Simple method for assaying serum oxytocin and changes of serum oxytocin level during parturition in cynomolgus monkeys.
A novel and simple assay system using a 96-well ELISA plate was established for measuring serum oxytocin in cynomolgus monkeys. This method omits the centrifuge for B/F separation because the second anti-rabbit IgG antibody-coated ELISA plate can easily separate the first anti-oxytocin rabbit antibody-bound radiolabeled oxytocin. Since this method has the advantage of omitting B/F separation, it becomes possible to measure a large number of samples with simple steps. In addition, accurate and reproducible results could be obtained by this method. The optimal reaction condition made it possible to measure more than 8 pg/ml of serum oxytocin. The changes of serum oxytocin level in relation to the first delivery was determined in a total of 11 female monkeys who were divided into two groups, infant-accepting mothers (4 monkeys) and infant-rejecting ones (7 monkeys). The serum oxytocin levels of pre-delivery (one to 4 days before delivery) and post-delivery (within 12 hr after delivery) in infant-accepting mothers were 33.6 +/- 4.57 and 43.5 +/- 16.4 pg/ml, respectively. Those in infant-rejecting mothers were 39.0 +/- 9.6 and 31.4 +/- 7.0 pg/ml. Two-way ANOVA (accepting/rejecting x pre/post) revealed a significant interaction of two factors (F (1, 9) = 5.39, p < 0.05). This result implies the possibility of a different pattern of oxytocin secretion between infant-accepting and infant-rejecting mothers during parturition. (+info)
Ontogeny of cloned cattle to lactation.
Central to the success of large animal cloning is the production of healthy animals that can provide products for human health, food, and other animal agriculture applications. We report development of cloned cattle derived from 34 genetically unique, nonembryonic cell lines using nuclear transfer performed between 1 January 1998 and 29 February 2000. Nearly 25% (535/2170) of the recipients receiving reconstructed embryos initiated pregnancy. Overall, 19.8% (106/535) of the initiated pregnancies resulted in live births, while 77% (82/106) of these cattle clones remain healthy and productive today. Although a wide variation in birth weight of clone calves was observed, their growth rates, reproductive performance, and lactation characteristics are similar to that found in noncloned dairy cattle. Our data represent the most comprehensive information on cattle derived from nuclear transfer procedures and indicate that this emerging reproductive technology offers unique opportunities to meet critical needs in both human health care and agriculture. (+info)
Day 3 embryo transfer with combined evaluation at the pronuclear and cleavage stages compares favourably with day 5 blastocyst transfer.
BACKGROUND: The respective advantages of day 3 and day 5 embryo transfer are a matter of debate. Previous comparisons did not include pronuclear stage zygote scoring and cumulative success rates (fresh and cryopreserved embryos). METHODS: Patients were randomized prospectively for day 3 or day 5 embryo transfer. Day 3 embryos were selected for transfer and cryopreservation by using combined evaluation at the pronuclear and cleavage stages. RESULTS: There was no difference between day 3 and day 5 fresh embryo transfers as to the rates of pregnancy (58 versus 62%), clinical pregnancy (56 versus 58%), delivery (50 versus 48%), implantation (35 versus 38%) and birth (33 versus 36%) rates. The corresponding values for cryopreserved embryo transfers were also similar. However, day 3 embryo transfer compared favourably with day 5 transfer when the pregnancy (90 versus 66%), clinical pregnancy (85 versus 62%) and delivery (77 versus 52%) rates were calculated per oocyte recovery attempt. CONCLUSIONS: With a selected population of good prognosis patients and our embryo selection criteria, the implantation potential of day 3 and day 5 embryos is equal. Per oocyte recovery attempt, day 3 transfer is more clinically efficient than day 5 transfer, but at least one transfer of cryopreserved embryos is necessary to manifest this superiority. (+info)
QT dispersion and T-loop morphology in late pregnancy and after delivery.
