A life-long follow-up of physiological and behavioural functions was initiated in 38-month-old mouse lemurs (Microcebus murinus) to test whether caloric restriction (CR) or a potential mimetic compound, resveratrol (RSV), can delay the ageing process and the onset of age-related diseases. Based on their potential survival of 12 years, mouse lemurs were assigned to three different groups: a control (CTL) group fed ad libitum, a CR group fed 70% of the CTL caloric intake and a RSV group (200 mg/kg.day–1) fed ad libitum. Since this prosimian primate exhibits a marked annual rhythm in body mass gain during winter, animals were tested throughout the year to assess body composition, daily energy expenditure (DEE), resting metabolic rate (RMR), physical activity and hormonal levels. After 1 year, all mouse lemurs seemed in good health. CR animals showed a significantly decreased body mass compared with the other groups during long day period only. CR or RSV treatments did not affect body composition. CR induced a decrease in DEE without changes in RMR, whereas RSV induced a concomitant increase in DEE and RMR without any obvious modification of locomotor activity in both groups. Hormonal levels remained similar in each group. In summary, after 1 year of treatment CR and RSV induced differential metabolic responses but animals successfully acclimated to their imposed diets. The RESTRIKAL study can now be safely undertaken on a long-term basis to determine whether age-associated alterations in mouse lemurs are delayed with CR and if RSV can mimic these effects.
Ageing; Food restriction; Resveratrol; Energy balance; Biomarkers; Doubly labelled water method
In several species, resveratrol, a polyphenolic compound, activates sirtuin proteins implicated in the regulation of energy balance and biological clock processes. To demonstrate the effect of resveratrol on clock function in an aged primate, young and aged mouse lemurs (Microcebus murinus) were studied over a 4-week dietary supplementation with resveratrol. Spontaneous locomotor activity and daily variations in body temperature were continuously recorded. Reduction in locomotor activity onset and changes in body temperature rhythm in resveratrol-supplemented aged animals suggest an improved synchronisation on the light-dark cycle. Resveratrol could be a good candidate to restore the circadian rhythms in the elderly.
The prevalence of diabetes and hyperinsulinemia increases with age, inducing metabolic failure and limiting lifespan. Calorie restriction (CR) without malnutrition delays the aging process, but its long-term application to humans seems difficult. Resveratrol (RSV), a dietary polyphenol, appears to be a promising CR mimetic that can be easily administered in humans. In this work, we hypothesized that both CR and RSV impact insulin sensitivity in a non-human primate compared to standard-fed control (CTL) animals. Four- to five-year-old male grey mouse lemurs (Microcebus murinus) were assigned to three dietary groups: a CTL group, a CR group receiving 30% fewer calories than the CTL and a RSV group receiving the CTL diet supplemented with RSV (200 mg·day−1·kg−1). Insulin sensitivity and glycemia were assessed using an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) and the homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR index) evaluation after 21 or 33 months of chronic treatment. Resting metabolic rate was also measured to assess the potential relationships between this energy expenditure parameter and insulin sensitivity markers. No differences were found after a 21-month period of treatment, except for lower glucose levels 30 min after glucose loading in CR animals. After 33 months, CR and RSV decreased glycemia after the oral glucose loading without decreasing fasting blood insulin. A general effect of treatment was observed on the HOMA-IR index, with an 81% reduction in CR animals and 53% in RSV animals after 33 months of treatment compared to CTL. Chronic CR and dietary supplementation with RSV affected insulin sensitivity by improving the glucose tolerance of animals without disturbing their baseline insulin secretion. These results suggest that both CR and RSV have beneficial effects on metabolic alterations, although these effects are different in amplitude between the two anti-aging treatments and potentially rely on different metabolic changes.
Effects of an 18-month treatment with a moderate, chronic caloric restriction (CR) or an oral supplementation with resveratrol (RSV), a potential CR mimetic, on cognitive and motor performances were studied in non-human primates, grey mouse lemurs (Microcebus murinus).
