Loading...
(1/1380) The developmental basis for allometry in insects.

Within all species of animals, the size of each organ bears a specific relationship to overall body size. These patterns of organ size relative to total body size are called static allometry and have enchanted biologists for centuries, yet the mechanisms generating these patterns have attracted little experimental study. We review recent and older work on holometabolous insect development that sheds light on these mechanisms. In insects, static allometry can be divided into at least two processes: (1) the autonomous specification of organ identity, perhaps including the approximate size of the organ, and (2) the determination of the final size of organs based on total body size. We present three models to explain the second process: (1) all organs autonomously absorb nutrients and grow at organ-specific rates, (2) a centralized system measures a close correlate of total body size and distributes this information to all organs, and (3) autonomous organ growth is combined with feedback between growing organs to modulate final sizes. We provide evidence supporting models 2 and 3 and also suggest that hormones are the messengers of size information. Advances in our understanding of the mechanisms of allometry will come through the integrated study of whole tissues using techniques from development, genetics, endocrinology and population biology.  (+info)

(2/1380) VEGF is required for growth and survival in neonatal mice.

We employed two independent approaches to inactivate the angiogenic protein VEGF in newborn mice: inducible, Cre-loxP- mediated gene targeting, or administration of mFlt(1-3)-IgG, a soluble VEGF receptor chimeric protein. Partial inhibition of VEGF achieved by inducible gene targeting resulted in increased mortality, stunted body growth and impaired organ development, most notably of the liver. Administration of mFlt(1-3)-IgG, which achieves a higher degree of VEGF inhibition, resulted in nearly complete growth arrest and lethality. Ultrastructural analysis documented alterations in endothelial and other cell types. Histological and biochemical changes consistent with liver and renal failure were observed. Endothelial cells isolated from the liver of mFlt(1-3)-IgG-treated neonates demonstrated an increased apoptotic index, indicating that VEGF is required not only for proliferation but also for survival of endothelial cells. However, such treatment resulted in less significant alterations as the animal matured, and the dependence on VEGF was eventually lost some time after the fourth postnatal week. Administration of mFlt(1-3)-IgG to juvenile mice failed to induce apoptosis in liver endothelial cells. Thus, VEGF is essential for growth and survival in early postnatal life. However, in the fully developed animal, VEGF is likely to be involved primarily in active angiogenesis processes such as corpus luteum development.  (+info)

(3/1380) Regulation of body length and male tail ray pattern formation of Caenorhabditis elegans by a member of TGF-beta family.

We have identified a new member of the TGF-beta superfamily, CET-1, from Caenorhabditis elegans, which is expressed in the ventral nerve cord and other neurons. cet-1 null mutants have shortened bodies and male tail abnormal phenotype resembling sma mutants, suggesting cet-1, sma-2, sma-3 and sma-4 share a common pathway. Overexpression experiments demonstrated that cet-1 function requires wild-type sma genes. Interestingly, CET-1 appears to affect body length in a dose-dependent manner. Heterozygotes for cet-1 displayed body lengths ranging between null mutant and wild type, and overexpression of CET-1 in wild-type worms elongated body length close to lon mutants. In male sensory ray patterning, lack of cet-1 function results in ray fusions. Epistasis analysis revealed that mab-21 lies downstream and is negatively regulated by the cet-1/sma pathway in the male tail. Our results show that cet-1 controls diverse biological processes during C. elegans development probably through different target genes.  (+info)

(4/1380) Constitutional, biochemical and lifestyle correlates of fibrinogen and factor VII activity in Polish urban and rural populations.

BACKGROUND: Fibrinogen and factor VII activity are known to be related to atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease, but population differences in clotting factors and modifiable characteristics that influence their levels have not been widely explored. METHODS: This paper examines correlates of plasma fibrinogen concentration and factor VII activity in 2443 men and women aged 35-64 in random samples selected from the residents in two districts in urban Warsaw (618 men and 651 women) and from rural Tarnobrzeg Province (556 men and 618 women) screened in 1987-1988, and assesses which characteristics might explain urban-rural differences. Fibrinogen and factor VII activity were determined using coagulation methods. RESULTS: Fibrinogen was 12.9 mg/dl higher in men and 14.1 mg/dl higher in women in Tarnobrzeg compared to Warsaw. Factor VII activity was higher in Warsaw (9.2% in men and 15.3% in women). After adjustment for selected characteristics, fibrinogen was higher in smokers compared to non-smokers by 28 mg/dl in men and 22 mg/dl in women. In women, a 15 mg/dl increase in HDL-cholesterol was associated with a 10 mg/dl decrease in fibrinogen (P < 0.01). After adjustment for other variables, a higher factor VII activity in Warsaw remained significant (a difference of 9.4% in men and 14.8% in women). Lower fibrinogen in Warsaw remained significant only in women (15.4 mg/dl difference). CONCLUSIONS: The study confirmed that sex, age, BMI, smoking and blood lipids are related to clotting factors. However, with the exception of gender differences and smoking, associations between clotting factors and other variables were small and of questionable practical importance.  (+info)

(5/1380) Relation between obesity and breast cancer in young women.

