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1.  Plasma ATP concentration and venous oxygen content in the forearm during dynamic handgrip exercise 
BMC Physiology  2009;9:24.
It has been proposed that adenosine triphosphate (ATP) released from red blood cells (RBCs) may contribute to the tight coupling between blood flow and oxygen demand in contracting skeletal muscle. To determine whether ATP may contribute to the vasodilatory response to exercise in the forearm, we measured arterialised and venous plasma ATP concentration and venous oxygen content in 10 healthy young males at rest, and at 30 and 180 seconds during dynamic handgrip exercise at 45% of maximum voluntary contraction (MVC).
Venous plasma ATP concentration was elevated above rest after 30 seconds of exercise (P < 0.05), and remained at this higher level 180 seconds into exercise (P < 0.05 versus rest). The increase in ATP was mirrored by a decrease in venous oxygen content. While there was no significant relationship between ATP concentration and venous oxygen content at 30 seconds of exercise, they were moderately and inversely correlated at 180 seconds of exercise (r = -0.651, P = 0.021). Arterial ATP concentration remained unchanged throughout exercise, resulting in an increase in the venous-arterial ATP difference.
Collectively these results indicate that ATP in the plasma originated from the muscle microcirculation, and are consistent with the notion that deoxygenation of the blood perfusing the muscle acts as a stimulus for ATP release. That ATP concentration was elevated just 30 seconds after the onset of exercise also suggests that ATP may be a contributing factor to the blood flow response in the transition from rest to steady state exercise.
PMCID: PMC2801472  PMID: 20003530
2.  Transcriptional profile of isoproterenol-induced cardiomyopathy and comparison to exercise-induced cardiac hypertrophy and human cardiac failure 
BMC Physiology  2009;9:23.
Isoproterenol-induced cardiac hypertrophy in mice has been used in a number of studies to model human cardiac disease. In this study, we compared the transcriptional response of the heart in this model to other animal models of heart failure, as well as to the transcriptional response of human hearts suffering heart failure.
We performed microarray analyses on RNA from mice with isoproterenol-induced cardiac hypertrophy and mice with exercise-induced physiological hypertrophy and identified 865 and 2,534 genes that were significantly altered in pathological and physiological cardiac hypertrophy models, respectively. We compared our results to 18 different microarray data sets (318 individual arrays) representing various other animal models and four human cardiac diseases and identified a canonical set of 64 genes that are generally altered in failing hearts. We also produced a pairwise similarity matrix to illustrate relatedness of animal models with human heart disease and identified ischemia as the human condition that most resembles isoproterenol treatment.
The overall patterns of gene expression are consistent with observed structural and molecular differences between normal and maladaptive cardiac hypertrophy and support a role for the immune system (or immune cell infiltration) in the pathology of stress-induced hypertrophy. Cross-study comparisons such as the results presented here provide targets for further research of cardiac disease that might generally apply to maladaptive cardiac stresses and are also a means of identifying which animal models best recapitulate human disease at the transcriptional level.
PMCID: PMC2799380  PMID: 20003209
3.  Go contributes to olfactory reception in Drosophila melanogaster 
BMC Physiology  2009;9:22.
Seven-transmembrane receptors typically mediate olfactory signal transduction by coupling to G-proteins. Although insect odorant receptors have seven transmembrane domains like G-protein coupled receptors, they have an inverted membrane topology and function as ligand-gated cation channels. Consequently, the involvement of cyclic nucleotides and G proteins in insect odor reception is controversial. Since the heterotrimeric Goα subunit is expressed in Drosophila olfactory receptor neurons, we reasoned that Go acts together with insect odorant receptor cation channels to mediate odor-induced physiological responses.
To test whether Go dependent signaling is involved in mediating olfactory responses in Drosophila, we analyzed electroantennogram and single-sensillum recording from flies that conditionally express pertussis toxin, a specific inhibitor of Go in Drosophila. Pertussis toxin expression in olfactory receptor neurons reversibly reduced the amplitude and hastened the termination of electroantennogram responses induced by ethyl acetate. The frequency of odor-induced spike firing from individual sensory neurons was also reduced by pertussis toxin. These results demonstrate that Go signaling is involved in increasing sensitivity of olfactory physiology in Drosophila. The effect of pertussis toxin was independent of odorant identity and intensity, indicating a generalized involvement of Go in olfactory reception.
These results demonstrate that Go is required for maximal physiological responses to multiple odorants in Drosophila, and suggest that OR channel function and G-protein signaling are required for optimal physiological responses to odors.
PMCID: PMC2789035  PMID: 19943954
4.  Impact of gasoline inhalation on some neurobehavioural characteristics of male rats 
BMC Physiology  2009;9:21.
This paper examines closely and compares the potential hazards of inhalation of two types of gasoline (car fuel). The first type is the commonly use leaded gasoline and the second is the unleaded type enriched with oxygenate additives as lead substituent in order to raise the octane number. The impacts of gasoline exposure on Na+, K+-ATPase, superoxide dismutase (SOD), acetylcholinesterase (AChE), total protein, reduced glutathione (GSH), and lipid peroxidation (TBARS) in the cerebral cortex, and monoamine neurotransmitters dopamine (DA), norepinephrine (NE) and serotonin (5-HT) in the cerebral cortex, hippocampus, cerebellum and hypothalamus were evaluated. The effect of gasoline exposure on the aggressive behaviour tests was also studied.
