Proteomic profiling of cerebrospinal fluid identifies biomarkers for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. (9/40)

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is characterized by degeneration of motor neurons. We tested the hypothesis that proteomic analysis will identify protein biomarkers that provide insight into disease pathogenesis and are diagnostically useful. To identify ALS specific biomarkers, we compared the proteomic profile of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from ALS and control subjects using surface-enhanced laser desorption/ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry (SELDI-TOF-MS). We identified 30 mass ion peaks with statistically significant (p < 0.01) differences between control and ALS subjects. Initial analysis with a rule-learning algorithm yielded biomarker panels with diagnostic predictive value as subsequently assessed using an independent set of coded test subjects. Three biomarkers were identified that are either decreased (transthyretin, cystatin C) or increased (carboxy-terminal fragment of neuroendocrine protein 7B2) in ALS CSF. We validated the SELDI-TOF-MS results for transthyretin and cystatin C by immunoblot and immunohistochemistry using commercially available antibodies. These findings identify a panel of CSF protein biomarkers for ALS.  (+info)

Analysis of freeze-thaw embolism in conifers. The interaction between cavitation pressure and tracheid size. (10/40)

Ice formation in the xylem sap produces air bubbles that under negative xylem pressures may expand and cause embolism in the xylem conduits. We used the centrifuge method to evaluate the relationship between freeze-thaw embolism and conduit diameter across a range of xylem pressures (Px) in the conifers Pinus contorta and Juniperus scopulorum. Vulnerability curves showing loss of conductivity (embolism) with Px down to -8 MPa were generated with versus without superimposing a freeze-thaw treatment. In both species, the freeze-thaw plus water-stress treatment caused more embolism than water stress alone. We estimated the critical conduit diameter (Df) above which a tracheid will embolize due to freezing and thawing and found that it decreased from 35 microm at a Px of -0.5 MPa to 6 microm at -8 MPa. Further analysis showed that the proportionality between diameter of the air bubble nucleating the cavitation and the diameter of the conduit (kL) declined with increasingly negative Px. This suggests that the bubbles causing cavitation are smaller in proportion to tracheid diameter in narrow tracheids than in wider ones. A possible reason for this is that the rate of dissolving increases with bubble pressure, which is inversely proportional to bubble diameter (La Place's law). Hence, smaller bubbles shrink faster than bigger ones. Last, we used the empirical relationship between Px and Df to model the freeze-thaw response in conifer species.  (+info)

Gitksan medicinal plants--cultural choice and efficacy. (11/40)

BACKGROUND: The use of plants for healing by any cultural group is integrally related to local concepts of the nature of disease, the nature of plants, and the world view of the culture. The physical and chemical properties of the plants themselves also bear on their selection by people for medicines, as does the array of plants available for people to choose from. I examine use of medicinal plants from a "biobehavioral" perspective to illuminate cultural selection of plants used for medicine by the Gitksan of northwestern British Columbia, Canada. METHODS: Consultant consensus, "intercultural consensus", independent use of the same plants by other cultural groups, and phytochemistry and bioassay results from the literature, were employed in analysis of probable empirical efficacy of plant uses. RESULTS: 70% of 37 Gitksan medicinal plants were used similarly by other cultures where direct diffusion is not known to have occurred; eleven plants, including the eight most frequently mentioned medicinal plants, also show active phytochemicals or bioassays indicating probable physiologically based therapeutic effects. CONCLUSION: Analysis of intercultural consensus revealed that the majority of cultures in the British Columbia region within the plant ranges use the same plants, or closely related species, in similar ways. The rigor of this analysis is effected by the lack of consistent data on all taxa of interest for all cultures within the region.  (+info)

When, how and how much: Gender-specific resource-use strategies in the dioecious tree Juniperus thurifera. (12/40)

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: In dioecious species male and female plants experience different selective pressures and often incur different reproductive costs. An increase in reproductive investment habitually results in a reduction of the resources available to other demands, such as vegetative growth. Tree-ring growth is an integrative measure that tracks vegetative investment through the plant's entire life span. This allows the study of gender-specific vegetative allocation strategies in dioecious tree species thoughout their life stages. METHODS: Standard dendrochronological procedures were used to measure tree-ring width. Analyses of time-series were made by means of General Mixed Models with correction of autocorrelated values by the use of an autoregressive covariance structure of order one. Bootstrapped correlation functions were used to study the relationship between climate and tree-ring width. KEY RESULTS: Male and female trees invest a similar amount of resources to ring growth during the early life stages of Juniperus thurifera. However, after reaching sexual maturity, tree-ring growth is reduced for both sexes. Furthermore, females experience a significantly stronger reduction in growth than males, which indicates a lower vegetative allocation in females. In addition, growth was positively correlated with precipitation from the current winter and spring in male trees but only to current spring precipitation in females. CONCLUSIONS: Once sexual maturity is achieved, tree rings grow proportionally more in males than in females. Differences in tree-ring growth between the genders could be a strategy to respond to different reproductive demands. Therefore, and responding to the questions of when, how and how much asked in the title, it is shown that male trees invest more resources to growth than female trees only after reaching sexual maturity, and they use these resources in a different temporal way.  (+info)