This study was conducted to assess the relation between body size and risk of breast cancer among young women. A case-control study was conducted among women aged 21-45 years living in three counties in Washington State. Cases were women born after 1944 with invasive or in situ breast cancer that was diagnosed between January 1, 1983, and April 30, 1990. Controls were selected using random digit dialing and were frequency-matched to cases on the basis of age and county of residence. Interviews took place between 1986 and 1992. Body size was evaluated using indices from several different time periods. After adjustment for confounders, a decreased risk of breast cancer was found for women in the highest quintile of body mass index (weight (kg)/height (m)2) as compared with the lowest quintile (for maximum lifetime body mass index, odds ratio = 0.69, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.51-0.94). Age modified the relation between body size and risk of breast cancer. The odds ratio for women in the highest quintile of maximum body mass index who were aged 21-35 years was 0.29 (95% CI 0.16-0.55), as compared with an odds ratio of 1.5 for women aged 36-45 years (95% CI 0.9-2.5) (p for interaction = 0.003). This study supports prior research showing a decreased risk of breast cancer associated with increased body size among premenopausal or young women. More detailed analysis in this study found a strong effect that was limited to the youngest age group (< or = 35 years).  (+info)

(6/1380) Heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70) protects postimplantation murine embryos from the embryolethal effects of hyperthermia.

Previous work has shown that there is a positive correlation between the induction of Hsp70 and its transient nuclear localization and the acquisition and loss of induced thermotolerance in postimplantation rat embryos. To determine whether Hsp70 is sufficient to induce thermotolerance in postimplantation mammalian embryos, we used a transgenic mouse in which the normally strictly inducible Hsp70 is constitutively expressed in the embryo under the control of a beta-actin promoter. Day 8.0 mouse embryos heterozygous for the Hsp70 transgene were not protected from the embryotoxic effects of hyperthermia (43 degrees C); however, homozygous embryos, expressing approximately twice as much Hsp70 as heterozygous embryos, were partially protected (increased embryo viability) from the embryolethal effects of hyperthermia. Although the viability of transgenic embryos was significantly increased compared with that of nontransgenic embryos, this protection did not extend to embryo growth and development. To determine whether the failure to achieve a more robust protection was related to the expression of insufficient Hsp70 in transgenic embryos, we undertook experiments to determine whether the level of Hsp70 correlated with the level of thermotolerance induced by various lengths of a 41 degrees C heat shock. A 41 degrees C, 5-minute heat shock failed to induce Hsp70 or thermotolerance, a 41 degrees C, 15-minute heat shock induced Hsp70 and a significant level of thermotolerance, while a 41 degrees C, 60-minute heat shock induced an even higher level of Hsp70 as well as a higher level of thermotolerance. Quantitation of Hsp70 levels indicated that thermotolerance was associated with levels of Hsp70 of 820 pg/microg embryo protein or greater. Subsequent quantitation of the amount of Hsp70 expressed in homozygous transgenic embryos indicated a level of 577 pg/microg embryo protein, that is, a level below that associated with induced thermotolerance. Overall, results presented indicate that Hsp70 does play a direct role in the induction of thermotolerance in postimplantation mouse embryos; however, the level of thermotolerance is dependent on the level of Hsp70 expressed.  (+info)

(7/1380) Environmental contaminants and body fat distribution.

The effect of body mass index (BMI) and waist:hip ratio (WHR) on plasma levels of organochlorines [i.e., 1,1-dichloro-2,2-bis(p-chlorophenyl)ethylene (DDE)] was investigated in a sample of black and white women drawn from a population-based study in North Carolina. Organochlorine levels were determined in plasma samples from 99 women selected on the basis of race (black versus white) and quartile of the WHR (1st versus 4th). Of a panel of 20 organochlorine compounds tested, only DDE was detectable in most study subjects. Measurements of height, weight, and waist and hip circumferences were taken during an in-person interview. Information was elicited regarding dietary, residential, and breast-feeding histories. Results of multiple regression analyses indicate that black women had significantly higher plasma levels of DDE than white women. These levels were independent of BMI and WHR. BMI but not WHR was also found to be an independent predictor of DDE plasma level. These results suggest that black/white differences should be considered in studies that explore the relationship between environmental contaminants and various disease outcomes, such as breast cancer risk. In addition, BMI may affect circulating levels of contaminants and should also be considered a potentially important modifying factor for exposure to lipophilic substances.  (+info)

(8/1380) The diameter of the common femoral artery in healthy human: influence of sex, age, and body size.

PURPOSE: To determine the relevance of dilatations of the common femoral artery (CFA), knowledge of the normal CFA diameter is essential. The diameter of the CFA in healthy male and female subjects of different ages was investigated. METHODS: The diameter of the CFA was measured in 122 healthy volunteers (59 male, 63 female; 8 to 81 years of age) with echo-tracking B-mode ultrasound scan. The influence of age, sex, height, weight, body surface area (BSA), and systolic blood pressure was analyzed by means of a multiple regression model. RESULTS: The CFA increased steadily in diameter throughout life. From 25 years onwards, the diameter was larger in men than in women. Significant correlations were found between the CFA diameter and weight (r = 0.58 and r = 0.57 in male and female subjects, respectively; P <.0001), height (r = 0.49 and r = 0.54 in male and female subjects, respectively; P <.0001), and BSA (r = 0.60 and r = 0.62 in male and female subjects, respectively; P <.0001). Age and BSA were used to create a model for prediction of the CFA diameter (r = 0.71 and r = 0.77 in male and female subjects, respectively; P <.0001). CONCLUSION: The diameter of the CFA increases with age, initially during growth but also in adults. This is related to age, body size, and sex male subjects have larger arteries than female subjects. It is now possible to predict the normal CFA diameter, and nomograms that may be used in the study of aneurysmal disease are presented.  (+info)