Matching Items (47)

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Effects of an Urban Diet on Glucose, Sodium, and Osmolality in the Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura

Description

Prior studies of Mourning Doves have observed no changed in glucose in response to either a high fat “chow” diet or a white bread diet. In the current feeding study, we fed doves an urban diet, high in carbohydrates, fat,

Prior studies of Mourning Doves have observed no changed in glucose in response to either a high fat “chow” diet or a white bread diet. In the current feeding study, we fed doves an urban diet, high in carbohydrates, fat, and sodium, which is representative of typical American nutrition accessible to the avian population in an urbanized environment. Based on studies of other avian species that examined the effects of an urban diet on physiology, I hypothesized that doves fed an urban diet would have increased plasma glucose and sodium, which would promote an increase in plasma osmolality. This hypothesis was based on preliminary data that found birds fed an urban diet developed impaired vasodilation compared to seed diet control birds. Therefore, differences in plasma glucose, sodium, and osmolality were examined as increases may contribute to the impairment. Adult doves of both sexes were captured on the Arizona State University, Tempe campus. Doves were placed in two dietary groups: an urban diet consisting of a 50/50 ratio of French fries and nutritionally-balanced bird seed (n=7) and a control group of only the seed diet (n=6). Following the four-week diets, birds were euthanized, and cardiac plasma samples were collected from birds to measure glucose, sodium, and osmolality. There were no significant differences between the two study groups in plasma glucose concentration (p=0.445), sodium concentration (p=0.731), or osmolality (p=0.692). Sodium concentrations were signficantly more variable in birds consuming a seed diet than those that were provided the mixed French fry and seed diet (p=0.014). These results suggest that glucose, sodium, and osmolality likely do not contribute to the altered vasodilation of doves fed an urban diet and that such a diet may not be as detrimental to the doves health given their phenotypic flexibility.

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2020-05

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Nicotine Self-Administration and the Social Context

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Research suggests that the more positive the first drug experience, the more likely addiction will develop. Since smoking is initiated in a social setting, it is surprising how little is known about social context effects on acquisition of nicotine self-administration.

Research suggests that the more positive the first drug experience, the more likely addiction will develop. Since smoking is initiated in a social setting, it is surprising how little is known about social context effects on acquisition of nicotine self-administration. We investigated this issue in rats during late adolescence using conjoined self-administration chambers that had a removable shared wall. Rats were assigned to training conditions with either a solid black plexiglass or wire mesh partition in place throughout 22 subsequent 2-hour daily training sessions. Initially, 58 day-old (late-adolescent) male and female rats received 2, 30-min habituation sessions/day over 2 consecutive days, with only an inactive lever present. Sessions began with presentation of a retractable lever and thereafter each response on that lever resulted in simultaneous delivery of saline or 1 of 2 doses of nicotine (0.015 or 0.030 mg/kg, IV) and lever retraction for a 20-second time out. The findings indicate that the social context inhibits nicotine self-administration in female rats during the development of addiction, but has little effect on the initial stages of drug acquisition. Furthermore, the data suggest that in male rats the social context enhances responding independent of nicotine, but has few effects on nicotine self-administration during the development of addiction. The findings have important implications for substance use disorders.

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2015-05

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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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2015-05

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The Importance of Art and the Creative Process

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Art is an inherent concept instilled in human nature, which utilizes the abilities of the creative mind to invent. Art has served many purposes in the history of mankind, including, but not limited to story telling, entertainment, decoration, exploration, propaganda,

