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Frankincense is obtained from the trees of the genus Boswellia and has been used historically for many reasons, including medicinal purposes. Previous research indicates that mice treated with a purified component from frankincense, incensole acetate (IA), had a decrease in anxious behavior during anxiety tests. Boswellia extract can be purchased from General Nutrition Centers (GNC). Since IA has been found to be have antidepressant properties in mice, this study investigated whether the Boswellia extract from GNC, e.g. unpurified IA, would also have anti-depressant/anti-anxiety affect. Sixty CD1 mice, 30 male and 30 female, were treated for approximately 25 days and were tested for the anti-depressant and anti-anxiety effects of Boswellia extract and sertraline (Zoloft®) compared to the control group. Each group of mice was analyzed by three behavioral tests: an open-field test, tail suspension test, and marble-burying test to determine the effects of these drugs. It was found that female mice treated with sertraline demonstrated significant reduction of anxiety behaviors as measured in the open field test, indicating reduced anxiety. Treatment with Boswellia, on the other hand, did not show a significant reduction in anxiety behaviors in either gender of mice. The tail suspension results showed that both Boswellia and sertraline significantly increased immobility time. These results suggest the Boswellia and sertraline reduce anxiety, but not depression in CD1 mice.
The influence of environmental and physiological stress on conjunctival bacteria of the eye during soft contact lens wear is incompletely understood. A five week case control study was conducted during the second half of the Fall 2011 semester on the campus of the University of West Alabama to assess the impact of environmental and physiological stress on the conjunctival bacteria of contact lens wearers. Weekly stress survey scores and bacterial colonies from conjunctival swab samples were recovered from eight undergraduate students representing males, females, contact wearers, and non-contact wearers. The most common bacteria recovered were Ornithinibacillus bavariensis, Staphylococcus equorum, and Micrococcus luteus. No positive correlations were observed between stress scores and bacterial counts in the subjects. Changes in bacterial counts correlated with seasonal changes in air temperature and precipitation, suggesting that conjunctival bacteria respond strongly to environmental changes.
Females of the cabbage white butterfly, Pieris rapae, lay eggs (oviposit) on plants in the Brassicaceae family (crucifers) that will serve as foodplants for their larvae. The presence of plant secondary metabolites (PSM), specifically glucosinolates in crucifers, serves as the primary cue for feeding and oviposition. However, the influence of other PSM, such as phenolic acids, has not been well characterized. Seedlings of Brassica rapa were treated with a phenolic acid (p-coumaric acid, ferulic acid, salicylic acid or protocatechuic acid) to see if they would deter or stimulate oviposition. Female butterflies were provided a choice of whether to lay eggs on control plants sprayed with deionized water or plants sprayed with a phenolic acid. Ferulic and p-coumaric acid, which are very similar in chemical structure, both had significant stimulatory effects on oviposition. The other two phenolic acids did not affect ovipositional choices. The effects of PSM may interact with other factors such as the nutrient content of host plants. Plant nutritional status was manipulated by supplying Hoagland's nutrient solution at concentrations of 1/2 X (control) or 1/8 X (reduced nutrient treatment). Plants from both nutrient treatments were sprayed with deionized water (control) or 1.0 mM p-coumaric acid (allelochemical treatment). A significantly higher number of eggs were deposited on the 1/2 X control plants than on the 1/8 X reduced nutrient treatment, but the more subtle effects of p-coumaric acid treatments were not detected in this factorial experiment. However, caterpillars that fed on cabbage leaf discs soaked in p-coumaric acid weighed significantly more than those that fed on leaf discs soaked in deionized water. Overall, the results of this study suggest that some phenolic acids may act as secondary cues that help P. rapae identify the most suitable host plants among a selection of plants that all possess the primary cue of glucosinolates. However, results also suggest that other factors, such as nutrient status of host plants, may be even stronger determinates of ovipositional preference.
Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by low bone mass and structural deterioration of bone tissue. Understanding the effect of mineral supplementation on bone growth may lead to the development of treatments for bone deteriorating diseases. Trace Minerals® Essential Elements (Entrenet Nutritionals, Cuddy, PA) is a holistic supplement designed to improve mineral balance and deficiency in humans. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of in ovo mineral supplementation with or without calcium on bone growth, bending strength, and C-type natriuretic peptide (CNP) and histone deacetylase 4 (HDAC4) gene expression during chicken development. Treatment groups consisted of a saline control (S), Essential Elements (E), and Essential Elements plus calcium (C) injected on the 6th day of embryonic development. Growth parameters and whole embryo samples were collected on the 18th day of incubation. Measurements of various morphological features showed no significant difference between the three treatments. The bone strength of the E group was numerically lower when compared to the control whereas the C group had numerically higher bone strength values than the control. Gene expression of CNP was significantly (P=0.0021) higher in the C group compared to the S group, whereas HDAC4 was not found to be significantly different between the treatments. Overall, proper mineral balance is essential for optimum bone growth and development; modifications in mineral intake balance can present as enhanced bone mineral density, accelerated bone growth, or hyperchloremic metabolic acidosis.
Thiomicrospira crunogena is a chemolithoautotrophic gamma-proteobacterium that has the ability to survive in fluctuating levels of inorganic carbon due to its carbon concentrating mechanism (CCM). The purpose of this study was to construct a genetic mutant of T. crunogena that would be unable to survive in low levels of inorganic carbon, in order to identify gene(s) involved in T. crunogena's CCM. First, Escherichia coli (BW 20767) was conjugated with T. crunogena so that the Tn5 transposon in this E. coli strain would randomly insert into the T. crunogena genome and interrupt the coding region of a gene involved in the CCM of T. crunogena. Then, mutants were selected based on the ability to survive in different amounts of inorganic carbon. Next, the DNA from the T. crunogena mutants was isolated and a genomic library of junction plasmids created, with some plasmids containing the Tn5 transposon and genomic DNA surrounding the insertion site. E. coli (DH5α/λpir) was transformed with the junction plasmids. Finally, the DNA from the Kanamycin-selected E. coli transformants was isolated and sequenced using outward-directed primers. Two non-CCM T. crunogena mutants were created and characterized. After DNA sequencing it was discovered that the Tn5 transposon of one T. crunogena mutant was inserted into the cardiolipin gene. Future experiments into the role of cardiolipin can be used to understand stress-related processes in T. crunogena. Future work will generate CCM mutants of T. crunogena, which will be used to analyze and understand T. crunogena's distinctive CCM.