The present results revealed that gasoline inhalation induced significant fluctuations in the levels of the monoamine neurotransmitters in the studied brain regions. This was concomitant with a decrease in Na+, K+-ATPase activity and total protein content. Moreover, the group exposed to the unleaded gasoline exhibited an increase in lipid peroxidation and a decrease in AChE and superoxide dismutase activities. These physiological impairments were accompanied with a higher tendency towards aggressive behaviour as a consequence to gasoline inhalation.
It is concluded from the present work that chronic exposure to either the leaded or the unleaded gasoline vapours impaired the levels of monoamine neurotransmitters and other biochemical parameters in different brain areas and modulated several behavioural aspects related to aggression in rats.
PMCID: PMC2788517  PMID: 19930677
5.  A multi-component model of the dynamics of salt-induced hypertension in Dahl-S rats 
BMC Physiology  2009;9:20.
In humans, salt intake has been suggested to influence blood pressure (BP) on a wide range of time scales ranging from several hours or days to many months or years. Detailed time course data collected in the Dahl salt-sensitive rat strain suggest that the development of salt-induced hypertension may consist of several distinct phases or components that differ in their timing and reversibility. To better understand these components, the present study sought to model the dynamics of salt-induced hypertension in the Dahl salt sensitive (Dahl-S) rat using 3 sets of time course data.
The first component of the model ("Acute-Reversible") consisted of a linear transfer function to account for the rapid and reversible effects of salt on BP (ie. acute salt sensitivity, corresponding with a depressed slope of the chronic pressure natriuresis relationship). For the second component ("Progressive-Irreversible"), an integrator function was used to represent the relatively slow, progressive, and irreversible effect of high salt intake on BP (corresponding with a progressive salt-induced shift of the chronic pressure natriuresis relationship to higher BP levels). A third component ("Progressive-Reversible") consisted of an effect of high salt intake to progressively increase the acute salt-sensitivity of BP (ie. reduce the slope of the chronic pressure natriuresis relationship), amounting to a slow and progressive, yet reversible, component of salt-induced hypertension. While the 3 component model was limited in its ability to follow the BP response to rapid and/or brief transitions in salt intake, it was able to accurately follow the slower steady state components of salt-induced BP changes. This model exhibited low values of mean absolute error (1.92 ± 0.23, 2.13 ± 0.37, 2.03 ± 0.3 mmHg for data sets 1 - 3), and its overall performance was significantly improved over that of an initial model having only 2 components. The 3 component model performed well when applied to data from hybrids of Dahl salt sensitive and Dahl salt resistant rats in which salt sensitivity varied greatly in its extent and character (mean absolute error = 1.11 ± 0.08 mmHg).
Our results suggest that the slow process of development of salt-induced hypertension in Dahl-S rats over a period of many weeks can be well represented by a combination of three components that differ in their timing, reversibility, and their associated effect on the chronic pressure natriuresis relationship. These components are important to distinguish since each may represent a unique set of underlying mechanisms of salt-induced hypertension.
PMCID: PMC2785758  PMID: 19874603
6.  Analysis of knockout mice suggests a role for VGF in the control of fat storage and energy expenditure 
BMC Physiology  2009;9:19.
Previous studies of mixed background mice have demonstrated that targeted deletion of Vgf produces a lean, hypermetabolic mouse that is resistant to diet-, lesion-, and genetically-induced obesity. To investigate potential mechanism(s) and site(s) of action of VGF, a neuronal and endocrine secreted protein and neuropeptide precursor, we further analyzed the metabolic phenotypes of two independent VGF knockout lines on C57Bl6 backgrounds.
Unlike hyperactive VGF knockout mice on a mixed C57Bl6-129/SvJ background, homozygous mutant mice on a C57Bl6 background were hypermetabolic with similar locomotor activity levels to Vgf+/Vgf+ mice, during day and night cycles, indicating that mechanism(s) other than hyperactivity were responsible for their increased energy expenditure. In Vgf-/Vgf- knockout mice, morphological analysis of brown and white adipose tissues (BAT and WAT) indicated decreased fat storage in both tissues, and decreased adipocyte perimeter and area in WAT. Changes in gene expression measured by real-time RT-PCR were consistent with increased fatty acid oxidation and uptake in BAT, and increased lipolysis, decreased lipogenesis, and brown adipocyte differentiation in WAT, suggesting that increased sympathetic nervous system activity in Vgf-/Vgf- mice may be associated with or responsible for alterations in energy expenditure and fat storage. In addition, uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) and UCP2 protein levels, mitochondrial number, and mitochondrial cristae density were upregulated in Vgf-/Vgf- BAT. Using immunohistochemical and histochemical techniques, we detected VGF in nerve fibers innervating BAT and Vgf promoter-driven reporter expression in cervical and thoracic spinal ganglia that project to and innervate the chest wall and tissues including BAT. Moreover, VGF peptide levels were quantified by radioimmunoassay in BAT, and were found to be down-regulated by a high fat diet. Lastly, despite being hypermetabolic, VGF knockout mice were cold intolerant.
We propose that VGF and/or VGF-derived peptides modulate sympathetic outflow pathways to regulate fat storage and energy expenditure.
PMCID: PMC2774661  PMID: 19863797
7.  Aquaporin-6 is expressed along the rat gastrointestinal tract and upregulated by feeding in the small intestine 
BMC Physiology  2009;9:18.