Art is an inherent concept instilled in human nature, which utilizes the abilities of the creative mind to invent. Art has served many purposes in the history of mankind, including, but not limited to story telling, entertainment, decoration, exploration, propaganda, education, and therapy. The primary aim of this creative project was to explore the importance of the art, as a creative process, as a way to supplement academic endeavors. The idea derived from an observation made by myself that contemporary regard for art has been on a decline, which made me question if I also value art as much as I think I do, having done art in the past and recently added a studio art minor. I thought of ways to again incorporate art and the creative process into my life. I asked myself the question: can the creative process be used as a supplement to schoolwork in order to relieve stress? To explore this, an experiment was designed, which entailed my creation of drawings twice a week, accompanied by journal documentation for a full semester of college. Afterwards, analyses were done between the documented journal entries and the artworks to see if any relationships were apparent between various aspects of my life at the times of the drawings and the drawings themselves. Further research was also conducted in related areas of study and documented in written format, which cited and analyzed numerous journal articles, artworks, artists, and research papers. This included art therapy, art education, and the relationships between art and science. Results from the experiment indicated that art as a creative process allowed for the relief of stress by cleansing my mind from any concern or interferences, therefore offering myself a complete break and relaxation, effectively refreshing my mind and allowing me to resume schoolwork or other tasks more mentally taxing. In addition, the research also showed that art therapy could effectively utilize this palliative effect of art making to ease the problems of people in distress. The findings also concluded that art and science go hand in hand, which explains a lot of the similarities in methodologies utilized by scientists and artists. In conclusion, art is a paramount part of mankind in exercising the creative mind and is ubiquitous; we should learn to actively embrace it to enrich our lives.

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2016-05

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Understanding the Impact of Phytoestrogens on Memory & the Cholinergic System

Description

Menopause is reproductive senescence characterized by a loss of ovarian estrogen and progesterone. Women can experience cognitive decline and other negative symptoms with the loss of ovarian hormones (Sherwin, 2006). While hormone therapies (HT) can treat symptoms of menopause and

Menopause is reproductive senescence characterized by a loss of ovarian estrogen and progesterone. Women can experience cognitive decline and other negative symptoms with the loss of ovarian hormones (Sherwin, 2006). While hormone therapies (HT) can treat symptoms of menopause and may have neuroprotective properties, such as the potential to decrease the risk of Alzheimer's Disease (Behl & Manthey, 2000), there are many effects of current HTs that are not ideal. Indeed, optimizing conventional HTs has proven complex, indicating a need for alternative therapies. Phytoestrogens are estrogenic compounds found naturally in plants such as soybeans, that could provide new treatment options. Dietary phytoestrogens can benefit memory in the rodent model (Luine, 2006), although the mechanism underlying these effects is unclear. Basal forebrain cholinergic projections have been shown to mediate the cognitive benefits of estrogen (Gibbs, 2010); we hypothesize that phytoestrogens act similarly, via the cholinergic system, to impact memory. We administered varying doses of phytoestrogen-containing diets to ovariectomized female rats, and used the place recognition task to evaluate spatial memory. Brains were then analyzed for choline acetyltransferase (ChAT), the synthesizing enzyme for acetylcholine, in the vertical-diagonal bands (VDB) and the medial septum (MS) of the basal forebrain. Results showed that ChAT cell counts in the VDB were marginally higher with dietary phytoestrogen treatment. Further, VDB ChAT cell counts positively correlated with place recognition performance, indicating that animals with more VDB ChAT neurons exhibited better spatial memory performance. These results suggest that phytoestrogens might act similarly to natural, endogenously circulating estrogens, and identify phytoestrogens as a direction for investigation as a HT.

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2014-05

Comparing Nutritional Physiology and Bioavailable Nutrients between Rural and Urban Populations of Callipepla gambelii

Description

This study is an exploration of the nutritional physiology of Gambel's quail, Callipepla gambelii, in terms of the comparison of rural and urban area populations of this gallinaceous species, and the employment of in situ study by design. The health

