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The Role of Lipolysis in Regulating Plasma Glucose Concentrations in Mourning Doves

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Birds have unusually high plasma glucose concentrations compared to mammals of similar size despite their high metabolic rate. While birds use lipids as their main source of energy, it is still unclear how and why they maintain high plasma glucose

Birds have unusually high plasma glucose concentrations compared to mammals of similar size despite their high metabolic rate. While birds use lipids as their main source of energy, it is still unclear how and why they maintain high plasma glucose concentrations. To investigate a potential underlying mechanism, this study looks at the role of lipolysis in glucose homeostasis. The purpose of this study is to examine the effects of decreased glycerol availability (through inhibition of lipolysis) on plasma glucose concentrations in mourning doves. The hypothesis is that decreased availability of glycerol will result in decreased production of glucose through gluconeogenesis leading to reduced plasma glucose concentrations. In the morning of each experiment, mourning doves were collected at the Arizona State University Tempe campus, and randomized into either a control group (0.9% saline) or experimental group (acipimox, 50mg/kg BM). Blood samples were collected prior to treatment, and at 1, 2, and 3 hours post-treatment. At 3 hours, doves were euthanized, and tissue samples were collected for analysis. Acipimox treatment resulted in significant increases in blood glucose concentrations at 1 and 2 hours post- treatment as well as renal triglyceride concentrations at 3 hours post-treatment. Change in plasma free glycerol between 0h and 3h followed an increasing trend for the acipimox treated animals, and a decreasing trend in the saline treated animals. These results do not support the hypothesis that inhibition of lipolysis should decrease blood glycerol and blood glucose levels. Rather, the effects of acipimox in glucose homeostasis appear to differ significantly between birds and mammals suggesting differing mechanisms for glucose homeostasis.

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Date Created
2015-05

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Diet-Induced Thermogenesis as Measured by Exogenous Norepinephrine Injections in High Fat Diet - Fed Rats: A Pilot Study

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It is presently believed that brown adipose tissue (BAT) is an important tissue in the control of obesity because it has the propensity to increase energy expenditure. The purpose of this study was to attempt to quantify the thermogenesis of

It is presently believed that brown adipose tissue (BAT) is an important tissue in the control of obesity because it has the propensity to increase energy expenditure. The purpose of this study was to attempt to quantify the thermogenesis of BAT when four rats were exposed to a progression of low-fat to high-fat diet. Exogenous norepinephrine (NE) injections (dose of 0.25 mg/kg i.p.) were administered in order to elicit a temperature response, where increases in temperature indicate increased activity. Temperatures were measured via temperature sensing transponders that had been inserted at the following three sites: interscapular BAT (iBAT), the abdomen (core), and lower back (reference). Data showed increased BAT activity during acute (2-3 weeks) high fat diet (HFD) in comparison to low fat diet (LFD), but a moderate to marked decrease in BAT activity during chronic HFD (6-8 weeks) when compared to acute HFD. This suggests that while a HFD may initially stimulate BAT in the short-term, a long-term HFD diet may have negative effects on BAT activation.

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2016-12

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Mitochondrial physiology in avian and mammalian skeletal muscle

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While exercising mammalian muscle increasingly relies on carbohydrates for fuel as aerobic exercise intensity rises above the moderate range, flying birds are extraordinary endurance athletes and fuel flight, a moderate-high intensity exercise, almost exclusively with lipid. In addition, Aves have