Thirty-three adult male mouse lemurs were assigned to three different groups: a control (CTL) group fed ad libitum, a CR group fed 70% of the CTL caloric intake, and an RSV group (RSV supplementation of 200 mg.kg−1.day−1) fed ad libitum. Three different cognitive tests, two motor tests, one emotional test and an analysis of cortisol level were performed in each group.
Compared to CTL animals, CR or RSV animals did not show any change in motor performances evaluated by rotarod and jump tests, but an increase in spontaneous locomotor activity was observed in both groups. Working memory was improved by both treatments in the spontaneous alternation task. Despite a trend for CR group, only RSV supplementation increased spatial memory performances in the circular platform task. Finally, none of these treatments induced additional stress to the animals as reflected by similar results in the open field test and cortisol analyses compared to CTL animals.
The present data provided the earliest evidence for a beneficial effect of CR or RSV supplementation on specific cognitive functions in a primate. Taken together, these results suggest that RSV could be a good candidate to mimic long-term CR effects and support the growing evidences that nutritional interventions can have beneficial effects on brain functions even in adults.
During moderate calorie restriction (CR) the heterotherm Microcebus murinus is able to maintain a stable energy balance whatever the season, even if only wintering animals enter into torpor. To understand its energy saving strategies to respond to food shortages, we assessed protein and energy metabolisms associated with wintering torpor expression or summering torpor avoidance. We investigated body composition, whole body protein turnover, and daily energy expenditure (DEE), during a graded (40 and 80%) 35-day CR in short-days (winter; SD40 and SD80, respectively) and long-days (summer; LD40 and LD80, respectively) acclimated animals. LD40 animals showed no change in fat mass (FM) but a 12% fat free mass (FFM) reduction. Protein balance being positive after CR, the FFM loss was early and rapid. The 25% DEE reduction, in LD40 group was mainly explained by FFM changes. LD80 animals showed a steady body mass loss and were excluded from the CR trial at day 22, reaching a survival-threatened body mass. No data were available for this group. SD40 animals significantly decreased their FM level by 21%, but maintained FFM. Protein sparing was achieved through a 35 and 39% decrease in protein synthesis and catabolism (protein turnover), respectively, overall maintaining nitrogen balance. The 21% reduction in energy requirement was explained by the 30% nitrogen flux drop but also by torpor as DEE FFM-adjusted remained 13% lower compared to ad-libitum. SD80 animals were unable to maintain energy and nitrogen balances, losing both FM and FFM. Thus summering mouse lemurs equilibrate energy balance by a rapid loss of active metabolic mass without using torpor, whereas wintering animals spare protein and energy through increased torpor expression. Both strategies have direct fitness implication: 1) to maintain activities at a lower body size during the mating season and 2) to preserve an optimal wintering muscle mass and function.
Daily heterothermia is used by small mammals for energy and water savings, and seems to be preferentially exhibited during winter rather than during summer. This feature induces a trade-off between the energy saved during daily heterothermia and the energy cost of arousal, which can impact energy balance and survival under harsh environmental conditions. Especially, aging may significantly affect such trade off during cold-induced energy stress, but direct evidences are still lacking. We hypothesized that aging could alter the energetics of daily heterothermia, and that the effects could differ according to season. In the gray mouse lemur (Microcebus murinus), a non-human primate species which exhibits daily heterothermia, we investigated the effects of exposures to 25 and 12°C on body composition, energy balance, patterns of heterothermia and water turnover in adult (N = 8) and aged animals (N = 7) acclimated to winter-like or summer-like photoperiods.
Acclimation to summer prevented animals from deep heterothermia, even during aging. During winter, adult animals at 12°C and aged animals at 25°C exhibited low levels of energy expenditure with minor modulations of heterothermia. The major effects of cold were observed during winter, and were particularly pronounced in aged mouse lemurs which exhibited deep heterothermia phases. Body composition was not significantly affected by age and could not explain the age-related differences in heterothermia patterns. However, aging was associated with increased levels of energy expenditure during cold exposure, in concomitance with impaired energy balance. Interestingly, increased energy expenditure and depth of heterothermia phases were strongly correlated.