Several aquaporins (a family of integral membrane proteins) have been recently identified in the mammalian gastrointestinal tract, and their involvement in the movement of fluid and small solutes has been suggested. In this direction we investigated, in some regions of the rat gastrointestinal tract, the presence and localization of aquaporin-6, given its peculiar function as an ion selective channel.
RT-PCR and immunoblotting experiments showed that aquaporin-6 was expressed in all the investigated portions of the rat gastrointestinal tract. The RT-PCR experiments showed that aquaporin-6 transcript was highly expressed in small intestine and rectum, and less in stomach, caecum and colon. In addition, jejunal mRNA expression was specifically stimulated by feeding.
Immunoblotting analysis showed a major band with a molecular weight of about 55 kDa corresponding to the aquaporin-6 protein dimer; this band was stronger in the stomach and large intestine than in the small intestine. Immunoblotting analysis of brush border membrane vesicle preparations showed an intense signal for aquaporin-6 protein.
The results of in situ hybridization experiments demonstrate that aquaporin-6 transcript is present in the isthmus, neck and basal regions of the stomach lining, and throughout the crypt-villus axis in both small and large intestine. In the latter regions, immunohistochemistry revealed strong aquaporin-6 labelling in the apical membrane of the surface epithelial cells, while weak or no labelling was observed in the crypt cells. In the stomach, an intense staining was observed in mucous neck cells and lower signal in principal cells and some parietal cells.
The results indicate that aquaporin-6 is distributed throughout the gastrointestinal tract. Aquaporin-6 localization at the apical pole of the superficial epithelial cells and its upregulation by feeding suggest that it may be involved in movements of water and anions through the epithelium of the villi.
PMCID: PMC2765416  PMID: 19811639
8.  Both ischemic preconditioning and ghrelin administration protect hippocampus from ischemia/reperfusion and upregulate uncoupling protein-2 
BMC Physiology  2009;9:17.
A major endogenous protective mechanism in many organs against ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury is ischemic preconditioning (IPC). By moderately uncoupling the mitochondrial respiratory chain and decreasing production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), IPC reduces apoptosis induced by I/R by reducing cytochrome c release from the mitochondria. One element believed to contribute to reduce ROS production is the uncoupling protein UCP2 (and UCP3 in the heart). Although its implication in IPC in the brain has been shown in vitro, no in vivo study of protein has shown its upregulation. Our first goal was to determine in rat hippocampus whether UCP2 protein upregulation was associated with IPC-induced protection and increased ROS production. The second goal was to determine whether the peptide ghrelin, which possesses anti-oxidant and protective properties, alters UCP2 mRNA levels in the same way as IPC during protection.
After global forebrain ischemia (15 min) with 72 h reperfusion (I/R group), we found important neuronal lesion in the rat hippocampal CA1 region, which was reduced by a preceding 3-min preconditioning ischemia (IPC+I/R group), whereas the preconditioning stimulus alone (IPC group) had no effect. Compared to control, UCP2 protein labelling increased moderately in the I/R (+39%, NS) and IPC+I/R (+28%, NS) groups, and substantially in the IPC group (+339%, P < 0.05). Treatment with superoxide dismutase (10000 U/kg ip) at the time of a preconditioning ischemia greatly attenuated (-73%, P < 0.001) the increase in UCP2 staining at 72 h, implying a role of oxygen radicals in UCP2 induction.
Hippocampal UCP2 mRNA showed a moderate increase in I/R (+33%, P < 0.05) and IPC+I/R (+40%, P < 0.05) groups versus control, and a large increase in the IPC group (+333%, P < 0.001). In ghrelin experiments, the I/R+ghrelin group (3 daily administrations) showed considerable protection of CA1 neurons versus I/R animals, and increased hippocampal UCP2 mRNA (+151%, P < 0.001).
We confirm that IPC causes increased expression of UCP2 protein in vivo, at a moment appropriate for protection against I/R in the hippocampus. The two dissimilar protective strategies, IPC and ghrelin administration, were both associated with upregulated UCP2, suggesting that UCP2 may often represent a final common pathway in protection from I/R.
PMCID: PMC2754976  PMID: 19772611
9.  Regulation of excitation-contraction coupling in mouse cardiac myocytes: integrative analysis with mathematical modelling 
BMC Physiology  2009;9:16.
The cardiomyocyte is a prime example of inherently complex biological system with inter- and cross-connected feedback loops in signalling, forming the basic properties of intracellular homeostasis. Functional properties of cells and tissues have been studied e.g. with powerful tools of genetic engineering, combined with extensive experimentation. While this approach provides accurate information about the physiology at the endpoint, complementary methods, such as mathematical modelling, can provide more detailed information about the processes that have lead to the endpoint phenotype.
In order to gain novel mechanistic information of the excitation-contraction coupling in normal myocytes and to analyze sophisticated genetically engineered heart models, we have built a mathematical model of a mouse ventricular myocyte. In addition to the fundamental components of membrane excitation, calcium signalling and contraction, our integrated model includes the calcium-calmodulin-dependent enzyme cascade and the regulation it imposes on the proteins involved in excitation-contraction coupling. With the model, we investigate the effects of three genetic modifications that interfere with calcium signalling: 1) ablation of phospholamban, 2) disruption of the regulation of L-type calcium channels by calcium-calmodulin-dependent kinase II (CaMK) and 3) overexpression of CaMK. We show that the key features of the experimental phenotypes involve physiological compensatory and autoregulatory mechanisms that bring the system to a state closer to the original wild-type phenotype in all transgenic models. A drastic phenotype was found when the genetic modification disrupts the regulatory signalling system itself, i.e. the CaMK overexpression model.
