth experiments using Erpetogomphus designatus larvae were designed to detect differences between evaluated sites. Larvae were collected from the reference site, measured in the laboratory, and exposed at the urban sites for six weeks in using specially designed cages. The exposed larvae demonstrated a higher mortality rate at the urban sites compared to the reference site. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc5314/
Evaluation of virulence in wild type and pyrimidine auxotrophs of Pseudomonas aeruginosa using the eukaryotic model system Caenorhabditis elegans.
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The human opportunistic pathogen, Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1, has been shown to kill the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. C. elegans has been a valuable model for the study of bacterial pathogenesis, and has reinforced the notion that common virulence and host defense mechanisms exist. Recently, the pyrimidine pathway was shown to regulate virulence levels. Therefore, mutations in the pyrimidine pathway of PAO1 showed decrease virulence in the nematode. When starving the nematode, bacterial resistance was also shown to increase. It was hypothesized that starvation induced the DAF pathway, which regulates the transcription of genes involved with the antibacterial defense mechanism. Further research will be conducted to test this theory by performing RNAi experiments for the genes functioning in the antibacterial defense mechanism. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc5561/
Evidentiary Value of Condoms: Comparison of Durable Physical and Chemical Characteristics of Condoms
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Condom trace evidence must not be overlooked in sexual assault cases; understanding the chemical and physical characteristics of condoms is imperative if condoms are to be useful evidence. Previous research shows that condom identification is possible, but it is equally important to evaluate durability of condom residues versus time. Using FT-IR, this study examined vaginal swabs from subjects who self-sampled at intervals for up to 72 hours after having intercourse with a condom. This study investigated whether age and the stage of the menstrual cycle affected the durability of residues in the vagina over time. This study revealed that condoms containing nonoxynol-9, silicone-based lubricants, and particulates provide valuable information for identification, and that nonoxynol-9 specifically withstands the vaginal environment for up to 72 hours. Additionally, age and menstrual cycle both appeared to have an effect on the durability of residues although larger sample size is desirable. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc2481/
General Biology Lecture and Laboratory Curriculum Outline in a Two or Four-Year College
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In July of 1999, I wrote to 24 Texas junior and community colleges (and one four-year institution) describing my thesis agenda of a general biology lecture and laboratory syllabus for introductory biology students. I requested the titles and authors of the general biology textbooks and laboratory manuals they were currently using, the publishers of these texts, and the edition of said texts. I then contacted publishers of the various textbooks who, in turn, directed me to the Dallas-area representatives for further inquiries. I assimilated the various authors' general biology topics into a two-semester syllabus of lecture and one semester of laboratory. The document is not a text manuscript, but an all-inclusive listing of a general biology syllabus broken down by subject. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc2559/
Immunohistochemistry of the Gills of the Channel Catfish Ictalurus Punctatus: Cells and Neurochemicals That May Be Involved in the Control of Cardioventilatory Reflexes
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In teleost fishes the neurochemicals involved in sensing and responding to hypoxia are unresolved. Serotonergic branchial neuroepithelial cells (NECs) are putative O2 chemoreceptors believed to be homologous to the neural crest (NC) derived APUD (amine-precursor uptake and decarboxylation) pulmonary NECs and carotid body type-1 glomus cells. Branchial NECs contain serotonin (5-HT), thought to be central to the induction of the hypoxic cardioventilatory reflexes. However, application of 5-HT in vivo does not elicit cardioventilatory reflexes similar to those elicited by hypoxia. But previous in vitro neural recordings from glossopharyngeal (IX) afferents innervating O2 chemoreceptors in the trout gill show the same discharge response to hypoxic conditions as does that of acetylcholine (ACh) application. This evidence strongly supports the cholinergic hypothesis of chemoreceptor impulse origin rather than a serotonergic-induced impulse origin model. We therefore hypothesized that NECs contain ACh among other neurochemicals in cells belonging to the APUD series. Although serotonergic branchial NECs did not colocalize with ACh using immunohistochemical methods, several populations of ACh and/or tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) (catecholaminergic) positive, dopamine (DA) negative, cells were found throughout the second gill arch of the channel catfish Ictalurus punctatus. In addition, the NC derivation marker zn-12 labelled the HNK-1-like epitope (Human natural killer) expressed by lamellar pillar cells’ collagen column-associated pillar cell adhesion molecules (CC-PCAMs), evidence confirming their hypothesized NC origin. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc407757/
Inquiry-based science for high school students: a forensic unit