This study is an exploration of the nutritional physiology of Gambel's quail, Callipepla gambelii, in terms of the comparison of rural and urban area populations of this gallinaceous species, and the employment of in situ study by design. The health of quail populations is of interest as a resource to recreational enthusiasts, hunters, stakeholders, as well as agencies charged with their management. Quail are the only resident small avian game species known to be native to the southwest that is depended upon by management agencies for recreational opportunities. The condition of the Gambel's quail populations determine regulatory actions with respect to recreational quailing opportunities and these quail represent a species which shows adjustment to human expansion. The combination of morphologic, physical, and plasma nutrient data gathered from samples during this study are hypothesized to show a difference between rural and urban populations of C. gambelii. The hypothesis is that urban quail will display morphological differences, and nutrient differences that are crucial to quail fitness, therefore, potential selective differences. Ground and ambient air temperatures are hypothesized to be higher in urban areas andthus these measurements were taken for site comparison. Plasma nutrient concentrations between rural and urban populations of adult male Gambel's quail were compared for potential existing variations in nutrition. The blood nutrient assays are expected to display increased plasma concentrations of constituents such as glucose, lipids, and proteins, which are known to be involved in growth, reproductive success, and general fitness in the urban quail populations. Morphological data was collected to examine the potential differences in the physical attributes of the sampled quail. A fitness advantage in male Gambel's quail living within urban areas is hypothesized to be associated with differences in plasma nutrients and morphology. The potentially differing plasma nutrients in samples of the C. gambelii in urban versus rural environments is believed to be affected by, and to indicate, differing nutrient availability. Body mass and length, chest circumference as well as skin temperatures were measured to assess potential differences in these outward physical attributes. The urban quail are hypothesized to have reproductive and/or natural selective advantages where their measured morphology may show physical size differences. Differences in the physical attributes of the male Gambel's quail that live in urban areas may be supported through measured morphologic attributes.

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2015-12

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7-deaza-dG Promotes the Faithful Transcription of 4 Nucleotide TNA Polymers

Description

DNA is a natural genetic polymer capable of storing and preserving genetic information in biological systems. Due to its natural information storage capacity, recent scientific progress demonstrates that DNA has the potential to exceed standard information storage technologies. However, DNA

DNA is a natural genetic polymer capable of storing and preserving genetic information in biological systems. Due to its natural information storage capacity, recent scientific progress demonstrates that DNA has the potential to exceed standard information storage technologies. However, DNA is limited in its information storage capacities due to its susceptibility to degradation in the presence of naturally occurring nucleases. Threose nucleic acid (TNA), an unnatural genetic polymer with a 3'->2'phosphodiester-linked threose sugar backbone, has promising potential to overcome this limitation. TNA is not a substrate for natural nucleases and thus shows a dramatic increase in stability compared to DNA. However, TNA transcription has a tendency to generate G:G mispairs and lead to a gradual loss of information within the template. It was hypothesized that the mutation occurs through a G:G Hoogsteen base pair that forms preferentially over the canonical G:C Watson-Crick base pair. Incorporation of 7-deaza-dG into a four letter template effectively eliminated G:G mispairings and improved the replication fidelity from 60% to 99.6% with only four errors in a thousand. These results have laid the groundwork for further research to increase the length of the TNA product synthesized and to test TNA's ability to store genetic information.

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2014-05

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Are males turned on by sexy females? Female attractiveness upregulates male reproductive physiology and behavior in zebra finches

Description

Testosterone (T) is a steroid hormone that affects behavior and reproductive traits (e.g. spermatogenesis and ornamentation) in vertebrates. In addition to long-term influences, T can rapidly increase in males following aggressive male-male encounters. Less is known how females directly influence

Testosterone (T) is a steroid hormone that affects behavior and reproductive traits (e.g. spermatogenesis and ornamentation) in vertebrates. In addition to long-term influences, T can rapidly increase in males following aggressive male-male encounters. Less is known how females directly influence male T and behavior, though research with humans suggests that sexually attractive females elicit a greater increase in male T and reproductive behavior than unattractive females. In birds, the influence of female attractiveness on male T and behavior is currently untested. We hypothesized that T and courtship behavior in male zebra finches would correlate with female attractiveness. We used red leg bands to make females "attractive" and green bands to make them "unattractive" (unbanded females were controls) as previous research suggests that zebra finches prefer red colors over green in mating contexts. We collected blood from males before and after "speed-dating" trials to measure changes in plasma T and analyzed male courtship behaviors from trial video recordings. The likelihood of plasma T increasing after a trial was significantly greater in males who were with red-banded females compared to control females, suggesting males may find them more attractive than green or control females. Additionally, independent of band color, males who exhibited greater T differences initiated courtship sooner and spent more time closest to females. However, courtship initiation and time spent near females were not correlated with band color. Overall, our results suggest that female attractiveness can influence male reproductive physiology, but the presence of a female may trigger male courtship behavior.