In conclusion, it appeared that the exhibition of shallow heterothermia allowed energy savings during winter in adult animals only. Aged animals exhibited deep heterothermia and increased levels of energy expenditure, impairing energy balance. Thus, an impaired control of the heterothermic process induced high energy costs in the aging mouse lemur exposed to cold.
Hematologic and biochemical data are needed to characterize the health status of animal populations over time to determine the habitat quality and captivity conditions. Blood components and the chemical entities that they transport change predominantly with sex and age. The aim of this study was to utilize blood chemistry monitoring to establish the reference levels in a small prosimian primate, the Grey Mouse Lemur (Microcebus murinus).
In the captive colony, mouse lemurs may live 10–12 years, and three age groups for both males and females were studied: young (1–3 years), middle-aged (4–5 years) and old (6–10 years). Blood biochemical markers were measured using the VetScan Comprehensive Diagnostic Profile. Because many life history traits of this primate are highly dependent on the photoperiod (body mass and reproduction), the effect of season was also assessed.
The main effect of age was observed in blood markers of renal functions such as creatinine, which was higher among females. Additionally, blood urea nitrogen significantly increased with age and is potentially linked to chronic renal insufficiency, which has been described in captive mouse lemurs. The results demonstrated significant effects related to season, especially in blood protein levels and glucose rates; these effects were observed regardless of gender or age and were likely due to seasonal variations in food intake, which is very marked in this species.
These results were highly similar with those obtained in other primate species and can serve as references for future research of the Grey Mouse Lemur.
Aging; Blood biochemical markers; Grey Mouse Lemur; Microcebus murinus; Seasonality
Resveratrol has been reported to improve metabolic function in metabolically-abnormal rodents and humans, but has not been studied in non-obese people with normal glucose tolerance. We conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to evaluate the metabolic effects of 12 weeks of resveratrol supplementation (75 mg/day) in non-obese, postmenopausal women with normal glucose tolerance. Although resveratrol supplementation increased plasma resveratrol concentration, it did not change body composition, resting metabolic rate, plasma lipids, or inflammatory markers. A two-stage hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp procedure, in conjunction with stable isotopically-labeled tracer infusions, demonstrated that resveratrol did not increase liver, skeletal muscle, or adipose tissue insulin sensitivity. Consistent with the absence of in vivo metabolic effects, resveratrol did not affect its putative molecular targets, including AMPK, Sirt1, Nampt, and Pgc-1α, in either skeletal muscle or adipose tissue. These findings demonstrate that resveratrol supplementation does not have beneficial metabolic effects in non-obese, postmenopausal women with normal glucose tolerance.
In yeast, worms and flies, an extra copy of the gene encoding the Sirtuin Sir2 increases metabolic efficiency, as does administration of polyphenols like resveratrol, thought to act through Sirtuins. But evidence that Sirtuin gain-of-function results in increased metabolic efficiency in mammals is limited. We generated transgenic mice with moderate overexpression of SirT1, designed to mimic the Sirtuin gain-of-function that improves metabolism in C.elegans. These mice exhibit normal insulin sensitivity, but decreased food intake and locomotor activity, resulting in decreased energy expenditure. However, in various models of insulin resistance and diabetes, SirT1 transgenics display improved glucose tolerance due to decreased hepatic glucose production and increased adiponectin levels, without changes in body weight or composition. We conclude that SirT1 gain-of-function primes the organism for metabolic adaptation to insulin resistance, increasing hepatic insulin sensitivity and decreasing whole-body energy requirements. These findings have important implications for Sirtuin-based therapies in humans.