Effects of breed, sex, and age on the variation and ability of fecal near-infrared reflectance spectra to predict the composition of goat diets. (13/40)

The effects of breed, sex, and age of goats on fecal near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy-predicted percentage juniper in the diet were investigated, as were spectral differences in feces from goats differing in estimated genetic merit for juniper consumption. Eleven goats from each breed, sex, and age combination, representing 2 breeds (Angora and meat-type), 3 sex classifications (female, intact male, and castrated male), and 2 age categories [adult and kid (less than 12 mo of age)] were fed complete, pelleted rations containing 0 or 14% juniper. After 7 d on the same diet, fecal samples were collected for 3 d, and the spectra from the 3 replicate samples were averaged. Fecal samples were assigned to calibration or validation data sets. In a second experiment, Angora and meat goats with high or low estimated genetic merit for juniper consumption were fed the same diet to determine the effect of consumer group on fecal spectra. Feces were scanned in the 1,100- to 2,500-nm range with a scanning reflectance monochromator. Fecal spectra were analyzed for the difference in spectral characteristics and for differences in predicted juniper in the diet using internal and independent calibration equations. Internal calibration had a high precision (R(2) = 0.94), but the precision of independent validations (r(2) = 0.56) was low. Spectral differences were affected by diet, sex, breed, and age (P < 0.04). However, diet was the largest source of variation in spectral differences. Predicted percentage of juniper in the diet also showed that diet was the largest source of variation, accounting for 95% of the variation in predictions from internal calibrations and 51% of the variation in independent validations. Predictions from independent calibrations readily detected differences (P < 0.001) in the percentage of juniper in the 2 diets, and the predicted differences were similar to the actual differences. Predicted juniper in the diet was also affected by sex. Feces from goats from different juniper consumer groups fed a common diet were spectrally different, and the difference may have resulted from a greater intake by high- compared with low-juniper-consuming goats. Fecal near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy predictions of botanical composition of diets should be considered an interval scale of measurement.  (+info)

Pollination drop in Juniperus communis: response to deposited material. (14/40)

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: The pollination drop is a liquid secretion produced by the ovule and exposed outside the micropyle. In many gymnosperms, pollen lands on the surface of the pollination drop, rehydrates and enters the ovule as the drop retracts. The objective of this work was to study the formation of the pollination drop in Juniperus communis, its carbohydrate composition and the response to deposition of conspecific pollen, foreign pollen and other particulate material, in an attempt to clarify the mechanism of pollination drop retraction. METHODS: Branches with female cones close to pollination drop secretion were collected. On the first day of pollination drop exposure, an eyelash mounted on a wooden stick with paraffin was used to collect pollen or silica gel particles, which were then deposited by contact with the drop. Volume changes in pollination drops were measured by using a stereomicroscope with a micrometer eyepiece 3 h after deposition. The volume of non-pollinated control drops was also recorded. On the first day of secretion, drops were also collected for sugar analysis by high-performance liquid chromatography. KEY RESULTS: The pollination drop persisted for about 12 d if not pollinated, and formed again after removal for up to four consecutive days. After pollination with viable conspecific pollen, the drop retracted quickly and did not form again. Partial withdrawal occurred after deposition of other biological and non-biological material. Fructose was the dominant sugar; glucose was also present but at a much lower percentage. CONCLUSIONS: Sugar analysis confirmed the general trend of fructose dominance in gymnosperm pollination drops. Complete pollination drop withdrawal appears to be triggered by a biochemical mechanism resulting from interaction between pollen and drop constituents. The results of particle deposition suggest the existence of a non-specific, particle-size-dependent mechanism that induces partial pollination drop withdrawal. These results suggest that the non-specific response may decrease the probability of pollen landing on the drop, reducing pollination efficiency.  (+info)

Protease activity of allergenic pollen of cedar, cypress, juniper, birch and ragweed. (15/40)


Isolation of apoptosis- and differentiation-inducing substances toward human promyelocytic leukemia HL-60 cells from leaves of Juniperus taxifolia. (16/40)

A chloroform extract of the leaves of Juniperas taxifolia exhibited a marked antiproliferative effect on human promyelocytic leukemia HL-60 cells at a concentration of 2.5 microg/ml. Deoxypodophyllotoxin (4) was identified in the extract as an outstanding antiproliferative compound, and five diterpenes (1-3, 5, and 6) were isolated as known compounds with weak or no cytotoxicity. These compounds were examined for their respective apoptosis- and differentiation-inducing activities toward HL-60 cells by DNA fragmentation and NBT-reducing assays, respectively. Among them, 7alpha-hydroxysandaracopimaric acid (6) was found to have a potent differentiation-inducing activity in a dose-dependent manner at 0.125-2 microg/ml (0.39-6.29 microM), together with apoptosis-inducing activity at concentrations of more than 2.5 microg/ml (7.86 microM). Deoxypodophyllotoxin (4) that exerted cytotoxic and apoptosis-inducing activities at 2 ng/ml (5 nM) did not induce differentiation at the same concentration, and the other diterpenes (1-3 and 5) showed no effect on cell differentiation, even at 5 microg/ml. It was thus demonstrated for the first time that 7alpha-hydroxysandaracopimaric acid was an effective differentiation-inducing compound toward HL-60 cells.  (+info)