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This project constitutes an instructional unit for honors biology that involves the use of science in the field of criminal investigation and forensics. Before beginning the unit, the learners should have mastered basic laboratory skills, including use of the microscope. They should also have an understanding of the basic structure and function of DNA and its role in heredity and protein synthesis. The standard time frame is 24 days with 70-minute periods, but can be easily adjusted to meet classroom needs. Several instructional strategies enhance student learning and make science fun. The unit is inquiry-driven and activity-based. Students are surprised by the crime, gather and analyze evidence, and work towards proposing an explanation. This real world problem involves the use of cooperative learning and a variety of assessment techniques. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc2585/
Integrating Concepts in Modern Molecular Biology into a High School Biology Curriculum
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More so than any other science in the past several decades, Biology has seen an explosion of new information and monumental discoveries that have had a profound impact on much more than the science itself. Much of this has occurred at the molecular level. Many of these modern concepts, ideas, and technologies, as well as their historical context, can be easily understood and appreciated at the high school level. Moreover, it is argued here that the integration of this is critical for making biology relevant as a modern science. A contemporary high school biology curriculum should adequately reflect this newly acquired knowledge and how it has already has already begun to revolutionize medicine, agriculture, and the study of biology itself. This curriculum provides teachers with a detailed framework for integrating molecular biology into a high school biology curriculum. It is not intended to represent the curriculum for an entire academic year, but should be considered a significant component. In addition to examining key concepts and discoveries, it examines modern molecular techniques, their applications, and their relevance to science and beyond. It also provides several recommended labs and helpful protocols. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4255/
A laboratory course in experimental genetics for the biology major.
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This manual has been designed for a class of twenty- four students concurrently enrolled in the lecture course. The laboratory aids in the learning process and fosters an interest in the science of genetics. This manual and the experiments contained within are both informative and fun. The manual correlates with and expands upon the genetics course. Each investigation, with the exception of the Drosophila melanogaster project, can be completed in a 3-4 hour timeframe. This manual provides a “hands on” experience of theories simply discussed in the lecture course. This manual is intended to be a one-source manual where each investigation is designed to include an adequate introduction. Special attention has been given for each investigation with both the student and instructor in mind. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc3007/
Life History and Case Building Behaviors of Phylloicus ornatus (Banks) (Trichoptera: Calamoceratidae) In Two Spring Fed Tributaries in the Central Edwards Plateau Bioregion of Texas
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The life history and case-making behaviors of Phylloicus ornatus from two springfed first order streams in the Edwards Plateau Bioregion of Texas were studied from January 1998 to November 1999. Field larval, pupal and adult samples and laboratory rearings indicated a multivoltine cycle. First instars differ from late instars in number of labral setae and in having a unique spur-like claw on each lateral hump. Larval development was asynchronous with second through fifth instars and pupae present most months. First instars were present April through July, October and November. Case making of first instar and case reconstruction of later instars extracted from their cases was documented by videophotography. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc2555/
Macroinvertebrate Community Structure as an Indicator of Watershed Health in the Upper Trinity River Basin, North Central Texas
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This study describes macroinvertebrate community structure and assesses its potential in detecting point and non-point sources of disturbance associated with rural and urban areas in the Upper Trinity River Basin. Geospatial techniques were used to quantify landuse within the watershed in a GIS. At rural sites near the headwaters of the Trinity River, collector-gathering burrowers that are adapted to minimal flow comprised the majority of taxa. Destinies of taxa compositions at downstream sites increased and shifted toward psammophilic and rheophilic invertebrates, including primarily collector-filtering clingers, that are characteristic of shifting sand habitats in large prairie rivers. Benthic community structure generally benefited from point source impacts including wastewater treatment plant effluents that maintained higher flow. Community indices were negatively associated with forest landuse and positively associated with urban landuse. Partial CCA determined that flow and landuse contributed equally to species dispersions. Comparisons with historical biomonitoring studies in upper Trinity River Basin indicate improved watershed health. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc2445/
A morphological study of the avian (Gallus domesticus) ductus arteriosi during hatching.