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2014-05

Elucidating the Role of PDK1 During Mitotic Cellular Division

Description

Phosphoinositol-Dependent Kinase 1 (PDK1) acts in conjunction with phosphorylated lipids such as Phosphoinositol-3,4,5-triphosphate (PIP3) to activate a variety of proteins that regulate mechanisms ranging from cell growth and survival to cytoskeletal rearrangement. In this investigation PDK1 was examined in the

Phosphoinositol-Dependent Kinase 1 (PDK1) acts in conjunction with phosphorylated lipids such as Phosphoinositol-3,4,5-triphosphate (PIP3) to activate a variety of proteins that regulate mechanisms ranging from cell growth and survival to cytoskeletal rearrangement. In this investigation PDK1 was examined in the context of cellular division. The techniques of immunocytochemistry and live cell imaging were used to visualize the effects of the inhibition of PDK1 on division in HeLa cells. Division was impaired at metaphase of mitosis. The inhibited cells were unable to initiate anaphase cell-elongation ultimately leading to the flattening of spherical, metaphase cells. Preliminary studies with imunocytochemistry and live cell imaging suggested that insulin treatment reversed PDK1 inhibition, but the results were not statistically significant. Therefore, the recovery of PDK1 inhibition by insulin treatment could not be confirmed. Based on these observations a possible reason for the inability of the treated cells to complete cytokinesis could be the role of PDK1 in the Rho-kinase pathway that is required for the processes cell-elongation necessary for anaphase of mitosis.

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2014-05

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Differential Activation of Unfolded Protein Response in Two Osteosarcoma Cell Lines Following Hypoxic and Chemotherapeutic Stress

Description

Osteosarcoma (OS) is the most prevalent primary tumor of bone in the pediatric age group [1]. The long-term cancer free survival has improved in patients with localized cancer; however, less than 20% of patients diagnosed with metastatic disease survive without

Osteosarcoma (OS) is the most prevalent primary tumor of bone in the pediatric age group [1]. The long-term cancer free survival has improved in patients with localized cancer; however, less than 20% of patients diagnosed with metastatic disease survive without relapse [2]. While these findings emphasize the urgent need for new therapeutic agents, the lack of understanding of the factors and the tumor microenvironment that lead to therapy resistance in OS has significantly hampered progress towards improved prognosis. Recent clinical reports have shown a negative correlation between tumor hypoxia and overall survival in OS patients [4]. In addition to the up-regulation of hypoxia inducible factors (HIFs), it has been shown that hypoxia can trigger an adaptive response such as the unfolded protein response (UPR) that allows tumor cells to avoid therapy-induced death [3,4,7,10].
Using in vitro experimental models of both SAOS-2 (non-metastatic) and 143-b (metastatic) osteosarcoma cell lines and Western blot analysis, we have demonstrated that basal levels of molecular chaperone BiP (Binding immunoglobulin protein, or GRP-78) and peIF2α (phospho-eukaryotic initiation factor 2 alpha), both markers of the UPR, were higher in SAOS-2 than 143-b cells. We also show that both these markers were further up-regulated upon exposure to hypoxia, as evidenced by the increase in banding intensity in both SAOS-2 and 143-b cells. Furthermore, analysis of another UPR marker, ATF6 (activating transcription factor 6) showed that basal levels of active nuclear ATF6 were slightly higher in SAOS-2 cells than in 143-b cells. However, unlike the other UPR markers these levels were significantly reduced upon exposure to hypoxia (0.1% O2). In addition to hypoxia, treatment with Cisplatin also had similar effects on the expression of aforementioned UPR markers: BiP and peIF2α. We found that the 143-b OS cells were more sensitive to the Cisplatin treatment than the SAOS-2 OS cells, and thus more prone to cell-mediated death.
Our findings shed light on the unknown mechanisms underlying chemotherapeutic drug resistance in osteosarcoma patients. Our research may lead to novel therapies that seek out and destroy the chemoresistant OS cells within the hypoxia core of tumors, thereby preventing survival and metastasis, and ultimately improving the chances of survival amongst OS patients.

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2014-05