Behavioral changes and cholinesterase activity of rats acutely treated with propoxur.
Early assessment of neurological and behavioral effects is extremely valuable for early identification of intoxications because preventive measures can be taken against more severe or chronic toxic consequences. The time course of the effects of an oral dose of the anticholinesterase agent propoxur (8.3 mg/kg) was determined on behaviors displayed in the open-field and during an active avoidance task by rats and on blood and brain cholinesterase activity. Maximum inhibition of blood cholinesterase was observed within 30 min after administration of propoxur. The half-life of enzyme-activity recovery was estimated to be 208.6 min. Peak brain cholinesterase inhibition was also detected between 5 and 30 min of the pesticide administration, but the half-life for enzyme activity recovery was much shorter, in the range of 85 min. Within this same time interval of the enzyme effects, diminished motor and exploratory activities and decreased performance of animals in the active avoidance task were observed. Likewise, behavioral normalization after propoxur followed a time frame similar to that of brain cholinesterase. These data indicate that behavioral changes that occur during intoxication with low oral doses of propoxur may be dissociated from signs characteristic of cholinergic over-stimulation but accompany brain cholinesterase activity inhibition. (+info)
Lateralized effects of medial prefrontal cortex lesions on neuroendocrine and autonomic stress responses in rats.
The medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) is highly activated by stress and modulates neuroendocrine and autonomic function. Dopaminergic inputs to mPFC facilitate coping ability and demonstrate considerable hemispheric functional lateralization. The present study investigated the potentially lateralized regulation of stress responses at the level of mPFC output neurons, using ibotenic acid lesions. Neuroendocrine function was assessed by plasma corticosterone increases in response to acute or repeated 20 min restraint stress. The primary index of autonomic activation was gastric ulcer development during a separate cold restraint stress. Restraint-induced defecation was also monitored. Plasma corticosterone levels were markedly lower in response to repeated versus acute restraint stress. In acutely restrained animals, right or bilateral, but not left mPFC lesions, decreased prestress corticosterone levels, whereas in repeatedly restrained rats, the same lesions significantly reduced the peak stress-induced corticosterone response. Stress ulcer development (after a single cold restraint stress) was greatly reduced by either right or bilateral mPFC lesions but was unaffected by left lesions. Restraint-induced defecation was elevated in animals with left mPFC lesions. Finally, a left-biased asymmetry in adrenal gland weights was observed across animals, which was unaffected by mPFC lesions. The results suggest that mPFC output neurons demonstrate an intrinsic right brain specialization in both neuroendocrine and autonomic activation. Such findings may be particularly relevant to clinical depression which is associated with both disturbances in stress regulatory systems and hemispheric imbalances in prefrontal function. (+info)
Dirt and diarrhoea: formative research in hygiene promotion programmes.
Investment in the promotion of better hygiene for the prevention of diarrhoeal diseases and as a component of water and sanitation programmes is increasing. Before designing programmes capable of sustainably modifying hygiene behaviour in large populations, valid answers to a number of basic questions concerning the site and the intended beneficiaries have to be obtained. Such questions include 'what practices favour the transmission of enteric pathogens?', 'what advantages will be perceived by those who adopt safe practices?' and 'what channels of communication are currently employed by the target population?' A study of hygiene and diarrhoea in Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso, used a mixture of methods to address such questions. This paper draws on that experience to propose a plan of preliminary research using a variety of techniques which could be implemented over a period of a few months by planners of hygiene promotion programmes. The techniques discussed include structured observation, focus group discussions and behavioural trials. Modest investment in such systematic formative research with clear and limited goals is likely to be repaid many times over in the increased effectiveness of hygiene promotion programmes. (+info)
Effect of transgalactooligosaccharides on the composition of the human intestinal microflora and on putative risk markers for colon cancer.