The novel features of the presented cardiomyocyte model enable accurate description of excitation-contraction coupling. The model is thus an applicable tool for further studies of both normal and defective cellular physiology. We propose that integrative modelling as in the present work is a valuable complement to experiments in understanding the causality within complex biological systems such as cardiac myocytes.
PMCID: PMC2745357  PMID: 19715618
10.  Manipulating insulin signaling to enhance mosquito reproduction 
BMC Physiology  2009;9:15.
In the mosquito Aedes aegypti the insulin/insulin growth factor I signaling (IIS) cascade is a key regulator of many physiological processes, including reproduction. Two important reproductive events, steroidogenesis in the ovary and yolk synthesis in the fat body, are regulated by the IIS cascade in mosquitoes. The signaling molecule phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) is a key inhibitor of the IIS cascade that helps modulate the activity of the IIS cascade. In Ae. aegypti, six unique splice variants of AaegPTEN were previously identified, but the role of these splice variants, particularly AaegPTEN3 and 6, were unknown.
Knockdown of AaegPTEN or its specific splice variant AaegPTEN6 (the splice variant thought to regulate reproduction in the ovary and fat body) using RNAi led to a 15–63% increase in egg production with no adverse effects on egg viability during the first reproductive cycle. Knockdown of AaegPTEN3, expressed predominantly in the head, had no effect on reproduction. We also characterized the protein expression patterns of these two splice variants during development and in various tissues during a reproductive cycle.
Previous studies in a range of organisms, including Drosophila melanogaster and Caenorhabditis elegans, have demonstrated that disruption of the IIS cascade leads to decreased reproduction or sterility. In this study we demonstrate that knockdown of the IIS inhibitor PTEN can actually increase reproduction in the mosquito, at least during the first reproductive cycle.
PMCID: PMC2736915  PMID: 19695103
11.  Coral bleaching under thermal stress: putative involvement of host/symbiont recognition mechanisms 
BMC Physiology  2009;9:14.
Coral bleaching can be defined as the loss of symbiotic zooxanthellae and/or their photosynthetic pigments from their cnidarian host. This major disturbance of reef ecosystems is principally induced by increases in water temperature. Since the beginning of the 1980s and the onset of global climate change, this phenomenon has been occurring at increasing rates and scales, and with increasing severity. Several studies have been undertaken in the last few years to better understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms of coral bleaching but the jigsaw puzzle is far from being complete, especially concerning the early events leading to symbiosis breakdown. The aim of the present study was to find molecular actors involved early in the mechanism leading to symbiosis collapse.
In our experimental procedure, one set of Pocillopora damicornis nubbins was subjected to a gradual increase of water temperature from 28°C to 32°C over 15 days. A second control set kept at constant temperature (28°C). The differentially expressed mRNA between the stressed states (sampled just before the onset of bleaching) and the non stressed states (control) were isolated by Suppression Subtractive Hybridization. Transcription rates of the most interesting genes (considering their putative function) were quantified by Q-RT-PCR, which revealed a significant decrease in transcription of two candidates six days before bleaching. RACE-PCR experiments showed that one of them (PdC-Lectin) contained a C-Type-Lectin domain specific for mannose. Immunolocalisation demonstrated that this host gene mediates molecular interactions between the host and the symbionts suggesting a putative role in zooxanthellae acquisition and/or sequestration. The second gene corresponds to a gene putatively involved in calcification processes (Pdcyst-rich). Its down-regulation could reflect a trade-off mechanism leading to the arrest of the mineralization process under stress.
Under thermal stress zooxanthellae photosynthesis leads to intense oxidative stress in the two partners. This endogenous stress can lead to the perception of the symbiont as a toxic partner for the host. Consequently, we propose that the bleaching process is due in part to a decrease in zooxanthellae acquisition and/or sequestration. In addition to a new hypothesis in coral bleaching mechanisms, this study provides promising biomarkers for monitoring coral health.
PMCID: PMC2728513  PMID: 19653882
12.  Acute heat stress brings down milk secretion in dairy cows by up-regulating the activity of the milk-borne negative feedback regulatory system 
BMC Physiology  2009;9:13.
The objective of this study was to determine if acute heat stress (HS) decreases milk secretion by activating the milk-borne negative feedback system, as an emergency physiological response to prevent a life-threatening situation. To induce HS, summer acclimatized dairy cows were exposed to full sun under mid-summer Mediterranean conditions, with and without conventional cooling procedures.
Exposure to HS induced a rapid and acute (within 24 h) reduction in milk yield in proportion to the heat load. This decrease was moderated by cooler night-time ambient temperature. The reduction in milk yield was associated with corresponding responses in plasminogen activator/plasminogen-plasmin activities, and with increased activity (concentration) of the (1–28) N-terminal fragment peptide that is released by plasmin from β-casein (β-CN (1–28)). These metabolites constitute the regulatory negative feedback system. Previously, it has been shown that β-CN (1–28) down-regulated milk secretion by blocking potassium channels on the apical aspects of the mammary epithelial cells.
