Matching Items (27)

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A comparative test of the links between sleep state, brain size, and incubation investment in birds

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There are two electrophysiological states of sleep in birds (rapid-eye-movement sleep [REM] and slow-wave sleep [SWS]), which have different functions and costs. REM improves memory consolidation, while SWS is neuro-restorative but

There are two electrophysiological states of sleep in birds (rapid-eye-movement sleep [REM] and slow-wave sleep [SWS]), which have different functions and costs. REM improves memory consolidation, while SWS is neuro-restorative but also exposes the animal to more risk during this deep-sleep phase. Birds who sleep in more exposed microsites are known to invest proportionally less in SWS (presumably to ensure proper vigilance), but otherwise little else is known about the ecological or behavioral predictors of how much time birds devote to REM v. SWS sleep. In this comparative analysis, we examine how proportional time spent in SWS v. REM is related to brain mass and duration of the incubation period in adults. Brain mass and incubation period were chosen as predictors of sleep state investment because brain mass is positively correlated with body size (and may show a relationship between physical development and sleep) and incubation period can be a link used to show similarities and differences between birds and mammals (using mammalian gestation period). We hypothesized that (1) species with larger brains (relative to body size and also while controlling for phylogeny) would have higher demands for information processing, and possibly proportionally outweigh neuro-repair, and thus devote more time to REM and that (2) species with longer incubation periods would have proportionally more REM due to the extended time required for overnight predator vigilance (and not falling into deep sleep) while on the nest. We found, using neurophysiological data from literature on 27 bird species, that adults from species with longer incubation periods spent proportionally more time in REM sleep, but that relative brain size was not significantly associated with relative time spent in REM or SWS. We therefore provide evidence that mammalian and avian REM in response to incubation/gestation period have convergently evolved. Our results suggest that overnight environmental conditions (e.g. sleep site exposure) might have a greater effect on sleep parameters than gross morphological attributes.

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  • 2017-05

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

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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

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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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

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

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Adult Cytogenesis and Reproductive Regulation in the American Bullfrog

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The purpose of the present study was to investigate seasonal changes in cell proliferation in the brains of adult American bullfrog. Our main question was whether there are seasonal differences

The purpose of the present study was to investigate seasonal changes in cell proliferation in the brains of adult American bullfrog. Our main question was whether there are seasonal differences in the proliferation and/or differentiation of newborn brain cells into arginine vasotocin- (AVT) or gonadotropin releasing hormone- (GnRH) producing neurons that might regulate bullfrog reproduction. . Bullfrogs in four distinct seasonal groups received injections of bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU), a thymidine analog that is taken up by dividing cells, and then euthanized six weeks later. Using doubleimmunofluorescence procedures to visualize BrdU and AVT or GnRH, we found no evidence for newborn AVT- or GnRH-ergic cells, but observed newborn cells in close proximity to AVT and GnRH cells. My project was a follow-up study to explore seasonal changes in adult cytogenesis related to AVT and GnRH terminal fields. GnRH fiber density fluctuated seasonally in the rostral pre-optic area (RPOA) and lateral septum (LS), and newborn cell numbers changed seasonally in the amygdala (AM) and RPOA. Seasonal differences in plasma testosterone concentrations were negatively related to GnRH fiber density in the LS. These results reinforce the seasonality of reproductive signaling and adult cytogenesis and support a role for seasonal steroid-peptide hormone interactions in modulating GnRH levels. Our results suggest a relationship between seasonal adult cytogenesis and reproduction, and set the stage for further research into the nature of this relationship.

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Date Created
  • 2013-05

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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).

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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Date Created
  • 2014-05

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Hepatic inflammatory response following high fat diet in adolescent male Sprague-Dawley rats

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There has long been a link tied between obesity and such pathological conditions as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and type two diabetes. Studies have shown that feeding rats a diet

There has long been a link tied between obesity and such pathological conditions as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and type two diabetes. Studies have shown that feeding rats a diet high in fat results in hepatic steatosis and steatohepatitis. Using a novel short term diet of six weeks with male adolescent Sprague-Dawley rats, our laboratory sought to investigate the early effects of high fat intake on the liver. Prior findings in our laboratory found that a high fat diet (HFD) leads to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease as well as other symptoms of metabolic syndrome. This study hypothesized that rats fed a 60% HFD for 6 weeks, unlike a high sucrose or standard chow diet, would have an elevated expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines associated with steatohepatitis. TNF-α, TLR4 and XBP1 were chosen for their link to hepatic inflammation. The results of this study found that contrary to the hypothesis, the high fat diet did not induce significant changes in the expression of any inflammatory marker in comparison to a high sucrose or control chow diet.

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Date Created
  • 2015-05

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Diet-induced alterations in energy homeostasis and central adiposity: liver and visceral adipose tissue

Description

There has been an alarming rise in the prevalence of obesity which has been attributed to the paralleled rise in consumption of high-fat foods. It’s commonly accepted that high-fat diets

There has been an alarming rise in the prevalence of obesity which has been attributed to the paralleled rise in consumption of high-fat foods. It’s commonly accepted that high-fat diets can lead to increased weight gain, however not all fats have the same physiological action. This study primarily focuses on the effect of canola oil, a monounsaturated fat, on energy homeostasis and body composition when it’s given as a supplement to a high-fat diet composed of saturated fatty acid. Rodent models were divided into three dietary groups: 1) low-fat diet (LFD), 2) high-fat diet (HFD) and 3) canola oils supplemented HFD (HF+CAN). After 4 weeks of dietary intervention, samples of epididymal fat, perinephric fat, and liver were analyzed across the three groups to see if the changes in energy homeostasis could be explained by the cellular behavior and composition of these tissues. Interestingly, the supplement of canola oil appeared to reverse the deleterious effects of a saturated fat diet, reverting energy intake, body weight gain and adipose tissue sizes to that (if not lower than that) of the LFD group. The only exception to this effect was the liver: the livers remained larger and fattier than those of the HFD. This occurrence is possibly due to a decrease in free fatty acid uptake in the adipose tissues—resulting in smaller adipose tissue sizes—and increased fatty acid uptake in the liver. The mechanism by which this occurs has yet to be elucidated and will be the primary focus of upcoming studies on the effect of monounsaturated fat on other diets.

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  • 2015-05

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

Description

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

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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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

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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Date Created
  • 2015-05

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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,

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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Date Created
  • 2020-05