The aim of the study was to detect changes of both the QT dispersion and T-loop morphology resulting from the changed spatial position of the heart during pregnancy. Electrocardiographic and vectorcardiographic recordings were obtained from 37 healthy women 19-36 years old in the 36th to 40th week of physiological pregnancy and 2 to 6 days after delivery. The same recordings were obtained from 18 healthy women of the same age. The average QT dispersion (+/- S.D.) in normal subjects was significantly lower (34 +/- 12 ms) than in those in late pregnancy (73 +/- 18 ms) (P < 0.001). The average amplitude of T-loop (Ta) in women in late pregnancy was significantly (P < 0.001) smaller (532 +/- 98 microV) and the width of T-loop (Tw) was wider (21.24 +/- 11.48 deg) than in the control group (793 +/- 114 microV and 7.17 +/- 3.02 deg, respectively). The partial post-partum restoration of all parameters was not significant. In all groups, the QT dispersion was significantly correlated with Tw but not with Ta. According to these results we can conclude that the QT dispersion is an indirect reflection of the complete process of ventricular repolarization, reflected in the morphology of the T-loop. (+info)
Testosterone in utero and at birth dictates how stressful experience will affect learning in adulthood.
Exposure to an acute stressful event can enhance learning in male rats, whereas exposure to the same event dramatically impairs performance in females. Here we tested whether the presence of sex hormones during early development organizes these opposite effects of stress on learning in males vs. females. In the first experiment, males were castrated at birth whereas females were injected with testosterone. Rats were trained as adults on the hippocampal-dependent learning task of trace eyeblink conditioning. Performance in adult males that had been castrated at birth was still enhanced by exposure to an acute stressful experience. However, adult females injected with testosterone at birth responded in the opposite direction, i.e., exposure to the stressor that typically reduces performance instead enhanced their levels of conditioning. In the second experiment, exposure to testosterone was manipulated in utero by injecting pregnant females with a testosterone antagonist. After foster rearing, adult offspring were exposed to the stressor and trained on the hippocampal-dependent learning task of trace conditioning. Although performance in adult females was unaffected by antagonizing testosterone in utero, i.e., stress still reduced performance, the enhancement of conditioning after stress in adult males was prevented. Thus, the presence of sex hormones during gestation and development organizes whether and how acute stressful experience will affect the ability to acquire new information in adulthood. As with many sexual behaviors, these cognitive responses to stress appear to be masculinized by exposure to testosterone and feminized by its absence during very early development. (+info)
Birth and death of protein domains: a simple model of evolution explains power law behavior.
BACKGROUND: Power distributions appear in numerous biological, physical and other contexts, which appear to be fundamentally different. In biology, power laws have been claimed to describe the distributions of the connections of enzymes and metabolites in metabolic networks, the number of interactions partners of a given protein, the number of members in paralogous families, and other quantities. In network analysis, power laws imply evolution of the network with preferential attachment, i.e. a greater likelihood of nodes being added to pre-existing hubs. Exploration of different types of evolutionary models in an attempt to determine which of them lead to power law distributions has the potential of revealing non-trivial aspects of genome evolution. RESULTS: A simple model of evolution of the domain composition of proteomes was developed, with the following elementary processes: i) domain birth (duplication with divergence), ii) death (inactivation and/or deletion), and iii) innovation (emergence from non-coding or non-globular sequences or acquisition via horizontal gene transfer). This formalism can be described as a birth, death and innovation model (BDIM). The formulas for equilibrium frequencies of domain families of different size and the total number of families at equilibrium are derived for a general BDIM. All asymptotics of equilibrium frequencies of domain families possible for the given type of models are found and their appearance depending on model parameters is investigated. It is proved that the power law asymptotics appears if, and only if, the model is balanced, i.e. domain duplication and deletion rates are asymptotically equal up to the second order. It is further proved that any power asymptotic with the degree not equal to -1 can appear only if the hypothesis of independence of the duplication/deletion rates on the size of a domain family is rejected. Specific cases of BDIMs, namely simple, linear, polynomial and rational models, are considered in details and the distributions of the equilibrium frequencies of domain families of different size are determined for each case. We apply the BDIM formalism to the analysis of the domain family size distributions in prokaryotic and eukaryotic proteomes and show an excellent fit between these empirical data and a particular form of the model, the second-order balanced linear BDIM. Calculation of the parameters of these models suggests surprisingly high innovation rates, comparable to the total domain birth (duplication) and elimination rates, particularly for prokaryotic genomes. CONCLUSIONS: We show that a straightforward model of genome evolution, which does not explicitly include selection, is sufficient to explain the observed distributions of domain family sizes, in which power laws appear as asymptotic. However, for the model to be compatible with the data, there has to be a precise balance between domain birth, death and innovation rates, and this is likely to be maintained by selection. The developed approach is oriented at a mathematical description of evolution of domain composition of proteomes, but a simple reformulation could be applied to models of other evolving networks with preferential attachment. (+info)
Isolated GH deficiency (IGHD) type II: imaging of the pituitary gland by magnetic resonance reveals characteristic differences in comparison with severe IGHD of unknown origin.
