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Journal: BMC physiology


A disproportionate amount of body fat within the abdominal cavity, otherwise known as visceral obesity, best predicts the negative health outcomes associated with high levels body fat. Growing evidence suggests that repeated activation of the stress response can favor visceral fat deposition and that visceral obesity may induce low-grade, systemic inflammation which is etiologically linked to the pathogenesis of obesity related diseases such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. While the obesity epidemic has fueled considerable interest in these obesity-related inflammatory diseases, surprisingly little research is currently focused on understanding the functions of inflammatory proteins in healthy, non-obese white adipose tissue (WAT) and their possible role in modulating stress-induced shifts in body fat distribution.

Concepts: Inflammation, Obesity, Insulin resistance, Adipose tissue, Weight loss, Dieting, Brown adipose tissue, Adiponectin


BackgroundThe physiological effects of white-nose syndrome (WNS) in hibernating bats and ultimate causes of mortality from infection with Pseudogymnoascus (formerly Geomyces) destructans are not fully understood. Increased frequency of arousal from torpor described among hibernating bats with late-stage WNS is thought to accelerate depletion of fat reserves, but the physiological mechanisms that lead to these alterations in hibernation behavior have not been elucidated. We used the doubly labeled water (DLW) method and clinical chemistry to evaluate energy use, body composition changes, and blood chemistry perturbations in hibernating little brown bats (Myotis lucifugus) experimentally infected with P. destructans to better understand the physiological processes that underlie mortality from WNS.ResultsThese data indicated that fat energy utilization, as demonstrated by changes in body composition, was two-fold higher for bats with WNS compared to negative controls. These differences were apparent in early stages of infection when torpor-arousal patterns were equivalent between infected and non-infected animals, suggesting that P. destructans has complex physiological impacts on its host prior to onset of clinical signs indicative of late-stage infections. Additionally, bats with mild to moderate skin lesions associated with early-stage WNS demonstrated a chronic respiratory acidosis characterized by significantly elevated dissolved carbon dioxide, acidemia, and elevated bicarbonate. Potassium concentrations were also significantly higher among infected bats, but sodium, chloride, and other hydration parameters were equivalent to controls.ConclusionsIntegrating these novel findings on the physiological changes that occur in early-stage WNS with those previously documented in late-stage infections, we propose a multi-stage disease progression model that mechanistically describes the pathologic and physiologic effects underlying mortality of WNS in hibernating bats. This model identifies testable hypotheses for better understanding this disease, knowledge that will be critical for defining effective disease mitigation strategies aimed at reducing morbidity and mortality that results from WNS.

Concepts: Carbon dioxide, Physiology, Bat, Bicarbonate, Acidosis, Little brown bat, Hibernation, White nose syndrome


BACKGROUND: Like humans, fish can be classified according to their athletic performance. Sustained exercise training of fish can improve growth and physical capacity, and recent results have documented improved disease resistance in exercised Atlantic salmon. In this study we investigated the effects of inherent swimming performance and exercise training on disease resistance in Atlantic salmon.Atlantic salmon were first classified as either poor or good according to their swimming performance in a screening test and then exercise trained for 10 weeks using one of two constant-velocity or two interval-velocity training regimes for comparison against control trained fish (low speed continuously). Disease resistance was assessed by a viral disease challenge test (infectious pancreatic necrosis) and gene expression analyses of the host response in selected organs. RESULTS: An inherently good swimming performance was associated with improved disease resistance, as good swimmers showed significantly better survival compared to poor swimmers in the viral challenge test. Differences in mortalities between poor and good swimmers were correlated with cardiac mRNA expression of virus responsive genes reflecting the infection status. Although not significant, fish trained at constant-velocity showed a trend towards higher survival than fish trained at either short or long intervals. Finally, only constant training at high intensity had a significant positive effect on fish growth compared to control trained fish. CONCLUSIONS: This is the first evidence suggesting that inherent swimming performance is associated with disease resistance in fish.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Genetics, Gene expression, Cancer, Infection, Messenger RNA, Salmon


The authors have retracted the article [1]. Following publication of the article irregularities within the Northern blot figures were brought to the attention of the editors and subsequently confirmed by an investigation by the University of Rome Tor Vergata. We apologize to all affected parties.

Concepts: DNA, Cell nucleus, Gene expression, Transcription, Molecular biology, Messenger RNA, Editors, Retraction


The alkaline version of the single-cell gel (comet) assay is a useful method for quantifying DNA damage. Although some studies on chronic and acute effects of exercise on DNA damage measured by the comet assay have been performed, it is unknown if an aerobic training protocol with intensity, volume, and load clearly defined will improve performance without leading to peripheral blood cell DNA damage. In addition, the effects of overtraining on DNA damage are unknown. Therefore, this study aimed to examine the effects of aerobic training and overtraining on DNA damage in peripheral blood and skeletal muscle cells in Swiss mice. To examine possible changes in these parameters with oxidative stress, we measured reduced glutathione (GSH) levels in total blood, and GSH levels and lipid peroxidation in muscle samples.