Here we demonstrate that the potassium channels in mammary tissue became more susceptible to β-CN (1–28) activity under HS. Thus, the present study highlighted two previously unreported features of this regulatory system: (i) that it modulates rapidly in response to stressor impact variations; and (ii) that the regulations of the mammary epithelial potassium channel sensitivity to the inhibitory effect of β-CN (1–28) is part of the regulatory system.
PMCID: PMC2714494  PMID: 19563620
13.  Exercise-induced up-regulation of MMP-1 and IL-8 genes in endurance horses 
BMC Physiology  2009;9:12.
The stress response is a critical factor in the training of equine athletes; it is important for performance and for protection of the animal against physio-pathological disorders.
In this study, the molecular mechanisms involved in the response to acute and strenuous exercise were investigated using peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs).
Quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) was used to detect modifications in transcription levels of the genes for matrix metalloproteinase-1 (MMP-1) and interleukin 8 (IL-8), which were derived from previous genome-wide expression analysis. Significant up-regulation of these two genes was found in 10 horses that had completed a race of 90–120 km in a time-course experimental design.
These results suggest that MMP-1 and IL-8 are both involved in the exercise-induced stress response, and this represents a starting point from which to understand the adaptive responses to this phenomenon.
PMCID: PMC2705340  PMID: 19552796
14.  MicroCT for comparative morphology: simple staining methods allow high-contrast 3D imaging of diverse non-mineralized animal tissues 
BMC Physiology  2009;9:11.
Comparative, functional, and developmental studies of animal morphology require accurate visualization of three-dimensional structures, but few widely applicable methods exist for non-destructive whole-volume imaging of animal tissues. Quantitative studies in particular require accurately aligned and calibrated volume images of animal structures. X-ray microtomography (microCT) has the potential to produce quantitative 3D images of small biological samples, but its widespread use for non-mineralized tissues has been limited by the low x-ray contrast of soft tissues. Although osmium staining and a few other techniques have been used for contrast enhancement, generally useful methods for microCT imaging for comparative morphology are still lacking.
Several very simple and versatile staining methods are presented for microCT imaging of animal soft tissues, along with advice on tissue fixation and sample preparation. The stains, based on inorganic iodine and phosphotungstic acid, are easier to handle and much less toxic than osmium, and they produce high-contrast x-ray images of a wide variety of soft tissues. The breadth of possible applications is illustrated with a few microCT images of model and non-model animals, including volume and section images of vertebrates, embryos, insects, and other invertebrates. Each image dataset contains x-ray absorbance values for every point in the imaged volume, and objects as small as individual muscle fibers and single blood cells can be resolved in their original locations and orientations within the sample.
With very simple contrast staining, microCT imaging can produce quantitative, high-resolution, high-contrast volume images of animal soft tissues, without destroying the specimens and with possibilities of combining with other preparation and imaging methods. Such images are expected to be useful in comparative, developmental, functional, and quantitative studies of morphology.
PMCID: PMC2717911  PMID: 19545439
15.  Delivery of sry1, but not sry2, to the kidney increases blood pressure and sns indices in normotensive wky rats 
BMC Physiology  2009;9:10.
Our laboratory has shown that a locus on the SHR Y chromosome increases blood pressure (BP) in the SHR rat and in WKY rats with the SHR Y chromosome (SHR/y rat). A candidate for this Y chromosome hypertension locus is Sry, a gene that encodes a transcription factor responsible for testes determination. The SHR Y chromosome has six divergent Sry loci. The following study examined if exogenous Sry1 or Sry2 delivered to the kidney would elevate renal tyrosine hydroxylase, renal catecholamines, plasma catecholamines and telemetered BP over a 28 day period. We delivered 50 μg of either the expression construct Sry1/pcDNA 3.1, Sry2/pcDNA 3.1, or control vector into the medulla of the left kidney of normotensive WKY rats by electroporation. Weekly air stress was performed to determine BP responsiveness. Separate groups of animals were tested for renal function and plasma hormone patterns and pharmacological intervention using alpha adrenergic receptor blockade. Pre-surgery baseline and weekly blood samples were taken from Sry1 electroporated and control vector males for plasma renin, aldosterone, and corticosterone. BP was measured by telemetry and tyrosine hydroxylase and catecholamines by HPLC with electrochemical detection.
In the animals receiving the Sry1 plasmid there were significant increases after 21 days in resting plasma norepinephrine (NE, 27%) and renal tyrosine hydroxylase content (41%, p < .05) compared to controls. BP was higher in animals electroporated with Sry1 (143 mmHg, p < .05) compared to controls (125 mmHg) between 2–4 weeks. Also the pressor response to air stress was significantly elevated in males electroporated with Sry1 (41 mmHg) compared to controls (28 mmHg, p < .001). Sry2 did not elevate BP or SNS indices and further tests were not done. The hormone profiles for plasma renin, aldosterone, and corticosterone between electroporated Sry1 and control vector males showed no significant differences over the 28 day period. Alpha adrenergic receptor blockade prevented the air stress pressor response in both strains. Urinary dopamine significantly increased after 7 days post Sry electroporation.
These results are consistent with a role for Sry1 in increasing BP by directly or indirectly activating renal sympathetic nervous system activity.
PMCID: PMC2699329  PMID: 19500370
16.  Acclimatory responses of the Daphnia pulex proteome to environmental changes. II. Chronic exposure to different temperatures (10 and 20°C) mainly affects protein metabolism 
BMC Physiology  2009;9:8.