While exercising mammalian muscle increasingly relies on carbohydrates for fuel as aerobic exercise intensity rises above the moderate range, flying birds are extraordinary endurance athletes and fuel flight, a moderate-high intensity exercise, almost exclusively with lipid. In addition, Aves have long lifespans compared to weight-matched mammals. As skeletal muscle mitochondria account for the majority of oxygen consumption during aerobic exercise, the primary goal was to investigate differences in isolated muscle mitochondria between these species and to examine to what extent factors intrinsic to mitochondria may account for the behavior observed in the intact tissue and whole organism. First, maximal enzyme activities were assessed in sparrow and rat mitochondria. Citrate synthase and aspartate aminotransferase activity were higher in sparrow compared to rat mitochondria, while glutamate dehydrogenase activity was lower. Sparrow mitochondrial NAD-linked isocitrate dehydrogenase activity was dependent on phosphate, unlike the mammalian enzyme. Next, the rate of oxygen consumption (JO), electron transport chain (ETC) activity, and reactive oxygen species (ROS) production were assessed in intact mitochondria. Maximal rates of fat oxidation were lower than for carbohydrate in rat but not sparrow mitochondria. ETC activity was higher in sparrows, but no differences were found in ROS production between species. Finally, fuel selection and control of respiration at three rates between rest and maximum were assessed. Mitochondrial fuel oxidation and selection mirrored that of the whole body; in rat mitochondria the reliance on carbohydrate increased as the rate of oxygen consumption increased, whereas fat dominated under all conditions in the sparrow. These data indicate fuel selection, at least in part, can be modulated at the level of the mitochondrial matrix when multiple substrates are present at saturating levels. As an increase in matrix oxidation-reduction potential has been linked to a suppression of fat oxidation and high ROS production, the high ETC activity relative to dehydrogenase activity in avian compared to mammalian mitochondria may result in lower matrix oxidation-reduction potential, allowing fatty acid oxidation to proceed while also resulting in low ROS production in vivo.

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Date Created
2012

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Investigating the influence of food on reproductive physiology and gonad growth: urbanization as a natural experiment

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For animals that experience annual cycles of gonad development, the seasonal timing (phenology) of gonad growth is a major adaptation to local environmental conditions. To optimally time seasonal gonad growth, animals use environmental cues that forecast future conditions. The availability

For animals that experience annual cycles of gonad development, the seasonal timing (phenology) of gonad growth is a major adaptation to local environmental conditions. To optimally time seasonal gonad growth, animals use environmental cues that forecast future conditions. The availability of food is one such environmental cue. Although the importance of food availability has been appreciated for decades, the physiological mechanisms underlying the modulation of seasonal gonad growth by this environmental factor remain poorly understood.

Urbanization is characterized by profound environmental changes, and urban animals must adjust to an environment vastly different from that of their non-urban conspecifics. Evidence suggests that birds adjust to urban areas by advancing the timing of seasonal breeding and gonad development, compared to their non-urban conspecifics. A leading hypothesis to account for this phenomenon is that food availability is elevated in urban areas, which improves the energetic status of urban birds and enables them to initiate gonad development earlier than their non-urban conspecifics. However, this hypothesis remains largely untested.

My dissertation dovetailed comparative studies and experimental approaches conducted in field and captive settings to examine the physiological mechanisms by which food availability modulates gonad growth and to investigate whether elevated food availability in urban areas advances the phenology of gonad growth in urban birds. My captive study demonstrated that energetic status modulates reproductive hormone secretion, but not gonad growth. By contrast, free-ranging urban and non-urban birds did not differ in energetic status or plasma levels of reproductive hormones either in years in which urban birds had advanced phenology of gonad growth or in a year that had no habitat-related disparity in seasonal gonad growth. Therefore, my dissertation provides no support for the hypothesis that urban birds begin seasonal gonad growth because they are in better energetic status and increase the secretion of reproductive hormones earlier than non-urban birds. My studies do suggest, however, that the phenology of key food items and the endocrine responsiveness of the reproductive system may contribute to habitat-related disparities in the phenology of gonad growth.

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Date Created
2014

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Evaluation of protein glycation and antioxidant levels in birds of prey

Description

Birds have shown promise as models of diabetes due to health and longevity despite naturally high plasma glucose concentrations, a condition which in diabetic humans leads to protein glycation and various complications. Research into mechanisms that protect birds from high