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The ductus arteriosi (DA) are two blood vessels connecting the pulmonary arteries to the descending aorta in the avian embryo. Following hatching, the DA closes, separation of the systemic and pulmonary circulation. I present the morphological changes that occur in the chicken DA during prepipping, internal pipping, external pipping, and hatching. The avian DA consists of two distinct tissue types, a proximal and a distal portion. Histological examination shows developmental differences between the proximal and distal portions of the DA with regard to lumen occlusion, endothelial cells, smooth muscle and elastin. Endothelial cell proliferation begins to occur as early as external pipping, with the lumen almost completely occluded by the 3rd day of post-hatching life. Expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) increases in avian endothelial cells during hatching. I provide a morphological timeline of changes in the DA as the chicken develops from embryo to hatchling. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc5233/
A Multimedia Atlas of Dissection for Comparative Anatomy of the Vertebrates
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Traditional methods of teaching the laboratory course for Comparative Anatomy of the Vertebrates could be improved by applying current computer technology to construct an interactive, multimedial atlas of dissection. Five specimens used in comparative anatomy courses at most institutions were chosen as representative members of the Phylum Chordata: amphioxus, lamprey, dogfish shark, mud puppy, and cat. Specimens were dissected according to the modified method of Wischnitzer, 1993, and each stage was photographed with a Kodak DC120 digital zoom camera. These images were processed on a Power Macintosh 7600 computer with Adobe Photoshop v. 5.0. The atlas was constructed from these images using Macromedia Authorware v. 4.0.3. Each image contains a series of interactive objects that display a highlight and descriptive text as the cursor passes over each object. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc2224/
A Novel Phytoestrogen that Acts as an Agonist for Human Estrogen Receptors.
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Estrogen is the natural agonist of the estrogen receptor (ER). However, certain plant-derived compounds or phytoestrogens have been identified that mimic estrogens and act as agonists and/or antagonists of ERs, depending on subtype and target tissue. Understanding how phytoestrogens interact with ERs, and therefore effect the estrogenic response, may prove beneficial in hormone replacement therapy and in the prevention and treatment of hormone-related diseases. Using Thin Layer Chromatography, gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS), and proton nuclear nagnetic resonance (HNMR), I identified 4-ethoxymethylphenol (4EM) found in Maclura pomifera. While most phytoestrogens are heterocyclic compounds, 4EM is a simple phenol that acts as an agonist of ER-alpha and -beta in HeLa and MCF-7 cells. To study the effect of 4EM on ER-alpha and -beta activity, I performed transient transfection assays and showed that 4EM activates ER dependent gene transcription in a dose dependent manner in both ER subtypes. Further, 4EM- mediated transcription in ER-alpha, like estrogen, was enhance in the presense of co-activators, SRC-1 (steroid receptor coactivator-1), CBP (CREB binding proteins), and E6-AP (E6-associated protein) and inhibited by trans-4- hydroxytamoxifen (4HT). I found that 4EM was specific for ER and did not activate transcription of the progesterone receptor in HeLa cells. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc3003/
A Physiological Age-Grading System for Female Hydrellia pakistanae Deonier (Diptera: Ephydridae)
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Conflicting opinions about the effectiveness of H. pakistanae as a biological control agent for hydrilla prompt researchers to find a method for assessing the fly's success. Developing a physiological age-grading system for the fly using ovarian morphology to detect changes in reproductive activity is useful for evaluating reproductive status of the fly in field populations. Changes in the appearance of follicular relics in ovaries with oviposition provide a reliable method to estimate fecundity. Characteristics of follicular relics were used to develop a system with eight physiological age classes, three nulliparous and five parous. Changes that occur in the fat body were used to assist in classification of nulliparous females or those with low egg counts. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc3280/
Primary Cilia in the Oligodendrocyte Lineage
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oligodendrocytes migrate from the corpus callosum into the overlying cortex. The incidence of cilia did not change markedly across age groups, and did not vary consistently with the number of processes per cell, which was used as an indication of the maturation stage of OPCs and young OLs. The mean percent of Olig1 immunopositive (Olig1+) cells having cilia across ages was 33.1% + 16.5%, with all ages combined. In O4+ cells of these mice, 56.7 + 3.6% had primary cilia. If it is the case that adult OLs do not have cilia, the point in the lineage when primary cilia are lost is still unknown. Adult mice that had been injected with cyclopamine to block cilia-dependent Shh signaling were examined to determine whether the rate of generating new OPCs was influenced. In the CC of control mice, the numerical density of Olig1+/BrdU+ cells was 1.29 + 0.07/mm2 was reduced to 0.68 + 0.38/mm2 in the cyclopamine-injected group, and the numerical density of all BrdU+ cells (including both Olig1+ and Olig1- cells) of 4.55 + 1.50/mm2 in the control group was reduced to 3.14 + 1.27/mm2 in the cyclopamine-injected group. However, there were only 2 mice in each group and the differences were not statistically significant. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc271828/
