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Options for field anesthetics are somewhat limited for wild animals, particularly for small game mammals. We evaluated the efficacy of a reversible field anesthetic, “BAM” (butorphanol, azaperone, medetomidine; Wildlife Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Windsor, CO) in yellow-bellied marmots (Marmota flaviventris). BAM is widely used in large game mammals, but has not been tested in smaller animals. We found that 0.20-0.25 mL of BAM was most effective, but marmots were anesthetized using as little as 0.06 mL. We found no relationship between the dosage of BAM and the time to first effects, sternal recumbency time or approachable time. Increasing dosages of BAM to levels at or above 0.20 mL was associated with less excitability and muscle rigidity, as well as a better overall quality of anesthesia. BAM differentially affected vital signs, as heart rates increased considerably during anesthesia; however, these changes lessened with increased time under anesthesia. There was no relationship between heart rate, oxygen saturation or body temperature and the dosage of BAM. Reversal drugs showed a wide dosage range, as additional reversal drugs were generally not required. Marmots were successfully reversed using concentrations of only 0.05 mL/kg atipamezole and naltrexone. Overall, our results indicate that BAM is a safe and effective, easily reversible field anesthetic for use in small game mammals.
Pulmonary fibrosis is an incurable disease belonging to a class of disorders known as Interstitial Lung Diseases, all of which lead to progressive scarring of the lungs. Upon diagnosis, most patients can expect 3-5 years mean survival time. Fibrosis results when “activated” fibroblasts called myofibroblasts are recruited to repair damage, but do not die or migrate away once the repair is complete. Over the last several decades, the calcium ion has been found to have a role in many cellular processes, including migration and death regulation. Our current hypothesis is that the presence of calcium impacts the fate of these cells. Understanding the role calcium plays in healthy myofibroblast migration will provide us with a standard by which we can view diseased myofibroblast migration. We have focused this set of experiments on the response of lung myofibroblasts from a healthy donor to calcium levels to determine a baseline for cell growth and migration using scratch assays. We also measured mitigation of cell death using cytotoxicity assays under varying calcium concentrations. Through scratch assay experiments, we have observed calcium-dependent changes in cell migration. Cytotoxicity data indicate that calcium restriction does not increase mortality of cultured lung myofibroblasts. Immunocytochemistry studies were used to verify that there is no calcium-dependence for cytoplasmic expression of alpha-smooth muscle actin, which indicates the presence of the myofibroblast phenotype. These data align with recent studies that indicate calcium, as a cofactor for nitric oxide synthase, may play a role in the mobility of myofibroblasts in lung tissue.
The purpose of this study was to determine whether earthworm coelomocytes are capable of performing chemotaxis in response to selected pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs). The ability of cells to exhibit chemotaxis in response to different chemical mediators is of key importance in normal cellular processes. The invertebrate model used for this study was the earthworm Eisenia hortensis, and the PAMPs included lipopolysaccharide, lipoteichoic acid, flagellin, and laminarin. Determination of migratory capacity in annelids will provide insight into the evolution and conservation of chemotactic pathways in invertebrates. In this study, a combined Boyden-flow cytometric technique was used to measure chemotaxis of earthworm coelomocytes (leukocytes). Coelomocytes were placed in the upper chamber of the migration plate and the PAMPs were placed in the lower chamber at varying concentrations to investigate dose response effects. Post-incubation, the coelomocytes that had migrated across the membrane were harvested and enumerated using a flow cytometer. Statistical analysis showed consistency and reproducibility of chemotaxis to all of the PAMPs that were tested in this study. The results show that earthworm coelomocytes exhibit chemotactic responses to molecular patterns common to microbes that inhabit their natural environment. We conclude more research is needed at the molecular level to elucidate the signaling pathways involved in the migratory responses observed, which is of key importance in understanding the degree of conservation of chemotactic pathways amongst invertebrates.
Little is known about the effect of electronic cigarette usage, although the number of people using the devices continues to increase. Here we examine the effect of e-liquid with different concentration levels of nicotine from an electronic cigarette on the immune profile of the northern leopard frog Rana pipiens. Using a Sigelei Mini 30W electronic cigarette, frogs were exposed to vapor for 10 minutes, 6 days a week, for 3 weeks. We hypothesized that e-liquid vapor would alter the leukocyte differentials and positively correlate with the nicotine concentration. Our results indicate mean lymphocyte percent decreased with both vapor exposures without nicotine (24.8 ± 0.0% in control vs. 6.0 ± 1.2%) and with nicotine (24.8 ± 0.0% in control vs. 5.8 ± 4.0%), whereas the mean neutrophil percent increased with vapor without nicotine (60.8 ± 0.0% in control vs. 89.4 ± 3.0%) and with nicotine (60.8 ± 0.0% in control vs. 90.3 ± 6.0%). There was a significant positive correlation between vapor exposure and total neutrophil differentials (r = 0.954, p < 0.01). However, there was no positive correlation between the nicotine concentration and lymphocyte differentials (r = 0.83; p > 0.05). Monocyte, basophil, and eosinophil percentages also decreased in frogs that were exposed to vapor. These findings suggest that electronic cigarette smoke alters the immune profile of frogs with or without nicotine.
The nutrients gleaned from an organism's diet provide the metabolic energy necessary for normal physiological function. If an organism is unable to consume the required nutrients, then its normal behavior and metabolic activity will be impaired. This study employs Drosophila melanogaster as a model to study the effect of diet restriction on courtship and mating behaviors. To investigate the proposed link between diet and reproduction, samples of male and female fitT15 (female-specific independent of transformer) Drosophila were subjected to two diets: a 100% Standard diet and a 50% Standard diet containing indigestible cellulose. Previous work has shown that these null fit mutants have inappropriate male courtship behavior; however, effects of the mutation for female Drosophila are not currently known. Mutant males and females fed one diet were paired with Canton-S flies fed the 100% Standard diet. Reproductive capabilities were assayed in terms of courtship latency, courtship index, and mating latency. Theoretically, flies on the restricted diet were expected to exhibit higher courtship and mating latencies and lower courtship indices. As of yet, significant differences between these times for the diets have not been demonstrated; however, experimental female flies on the 50% diet have exhibited a trend toward higher courtship and mating latencies when compared to the 100% control specimens. In general, it is possible that diet restriction may have a physiological effect on reproduction.
Birds that are active in the winter must continually meet their metabolic needs to survive many months of cold temperatures. Overwintering insects inhabiting trees provide an important food source for these birds. The objective of this study was to test whether or not winter birds present in the deciduous forest surrounding the Saint Francis University campus would forage more on tree-dwelling insects if there was a supplemental food source provided in the area. We used frozen mealworms placed in trees as surrogate overwintering insects and measured the foraging success of birds on these insects during a three-week period in the winter of 2014. Mealworm predation was compared across three sites differing in supplemented food sources: sunflower seeds, suet, and no provided food (control). Each site had four mealworms placed in holes drilled in 16 surrounding trees for a total of 64 mealworms per site. The consumption of these mealworms was measured during the experiment to analyze whether provided food sources influence the foraging behavior of birds in the winter. Observations after three weeks indicated that the predation rates were 78%, 72% and 69% at the seed, control and suet sites, respectively. The bird counts reveal a greater number of birds visiting the suet site compared to the control and the seed site. Birds appear to prey on insects inhabiting trees independently of foraging on supplemental food sources, or perhaps different species of birds forage on tree insects compared to those that visit feeders.