OBJECTIVE: To determine the specific morphology of the pituitary gland in children with severe isolated GH deficiency due to GH-1 gene mutations (IGHD type II). DESIGN: The pituitary gland morphology in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of children with IGHD type II was analyzed and compared with the findings in a group of children with comparably severe IGHD of unknown origin. In addition, the birth histories of both groups were studied. SUBJECTS: Thirteen children with IGHD type II were diagnosed in seven European children's hospitals and they carried a corresponding GH-1 gene mutation. For comparison, we selected from a group of 66 MRI-studied GH-insufficient subjects diagnosed in our clinic, all children with severe IGHD (all GH peaks <4 microg/l) who had no GH-1 gene mutation, no first-grade relative with IGHD and no septo-optic dysplasia. METHODS: Sagittal and coronal images of the brain were analyzed for the presence of any malformation of the pituitary gland and the intracranium. The height of each adenohypophysis was measured in a strict midline sagittal image for quantification of the gland's size. In addition, patients' files were reviewed for birth trauma or breech delivery. RESULTS: Normal MRI morphology of the pituitary gland was observed in all patients of the familial IGHD type II group (P<0.003) in which, however, five of thirteen patients (38%) exhibited a mild hypoplasia of their gland (mean sagittal adenohypophysial height -1.0+/-0.03 SD score (SDS)). In contrast, the pituitary gland in the idiopathic group showed a definitive malformation with hypoplasia of pituitary stalk and adenohypophysis in all cases, while ectopia of the neurohypophysis was present in nine of the ten cases. The adenohypophysis was significantly smaller in the idiopathic group (mean sagittal adenohypophysial height -3.2+/-0.3 SDS) (P<0.0001). All thirteen birth histories in the familial group (IGHD type II) were unremarkable while, in the idiopathic group, three of eight available birth histories recorded a breech delivery or traumatic birth (37.5%) (P<0.05). CONCLUSIONS: This study shows for the first time that MRI pituitary morphology may correlate with the etiology of severe IGHD: normal morphology suggests the presence of GH-1 gene mutations, while severe hypoplasia with malformation have other causes which might include so far unknown genetic defects as well as traumatic insults. (+info)
Use of every ten-day criteria for metabolic profile test after calving and dry off in dairy herds.
The traditional metabolic profile test cannot be applied to peripartum dairy cows, because these cows are in a state of physiological abnormality making it difficult to interpret their blood components. This study aimed at establishing and evaluating the practicability of interpreting a metabolic profile test every 10 days (Ten-day criteria) during the dry and lactation periods in herds with high and no incidence of peripartum diseases. Data from 29,043 cows in 1,130 commercial dairy herds were used to establish standard values every 10 days, mean +/- 1.0 standard deviation for the metabolic profile test. The practicability of these criteria was evaluated in herds with peripartum diseases. In the ten-day criteria, the body condition score, albumin, blood urea nitrogen, glucose, total cholesterol, nonesterified fatty acids, gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase and aspartate aminotransferase, fluctuated during the dry and early lactation periods and there were very big changes in packed cell volume, blood urea nitrogen, total cholesterol and magnesium just after calving. The ten-day criteria were able to detect overconditioned cows, low levels of albumin, total cholesterol and magnesium, and high nonesterified fatty acids in herds with a high incidence of peripartum diseases. In conclusion, the ten-day criteria can be successfully applied to peripartum cows, and is recommended because it is able to detect metabolic abnormalities not only in the herd, but also in individual cows. (+info)