Matching Items (5)

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Developmental Changes in Vascular Density of the Hypothalamic Paraventricular Nucleus Following Prenatal Exposure to Dexamethasone

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The goal of the studies described in this thesis was to determine the changes in vascular density in the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) of the hypothalamus following prenatal exposure to the

The goal of the studies described in this thesis was to determine the changes in vascular density in the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) of the hypothalamus following prenatal exposure to the synthetic glucocorticoid hormone, dexamethasone (DEX). DEX is a synthetic glucocorticoid used clinically in women at risk for preterm delivery or in preterm infants to promote proper pulmonary development in high-risk neonates. Prenatal exposure to glucocorticoids such as DEX may change the development of important brain regulatory centers such as the PVN, resulting in increased risk for diseases in adulthood.
Previous studies have demonstrated that the hypothalamus regulates neuroendocrine and autonomic function and behavior. Within the hypothalamus, the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) is an integratory node that contains neurons associated with the control of neuroendocrine and autonomic responses. The PVN also has one of the highest density of blood vessels within the brain. Alterations of normal PVN angiogenesis by dexamethasone could potentially result in long-term modifications of brain and endocrine functions.
Timed-pregnant Sprague Dawley female rats received DEX on gestational days 18-21 and the resulting progeny were sacrificed at Postnatal Day (PND) 0, 4, 14, and 21. A tomato lectin, Lycopersicon Esculentum labeled with DyLight594 was used to stain blood vessels in the PVN and scanning confocal microscopy was used to analyze the experimental brains for PVN blood vessel density
Analysis of data using a 3-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) with age, sex and treatment as main factors, showed a significant age effect in vascular density. Analysis of female data by 2-way ANOVA demonstrated a significant effect of age, but no treatment or interaction effects. Post-hoc analysis shows significant differences at PND 2, 4, 14, and 21 compared to PND0. A Student‘s t-test of a planned comparison on PND2 showed a significant reduction by DEX treatment (p < 0.05). Analysis of data from females, using 2-way ANOVA demonstrated a significant effect of age, but no treatment or interaction effects. Post-hoc analysis shows significant differences at PND 2, 4, 14, and 21 compared to PND0. A planned comparison at PND 2 using Student’s t-test indicated a significant reduction by dex treatment.
The results of these studies demonstrate that there is significant postnatal angiogenic programming and that the vascular density of the PVN is altered by prenatal dexamethasone administration at PND2. The time-course shows developmental fluctuations in vessel density that may prove to be physiologically significant for normal brain function and developmental programming of brain and behavior.

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Date Created
  • 2014-05

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Selenium Toxicity to Honey Bee (Apis mellifera L.) Pollinators: Effects on Behaviors and Survival

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We know very little about how soil-borne pollutants such as selenium (Se) can impact pollinators, even though Se has contaminated soils and plants in areas where insect pollination can be

We know very little about how soil-borne pollutants such as selenium (Se) can impact pollinators, even though Se has contaminated soils and plants in areas where insect pollination can be critical to the functioning of both agricultural and natural ecosystems. Se can be biotransferred throughout the food web, but few studies have examined its effects on the insects that feed on Se-accumulating plants, particularly pollinators. In laboratory bioassays, we used proboscis extension reflex (PER) and taste perception to determine if the presence of Se affected the gustatory response of honey bee (Apis mellifera L., Hymenoptera: Apidae) foragers. Antennae and proboscises were stimulated with both organic (selenomethionine) and inorganic (selenate) forms of Se that commonly occur in Se-accumulating plants. Methionine was also tested. Each compound was dissolved in 1 M sucrose at 5 concentrations, with sucrose alone as a control. Antennal stimulation with selenomethionine and methionine reduced PER at higher concentrations. Selenate did not reduce gustatory behaviors. Two hours after being fed the treatments, bees were tested for sucrose response threshold. Bees fed selenate responded less to sucrose stimulation. Mortality was higher in bees chronically dosed with selenate compared with a single dose. Selenomethionine did not increase mortality except at the highest concentration. Methionine did not significantly impact survival. Our study has shown that bees fed selenate were less responsive to sucrose, which may lead to a reduction in incoming floral resources needed to support coworkers and larvae in the field. If honey bees forage on nectar containing Se (particularly selenate), reductions in population numbers may occur due to direct toxicity. Given that honey bees are willing to consume food resources containing Se and may not avoid Se compounds in the plant tissues on which they are foraging, they may suffer similar adverse effects as seen in other insect guilds.

