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Oxidative stress has been suggested to increase after electroconvulsive therapy (ECT); a treatment which continues to be the most effective for severe depression. Oxidative stress could potentially be mechanistically involved in both the therapeutic effects and side-effects of ECT.
We measured sensitive markers of systemic and CNS oxidative stress on DNA and RNA (urinary 8-oxodG/8-oxoGuo, cerebrospinal fluid 8-oxoGuo, and brain oxoguanine glycosylase mRNA expression) in male rats subjected to electroconvulsive stimulations (ECS); an animal model of ECT. Due to previous observations that link hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA)-axis activity and age to DNA/RNA damage from oxidation, groups of young and middle-aged male animals were included, and markers of HPA-axis activity were measured.
ECS induced weight loss, corticosterone increases (only in middle-aged animals), and decreased cerebral glucocorticoid receptor mRNA expression, while largely leaving the markers of systemic and CNS DNA/RNA damage from oxidation unaltered.
These results suggest that ECS is not associated with any lasting effects on oxidative stress on nucleic acids neither in young or middle-aged rats.
Let Sn,n≥1, be the successive sums of the payoffs in the classical St. Petersburg game. The celebrated Feller weak law states that Sn∕(nlog2n)→ℙ1 as n→∞. In this paper we review some earlier results of ours and extend some of them as we consider an asymmetric St. Petersburg game, in which the distribution of the payoff X is given by ℙ(X=srk-1)=pqk-1,k=1,2,…, where p+q=1 and s,r>0. Two main results are extensions of the Feller weak law and the convergence in distribution theorem of Martin-Löf (1985). Moreover, it is well known that almost-sure convergence fails, though Csörgő and Simons (1996) showed that almost-sure convergence holds for trimmed sums and also for sums trimmed by an arbitrary fixed number of maxima. In view of the discreteness of the distribution we focus on `max-trimmed sums', that is, on the sums trimmed by the random number of observations that are equal to the largest one, and prove limit theorems for simply trimmed sums, for max-trimmed sums, as well as for the `total maximum'. Analogues with respect to the random number of summands equal to the minimum are also obtained and, finally, for joint trimming.
Despite the ecological relevance of tropical reefs, information on species composition and coverage on sandstone reefs is very scarce. Most studies on reef systems have been conducted for true coral reefs, ecosystems that show calcareous formations with extensive coral cover and diversity. The aim of this study was to analyse the coverage of benthic assemblages in a submerged sandstone reef (22–24 m) in a relatively non-explored region (Tropical South-western Atlantic). In this area, filamentous algae (43.6%) and sponges (19.6%) are the main components of the benthic reef assemblages. Other benthic reef fauna (ascidians, corals and zoanthids) showed lower coverage, although their importance may vary depending on the area. A negative correlation between filamentous algae and slow-growing reef-building organisms (calcareous algae) was observed. High sand coverage (19.6%) over the reef revealed a high rate of silting. A low coral diversity (only two resilient species) was quantified, and most of the coral colonies were small-sized. The results provide a baseline assessment for a poorly known ecosystem with turbid-water benthic communities and higher sea-surface temperatures near the Earth's equator.
Few studies have investigated developmental strengths and weaknesses within the cognitive profile of children and adolescents with fragile X syndrome (FXS), a single-gene cause of inherited intellectual impairment. With a prospective longitudinal design and using normalized raw scores (Z scores) to circumvent floor effects, we measured cognitive functioning of 184 children and adolescents with FXS (ages 6 to 16) using the Wechsler Scale of Intelligence for Children on one to three occasions for each participant. Participants with FXS received lower raw scores relative to the Wechsler Scale of Intelligence for Children normative sample across the developmental period. Verbal comprehension, perceptual organization, and processing speed Z scores were marked by a widening gap from the normative sample, while freedom from distractibility Z scores showed a narrowing gap. Key findings include a relative strength for verbal skills in comparison with visuospatial–constructive skills arising in adolescence and a discrepancy between working memory (weakness) and processing speed (strength) in childhood that diminishes in adolescence. Results suggest that the cognitive profile associated with FXS develops dynamically from childhood to adolescence. Findings are discussed within the context of aberrant brain morphology in childhood and maturation in adolescence. We argue that assessing disorder-specific cognitive developmental profiles will benefit future disorder-specific treatment research.
