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Angiostrongylus cantonensis is a pathogenic nematode and the cause of neuroangiostrongyliasis, an eosinophilic meningitis more commonly known as rat lungworm disease. Transmission is thought to be primarily due to ingestion of infective third stage larvae (L3) in gastropods, on produce, or in contaminated water. The gold standard to determine the effects of physical and chemical treatments on the infectivity of A. cantonensis L3 larvae is to infect rodents with treated L3 larvae and monitor for infection, but animal studies are laborious and expensive and also raise ethical concerns. This study demonstrates propidium iodide (PI) to be a reliable marker of parasite death and loss of infective potential without adversely affecting the development and future reproduction of live A. cantonensis larvae. PI staining allows evaluation of the efficacy of test substances in vitro, an improvement upon the use of lack of motility as an indicator of death. Some potential applications of this assay include determining the effectiveness of various anthelmintics, vegetable washes, electromagnetic radiation and other treatments intended to kill larvae in the prevention and treatment of neuroangiostrongyliasis.
The brain endocannabinoid system is believed to play significant roles in anti-nociception, fear response, anxiety, and stress. This study investigated the effects of rat inguinal surgery on the levels of endocannabinoids in the cerebral cortex.
The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of acute post-surgical pain on the levels of endocannabinoids in the cerebral cortex.
Quantitation of endocannabinoids in the rat cerebral cortex was performed by liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry.
There was no significant difference in the cerebral cortical levels of anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) between the sham and surgery experimental groups. However, there were lateralized differences in the levels of these endocannabinoids between the right and left cerebral cortices irrespective of the two groups. The concentrations of AEA and 2-AG were significantly higher in the right cerebral cortex compared to the contralateral cerebral cortex.
Acute post-surgical pain did not induce significant alterations in the cerebral cortical levels of endocannabinoids in this study, but the phenomenon of lateralization of the cerebral cortical AEA and 2-AG levels was observed; this latter finding may be related to the role played by endocannabinoids in fear conditioning.
Treatment-resistance to antidepressants is a major problem in the pharmacotherapy of major depressive disorder (MDD). Unfortunately, only a few animal models are suitable for studying treatment-resistant depression, among them repeated treatment with Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) appears to be useful to mimic treatment-resistance to monoaminergic antidepressants. Therefore, the present work aimed to investigate the effectiveness of s-ketamine and rapastinel (formerly GLYX13), modulators of the glutamatergic N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor in ACTH-treated animals.
Naïve male Sprague Dawley rats were subjected to repeated subcutaneous injections with ACTH (100 µg/0.1 ml/rat/day) for 14 days and drug treatment on the test day (open field and forced swim test) with imipramine, s-ketamine or rapastinel. In addition, assessment of plasma levels of corticosterone and ACTH was carried out.
We found that rats repeatedly treated with ACTH for 14 days responded to single injections with s-ketamine (15 mg/kg) and rapastinel (10 mg/kg), but failed to respond to imipramine (15 mg/kg). In the plasma, the levels of corticosterone and ACTH were increased after 14 days of daily treatment with ACTH, independently of the treatment.
The present data confirm development of a resistance to treatment following chronic ACTH administration. In addition, the study confirms the possible effectiveness of s-ketamine and rapastinel as treatment options in treatment-resistant depression. Moreover, it highlights the importance of the glutamatergic system in the neurobiology of depression. Further studies are necessary to evaluate how repeated treatment with ACTH leads to a depressed condition resistant to monoaminergic antidepressants.
The decision by germ cells to differentiate and undergo either oogenesis or spermatogenesis takes place during embryonic development and Nanos plays an important role in this process. The present study was designed to investigate the expression patterns in rat of Nanos2-homologue protein in primordial germ cells (PGCs) over different embryonic developmental days as well as in spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs). Embryos from three different embryonic days (E8.5, E10.5, E11.5) and SSCs were isolated and used to detect Nanos2-homologue protein using immunocytochemistry, western blotting, reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and flow cytometry. Interestingly, Nanos2 expression was detected in PGCs at day E11.5 onwards and up to colonization of PGCs in the genital ridge of fetal gonads. No Nanos2 expression was found in PGCs during early embryonic days (E8.5 and 10.5). Furthermore, immunohistochemical and immunofluorescence data revealed that Nanos2 expression was restricted within a subpopulation of undifferentiated spermatogonia (As, single type A SSCs and Apr, paired type A SSCs). The same results were confirmed by our western blot and RT-PCR data, as Nanos2 protein and transcripts were detected only in PGCs from day E11.5 and in undifferentiated spermatogonia (As and Apr). Furthermore, Nanos2-positive cells were also immunodetected and sorted using flow cytometry from the THY1-positive SSCs population, and this strengthened the idea that these cells are stem cells. Our findings suggested that stage-specific expression of Nanos2 occurred on different embryonic developmental days, while during the postnatal period Nanos2 expression is restricted to As and Apr SSCs.