Temperature affects essentially every aspect of the biology of poikilothermic animals including the energy and mass budgets, activity, growth, and reproduction. While thermal effects in ecologically important groups such as daphnids have been intensively studied at the ecosystem level and at least partly at the organismic level, much less is known about the molecular mechanisms underlying the acclimation to different temperatures. By using 2D gel electrophoresis and mass spectrometry, the present study identified the major elements of the temperature-induced subset of the proteome from differently acclimated Daphnia pulex.
Specific sets of proteins were found to be differentially expressed in 10°C or 20°C acclimated D. pulex. Most cold-repressed proteins comprised secretory enzymes which are involved in protein digestion (trypsins, chymotrypsins, astacin, carboxypeptidases). The cold-induced sets of proteins included several vitellogenin and actin isoforms (cytoplasmic and muscle-specific), and an AAA+ ATPase. Carbohydrate-modifying enzymes were constitutively expressed or down-regulated in the cold.
Specific sets of cold-repressed and cold-induced proteins in D. pulex can be related to changes in the cellular demand for amino acids or to the compensatory control of physiological processes. The increase of proteolytic enzyme concentration and the decrease of vitellogenin, actin and total protein concentration between 10°C and 20°C acclimated animals reflect the increased amino-acids demand and the reduced protein reserves in the animal's body. Conversely, the increase of actin concentration in cold-acclimated animals may contribute to a compensatory mechanism which ensures the relative constancy of muscular performance. The sheer number of peptidase genes (serine-peptidase-like: > 200, astacin-like: 36, carboxypeptidase-like: 30) in the D. pulex genome suggests large-scaled gene family expansions that might reflect specific adaptations to the lifestyle of a planktonic filter feeder in a highly variable aquatic environment.
PMCID: PMC2678069  PMID: 19383147
17.  Acclimatory responses of the Daphnia pulex proteome to environmental changes. I. Chronic exposure to hypoxia affects the oxygen transport system and carbohydrate metabolism 
BMC Physiology  2009;9:7.
Freshwater planktonic crustaceans of the genus Daphnia show a remarkable plasticity to cope with environmental changes in oxygen concentration and temperature. One of the key proteins of adaptive gene control in Daphnia pulex under hypoxia is hemoglobin (Hb), which increases in hemolymph concentration by an order of magnitude and shows an enhanced oxygen affinity due to changes in subunit composition. To explore the full spectrum of adaptive protein expression in response to low-oxygen conditions, two-dimensional gel electrophoresis and mass spectrometry were used to analyze the proteome composition of animals acclimated to normoxia (oxygen partial pressure [Po2]: 20 kPa) and hypoxia (Po2: 3 kPa), respectively.
The comparative proteome analysis showed an up-regulation of more than 50 protein spots under hypoxia. Identification of a major share of these spots revealed acclimatory changes for Hb, glycolytic enzymes (enolase), and enzymes involved in the degradation of storage and structural carbohydrates (e.g. cellubiohydrolase). Proteolytic enzymes remained constitutively expressed on a high level.
Acclimatory adjustments of the D. pulex proteome to hypoxia included a strong induction of Hb and carbohydrate-degrading enzymes. The scenario of adaptive protein expression under environmental hypoxia can be interpreted as a process to improve oxygen transport and carbohydrate provision for the maintenance of ATP production, even during short episodes of tissue hypoxia requiring support from anaerobic metabolism.
PMCID: PMC2678976  PMID: 19383146
18.  Physiological responses of Daphnia pulex to acid stress 
BMC Physiology  2009;9:9.
Acidity exerts a determining influence on the composition and diversity of freshwater faunas. While the physiological implications of freshwater acidification have been intensively studied in teleost fish and crayfish, much less is known about the acid-stress physiology of ecologically important groups such as cladoceran zooplankton. This study analyzed the extracellular acid-base state and CO2 partial pressure (PCO2), circulation and ventilation, as well as the respiration rate of Daphnia pulex acclimated to acidic (pH 5.5 and 6.0) and circumneutral (pH 7.8) conditions.
D. pulex had a remarkably high extracellular pH of 8.33 and extracellular PCO2 of 0.56 kPa under normal ambient conditions (pH 7.8 and normocapnia). The hemolymph had a high bicarbonate concentration of 20.9 mM and a total buffer value of 51.5 meq L-1 pH-1. Bicarbonate covered 93% of the total buffer value. Acidic conditions induced a slight acidosis (ΔpH = 0.16–0.23), a 30–65% bicarbonate loss, and elevated systemic activities (tachycardia, hyperventilation, hypermetabolism). pH 6.0 animals partly compensated the bicarbonate loss by increasing the non-bicarbonate buffer value from 2.0 to 5.1 meq L-1 pH-1. The extracellular PCO2 of pH 5.5 animals was significantly reduced to 0.33 kPa, and these animals showed the highest tolerance to a short-term exposure to severe acid stress.
Chronic exposure to acidic conditions had a pervasive impact on Daphnia's physiology including acid-base balance, extracellular PCO2, circulation and ventilation, and energy metabolism. Compensatory changes in extracellular non-bicarbonate buffering capacity and the improved tolerance to severe acid stress indicated the activation of defense mechanisms which may result from gene-expression mediated adjustments in hemolymph buffer proteins and in epithelial properties. Mechanistic analyses of the interdependence between extracellular acid-base balance and CO2 transport raised the question of whether a carbonic anhydrase (CA) is involved in the catalysis of the reaction, which led to the discovery of 31 CA-genes in the genome of D. pulex.