Production and characterization of a novel extracellular polysaccharide produced by Paenibacillus velaei, sp. nov
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Paenibacillus velaei, sp. nov. is a soil bacterium capable of producing an unusually large amount of exopolysaccharide (EPS). The EPS contains glucose, mannose, galactose and fucose in a molar ratio of 4:2:1:1. The molecular weight of the EPS is higher than 2x106. The viscosity of 1% EPS is 1300 cP when measured at a shear rate of 1 sec-1. Physiological parameters for optimal production of the EPS were studied and it was found that 1.4 g dry weight per 1 l of medium was produced when the bacteria were grown at 30EC and the pH adjusted at 7± 0.2 in a medium containing glucose as the carbon source. Growing the bacteria on different carbon sources did not alter the quantity or the composition of the EPS produced. No toxicity effects were observed in mice or rats when EPS was administered in amounts ranging from 20 to 200 mg per kg body weight. The data obtained from physical, chemical and biological properties suggest that the EPS may be employed in several industrial and environmental applications. It is an excellent emulsifier, it holds 100 times its own weight in water, it is not toxic, and it can be used to remove mercury, cadmium and lead from aqueous solutions. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc2551/
Pyrimidine Enzyme Specific Activity at Four Different Phases of Growth in Minimal and Rich Media, and Concomitant Virulence Factors Evaluation in Pseudomonas aeruginosa
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Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a Gram-negative rod, aerobic, non-fermenting, oxidase positive, pigment producing, and nutritionally versatile bacterium. Infections by P. aeruginosa are the most important cause of morbidity and mortality in immunocompromised patients, given virulence factor production that suppresses antibiotic therapy and promotes persistent infection. This research is the first comprehensive report of the pyrimidine biosynthetic pathway for all phases of growth in minimal and rich media coupled with the evaluation of virulence factor production of P. aeruginosa in comparison to four other bacterial species (Pseudomonas putida, Pseudomonas fluorescens, Burkholderia cepacia, and Escherichia coli wild-type strains). Cellular growth and passing genetic information to the next generation depend on the synthesis of purines and pyrimidines, the precursors of DNA and RNA. The pyrimidine biosynthetic pathway is essential and found in most organisms, with the exception of a few parasites that depend upon the pyrimidine salvage pathway for growth. Both the pyrimidine biosynthetic and salvage enzymes are targets for chemotherapeutic agents. In our laboratory, research on pyrimidine auxotrophic mutants showed the role of the pyrimidine biosynthetic pathway and its intermediates on P. aeruginosa metabolism and impaired virulence factors production. The present research shows that pyrimidine enzymes are active in all phases of growth, including the production of two forms of ATCase in the late log phase in P. aeruginosa. This finding may be explained by the displacement of the inactive PyrC' by the active PyrC or PyrC2 to form a new and larger pyrBC encoded ATCase. Pseudomonas aeruginosa wild-type appears to produce by far the most virulence factors, haemolysin, iron chelation, rhamnolipid, adherence, and three types of motility (swimming, swarming, and twitching) investigated in this study, when compared to the other four wild-type strains. Growth analysis was carried out as typically done in minimal medium but also in rich medium to simulate conditions in the blood and lung tissues of humans as P. aeruginosa infections develop. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4918/
Submerged wood inhabiting macoinvertebrates of the Elm Fork of the Trinity River, Texas: Assemblage analyses, comparisons to the benthic fauna, and a study of Cyrnellus fraternus (Trichoptera: Polycentropodidae)
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Taxonomic composition and spatio-temporal variability of macroinvertebrates inhabiting snags were examined from an 8-km segment of the Elm Fork of the Trinity River. Seventy-seven macroinvertebrate taxa were collected from submerged wood during the study. Assemblages were highly variable spatially and temporally, especially among seasons. An ordination of species and environment did not find snag taxa to have striking correlations with many of the selected environmental variables, although there were some trends in flow-mediated species distributions. There were significant seasonal differences in the abundances of some taxa, particularly among the Chironomidae (Diptera). The Tribe Orthocladiini was numerically abundant during the winter, while the Tribes Chironomini and Tanytarsini dominated the summer and autumn. Additionally, this study included a secondary production and microdistribution analysis of a population of the caddisfly Cyrnellus fraternus. Distributions of C. fraternus were restricted to snags, the most stable substratum for retreat building and for resisting periodic high waters. Larvae were