Male excess mortality is widespread among mammals and frequently interpreted as a cost of sexually selected traits that enhance male reproductive success. Sex differences in the propensity to engage in risky behaviours are often invoked to explain the sex gap in survival. Here, we aim to isolate and quantify the survival consequences of two potentially risky male behavioural strategies in a small sexually monomorphic primate, the grey mouse lemur Microcebus murinus: (i) most females hibernate during a large part of the austral winter, whereas most males remain active and (ii) during the brief annual mating season males roam widely in search of receptive females. Using a 10-year capture–mark–recapture dataset from a population of M. murinus in Kirindy Forest, western Madagascar, we statistically modelled sex-specific seasonal survival probabilities. Surprisingly, we did not find any evidence for direct survival benefits of hibernation—winter survival did not differ between males and females. By contrast, during the breeding season males survived less well than females (sex gap: 16%). Consistent with the ‘risky male behaviour’ hypothesis, the period for lowered male survival was restricted to the short mating season. Thus, sex differences in survival in a promiscuous mammal can be substantial even in the absence of sexual dimorphism.
sex differences in survival; seasonal survival; risky male behaviour; female hibernation; male roaming; Microcebus murinus
Darwin was struck by the many similarities between humans and other primates and believed that these similarities were the product of common ancestry. He would be even more impressed by the similarities if he had known what we have learned about primates over the last 50 years. Genetic kinship has emerged as the primary organizing force in the evolution of primate social organization and the patterning of social behaviour in non-human primate groups. There are pronounced nepotistic biases across the primate order, from tiny grey mouse lemurs (Microcebus murinus) that forage alone at night but cluster with relatives to sleep during the day, to cooperatively breeding marmosets that rely on closely related helpers to rear their young, rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) females who acquire their mother's rank and form strict matrilineal dominance hierarchies, male howler monkeys that help their sons maintain access to groups of females and male chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) that form lasting relationships with their brothers. As more evidence of nepotism has accumulated, important questions about the evolutionary processes underlying these kin biases have been raised. Although kin selection predicts that altruism will be biased in favour of relatives, it is difficult to assess whether primates actually conform to predictions derived from Hamilton's rule: br > c. In addition, other mechanisms, including contingent reciprocity and mutualism, could contribute to the nepotistic biases observed in non-human primate groups. There are good reasons to suspect that these processes may complement the effects of kin selection and amplify the extent of nepotistic biases in behaviour.
kin selection; cooperation; kin recognition; primate; altruism
Calorie restriction (CR) extends lifespan in species ranging from yeast to mammals. There is evidence that CR also protects against aging-related diseases in non-human primates. This has led to an intense interest in the development of CR-mimetics to harness the beneficial effects of CR to treat aging-related diseases. One CR-mimetic that has received a great deal of attention is resveratrol. Resveratrol extends the lifespan of obese mice and protects against obesity-related diseases such as type 2 diabetes. The specific mechanism of resveratrol action has been difficult to elucidate because resveratrol has a promiscuous target profile. A recent finding indicates that the metabolic effects of resveratrol may result from competitive inhibition of cAMP-degrading phosphodiesterases (PDEs), which increases cAMP levels. The cAMP-dependent pathways activate AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), which is essential for the metabolic effects of resveratrol. Inhibiting PDE4 with rolipram reproduces all of the metabolic benefits of resveratrol, including protection against diet-induced obesity and an increase in mitochondrial function, physical stamina and glucose tolerance in mice. This discovery suggests that PDE inhibitors may be useful for treating metabolic diseases associated with aging.
AMP-activated protein kinase; Epac1; Sirt1; aging; cAMP; calorie-restriction; metabolic; phosphodiesterases; resveratrol
A bulk of studies in rodents and humans suggest that sleep facilitates different phases of learning and memory process, while sleep deprivation (SD) impairs these processes. Here we tested the hypothesis that SD could alter spatial learning and memory processing in a non-human primate, the grey mouse lemur (Microcebus murinus), which is an interesting model of aging and Alzheimer's disease (AD). Two sets of experiments were performed. In a first set of experiments, we investigated the effects of SD on spatial learning and memory retrieval after one day of training in a circular platform task. Eleven male mouse lemurs aged between 2 to 3 years were tested in three different conditions: without SD as a baseline reference, 8 h of SD before the training and 8 h of SD before the testing. The SD was confirmed by electroencephalographic recordings. Results showed no effect of SD on learning when SD was applied before the training. When the SD was applied before the testing, it induced an increase of the amount of errors and of the latency prior to reach the target. In a second set of experiments, we tested the effect of 8 h of SD on spatial memory retrieval after 3 days of training. Twenty male mouse lemurs aged between 2 to 3 years were tested in this set of experiments. In this condition, the SD did not affect memory retrieval. This is the first study that documents the disruptive effects of the SD on spatial memory retrieval in this primate which may serve as a new validated challenge to investigate the effects of new compounds along physiological and pathological aging.