PMCID: PMC2689847  PMID: 19383148
19.  Intestinal barrier function in response to abundant or depleted mucosal glutathione in Salmonella-infected rats 
BMC Physiology  2009;9:6.
Glutathione, the main antioxidant of intestinal epithelial cells, is suggested to play an important role in gut barrier function and prevention of inflammation-related oxidative damage as induced by acute bacterial infection. Most studies on intestinal glutathione focus on oxidative stress reduction without considering functional disease outcome. Our aim was to determine whether depletion or maintenance of intestinal glutathione changes susceptibility of rats to Salmonella infection and associated inflammation.
Rats were fed a control diet or the same diet supplemented with buthionine sulfoximine (BSO; glutathione depletion) or cystine (glutathione maintenance). Inert chromium ethylenediamine-tetraacetic acid (CrEDTA) was added to the diets to quantify intestinal permeability. At day 4 after oral gavage with Salmonella enteritidis (or saline for non-infected controls), Salmonella translocation was determined by culturing extra-intestinal organs. Liver and ileal mucosa were collected for analyses of glutathione, inflammation markers and oxidative damage. Faeces was collected to quantify diarrhoea.
Glutathione depletion aggravated ileal inflammation after infection as indicated by increased levels of mucosal myeloperoxidase and interleukin-1β. Remarkably, intestinal permeability and Salmonella translocation were not increased. Cystine supplementation maintained glutathione in the intestinal mucosa but inflammation and oxidative damage were not diminished. Nevertheless, cystine reduced intestinal permeability and Salmonella translocation.
Despite increased infection-induced mucosal inflammation upon glutathione depletion, this tripeptide does not play a role in intestinal permeability, bacterial translocation and diarrhoea. On the other hand, cystine enhances gut barrier function by a mechanism unlikely to be related to glutathione.
PMCID: PMC2678068  PMID: 19374741
20.  Angiotensin II directly regulates intestinal epithelial NHE3 in Caco2BBE cells 
BMC Physiology  2009;9:5.
Angiotensin II (AII) effects on intestinal Na+ transport may be multifactorial. To determine if AII might have a direct effect on intestinal epithelial Na+ transport, we investigated its actions on Na+ transport in human intestinal epithelial Caco2BBE cells.
AII increased apical (brush border) sodium-hydrogen exchanger (NHE)-3, but not NHE2, activity within one hour. Similarly, only apical membrane NHE3 abundance increased at 1–2 hours without any change in total NHE3 protein abundance. From 4–48 hours, AII stimulated progressively larger increases in apical NHE3 activity and surface abundance, which was associated with increases in NHE3 protein expression. At 4–24 hours, NHE3 mRNA increases over baseline expression, suggesting increased gene transcription. This was supported by AII induced increases in rat NHE3 gene promoter-reporter activity. AII induction of NHE3 was blocked by the AII type I receptor antagonist losartan. Acute changes in AII-induced increases in NHE3 exocytosis were blocked by a phospholipase C inhibitor, an arachidonic acid cytochrome P450 epoxygenase inhibitor, as well as phosphatidylinositol 3 kinase (PI3K) inhibitors and Akt inhibitor, partially blocked by a metalloproteinase inhibitor and an EGF (epidermal growth factor) receptor kinase inhibitor, but not affected by an inhibitor of MEK-1 (MAPKK-1, mitogen activated protein kinase kinase-1).
We conclude that angiotensin II has a direct role in regulating intestinal fluid and electrolyte absorption which may contribute to its overall effects in regulation systemic volume and blood pressure. AII activates several key signaling pathways that induce acute and chronic changes in NHE3 membrane trafficking and gene transcription.
PMCID: PMC2669048  PMID: 19338654
21.  Relationships among body mass, brain size, gut length, and blood tryptophan and serotonin in young wild-type mice 
BMC Physiology  2009;9:4.
The blood hyperserotonemia of autism is one of the most consistent biological findings in autism research, but its causes remain unclear. A major difficulty in understanding this phenomenon is the lack of information on fundamental interactions among the developing brain, gut, and blood in the mammalian body. We therefore investigated relationships among the body mass, the brain mass, the volume of the hippocampal complex, the gut length, and the whole-blood levels of tryptophan and 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT, serotonin) in young, sexually immature wild-type mice.
Three-dimensional reconstructions of the hippocampal complex were obtained from serial, Nissl-stained sections and the gut was allowed to attain its maximal relaxed length prior to measurements. The tryptophan and 5-HT concentrations in the blood were assessed with high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and the sex of mice was confirmed by genotyping. Statistical analysis yielded information about correlative relationships among all studied variables. It revealed a strong negative correlation between blood 5-HT concentration and body mass and a strong negative correlation between the brain mass/body mass ratio and gut length. Also, a negative correlation was found between the volume of the hippocampal complex and blood tryptophan concentration.
The study provides information on the covariance structure of several central and peripheral variables related to the body serotonin systems. In particular, the results indicate that body mass should be included as a covariate in studies on platelet 5-HT levels and they also suggest a link between brain growth and gut length.
PMCID: PMC2671477  PMID: 19321004
22.  Intestinal cellular localization of PCNA protein and CYP1A mRNA in Atlantic salmon Salmo salar L. exposed to a model toxicant 
BMC Physiology  2009;9:3.
