Comparative hypocholesterolemic effects of five animal oils in cholesterol-fed rats.
The hypocholesterolemic efficacy of various animal oils was compared in rats given a cholesterol-enriched diet. After acclimatization for one week, male F344 DuCrj rats (8 weeks of age) that had been fed with a conventional diet were assigned to diets containing 5% of oil from emu (Dromaius), Japanese Sika deer (Cervus nippon yesoensis, Heude), sardine, beef tallow, or lard with 0.5% cholesterol for 6 weeks. After this feeding period, the concentrations of serum total cholesterol and of very-low-density lipoprotein + intermediate-density lipoprotein + low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol in the sardine oil group were significantly lower than those in the other groups. The serum high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol concentration in the Japanese Sika deer oil group was significantly higher than that in the other groups. The atherosclerotic index and liver cholesterol concentration in the sardine oil and Japanese Sika deer oil groups were significantly lower than those in the other groups. The fecal cholesterol excretion by the Japanese Sika deer oil group was significantly higher than that of the other groups, except for the sardine oil group, and the fecal bile acid excretion by the sardine oil group was significantly higher than that of the other groups, except for the lard group. These results suggest that Japanese Sika deer oil reduced the atherosclerotic index and liver cholesterol concentration in the presence of excess cholesterol in the diet as well as sardine oil did by increasing the excretion of cholesterol from the intestines of rats. (+info)
Three-dimensional kinematics of skeletal elements in avian prokinetic and rhynchokinetic skulls determined by Roentgen stereophotogrammetry.
Several different types of cranial kinesis are present within modern birds, enabling them to move (part of) the upper bill relative to the braincase. This movement of the upper bill results from movement of the quadrate and the pterygoid-palatine complex (PPC). The taxon Palaeognathae is characterised by a very distinct PPC and a special type of cranial kinesis (central kinesis) that is very different from that found in the Neognathae. This has led some authors to hypothesise that there is a functional relationship between the morphology of the PPC and the type of cranial kinesis. This hypothesis is tested here by analysing the movement pattern of both the upper bill and the PPC in birds with three different types of cranial kinesis: prokinesis, distal rhynchokinesis and central rhynchokinesis. Movement patterns were determined using a Roentgen stereophotogrammetry method, which made it possible to detect very small displacements (0.5 mm) of bony elements in three dimensions, while the jaw muscles and ligaments remained intact. We found that in all types of kinesis investigated the movements of the quadrate, jugal bars and PPC are similar. Movement of the quadrate is transferred to the upper beak by the jugal bar and the PPC, which moves almost exclusively forwards and backwards, thereby elevating or depressing the upper bill. The differences between the types of kinesis lie only in the position of the point of rotation. These findings indicate that there is no correlation between the specific morphology of the PPC and the type of cranial kinesis. Several other factors, including the external forces applied during food acquisition, may influence the morphology of the PPC. Differences in PPC morphology therefore appear to be the result of different functional demands acting on the system simultaneously but with different strengths, depending on the species. (+info)
Purification and characterization of goose type lysozyme from cassowary (Casuarius casuarius) egg white.
A novel goose-type lysozyme was purified from egg white of cassowary bird (Casuarius casuarius). The purification step was composed of two fractionation steps: pH treatment steps followed by a cation exchange column chromatography. The molecular mass of the purified enzyme was estimated to be 20.8 kDa by SDS-PAGE. This enzyme was composed of 186 amino acid residues and showed similar amino acid composition to reported goose-type lysozymes. The N-terminal amino acid sequencing from transblotted protein found that this protein had no N-terminal. This enzyme showed either lytic or chitinase activities and had some different properties from those reported for goose lysozyme. The optimum pH and temperature on lytic activity of this lysozyme were pH 5 and 30 degrees C at ionic strength of 0.1, respectively. This lysozyme was stable up to 30 degrees C for lytic activity and the activity was completely abolished at 80 degrees C. The chitinase activity against glycol chitin showed dual optimum pH around 4.5 and 11. The optimum temperature for chitinase activity was at 50 degrees C and the enzyme was stable up to 40 degrees C. (+info)
Complete mitochondrial DNA genome sequences of extinct birds: ratite phylogenetics and the vicariance biogeography hypothesis.
The ratites have stimulated much debate as to how such large flightless birds came to be distributed across the southern continents, and whether they are a monophyletic group or are composed of unrelated lineages that independently lost the power of flight. Hypotheses regarding the relationships among taxa differ for morphological and molecular data sets, thus hindering attempts to test whether plate tectonic events can explain ratite biogeography. Here, we present the complete mitochondrial DNA genomes of two extinct moas from New Zealand, along with those of five extant ratites (the lesser rhea, the ostrich, the great spotted kiwi, the emu and the southern cassowary and two tinamous from different genera. The non-stationary base composition in these sequences violates the assumptions of most tree-building methods. When this bias is corrected using neighbour-joining with log-determinant distances and non-homogeneous maximum likelihood, the ratites are found to be monophlyletic, with moas basal, as in morphological trees. The avian sequences also violate a molecular clock, so we applied a non-parametric rate smoothing algorithm, which minimizes ancestor-descendant local rate changes, to date nodes in the tree. Using this method, most of the major ratite lineages fit the vicariance biogeography hypothesis, the exceptions being the ostrich and the kiwi, which require dispersal to explain their present distribution. (+info)
Elastic modulus and strength of emu cortical bone.
The emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae) shows potential as a unique animal model for replicating the femoral head collapse process seen in end-stage human osteonecrosis. Since the collapse phenomenon (and interventions to prevent it) involve mechanical processes, it is important to elucidate the similarities and differences of emus versus humans in terms of hip joint biomechanics. A first step for comparison is the intrinsic mechanical properties of the respective bone tissues, as reflected in cortical bone flexural stiffness and strength. In four-point bending, emu cortical bone was found to have an elastic modulus of 13.1 GPa. Its yield stress was determined to be 113 MPa and the ultimate strength was 146 MPa. Emu cortical bone's elastic modulus was similar to that of other avian species, and falls approximately 25% below that of the human (17.3 GPa). (+info)
The primary structure of cassowary (Casuarius casuarius) goose type lysozyme.
The complete amino acid sequence of cassowary (Casuarius casuarius) goose type lysozyme was analyzed by direct protein sequencing of peptides obtained by cleavage with trypsin, V8 protease, chymotrypsin, lysyl endopeptidase, and cyanogen bromide. The N-terminal residue of the enzyme was deduced to be a pyroglutamate group by analysis with a LC/MS/MS system equipped with the oMALDI ionization source, and then confirmed by a glutamate aminopeptidase enzyme. The blocked N-terminal is the first reported in this enzyme group. The positions of disulfide bonds in this enzyme were chemically identified as Cys4-Cys60 and Cys18-Cys29. Cassowary lysozyme was proved to consist of 185 amino acid residues and had a molecular mass of 20408 Da calculated from the amino acid sequence. The amino acid sequence of cassowary lysozyme compared to that of reported G-type lysozymes had identities of 90%, 83%, and 81%, for ostrich, goose, and black swan lysozymes, respectively. The amino acid substitutions at PyroGlu1, Glu19, Gly40, Asp82, Thr102, Thr156, and Asn167 were newly detected in this enzyme group. The substituted amino acids that might contribute to substrate binding were found at subsite B (Asn122Ser, Phe123Met). The amino acid sequences that formed three alpha-helices and three beta-sheets were completely conserved. The disulfide bond locations and catalytic amino acid were also strictly conserved. The conservation of the three alpha-helices structures and the location of disulfide bonds were considered to be important for the formation of the hydrophobic core structure of the catalytic site and for maintaining a similar three-dimensional structure in this enzyme group. (+info)
Microsatellite analysis of genetic diversity in wild and farmed Emus (Dromaius novaehollandiae).
The emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae) occupies most regions of the Australian continent and in recent times has been farmed for meat, oil, and leather. Very little is known about the genetic structure of natural or farmed populations of these birds. We report a preliminary study of genetic variation in emus undertaken by typing birds from five farms and two natural populations at five polymorphic microsatellite loci. Genetic diversity was high for all populations and there was little evidence of inbreeding, with most populations conforming to Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium for most loci. Significant heterozygote deficiencies at one locus in a number of populations were detected and may indicate the presence of null alleles. Comparisons of allele frequencies showed little evidence of genetic differentiation either among farmed populations or between farmed and natural populations. (+info)
Maturation of cardiovascular control mechanisms in the embryonic emu (Dromiceius novaehollandiae).
Our understanding of avian embryonic cardiovascular regulation has been based on studies in chickens. The present study was undertaken to determine if the patterns established in chickens are generally applicable to the emu, a ratite bird species. We studied cardiovascular physiology over the interval from 60% to 90% of the emu's 50-day incubation period. During this period, embryonic emus exhibit a slight fall in resting heart rate (from 171 beats min(-1) to 154 beats min(-1)) and a doubling of mean arterial pressure (from 1.2 kPa to 2.6 kPa). Exposures to 15% or 10% O(2) initially decreased heart rate during the first period of emu incubation studied [60% of incubation (60%I)] but increased heart rate in the 90%I group. Arterial pressure responded to hypoxia with an initial depression (-1.6 kPa) at 60%I and 70%I but showed no response during the later periods of incubation (80%I and 90%I). In addition, tonic stimulation of both cholinergic and adrenergic (alpha and beta) receptors was present on heart rate at 70%I, with the cholinergic and beta-adrenergic tone increasing in strength by 90%I. Arterial pressure was dependent on a constant beta-adrenergic and constant alpha-adrenergic tone from 60%I to 90%I. A comparison with embryonic white leghorn chickens over a similar window of incubation revealed that emus and white leghorn chickens both possess an adrenergic tone on heart rate and pressure but that only emus possess a cholinergic tone on heart rate. Collectively, these data indicate that the maturation of cardiovascular control systems differs between white leghorn chickens and emus, inviting investigation of additional avian species to determine other patterns. (+info)