not found in the soft sand and mud benthic habitats near submerged wood. The insects were multivoltine with a minimum of three generations per year. Pupae were collected July through September and adults emerged from May through October. The population overwintered as larvae. Estimated annual production was 1,015.4 mg/m2/yr. Mean standing stock biomass was 61.24 mg/m2, the cohort production/biomass ratio was 4.59, and the annual production/biomass rate was 16.58/yr for this population. Standing stock biomass ranged from 1.6 to 349.1 mg/m2 during the year and was significantly higher in autumn and summer than winter. Larvae were more abundant in the lower portions of the study area where flow was reduced for much of the year, than in the upper reaches, characterized by higher current velocities. C. fraternus larvae were found in their highest numbers on snags with dense deposits of silt and sand. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc2843/
Tests of a New Model of Paclitaxel-Induced Neuropathy and the Effects of Paclitaxel on the Dorsal Root Ganglia
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This study examined a new model of paclitaxel-induced neuropathic pain and the effects of systemic paclitaxel on the gap junction protein subunit Cx43 and potassium inwardly-rectifying channel Kir4.1 within the dorsal root ganglia. In the new neuropathic pain model, subplantar injections of paclitaxel resulted in decreased conduction velocities of A-beta fiber compound action potentials in the sciatic (5.9%) and tibial nerves (6.8%) as well as in M (10.6%) and H (10.2%) waves. By using repeated recordings it was found that following paclitaxel injection, conduction velocities in the contralateral plantar nerve increased (9.2%). Systemic injections of paclitaxel resulted in reduced Kir4.1 immunolabeling in the dorsal root ganglia compared to vehicle injections. This reduction was observed in total labeling (32.4%) as well as in areas of intense labeling (28.7%). Reductions in overall Cx43 immunolabeling (25%) and area (25%) following systemic paclitaxel injections were not statistically significant. The results of these studies suggest that subplantar injections of paclitaxel can result in reduced peripheral nerve conduction velocities. The results also show that a unilateral neuropathy can result in contralateral changes in conduction velocities. The effects of paclitaxel on reducing Kir4.1 levels suggest that neuropathic pain caused by paclitaxel may share mechanisms in common with other types of neuropathies which show similar changes in Kir4.1 levels. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc84251/
Understanding Microbial Biodegradation of Environmental Contaminants
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The accumulation of industrial contaminants in the natural environments have rapidly become a serious threat for human and animal life. Fortunately, there are microorganisms capable of degrading or transforming environmental contaminants. The present dissertation work aimed to understand the genomic basis of microbial degradation and resistance. The focus was the genomic study of the following bacteria: a) Pseudomonas fluorescens NCIMB 11764, a unique bacterium with specific enzymes that allow cyanide adaptation features. Potential cyanide degradation mechanisms found in this strain included nit1C cluster, and CNO complex. Potential cyanide tolerance genes found included cyanide insensitive oxidases, nitric oxide producing gene, and iron metabolism genes. b) Cupriavidus sp. strain SK-3 and strain SK-4. The genome of both bacteria presented the bph operon for polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) degradation, but we found differences in the sequences of the genes. Those differences might indicate their preferences for different PCB substrates. c) Arsenic resistant bacterial communities observed in the Atacama Desert. Specific bacteria were found to thrive depending on the arsenic concentration. Examples were Bacteroidetes and Spirochaetes phyla whose proportions increased in the river with high arsenic concentrations. Also, DNA repair and replication metabolic functions seem to be necessary for resistance to arsenic contaminated environments. Our research give us insights on how bacteria communities, not just individually, can adapt and become resistant to the contaminants. The present dissertation work showed specific genes and mechanisms for degradation and resistance of contaminants that could contribute to develop new bioremediation strategies. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc801956/
Use of Geographic Information System and Remote Sensing Technologies to Describe Mosquito Population Dynamics in the Ray Roberts Greenbelt, Denton County, Texas
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A population survey was conducted from April through September 2002 on mosquito species occurring on the Ray Roberts Greenbelt, a riparian corridor used for public recreation on the Elm Fork of the Trinity River, in Denton County, Texas. ArcGIS software was used to set up a stratified random sampling design based on habitat parameters. Multivariate analyses of sampling data and climatic variables were used to describe spatial and temporal patterns of mosquito species. A total of 33 species were collected during this study belonging to the following genera: Aedes, Anopheles, Coquillettidia, Culex, Mansonia, Ochlerotatus, Orthopodomyia, Psorophora, Toxorhynchites, and Uranotaenia. Seasonal distributions of the dominant species revealed population fluctuations. Aedes vexans was the primary species collected in April and