Concepts: Protein, Gene, Adenosine triphosphate, Antioxidant, Oxidative stress, Reactive oxygen species, Glutathione, Exercise physiology


BACKGROUND: Quinine is a natural molecule commonly used as a flavouring agent in tonic water. Diet supplementation with quinine leads to decreased body weight and food intake in rats. Quinine is an in vitro inhibitor of Trpm5, a cation channel expressed in taste bud cells, the gastrointestinal tract and pancreas. The objective of this work is to determine the effect of diet supplementation with quinine on body weight and body composition in male mice, to investigate its mechanism of action, and whether the effect is mediated through Trpm5. RESULTS: Compared with mice consuming AIN, a regular balanced diet, mice consuming AIN diet supplemented with 0.1% quinine gained less weight (2.89 +/- 0.30 g vs 5.39 +/- 0.50 g) and less fat mass (2.22 +/- 0.26 g vs 4.33 +/- 0.43 g) after 13 weeks of diet, and had lower blood glucose and plasma triglycerides. There was no difference in food intake between the mice consuming quinine supplemented diet and those consuming control diet. Trpm5 knockout mice gained less fat mass than wild-type mice. There was a trend for a diet-genotype interaction for body weight and body weight gain, with the effect of quinine less pronounced in the Trpm5 KO than in the WT background. Faecal weight, energy and lipid contents were higher in quinine fed mice compared to regular AIN fed mice and in Trpm5 KO mice compared to wild type mice. CONCLUSION: Quinine contributes to weight control in male C57BL6 mice without affecting food intake. A partial contribution of Trpm5 to quinine dependent body weight control is suggested.

Concepts: Protein, Gene, Metabolism, Nutrition, Mass, Food, Taste, Flavor


In preparation for migration from freshwater to marine habitats, Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) undergo smoltification, a transformation that includes the acquisition of hyposmoregulatory capacity. The growth hormone (Gh)/insulin-like growth-factor (Igf) axis promotes the development of branchial ionoregulatory functions that underlie ion secretion. Igfs interact with a suite of Igf binding proteins (Igfbps) that modulate hormone activity. In Atlantic salmon smolts, igfbp4,-5a,-5b1,-5b2,-6b1 and-6b2 transcripts are highly expressed in gill. We measured mRNA levels of branchial and hepatic igfbps during smoltification (March, April, and May), desmoltification (July) and following seawater (SW) exposure in March and May. We also characterized parallel changes in a broad suite of osmoregulatory (branchial Na(+)/K(+)-ATPase (Nka) activity, Na (+) /K (+) /2Cl (-) cotransporter 1 (nkcc1) and cystic fibrosis transmembrane regulator 1 (cftr1) transcription) and endocrine (plasma Gh and Igf1) parameters.

Concepts: Protein, Gene expression, Cystic fibrosis, Insulin-like growth factor 1, Growth hormone, Salmon, Atlantic salmon, Salmo


Previous studies show that androgens are involved in hypertrophy and excitability of cardiomyocytes and that their effects are mediated through their receptor. The aim of this study was to evaluate the presence of androgen receptor (AR) in mouse heart during prenatal and early postnatal stages.

Concepts: Testosterone, Androgen, Steroid, Androgen receptor


Evidence suggests a critical role for the renin-angiotensin system in regulating renal function during postnatal development. However, the physiological relevance of a highly elevated renin-angiotensin system early in life is not well understood, nor which angiotensin receptors might be involved. This study was designed to investigate the roles of angiotensin receptors type 1 (AT1R) and type 2 (AT2R) in regulating glomerular and tubular function during postnatal development.

Concepts: Kidney, Blood pressure, Endocrinology, Angiotensin, Renin-angiotensin system, Angiotensin-converting enzyme, Endocrine system, Angiotensin receptor


Skeletal muscle prefers carbohydrate use to fatty acid (FA) use as exercise intensity increases. In contrast, skeletal muscle minimizes glucose use and relies more on FA during fasting. In mice deficient for FABP4 and FABP5 (double knockout (DKO) mice), FA utilization by red skeletal muscle and the heart is markedly reduced by the impairment of trans-endothelial FA transport, with an increase in glucose use to compensate for reduced FA uptake even during fasting. We attempted to determine whether prolonged fasting affects exercise performance in DKO mice, where constant glucose utilization occurs.