BACKGROUND: Nondigestible oligosaccharides have been claimed to benefit the health of the colon by selectively stimulating the growth of bifidobacteria and by decreasing the toxicity of the colon contents. OBJECTIVE: We compared the effect of 2 doses of transgalactooligosaccharides and a placebo on the composition and activity of the intestinal microflora in 18 women and 22 men. DESIGN: Strictly controlled experimental diets were supplied to 3 intervention groups in a parallel design. The study was divided into 2 consecutive 3-wk periods during which each participant consumed a run-in diet followed by an intervention diet that differed only in the amount of transgalactooligosaccharides: 0 (placebo), 7.5, and 15 g/d. Breath samples and fecal samples were collected at the end of both the run-in and intervention periods. RESULTS: Apparent fermentability of transgalactooligosaccharides was 100%. The highest dose of transgalactooligosaccharides significantly increased the concentration of breath hydrogen by 130% (P < 0.01) and the nitrogen density of the feces by 8.5% (P < 0.05). The number of bifidobacteria increased after both placebo and transgalactooligosaccharides ingestion, but the differences between these increases were not significantly different. Transgalactooligosaccharides did not significantly affect bowel habits; stool composition; the concentration of short-chain fatty acids or bile acids in fecal water; the concentration of ammonia, indoles, or skatoles in feces; fecal pH; or the composition of the intestinal microflora. CONCLUSION: We conclude that transgalactooligosaccharides are completely fermented in the human colon, but do not beneficially change the composition of the intestinal microflora, the amount of protein fermentation products in feces, or the profile of bile acids in fecal water. (+info)
Blood-borne, albumin-bound prostaglandin E2 may be involved in fever.
Although the involvement of blood-borne PGE2 in fever has been hypothesized by several authors and has substantial experimental support, the current literature often rejects this hypothesis because several attempts to induce fever by a peripheral PGE2 failed. However, it is usually ignored that the amphipathic molecules of PGE2 are readily self-associating and that such an aggregation could have prevented the peripherally administered PGE2 (free form) from expressing its pyrogenic activity, thus leading to false negative results. To ensure disaggregation of PGE2, we prepared its complex within a carrier protein, human serum albumin (HSA). HSA was purified with activated charcoal and polymixin B-polyacrylamide gel and incubated with PGE2 for 1 h at 37 degrees C. Adult Chinchilla rabbits were injected intravenously with PGE2-HSA complex in either the higher (75 micrograms/kg PGE2:30 mg/kg HSA) or the lower (15 micrograms/kg:6 mg/kg) dose, and the rectal temperature (Tr) was measured. In the controls, either the ligand alone or the carrier alone was administered. At the higher dose, neither free PGE2 nor albumin alone was pyrogenic, whereas the PGE2-HSA complex produced a fever characterized by a short latency (<10 min) and a maximal Tr rise of 0.7 +/- 0.2 degrees C. At the lower dose, none of the substances affected the Tr. This study demonstrates a marked pyrogenic activity of the intravenous PGE2-HSA, but not of the free PGE2. Administration of a preformed complex may be more physiologically relevant than administration of the free ligand because of the ligand's disaggregation, protection from enzymatic degradation, and facilitated delivery to targets. Our study supports the hypothesis that peripheral PGE2 is involved in fever genesis. (+info)
Laterality effects of human pudendal nerve stimulation on corticoanal pathways: evidence for functional asymmetry.
BACKGROUND: Although motor and sensory pathways to the human external anal sphincter are bilateral, a unilateral pudendal neuropathy may still disrupt anal continence. Anal continence can, however, be preserved despite unilateral pudendal damage, and so to explain those differing observations, we postulated that pudendal innervation might be asymmetric. AIMS: To explore the individual effects of right and left pudendal nerve stimulation on the corticofugal pathways to the human external anal sphincter and thus assess evidence for functional asymmetric pelvic innervation. METHODS: In eight healthy subjects, anal sphincter electromyographic responses, evoked to transcranial magnetic stimulation of the motor cortex, were recorded 5-500 msec after digital transrectal electrical conditioning stimuli applied to each pudendal nerve. RESULTS: Right or left pudendal nerve stimulation evoked anal responses of similar latencies but asymmetric amplitudes in six subjects: dominant responses (>50% contralateral side) from the right pudendal in four subjects and from the left in two. Cortical stimulation also evoked anal responses with amplitude 448 (121) microV and latency 20.9 (1.1) msec. When cortical stimulation was preceded by pudendal nerve stimulation, the cortical responses were facilitated at interstimulus intervals of 5-20 msec. Dominant pudendal nerve stimulation induced greater facilitation of the cortically evoked responses than the non-dominant nerve. CONCLUSIONS: Cortical pathways to the external anal sphincter are facilitated by pudendal nerve conditioning, in an asymmetric manner. This functional asymmetry may explain the presence and absence of anal incontinence after unilateral pudendal nerve injury. (+info)
Effect of chronic social stress on delta-opioid receptor function in the rat.
