The prairie vole vomeronasal organ is a target for gonadotropin-releasing hormone. (41/710)

Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) is present in nervus terminalis neurons in chemosensory nerve fascicles in vertebrates. In rodents, the majority of GnRH fibers are located within vomeronasal nerves. We have shown that GnRH can alter vomeronasal receptor neuron responses to odors. In this study, using prairie voles, we tested the hypotheses that (i) GnRH-immunoreactive (-ir) neurons project to the vomeronasal organ and accessory olfactory bulb; (ii) a radioactive-labeled GnRH agonist, buserelin, binds to vomeronasal sensory neurons; and (iii) vomeronasal receptor cells express GnRH receptor mRNA as evidenced by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) combined with Southern blotting. In neonatal voles, GnRH-ir cell bodies and fibers were observed within the vomeronasal epithelium, vomeronasal nerves and accessory olfactory bulbs. In adult voles, GnRH-ir fibers were observed not only in the lamina propria of the vomeronasal mucosa, but also along vomeronasal nerves and in the accessory olfactory bulb. Binding of [(125)I]buserelin was observed specifically over the vomeronasal sensory epithelium, and RT-PCR/Southern blotting demonstrated GnRH receptor expression in the vomeronasal mucosa, as well as in olfactory epithelium and pterygopalatine ganglion, two additional structures containing GnRH-ir neurons of the nervus terminalis. This study supports the hypothesis that GnRH is released from nervus terminalis fibers to modulate chemosensory processes, especially those involving chemoreception in the vomeronasal organ.  (+info)

Reversed palatal perforation by upper incisors in ageing blind mole-rats (Spalax ehrenbergi). (42/710)

Blind mole-rats (Spalax ehrenbergi) are fossorial solitary rodents that present striking morphological, physiological and behavioural adaptations to the subterranean environment in which they live. Previous studies have shown that mole-rats are specialised in tooth-digging. The rapid eruption-rate of their incisors has evolved to compensate for their excessive wear by excavation. Males use their incisors more than females for digging and fighting, and their rate of incisor eruption is significantly more rapid than in females. Since mole-rats use their incisors for digging throughout the year, we suggest that continuous mechanical pressure on their oral tissues concentrated at the apical sites of the upper incisors leads to cell and tissue fatigue. We provide evidence for 5 stages of palatal perforation by the upper incisors at their apical sites, with maximum perforation characterising aged males. Interspecies comparisons with 7 other fossorial and semi-fossorial rodent species, and with beavers, which expose their incisors to enormous mechanical pressure, revealed that this palatal perforation is unique to the male mole-rat. We suggest that while the fast eruption rate of incisors in the mole-rat compensates for the rapid wear resulting from digging, evolutionary adaptation to continuous tooth-digging is still ongoing, since the physical pressure of digging at the apical sites of the upper incisors leads to tissue destruction, breakage of the palatal bone and possibly to death, as a result of maxillary inflammation.  (+info)

Naturally attenuated, orally administered Mycobacterium microti as a tuberculosis vaccine is better than subcutaneous Mycobacterium bovis BCG. (43/710)

Mycobacterium microti is phylogenetically closely related to Mycobacterium tuberculosis and is a member of that complex of organisms. It is a curved, acid-fast bacillus that is naturally attenuated with a narrow host range for Microtus species only. In this study, we confirm the unique susceptibility of voles to infection with M. microti and the relative resistance of mice with a significantly lower organism burden after 8 weeks of infection. In addition, histopathologic examination of lungs reveals a lack of cellular, granulomatous aggregates characteristically seen in murine M. tuberculosis infection. In the past, M. microti has been used successfully in humans as a vaccine against tuberculosis but was associated with cutaneous reactions. In an attempt to circumvent this adverse effect, we report the efficacy of aerosol and oral vaccination with M. microti. High-dose orogastric vaccination with M. microti resulted in a statistically significant improvement in protection against aerosol challenge with virulent M. tuberculosis in the murine model compared with subcutaneous M. bovis BCG Pasteur vaccination.  (+info)

Generation of periodic waves by landscape features in cyclic predator-prey systems. (44/710)