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Date Created
  • 2012-04-13

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Distribution of the Octopamine Receptor AmOA1 in the Honey Bee Brain

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Octopamine plays an important role in many behaviors in invertebrates. It acts via binding to G protein coupled receptors located on the plasma membrane of responsive cells. Several distinct subtypes

Octopamine plays an important role in many behaviors in invertebrates. It acts via binding to G protein coupled receptors located on the plasma membrane of responsive cells. Several distinct subtypes of octopamine receptors have been found in invertebrates, yet little is known about the expression pattern of these different receptor subtypes and how each subtype may contribute to different behaviors. One honey bee (Apis mellifera) octopamine receptor, AmOA1, was recently cloned and characterized. Here we continue to characterize the AmOA1 receptor by investigating its distribution in the honey bee brain. We used two independent antibodies produced against two distinct peptides in the carboxyl-terminus to study the distribution of the AmOA1 receptor in the honey bee brain. We found that both anti-AmOA1 antibodies revealed labeling of cell body clusters throughout the brain and within the following brain neuropils: the antennal lobes; the calyces, pedunculus, vertical (alpha, gamma) and medial (beta) lobes of the mushroom body; the optic lobes; the subesophageal ganglion; and the central complex. Double immunofluorescence staining using anti-GABA and anti-AmOA1 receptor antibodies revealed that a population of inhibitory GABAergic local interneurons in the antennal lobes express the AmOA1 receptor in the cell bodies, axons and their endings in the glomeruli. In the mushroom bodies, AmOA1 receptors are expressed in a subpopulation of inhibitory GABAergic feedback neurons that ends in the visual (outer half of basal ring and collar regions) and olfactory (lip and inner basal ring region) calyx neuropils, as well as in the collar and lip zones of the vertical and medial lobes. The data suggest that one effect of octopamine via AmOA1 in the antennal lobe and mushroom body is to modulate inhibitory neurons.

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Date Created
  • 2011-01-18

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The role model effect on gender equity: how are female college students influenced by female teaching assistants in science?

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The gender gap of women in science is an important and unresolved issue in higher education and occupational opportunities. The present study was motivated by the fact that there are

The gender gap of women in science is an important and unresolved issue in higher education and occupational opportunities. The present study was motivated by the fact that there are typically fewer females than males advancing in science, and therefore fewer female science instructor role models. This observation inspired the questions: Are female college students influenced in a positive way by female science teaching assistants (TAs), and if so how can their influence be measured? The study tested the hypothesis that female TAs act as role models for female students and thereby encourage interest and increase overall performance. To test this "role model" hypothesis, the reasoning ability and self-efficacy of a sample of 724 introductory college biology students were assessed at the beginning and end of the Spring 2010 semester. Achievement was measured by exams and course work. Performance of four randomly formed groups was compared: 1) female students with female TAs, 2) male students with female TAs, 3) female students with male TAs, and 4) male students with male TAs. Based on the role model hypothesis, female students with female TAs were predicted to perform better than female students with male TAs. However, group comparisons revealed similar performances across all four groups in achievement, reasoning ability and self-efficacy. The slight differences found between the four groups in student exam and coursework scores were not statistically significant. Therefore, the results did not support the role model hypothesis. Given that both lecture professors in the present study were males, and given that professors typically have more teaching experience, finer skills and knowledge of subject matter than do TAs, a future study that includes both female science professors and female TAs, may be more likely to find support for the hypothesis.

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Date Created
  • 2010

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Molecular Traces of Alternative Social Organization in a Termite Genome

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Although eusociality evolved independently within several orders of insects, research into the molecular underpinnings of the transition towards social complexity has been confined primarily to Hymenoptera (for example, ants and

Although eusociality evolved independently within several orders of insects, research into the molecular underpinnings of the transition towards social complexity has been confined primarily to Hymenoptera (for example, ants and bees). Here we sequence the genome and stage-specific transcriptomes of the dampwood termite Zootermopsis nevadensis (Blattodea) and compare them with similar data for eusocial Hymenoptera, to better identify commonalities and differences in achieving this significant transition. We show an expansion of genes related to male fertility, with upregulated gene expression in male reproductive individuals reflecting the profound differences in mating biology relative to the Hymenoptera. For several chemoreceptor families, we show divergent numbers of genes, which may correspond to the more claustral lifestyle of these termites. We also show similarities in the number and expression of genes related to caste determination mechanisms. Finally, patterns of DNA methylation and alternative splicing support a hypothesized epigenetic regulation of caste differentiation.

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Date Created
  • 2014-05-20