Previous studies have shown that stressors modify endogenous opioid systems. However, the consequences of social stress on the function of endogenous opioid systems is not well documented. The present studies investigated the effect of rank and housing condition on response to SNC-80, a delta receptor agonist. Triad-housed rats were assessed for dominance status by their behavior and alteration in body weights. At 3 and 50 days, triad- and individually housed rats were injected with SNC-80 (35 mg/kg i.p.) or saline, and evaluated using a test battery consisting of open field behaviors, rectal temperature, analgesia, and air-puff-induced ultrasonic vocalizations. After 50 days of housing, plasma corticosterone, adrenal catecholamines, and the density of cyclic[D-penicillamine2-D-penicillamine2]enkephalin-stimu lat ed guanylyl 5'-[gamma[35S]thio]-triphosphate binding in the prefrontal cortex, the amygdala, nucleus accumbens, thalamus, arcuate, and median eminence were also determined. The first 24 h of triad housing resulted in loss of body weight in subdominant (betas and gammas) but not dominant alpha rats. SCN-80-induced hypothermia was smaller, and there was no depression of headpoke and locomotor behavior in the periphery and the center of the field of alpha rats, in contrast to subdominant and singly housed rats. Rank status did not influence SNC-80's analgesic effect or its inhibition of air-puff-induced ultrasonic vocalizations. Plasma corticosterone levels of alphas and gammas were lower compared with betas and singly housed rats. Agonist stimulation of delta receptor guanylyl 5'-[gamma[35S]thio]-triphosphate binding was lateralized in prefrontal cortex and amygdala, but not nucleus accumbens. Binding was highest in all brain areas of singly housed rats and lowest in the thalamus of beta and of gamma rats. Lateralized binding in amygdala, high locomotor activity, and sensory sensitivity correlated positively with greater sensitivity to SNC-80-induced depression in these measures. Higher binding in the right amygdala correlated with higher plasma corticosterone levels. These findings indicate that dominant rats displayed stimulant rather than depressant responses to delta-opioid activation. Therefore in rodents rank-related stress can alter responsiveness of the endogenous opioid system, and dominance can increase the excitatory effects of delta agonists. (+info)
A randomised controlled study of the effect of long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation on stool hardness during formula feeding.
BACKGROUND: The passage of hard stools is significantly more common in formula fed infants than breast fed infants and this might be the result of differences in fat absorption between breast and formula fed infants. Experimental studies indicate that long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFAs) might influence fat hydrolysis and absorption. AIM: To investigate the relation of LCPUFA supplementation to stool frequency and consistency during the first 4 months of life. DESIGN: Double blind, randomised, controlled study of 88 healthy infants. RESULTS: 1905 stools (858 from LCPUFA supplemented infants, 1047 non-supplemented infants) were examined. The mean (SEM) number of stools passed for each three day study period was significantly less in the LCPUFA group (5.5 (0.3) v 6.2 (0.2); p < 0.05). In both groups, there was a significant reduction in the number of stools passed with age (p < 0.001). During the first 3 months, the mean (SEM) percentage of hard stools passed by infants in the LCPUFA supplemented group was 7.7 (2.1) compared with 19.2 (2.8) for unsupplemented infants (p = 0.001). CONCLUSION: The prevalence of hard stools is significantly reduced in infants fed a formula that is supplemented with LCPUFAs. (+info)