During aging there is an increasing imbalance of energy intake and expenditure resulting in obesity, frailty, and metabolic disorders. For decades, research has shown that caloric restriction (CR) and exercise can postpone detrimental aspects of aging. These two interventions invoke a similar physiological signature involving pathways associated with stress responses and mitochondrial homeostasis. Nonetheless, CR is able to delay aging processes that result in an increase of both mean and maximum lifespan, whereas exercise primarily increases healthspan. Due to the strict dietary regime necessary to achieve the beneficial effects of CR, most studies to date have focused on rodents and non-human primates. As a consequence, there is vast interest in the development of compounds such as resveratrol, metformin and rapamycin that would activate the same metabolic- and stress-response pathways induced by these interventions without actually restricting caloric intake. Therefore the scope of this review is to (i) describe the benefits of CR and exercise in healthy individuals, (ii) discuss the role of these interventions in the diseased state, and (iii) examine some of the promising pharmacological alternatives such as CR- and exercise-mimetics.
Caloric restriction; Exercise; Aging; Mimetic; Healthspan; Metabolic disorder
Heart failure (HF) is characterized by contractile dysfunction associated with altered energy metabolism. This study was aimed at determining whether resveratrol, a polyphenol known to activate energy metabolism, could be beneficial as a metabolic therapy of HF. Survival, ventricular and vascular function as well as cardiac and skeletal muscle energy metabolism were assessed in a hypertensive model of HF, the Dahl salt-sensitive rat fed with a high-salt diet (HS-NT). Resveratrol (18 mg/kg/day; HS-RSV) was given for 8 weeks after hypertension and cardiac hypertrophy were established (which occurred 3 weeks after salt addition). Resveratrol treatment improved survival (64% in HS-RSV versus 15% in HS-NT, p<0.001), and prevented the 25% reduction in body weight in HS-NT (P<0.001). Moreover, RSV counteracted the development of cardiac dysfunction (fractional shortening −34% in HS-NT) as evaluated by echocardiography, which occurred without regression of hypertension or hypertrophy. Moreover, aortic endothelial dysfunction present in HS-NT was prevented in resveratrol-treated rats. Resveratrol treatment tended to preserve mitochondrial mass and biogenesis and completely protected mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation and PPARα (peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor α) expression. We conclude that resveratrol treatment exerts beneficial protective effects on survival, endothelium–dependent smooth muscle relaxation and cardiac contractile and mitochondrial function, suggesting that resveratrol or metabolic activators could be a relevant therapy in hypertension-induced HF.
Resveratrol, a non-toxic polyphenol, has been shown to inhibit tumor growth in a xenograft mouse model of neuroblasoma. However, resveratrol is rapidly metabolized, mainly to its glucuronidated and sulfated derivatives. In this study we demonstrate that resveratrol alone, and not the glucuronidated or sulfated metabolites, is taken up into tumor cells, induces a rise in [Ca2+]i, and ultimately leads to a decrease in tumor cell viability. A new water-soluble resveratrol formulation was delivered directly at the site of the tumor in a neuroblastoma mouse model. The amount of unmodified resveratrol associated with the tumor increased more than 1000-fold. The increase of unmodified resveratrol associated with the tumor resulted in tumor regression. The number of residual tumor cells that remained viable also decreased as the ratio of the metabolites relative to unmodified resveratrol declined.