The aim of the study was to examine the intestinal cellular localization of proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) and cytochrome P450 A1 (CYP1A) expression in Atlantic salmon Salmo salar L. exposed to a model toxicant. The stress response was induced by intraperitoneal injection of four salmon with a single dose (50 mg/kg) of the CYP1A inducer β-naphthoflavone (BNF) and intestinal tissue (mid and distal intestine; MI and DI) was sampled seven days later. Samples for histology and gene transcription analysis were collected from four exposed fish and four control fish. PCNA was assessed by immunohistochemistry, CYP1A mRNA was studied by in situ hybridization (ISH) and finally the transcription of five genes was quantified by real-time quantitative RT-PCR (real-time RT-PCR); two detoxifying genes (CYP1A and glutathione S-transferase; GST), a stress marker gene (heat shock protein 70; HSP70), PCNA and a gene marker of apoptosis (caspase 6A).
PCNA protein and CYP1A mRNA were successfully localized in the intestinal cells (MI) of both experimental groups. At the cellular level, BNF significantly lowered intestinal cell proliferation and increased the CYP1A mRNA levels compared to the control group. The real-time RT-PCR data, which showed an increased mRNA expression both in the MI and DI of 139- and 62-fold, respectively, confirmed the increased cellular CYP1A mRNA levels detected using ISH. HSP70 expression was also up-regulated in the exposed fish. The other examined genes did not show any differential regulation in the experimental fish group.
This study showed that CYP1A mRNA had a specific intestinal cellular transcription pattern in Atlantic salmon exposed to BNF. At the cellular level CYP1A mRNA expression was always observed at or around the cell nucleus close to the basolateral cell membrane and at the tissue level CYP1A mRNA expression was most frequently observed in the basal and apex area of the intestinal folds. Taken together, a link between the intestinal detoxification system (CYP1A) and cell renewal system (PCNA) is indicated with these two processes being inversely correlated in BNF exposed fish.
PMCID: PMC2667469  PMID: 19309504
23.  Direct visualization of hemolymph flow in the heart of a grasshopper (Schistocerca americana) 
BMC Physiology  2009;9:2.
Hemolymph flow patterns in opaque insects have never been directly visualized due to the lack of an appropriate imaging technique. The required spatial and temporal resolutions, together with the lack of contrast between the hemolymph and the surrounding soft tissue, are major challenges. Previously, indirect techniques have been used to infer insect heart motion and hemolymph flow, but such methods fail to reveal fine-scale kinematics of heartbeat and details of intra-heart flow patterns.
With the use of microbubbles as high contrast tracer particles, we directly visualized hemolymph flow in a grasshopper (Schistocerca americana) using synchrotron x-ray phase-contrast imaging. In-vivo intra-heart flow patterns and the relationship between respiratory (tracheae and air sacs) and circulatory (heart) systems were directly observed for the first time.
Synchrotron x-ray phase contrast imaging is the only generally applicable technique that has the necessary spatial, temporal resolutions and sensitivity to directly visualize heart dynamics and flow patterns inside opaque animals. This technique has the potential to illuminate many long-standing questions regarding small animal circulation, encompassing topics such as retrograde heart flow in some insects and the development of flow in embryonic vertebrates.
PMCID: PMC2672055  PMID: 19272159
24.  The sweet taste quality is linked to a cluster of taste fibers in primates: lactisole diminishes preference and responses to sweet in S fibers (sweet best) chorda tympani fibers of M. fascicularis monkey 
BMC Physiology  2009;9:1.
Psychophysically, sweet and bitter have long been considered separate taste qualities, evident already to the newborn human. The identification of different receptors for sweet and bitter located on separate cells of the taste buds substantiated this separation. However, this finding leads to the next question: is bitter and sweet also kept separated in the next link from the taste buds, the fibers of the taste nerves? Previous studies in non-human primates, P. troglodytes, C. aethiops, M. mulatta, M. fascicularis and C. jacchus, suggest that the sweet and bitter taste qualities are linked to specific groups of fibers called S and Q fibers. In this study we apply a new sweet taste modifier, lactisole, commercially available as a suppressor of the sweetness of sugars on the human tongue, to test our hypothesis that sweet taste is conveyed in S fibers.
We first ascertained that lactisole exerted similar suppression of sweetness in M. fascicularis, as reported in humans, by recording their preference of sweeteners and non- sweeteners with and without lactisole in two-bottle tests. The addition of lactisole significantly diminished the preference for all sweeteners but had no effect on the intake of non-sweet compounds or the intake of water. We then recorded the response to the same taste stimuli in 40 single chorda tympani nerve fibers. Comparison between single fiber nerve responses to stimuli with and without lactisole showed that lactisole only suppressed the responses to sweeteners in S fibers. It had no effect on the responses to any other stimuli in all other taste fibers.
In M. fascicularis, lactisole diminishes the attractiveness of compounds, which taste sweet to humans. This behavior is linked to activity of fibers in the S-cluster. Assuming that lactisole blocks the T1R3 monomer of the sweet taste receptor T1R2/R3, these results present further support for the hypothesis that S fibers convey taste from T1R2/R3 receptors, while the impulse activity in non-S fibers originates from other kinds of receptors. The absence of the effect of lactisole on the faint responses in some S fibers to other stimuli as well as the responses to sweet and non-sweet stimuli in non-S fibers suggest that these responses originate from other taste receptors.
PMCID: PMC2662785  PMID: 19224647

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