Birds have shown promise as models of diabetes due to health and longevity despite naturally high plasma glucose concentrations, a condition which in diabetic humans leads to protein glycation and various complications. Research into mechanisms that protect birds from high plasma glucose have shown that some species of birds have naturally low levels of protein glycation. Some hypothesize a diet rich in carotenoids and other antioxidants protects birds from protein glycation and oxidative damage. There is little research, however, into the amount of protein glycation in birds of prey, which consume a high protein, high fat diet. No studies have examined the potential link between the diet of carnivorous birds and protein glycation. The overall purpose of this study was to evaluate whether birds of prey have higher protein glycation given their high protein, high fat diet in comparison to chickens, which consume a diet higher in carbohydrates. This was accomplished through analyses of serum samples from select birds of prey (bald eagle, red-tailed hawk, barred owl, great horned owl). Serum samples were obtained from The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota where the birds of prey consumed high protein, high fat, non-supplemented diets that consisted of small animals and very little to no carbohydrate. Serum was also obtained from one chicken for a control, which consumed a higher carbohydrate and antioxidant-rich diet. Glucose, native albumin glycation and antioxidant concentrations (uric acid, vitamin E, retinol and several carotenoids) of each sample was measured. Statistical analyses showed significant between group differences in percent protein glycation amongst the birds of prey species. Glycation was significantly higher (p < 0.001) in bald eagles (23.67 ± 1.90%) and barred owls (24.28 ± 1.43%) compared to red-tailed hawks (14.31 ± 0.63%). Percent glycation was higher in all birds of prey compared to the chicken sample and literature values for chicken albumin glycation. Levels of the carotenoid lutein were significantly higher in bald eagles and barred owls compared to great horned owls and red-tailed hawks and the carotenoids beta-cryptoxanthin and beta-carotene were significantly greater in bald eagles compared to red-tailed hawks and great horned owls.

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Date Created
2017

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Protein Regulators of Lipid and Energy Metabolism

Description

Lipolysis or hydrolysis of triglyceride (TG) stored within intracellular lipid droplets (LD), is vital to maintaining metabolic homeostasis in mammals. Regulation of lipolysis and subsequent utilization of liberated fatty acids impacts cellular and organismal functions including body fat accumulation and

Lipolysis or hydrolysis of triglyceride (TG) stored within intracellular lipid droplets (LD), is vital to maintaining metabolic homeostasis in mammals. Regulation of lipolysis and subsequent utilization of liberated fatty acids impacts cellular and organismal functions including body fat accumulation and thermogenesis. Adipose triglyceride lipase (ATGL) is the intracellular rate-limiting enzyme responsible for catalyzing hydrolysis of TG to diacylglycerol (DAG), the initial step of the lipolytic reaction. G0/G1 switch gene-2 (G0S2) and hypoxia-inducible gene-2 (HIG2) are selective inhibitors of ATGL. G0S2 facilitates accumulation of TG in the liver and adipose tissue, while HIG2 functions under hypoxic conditions. Sequence analysis and mutagenesis were used to confirm the presence of conserved domains between these proteins, and that these domains are required for efficient binding and inhibition of ATGL. Further analysis revealed a Positive sequence (Pos-Seq)-LD binding motif in G0S2 but not HIG2. The Pos-Seq mediated ATGL-independent localization to LD and was required for achieving maximal inhibition of ATGL activity by G0S2. Identification and mutational analysis of this motif revealed distinct mechanisms for HIG2 and G0S2 LD association. In addition to molecular characterization of known protein inhibitors of lipolysis, an intracellular member of the apolipoprotein L (ApoL) family, ApoL6, was also identified as a LD and mitochondria associated protein expressed in adipose tissue. Brown adipose tissue uses fatty acids as fuel for increasing its energy output as heat during acute responses to cold exposure. A Comprehensive Lab Animal Monitoring System was used to compare heat production at room temperature (RT) and 4oC in transgenic animals overexpressing ApoL6 in brown adipose tissue. Overexpression of ApoL6 delayed utilization of long-chain fatty acids (LCFAs) as a fuel source while promoting an enhanced thermogenic response during initial cold exposure. ApoL6 mediated inhibition of LCFA utilization results from binding of ApoL6 to Mitochondrial Trifunctional Protein (MTP/TFP), which catalyzes mitochondrial β-oxidation. Indirect calorimetry and fasting acute cold exposure experiments suggest the augmented thermogenic profile of ApoL6 transgenic animals is a result of enhanced utilization of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs), glucose, and amino acids as fuel sources. Cumulatively these results indicate multiple mechanisms for regulation lipolysis and fatty acid utilization.