Resveratrol; Neuroblastoma; Calcium Signaling; Bioaviailability
Resveratrol has been clinically shown to possess a number of human health benefits. As a result, many attempts have been made to engineer resveratrol production in major cereal grains but have been largely unsuccessful. In this study, we report the creation of a transgenic rice plant that accumulates 1.9 µg resveratrol/g in its grain, surpassing the previously reported anti-metabolic syndrome activity of resveratrol through a synergistic interaction between the transgenic resveratrol and the endogenous properties of the rice. Consumption of our transgenic resveratrol-enriched rice significantly improved all aspects of metabolic syndrome and related diseases in animals fed a high-fat diet. Compared with the control animals, the resveratrol-enriched rice reduced body weight, blood glucose, triglycerides, total cholesterol, and LDL-cholesterol by 24.7%, 22%, 37.4%, 27%, and 59.6%, respectively. The resveratrol-enriched rice from our study may thus provide a safe and convenient means of preventing metabolic syndrome and related diseases without major lifestyle changes or the need for daily medications. These results also suggest that future transgenic plants could be improved if the synergistic interactions of the transgene with endogenous traits of the plant are considered in the experimental design.
Analysing behavioural sequences and quantifying the likelihood of occurrences of different behaviours is a difficult task as motivational states are not observable. Furthermore, it is ecologically highly relevant and yet more complicated to scale an appropriate model for one individual up to the population level. In this manuscript (mixed) hidden Markov models (HMMs) are used to model the feeding behaviour of 54 subadult grey mouse lemurs (Microcebus murinus), small nocturnal primates endemic to Madagascar that forage solitarily. Our primary aim is to introduce ecologists and other users to various HMM methods, many of which have been developed only recently, and which in this form have not previously been synthesized in the ecological literature. Our specific application of mixed HMMs aims at gaining a better understanding of mouse lemur behaviour, in particular concerning sex-specific differences. The model we consider incorporates random effects for accommodating heterogeneity across animals, i.e. accounts for different personalities of the animals. Additional subject- and time-specific covariates in the model describe the influence of sex, body mass and time of night.
behavioural analysis; maximum likelihood; motivational states; random effects; state-space model; subject-specific covariate
Among anthropogenic pressures, light pollution altering light/dark cycles and changing the nocturnal component of the environment constitutes a threat for biodiversity. Light pollution is widely spread across the world and continuously growing. However, despite the efforts realized to describe and understand the effects of artificial lighting on fauna, few studies have documented its consequences on biological rhythms, behavioral and physiological functions in nocturnal mammals. To determine the impacts of light pollution on nocturnal mammals an experimental study was conducted on a nocturnal primate, the grey mouse lemur Microcebus murinus. Male mouse lemurs (N = 8) were exposed 14 nights to moonlight treatment and then exposed 14 nights to light pollution treatment. For both treatments, chronobiological parameters related to locomotor activity and core temperature were recorded using telemetric transmitters. In addition, at the end of each treatment, the 14th night, nocturnal and feeding behaviors were explored using an infrared camera. Finally, throughout the study, body mass and daily caloric food intake were recorded. For the first time in a nocturnal primate, light pollution was demonstrated to modify daily rhythms of locomotor activity and core temperature especially through phase delays and increases in core temperature. Moreover, nocturnal activity and feeding behaviors patterns were modified negatively. This study suggests that light pollution induces daily desynchronization of biological rhythms and could lead to seasonal desynchronization with potential deleterious consequences for animals in terms of adaptation and anticipation of environmental changes.
Resveratrol, a natural polyphenolic compound that is found in grapes and red wine, increases metabolic rate, insulin sensitivity, mitochondrial biogenesis, and physical endurance and reduces fat accumulation in mice. Although it is thought that resveratrol targets Sirt1, this is controversial because resveratrol also activates 5′ AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), which also regulates insulin sensitivity and mitochondrial biogenesis. Here, we use mice deficient in AMPKα1 or -α2 to determine whether the metabolic effects of resveratrol are mediated by AMPK.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
Mice deficient in the catalytic subunit of AMPK (α1 or α2) and wild-type mice were fed a high-fat diet or high-fat diet supplemented with resveratrol for 13 weeks. Body weight was recorded biweekly and metabolic parameters were measured. We also used mouse embryonic fibroblasts deficient in AMPK to study the role of AMPK in resveratrol-mediated effects in vitro.