Monozygotic (MZ) twins provide a natural system for investigating developmental plasticity and the potential epigenetic origins of disease. A major difference in the intrauterine environment between MZ pairs is whether they share a common placenta or have separate placentas. Using DNA methylation measured at >400,000 points in the genome on the Illumina HumanMethylation450 array, we demonstrate that the co-twins of MZ pairs (average age of 14) that shared a common placenta (n = 18 pairs) have more similar DNA methylation levels in blood throughout the genome relative to those with separate placentas (n = 16 pairs). Functional annotation of the genomic regions that show significantly different correlation between monochorionic (MC) and dichorionic (DC) MZ pairs found an over-representation of genes involved in the regulation of transcription, neuronal development, and cellular differentiation. These results support the idea that prenatal environmental exposures may have a lasting effect on an individual's epigenetic landscape, and the potential for these changes to have functional consequences.
Hypertension is associated with an increased risk of dementia and
depression with uncertain longitudinal associations with brain
To examine lifetime blood pressure as a predictor of brain structure in
A total of 190 participants (mean age 69.3 years) from the Whitehall II
study were screened for hypertension six times (1985–2013). In 2012–2013,
participants had a 3T-magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) brain scan. Data
from the MRI were analysed using automated and visual measures of global
atrophy, hippocampal atrophy and white matter hyperintensities.
Longitudinally, higher mean arterial pressure predicted increased
automated white matter hyperintensities (P<0.002).
Cross-sectionally, hypertensive participants had increased automated
white matter hyperintensities and visually rated deep white matter
hyperintensities. There was no significant association with global or
Long-term exposure to high blood pressure predicts hyperintensities,
particularly in deep white matter. The greatest changes are seen in those
with severe forms of hypertension, suggesting a dose–response
Monozygotic (MZ) twins form an important system for the study of biological plasticity in humans. While MZ twins are generally considered to be genetically identical, a number of studies have emerged that have demonstrated copy-number differences within a twin pair, particularly in those discordant for disease. The rate of autosomal copy-number variation (CNV) discordance within MZ twin pairs was investigated using a population sample of 376 twin pairs genotyped on Illumina Human610-Quad arrays. After CNV calling using both QuantiSNP and PennCNV followed by manual annotation, only a single CNV difference was observed within the MZ twin pairs, being a 130 KB duplication of chromosome 5. Five other potential discordant CNV were called by the software, but excluded based on manual annotation of the regions. It is concluded that large CNV discordance is rare within MZ twin pairs, indicating that any CNV difference found within phenotypically discordant MZ twin pairs has a high probability of containing the causal gene(s) involved.
With the growing interdependence between medicine and technology, the prospect of connecting machines to the human brain is rapidly being realized. The field of neuroprosthetics is transitioning from the proof of concept stage to the development of advanced clinical treatments. In one area of brain-machine interfaces (BMIs) related to the motor system, also termed ‘motor neuroprosthetics’, research successes with implanted microelectrodes in animals have demonstrated immense potential for restoring motor deficits. Early human trials have also begun, with some success but also highlighting several technical challenges. Here we review the concepts and anatomy underlying motor BMI designs, review their early use in clinical applications, and offer a framework to evaluate these technologies in order to predict their eventual clinical utility. Ultimately, we hope to help neuroscience clinicians understand and participate in this burgeoning field.
Genes in the TGF9 signaling pathway play important roles in the regulation of ovarian follicle growth and ovulation rate. Mutations in three genes in this pathway, growth differentiation factor 9 (GDF9), bone morphogenetic protein 15 (BMP15) and the bone morphogenetic protein receptor B 1 (BMPRB1), influence dizygotic (DZ) twinning rates in sheep. To date, only variants in GDF9 and BMP15, but not their receptors transforming growth factor ß receptor 1 (TGFBR1), bone morphogenetic protein receptor 2 (BMPR2) and BMPR1B, have been investigated with respect to their roles in human DZ twinning. We screened for rare and novel variants in TGFBR1, BMPR2 and BMPR1B in mothers of dizygotic twins (MODZT) from twin-dense families, and assessed association between genotyped and imputed variants and DZ twinning in another large sample of MODZT. Three novel variants were found: a deep intronic variant in BMPR2, and one intronic and one non-synonymous exonic variant in BMPRB1 which would result in the replacement of glutamine by glutamic acid at amino acid position 294 (p.Gln294Glu). None of these variants were predicted to have major impacts on gene function. However, the p.Gln294Glu variant changes the same amino acid as a sheep BMPR1B functional variant and may have functional consequences. Six BMPR1B variants were marginally associated with DZ twinning in the larger case-control sample, but these were no longer significant once multiple testing was taken into account. Our results suggest that variation in the TGF9 signaling pathway type II receptors has limited effects on DZ twinning rates in humans.
