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Previous findings indicate that undirected singing performed by the male zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) is decreased following 2-deoxyglucose (2-DG) administration. 2-DG, a glucose analog that is not metabolized by mitochondria, is considered a metabolic stressor, causing a switch from carbohydrate to lipid metabolism, thus mimicking dietary restriction (DR). DR suppresses free radical production, thus reducing oxidative stress; reduced levels of oxidative stress are correlated with a decreased incidence of age-related disorders including cancers, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. The present study examines the possibility of using 2-DG as a metabolic stressor in the zebra finch in order to study mechanisms of action in aging and age-related disorders. Morphology of mitochondria in liver and brain tissue and morphology of heart and liver tissue is studied. Physiological parameters, such as vocalization, body weight, food intake and corticosterone production are examined. Our results showed that 2-DG causes oncosis and a collapse of the outer membranes of liver and brain mitochondria and altered the morphological structure of the liver and heart. In addition, it was shown that corticosterone levels were significantly increased in 2-DG treated animals, while song production and food intake were significantly decreased compared to the control-treated group. The zebra finch model can be used to further study the processes of mitochondrial dysfunction/oxidative stress and might contribute to the elucidation of the underlying mechanism(s) of the processes of aging and age-related disorders.
It was deemed important to determine whether Tilapia fish green water would allow increased lemon basil plant growth when added to a hydroponic nutrient solution. Since Tilapia effluent is known to contain beneficial microorganisms, it was hypothesized that it would enhance hydroponic plant growth. In the initial study, fish green water was added at varying concentrations (8.3%, 4.2%, and 0%) in three different plastic pool “cultures” (six feet in diameter containing 60 gallons of nutrient solution and 51 culture cups per pool). In the subsequent experiment, the size of the culture containers was decreased in order to obtain additional culture replicates (three replicates in each of the four groups which each contained 19 gallons of nutrient solution and seven culture cups). Nutrient solutions were monitored once a week for pH, temperature, electronic conductivity (EC), and total dissolved solutes (TDS). Also, plants were enumerated and their relative health noted. After eight or nine weeks of culture, the plants were harvested, their relative lengths and masses determined (total, upper plant, and root), as well as the chlorophyll content was enumerated (only in the initial experiment), via a fluorometric technique, for the largest three leaves of each plant. The initial results demonstrated that the 0% green water cultivated plants were significantly greater as compared to the 4.2% green water plants in terms of stem length (p ≤ 0.001), total plant mass (p ≤ 0.001), upper plant mass (p ≤ 0.002) and root mass (p ≤ 0.001). Also, the 8.3% green water cultivated plants were significantly greater as compared to the 4.2% green water total plant mass (p ≤ 0.024) and upper plant mass (p ≤ 0.009). However, the 4.2% green water culture propagated a signifi-cantly greater number of plants as compared to the 0% green water culture (p ≤ 0.040). Thus, the Tilapia effluent seemed to stimulate greater seedling production but then may have depressed the growth of these same seedlings as compared to the 0% green water plants. In the subsequent study, it was determined that the 5.3% green water cultures stimulated a greater number of seedlings per week as compared to all of the other culture conditions: 10.5% (p ≤ 0.001), 2.6% (p ≤ 0.001), and 0% (p ≤ 0.014). In addition, the 10.5% green water culture average weekly seedling value was significantly greater as compared to the 0% culture (p ≤ 0.001). Additional studies will attempt to elucidate the potential reasons for these significant growth differences.
The roots and rhizomes of Caulophyllum thalictroides (blue cohosh), traditionally used as an aid for childbirth, contain several active alkaloids and saponins, which act directly on uterine smooth muscle resulting in an oxytocic response. The historical use of this herbal supplement has been well documented, but there are few clinical studies addressing its efficacy and potential side effects. This research investigated the physiological and pharmacological responses of blue cohosh on isolated strips of murine uterine tissue. Uterine horns from mice were suspended in a smooth muscle bath and exposed to the aqueous extract of blue cohosh (doses ranging from 0.037–23.8 mg). All tissues showed an increase in the strength of contractile force, the frequency of the contraction, and basal tonus. Contractile forces were significantly greater with higher doses (P = 0.0027). The stages of estrous were determined by vaginal smears and dose-dependency was consistent in all stages of estrous observed (diestrus, estrus, metestrus). Blocking experiments with d-tubocuranine, a nicotinic receptor antagonist, were inconclusive as decreases in contractile responses were not statistically different from the observed fatigue following control cumulative dosing.
Atrazine is one of the most used herbicides in the United States and has previously been implicated in local amphibian declines. The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of atrazine on 2 frog species—the amphibian model species Xenopus laevis and the wood frog Rana sylvatica. Tadpoles just before hindlimb emergence were exposed to either 1 part per billion (ppb) or 25 ppb atrazine in their water. Behavior was observed daily, and at the end of 15 days exposure the tadpoles were weighed, developmentally staged, and measured for head width and tail width. Differences were found among all of these for the X. laevis (p < 0.002), with the difference occurring only for the low dose animals (and not the high dose animals) for weight, stage, and tail width. Head width was significantly different for the X. laevis exposed to both the high and low concentrations of atrazine. No morphological differences were seen in R. sylvatica, but increased mortality and behavioral differences were seen in the R. sylvatica high dose group. These results suggest that: (1) Xenopus laevis may not be an adequate model for all anurans (2) low doses of atrazine have a greater influence than high doses in X. laevis, and (3) Rana sylvatica is more sensitive in lethal but not sublethal endpoints.