Resveratrol increased the metabolic rate and reduced fat mass in wild-type mice but not in AMPKα1−/− mice. In the absence of either AMPKα1 or -α2, resveratrol failed to increase insulin sensitivity, glucose tolerance, mitochondrial biogenesis, and physical endurance. Consistent with this, the expression of genes important for mitochondrial biogenesis was not induced by resveratrol in AMPK-deficient mice. In addition, resveratrol increased the NAD-to-NADH ratio in an AMPK-dependent manner, which may explain how resveratrol may activate Sirt1 indirectly.
We conclude that AMPK, which was thought to be an off-target hit of resveratrol, is the central target for the metabolic effects of resveratrol.
Wild animals face the challenge of locating feeding sites distributed across broad spatial and temporal scales. Spatial memory allows animals to find a goal, such as a productive feeding patch, even when there are no goal-specific sensory cues available. Because there is little experimental information on learning and memory capabilities in free-ranging primates, the aim of this study was to test whether grey mouse lemurs (Microcebus murinus), as short-term dietary specialists, rely on spatial memory in relocating productive feeding sites. In addition, we asked what kind of spatial representation might underlie their orientation in their natural environment. Using an experimental approach, we set eight radio-collared grey mouse lemurs a memory task by confronting them with two different spatial patterns of baited and non-baited artificial feeding stations under exclusion of sensory cues. Positional data were recorded by focal animal observations within a grid system of small foot trails. A change in the baiting pattern revealed that grey mouse lemurs primarily used spatial cues to relocate baited feeding stations and that they were able to rapidly learn a new spatial arrangement. Spatially concentrated, non-random movements revealed preliminary evidence for a route-based restriction in mouse lemur space; during a subsequent release experiment, however, we found high travel efficiency in directed movements. We therefore propose that mouse lemur spatial memory is based on some kind of mental representation that is more detailed than a route-based network map.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s10071-009-0219-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Spatial cognition; Topological map; Euclidean map; Correlated random walk; Goal-directed movement; Microcebus murinus
Since age-dependent deposition of Aβ-amyloid has been reported in the Microcebus
murinus, we posited that this animal could as well be a model of age-related synucleinopathy. We characterized the distribution of Aβ-amyloid, α-synuclein and two of its modified forms in the brain of Microcebus
murinus aged from 1.5 to 10 years. Intracytoplasmic α-synuclein aggregates were observed only in aged animals in different brain regions, which were also phospho-Ser129 and nitrated α-synuclein immunoreactive. Age-dependent α-synuclein aggregation occurs spontaneously in mouse lemur primates. Microcebus murinus may provide a model to study age-associated α-synucleinopathy and for testing putative therapeutic interventions for both Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.
Resveratrol is a polyphenol contained in red wine that has been amply investigated for its beneficial effects on organismal metabolism, in particular in the context of the so-called “French paradox,” i.e., the relatively low incidence of coronary heart disease exhibited by a population with a high dietary intake of cholesterol and saturated fats. At least part of the beneficial effect of resveratrol on human health stems from its capacity to promote autophagy by activating the NAD-dependent deacetylase sirtuin 1. However, the concentration of resveratrol found in red wine is excessively low to account alone for the French paradox. Here, we investigated the possibility that other mono- and polyphenols contained in red wine might induce autophagy while affecting the acetylation levels of cellular proteins. Phenolic compounds found in red wine, including anthocyanins (oenin), stilbenoids (piceatannol), monophenols (caffeic acid, gallic acid) glucosides (delphinidin, kuronamin, peonidin) and flavonoids (catechin, epicatechin, quercetin, myricetin), were all capable of stimulating autophagy, although with dissimilar potencies. Importantly, a robust negative correlation could be established between autophagy induction and the acetylation levels of cytoplasmic proteins, as determined by a novel immunofluorescence staining protocol that allows for the exclusion of nuclear components from the analysis. Inhibition of sirtuin 1 by both pharmacological and genetic means abolished protein deacetylation and autophagy as stimulated by resveratrol, but not by piceatannol, indicating that these compounds act through distinct molecular pathways. In support of this notion, resveratrol and piceatannol synergized in inducing autophagy as well as in promoting cytoplasmic protein deacetylation. Our results highlight a cause-effect relationship between the deacetylation of cytoplasmic proteins and autophagy induction by red wine components.