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Date Created
2021

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Where Have the Carotenoids Gone? Physiology of Carotenoid Absorption And Distribution in Birds

Description

Organisms regularly face the challenge of having to accumulate and allocate limited resources toward life-history traits. However, direct quantification of how resources are accumulated and allocated is rare. Carotenoids are among the best systems for investigating resource allocation, because they

Organisms regularly face the challenge of having to accumulate and allocate limited resources toward life-history traits. However, direct quantification of how resources are accumulated and allocated is rare. Carotenoids are among the best systems for investigating resource allocation, because they are diet-derived and multi-functional. Birds have been studied extensively with regard to carotenoid allocation towards life-history traits, but direct quantification of variation in carotenoid distribution on a whole-organism scale has yet to be done. Additionally, while we know that scavenger receptor B1 (SCARB1) is important for carotenoid absorption in birds, little is known about the factors that predict how SCARB1 is expressed in wild populations. For my dissertation, I first reviewed challenges associated with statistically analyzing tissue distributions of nutrients (nutrient profiles) and tested how tissue carotenoid distributions (carotenoid profiles) varied by sex, season, health state, and coloration in two bird species, house finches (Haemorhous mexicanus) and zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata). Then, I investigated the relationship between dietary carotenoid availability, relative expression of SCARB1, and extent of carotenoid-based coloration in a comparative study of wood-warblers (Parulidae). In my review of studies analyzing nutrient profiles, I found that multivariate analyses were the most common, but studies rarely reported intercorrelations among nutrient types. In house finches, all tissue carotenoid profiles varied by sex, season, and coloration. For example, males during autumn (molt) had higher concentrations of 3-hydroxyechinenone (the major red carotenoid in sexually attractive male feathers) in most but not all tissues compared to other season and sex combinations. However, the relationship between color and carotenoid profiles depended on the color metric. In zebra finches, only muscle and spleen carotenoid profiles varied between immune-challenged and control birds. In wood-warblers, I found that capacity to absorb carotenoids was positively correlated with the evolution of carotenoid-based coloration but negatively associated with liver carotenoid accumulation. Altogether, my dissertation illustrates (a) the context-dependence of tissue carotenoid profile variation, (b) that carotenoid-based integumentary coloration is a reflection of tissue carotenoid profiles, and (c) that digestive physiology (e.g., carotenoid absorption) is an important consideration in the study of diet and coloration in wild birds.

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Date Created
2021

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The Pursuit of Parenthood: Expanding Horizons of Reproductive Physiology and Assisted Reproductive Technologies

Description

The desire to start a family is something millions of people around the globe strive to achieve. However, many factors such as the societal changes in family planning due to increasing maternal age, use of birth control, and ever-changing lifestyles

The desire to start a family is something millions of people around the globe strive to achieve. However, many factors such as the societal changes in family planning due to increasing maternal age, use of birth control, and ever-changing lifestyles have increased the number of infertility cases seen in the United States each year. Infertility can manifest as a prolonged inability to conceive, or inability to carry a pregnancy full-term. Modern advancements in the field of reproductive medicine have begun to promote the use of Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) to circumvent reduced fertility in both men and women. Implementation of techniques such as In Vitro Fertilization, Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection, and Pre-Implantation Genetic Testing have allowed many couples to conceive. There is continual effort being made towards developing more effective and personalized fertility treatments. This often begins in the form of animal research—a fundamental step in biomedical research. This dissertation examines infertility as a medical condition through the characterization of normal reproductive anatomy and physiology in the introductory overview of reproduction. Specific pathologies of male and female-factor infertility are described, which necessitates the use of ARTs. The various forms of ARTs currently utilized in a clinical setting are addressed including history, preparations, and protocols for each technology. To promote continual advancement of the field, both animal studies and human trials provide fundamental stepping-stones towards the execution of new techniques and protocols. Examples of research conducted for the betterment of human reproductive medicine are explored, including an animal study conducted in mice exploring the role of tyramine in ovulation. With the development and implementation of new technologies and protocols in the field, this also unearths ethical dilemmas that further complicate the addition of new technologies in the field. Combining an extensive review in assisted reproduction, research and clinical fieldwork, this study investigates the history and development of novel research conducted in reproductive medicine and explores the broader implications of new technologies in the field.

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Date Created
2021