This paper reviews calculations concerning several aspects of silicon crystallites and their relevance for porous silicon. This begins with the optical properties of perfect crystallites: gap versus size, radiative recombination time, relative importance of phonon assisted transitions. A second part is devoted to the determination of the excitonic exchange splitting and of the Stokes shift which are found to bring a similar contribution (∼10 to 20 meV). The effect of surface defects like dangling bonds is then investigated with their contribution to the recombination time. The Auger non radiative recombination time is also calculated and found to be short (∼1 nsec). This is confirmed by some experiments on porous silicon which show a saturation effect of the photoluminescence under intense optical excitation or under cathodic polarization in aqueous solution, Auger recombination preventing the existence of more than one electron-hole pair per crystallite. Donor and acceptor impurities are studied in detail (screening of Coulomb potential, notion of ionization energy) with the conclusion that they are ionized. A final discussion shows the present level of understanding and identifies problems remaining to be solved.
Knowledge of the factors affecting host selection by herbivorous insects is essential to predictions of their distribution and abundance over landscapes. In the laboratory, we studied the oviposition preferences of two eruptive loopers (Lepidoptera: Geometridae) native to western Canada (western hemlock looper, Lambdina fiscellaria lugubrosa (Hulst), and phantom hemlock looper, Nepytia phantasmaria (Strecker)) for different species and condition of hosts. When offered a choice, phantom hemlock loopers laid nearly three times as many eggs on western hemlock, Tsuga heterophylla (Raf.) Sarg. (Pinaceae) as on either western redcedar, Thuja plicata Donn ex D. Don (Cupressaceae) or western white pine, Pinus monticola Douglas ex D. Don (Pinaceae). Western hemlock loopers were less specific, laying equal numbers of eggs on western hemlock and western redcedar, though fewer eggs were deposited on western white pine when compared with western hemlock. When offered western hemlock trees grown under different nutrient and shading regimes, phantom hemlock loopers preferred to oviposit on high nutrient hosts, irrespective of shading; western hemlock loopers exhibited a preference for high-nutrient hosts only if they were grown without shading. These patterns of host preference can be combined with information regarding forest composition to help quantify the conditional probability of western and phantom hemlock looper distibution and abundance.
Human height and body mass index are influenced by a large number of genes, each with small effects, along with environment. To identify common genetic variants associated with these traits, we performed genome-wide association studies in 11,536 individuals composed of Australian twins, family members, and unrelated individuals at ∼550,000 genotyped SNPs. We identified a single genome-wide significant variant for height (P value = 1.06 × 10–9) located in HHIP, a well-replicated height-associated gene. Suggestive levels of association were found for other known genes associated with height (P values < 1 × 10–6): ADAMTSL3, EFEMP1, GPR126, and HMGA2; and BMI (P values < 1 × 10–4): FTO and MC4R. Together, these variants explain less than 2% of total phenotypic variation for height and 0.5% for BMI.
Waldrip and Fisher (2000) proposed seven culturally relevant factors that are salient in the educational setting (gender equity, collaboration, competition, deference, modelling, teacher authority, congruence). In relation to these factors, the present study examined differences and congruencies in factor structure (i.e., differences of kind) and mean scores (i.e., differences of degree) among secondary school students in Australia, Singapore, the Philippines and Indonesia. The Cultural Learning Environment Questionnaire (CLEQ; Waldrip & Fisher, 2000) was administered to 920 students (n = 230 for each country, with boys and girls equally represented; mean age = 16 years). Factor analyses showed congruencies across the four samples on five factors. Interestingly, items pertaining to students' deference to and modelling of teachers and peers grouped into one factor for the Australian sample, but separated into two factors (peers and teacher) for the South-East Asian samples. In terms of mean scores on each factor, Australian students were higher than the Singaporean, Filipino and Indonesian students in their inclination to challenge or disagree with the teacher. On the other hand, the three groups of South-East Asian students scored higher than the Australian students in their preferences for collaboration and conformity in the classroom. Implications for counselling relevant to multicultural classroom and school contexts were discussed.