Beclin 1; LC3; longevity; p62/SQSTM1; trichostatin A; U2OS
The massive energetic costs entailed by reproduction in most mammalian females may increase the vulnerability of reproductive success to food shortage. Unexpected events of unfavorable climatic conditions are expected to rise in frequency and intensity as climate changes. The extent to which physiological flexibility allows organisms to maintain reproductive output constant despite energetic bottlenecks has been poorly investigated. In mammals, reproductive resilience is predicted to be maximal during early stages of reproduction, due to the moderate energetic costs of ovulation and gestation relative to lactation. We experimentally tested the consequences of chronic-moderate and short-acute food shortages on the reproductive output of a small seasonally breeding primate, the grey mouse lemur (Microcebus murinus) under thermo-neutral conditions. These two food treatments were respectively designed to simulate the energetic constraints imposed by a lean year (40% caloric restriction over eight months) or by a sudden, severe climatic event occurring shortly before reproduction (80% caloric restriction over a month). Grey mouse lemurs evolved under the harsh, unpredictable climate of the dry forest of Madagascar and should thus display great potential for physiological adjustments to energetic bottlenecks. We assessed the resilience of the early stages of reproduction (mating success, fertility, and gestation) to these contrasted food treatments, and on the later stages (lactation and offspring growth) in response to the chronic food shortage only. Food deprived mouse lemurs managed to maintain constant most reproductive parameters, including oestrus timing, estrogenization level at oestrus, mating success, litter size, and litter mass as well as their overall number of surviving offspring at weaning. However, offspring growth was delayed in food restricted mothers. These results suggest that heterothermic, fattening-prone mammals display important reproductive resilience to energetic bottlenecks. More generally, species living in variable and unpredictable habitats may have evolved a flexible reproductive physiology that helps buffer environmental fluctuations.
Resveratrol, a polyphenol from grapes and red wine has many health beneficial effects, including protection against cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases and cancer. However, our group and others have provided evidence for a dual cancer promoting or inhibitory role for resveratrol in breast cancer, dependent on estrogenic or antiestrogenic activities. Moreover, much of the inhibitory effects of resveratrol have been reported from studies with high non-physiological concentrations.
We investigated the effects of a range of concentrations (0.5, 5, 50 mg/kg body weight) of resveratrol on mammary tumor development post-initiation, using immunocompromised mice.
Our findings suggest promotion of mammary tumor growth and metastasis by resveratrol at all concentrations tested in tumors derived from the low metastatic estrogen receptor (ER)α(-), ERβ(+) MDA-MB-231 and the highly metastatic ER(-) MDA-MB-435 cancer cell lines. Additionally, the activity of the migration/invasion regulator Rac, which we have previously shown to be regulated by resveratrol in vitro, was measured in tumors from resveratrol treated mice. Our results show a significant induction of tumoral Rac activity and a trend in increased expression of the Rac downstream effector PAK1 and other tumor promoting molecules following resveratrol treatment.
Taken together, our findings implicate low concentrations of resveratrol in potential promotion of breast cancer. Therefore, this study illuminates the importance of further delineating resveratrol’s concentration dependent effects, particularly in breast cancer, before it can be tested in the clinic or used as a dietary supplement for breast cancer patients.
Breast cancer; Resveratrol; Metastasis; Grape polyphenols; Rac