The vast majority of models for spatial dynamics of natural populations assume a homogeneous physical environment. However, in practice, dispersing organisms may encounter landscape features that significantly inhibit their movement. We use mathematical modelling to investigate the effect of such landscape features on cyclic predator-prey populations. We show that when appropriate boundary conditions are applied at the edge of the obstacle, a pattern of periodic travelling waves develops, moving out and away from the obstacle. Depending on the assumptions of the model, these waves can take the form of roughly circular 'target patterns' or spirals. This is, to our knowledge, a new mechanism for periodic-wave generation in ecological systems and our results suggest that it may apply quite generally not only to cyclic predator-prey interactions, but also to populations that oscillate for other reasons. In particular, we suggest that it may provide an explanation for the observed pattern of travelling waves in the densities of field voles (Microtus agrestis) in Kielder Forest (Scotland-England border) and of red grouse (Lagopus lagopus scoticus) on Kerloch Moor (northeast Scotland), which in both cases move orthogonally to any large-scale obstacles to movement. Moreover, given that such obstacles to movement are the rule rather than the exception in real-world environments, our results suggest that complex spatio-temporal patterns such as periodic travelling waves are likely to be much more common in the natural world than has previously been assumed.  (+info)

Detection of Babesia microti-like parasite in filter paper-absorbed blood of wild rodents. (45/710)

The first case of human babesiosis was reported in Japan. The epidemiology of this disease in Japanese nature remains unclear. In this study, 97 common field mice captured in Hokkaido, Japan, were examined. Blood specimens absorbed onto filter papers were eluted and tested by nested PCR using specific primers for the B. microti nuclear small subunit rRNA genome. Twenty-three percent (11/47) of Apodemus speciosus and four percent (2/50) of Clethrionomys rufocanus were positive. The 159-bp primary sequences of PCR products tested exhibited 97.5% and 96.8% homology with those of the human isolate in Japan and of U.S. strains of B. microti, respectively.  (+info)

Tula hantavirus in Belgium. (46/710)

European common voles (Microtus arvalis), captured in Belgium in 1999, were proven by molecular as well as by serological techniques to be infected with Tula hantavirus (TULV). This is the first evidence for the presence of TULV in this country. No indication of spill-over infections of Puumala virus, known to be highly endemic among bank voles (Clethrionomys glareolus) within the same geographical regions as the trapped TULV-infected common voles, was observed. Together with previous reports on the circulation of TULV in eastern/central Europe, this finding suggests a more wide-spread circulation of this hantavirus serotype throughout the continent.  (+info)

A comparative study of isolation-induced ultrasonic vocalization in rodent pups. (47/710)

The purpose of this study was to determine whether species differences in neonatal vocalizations of rodent pups could be observed. Ultrasonic vocalizations of pups of 5 rodent species, mouse (ICR), vole (Microtus arvalis), Syrian hamster, rat (Wistar-Imamichi), and Mongolian gerbil were recorded from 3 to 15 or 21 days of age. Recordings were made under conditions of separation from mothers and litter mates in a cooled chamber (approximately 10 degrees C). The major species differences observed were age specific and species specific frequencies. The Mongolian gerbil displayed a different frequency change with age. Namely, the day on which ultrasonic vocalizations ceased was delayed in Mongolian gerbil compared with the other rodents. The modal peak frequencies of ultrasound emitted from pups at 3 days of age were low (around 35 kHz) in the vole and the Syrian hamster, medium (around 45 kHz) in the rat and the Mongolian gerbil, and high (around 55 kHz) in the mouse.  (+info)

Excretion of vancomycin-resistant enterococci by wild mammals. (48/710)

A survey of fecal samples found enterococcal excretion in 82% of 388 bank voles (Clethrionomys glareolus), 92% of 131 woodmice (Apodemus sylvaticus), and 75% of 165 badgers (Meles meles). Vancomycin-resistant enterococci, all Enterococcus faecium of vanA genotype, were excreted by 4.6% of the woodmice and 1.2% of the badgers, but by none of the bank voles.  (+info)