May, occurring in low numbers throughout the rest of the sampling period. Psorophora columbiae reached its highest population density in June, with a smaller peak occurring in late July. Present from May through the end of September, Culex erraticus was the most abundant species collected with major peaks in mid-June and the end of July. Abundance of Culex salinarius followed the same general trend as that for Cx. erraticus, but with smaller numbers. The specimens were tested for a variety of arboviruses by the Texas Department of Health. One pool of Cx. erraticus and Cx. salinarius, collected in August 2002, tested positive for West Nile virus. Variables that were important factors for determining dominant species abundance were temperature, wind speed, rain accumulation occurring one-week and two-weeks prior to sampling, number of day since last rain event, dew point, and average canopy coverage. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4160/
Use of Satellite Imagery and GIS to Model Brood-Rearing Habitat for Rio Grande Wild Turkey Populations Occurring in the Western Cross Timbers Region of Texas
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Remote sensing and GIS have become standard tools for evaluating spatial components of wildlife habitats. These techniques were implemented to evaluate Rio Grande wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) poult-rearing habitat in the Western Cross Timbers region of Texas. Texas Parks and Wildlife (TPWD) random roving turkey counts for 1987-1989 and 1998-2000 were selected, indicating locations where hens with poults were observed. Satellite imagery from 1988 and 1999 was classified and then processed with Patch Analyst. To add robustness, stream, road and census population densities were also evaluated for each turkey location. Analysis of the 1988 canopy cover image, comparing observed locations with randomly-selected habitat cells (N = 20) indicated significant differences (p <.05) for patch edge variables. Mean patch edge was significantly greater for habitat locations where hens with poults were observed than for those selected at random. Spatial data for 1999 did not indicate a significant difference (p < .05) between sampling groups (observed vs. random, N = 30). Significant differences (p <.05) did occur for turkey locations observed in both 1988 and 1999 (N = 7). This demonstrates the adaptability of wild turkey hens, as habitats change over time, hens continued to visit the same locations even though the habitat had significantly changed for select spatial variables. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc3174/
Utilization of Corridor Habitat by White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in Denton County, Texas
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White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) (N=15) movements were determined with use of radio telemetry techniques to determine the utilization of corridor habitat on the Lake Ray Roberts Greenbelt Corridor (RRGC) in north central Texas. Home ranges were calculated using three estimation types. Male white-tailed deer tend to have home ranges twice that of female home ranges. Seasonal home ranges were largest during spring (Feb. - April) and fall (Aug. - Oct.) seasons. Males had greater seasonal variation in utilization than females. No statistically significant difference (p=0.24) between white-tailed deer locations when the RRGC experiences heavy human traffic compared to days when there is light human traffic. Linearity indices indicated home ranges less linear than expected (LI = 3.02). The RRGC should be maintained at its current status to provide a variety of vegetational types and protective cover for white-tailed deer and other wildlife of Denton County. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4468/
Women Have Higher Skin Temperature on the Back during Treadmill Exercise in a Hot, Humid Environment
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A common measurement of body temperature during exercise in a hot, humid environment is mean skin temperature collected from 3-12 sites on the body. However, such an approach fails to demonstrate localized differences in skin temperature that are likely to exist as a function of gender. The purpose of this study was to examine potential differences in skin temperature between men and women at 17 different locations on the body. Young women (21 ± 1 y; n = 11) and men (23 ± 3; n = 10) were recruited to complete a 60-min walk/jog interval protocol in a hot (34 ± 1 °C), humid (64 ± 8%) environment while skin temperature was measured. Data was analyzed using a repeated-measures ANOVA (p < 0.05) and location of interaction effects determined using a Fisher’s least squares difference test. We observed a higher change (p < 0.05) from baseline skin temperatures (ΔTsk) for women in three locations: left upper back (women: avg. ΔTsk = 4.12 ± 0.20 °C; men: avg. ΔTsk = 2.70 ± 0.10 °C), right upper back (women: avg. ΔTsk = 4.19 ± 0.07 °C; men: avg. ΔTsk = 2.92 ± 0.05 °C), and right mid-back (women: avg. ΔTsk = 4.62 ± 0.14 °C; men: avg. ΔTsk =3.55 ± 0.09 °C). Individual time differences between genders occurred after 7- (left upper back) and 15-min (right upper back, right mid-back) of exercise and were maintained until the end of exercise. Women have a greater increase in skin temperature at three locations on the back following the onset of exercise in a hot, humid environment. This report provides important information regarding the implications of women exercising in a hot, humid environment. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc794927/