Globally, there is an increased demand for sustainable protein sources for animal feed. Grass and forage legumes have the yield potential to become such alternatives, but the protein needs to be separated from the fibres. Red clover, white clover, lucerne and perennial ryegrass were fractionated into a green juice and a fibrous pulp in a screw-press and protein was subsequently precipitated. The nitrogen (N) and amino acid composition of the produced fractions was analysed and the digestibility of dry matter (DM) and N was evaluated using a rat digestibility trial. The aim was to determine the effect of fractionation on composition and digestibility in order to evaluate the four plants as potential protein sources for monogastrics. Protein concentrates with CP concentrations of 240 to 388 g/kg DM and fibrous pulps with CP concentrations of 111 to 216 g/kg DM were produced. The sum of all analysed amino acids was highest in the protein concentrates corresponding to a low concentration of non-protein nitrogen ranging from 4.9% to 10.4%. Only small variations were seen in the amino acid compositions of the different plants and fractions. The concentration of the essential lysine and methionine in the protein concentrate ranged from 6.27 to 6.67 g/16 g N and 1.54 to 2.09 g/16 g N for lysine and methionine, respectively. For all plants species, total tract digestibility of DM and standardised N digestibility was significantly higher in the protein concentrates (60.8% to 76.5% and 75.4% to 85.0% for DM and N, respectively) compared to pulp (21.2% to 43.4% and 52.1% to 72.5% for DM and N, respectively). Digestibility of lucerne protein concentrate (76.5% and 85.0% for DM and N, respectively) was higher than of the unprocessed plant (39.6% and 74.9% for DM and N, respectively), whereas for red and white clover no difference was found. The amino acids methionine and cysteine were limiting for pigs and broilers in all fractions regardless of plant origin, and low scores were also found for lysine. The study demonstrated great potential of using green plants as a protein source for monogastrics because of high protein content, balanced amino acid composition and high digestibility of DM and N. The effects of processing and protein precipitation were pronounced in lucerne where significantly improved digestibility was observed in the protein concentrate. The results from the study provide valuable and enhanced knowledge to the production of alternative and sustainable protein sources for monogastric feed.
The black rat Rattus rattus and the house mouse Mus musculus are two commensal rodent species that harbour and shed zoonotic pathogens, including helminths. The aim of this survey was to study the helminth community and the patterns of infections in R. rattus and M. musculus from two Mayan communities in Mexico. Gastrointestinal helminths were isolated from 322 M. musculus and 124 R. rattus, including Gongylonema neoplasticum, Hassalstrongylus aduncus, Hassalstrongylus musculi, Hydatigera taeniaeformis metacestode, Hymenolepis diminuta, Nippostrongylus brasiliensis, Oligacanthorhynchidae gen. sp., Syphacia muris, Syphacia obvelata, Rodentolepis microstoma and Trichuris muris. The overall richness of helminths was seven in R. rattus and six in M. musculus. The results of generalized linear models showed that juvenile rodents had lower probabilities of being infected with G. neoplasticum, H. taeniaeformis and H. musculi than adult rodents. A positive association between the prevalence of S. muris and rat abundance was found. The intensity of infection with S. muris was higher in the rainy season than in the dry season; the opposite result was found for H. musculi infection. Male R. rattus harboured more S. muris specimens. The intensity of infection with T. muris was inversely associated with mouse abundance. The presence of the zoonotic H. diminuta, as well as H. taeniaeformis and R. microstoma in rodent populations indicates that there is risk of transmission, and that their entire life cycle occurs in the study area.
Chorioamnionitis and intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR) are risk factors for cerebral palsy (CP). Common bacteria isolated in chorioamnionitis include group B Streptococcus (GBS) serotypes Ia and III. Little is known about the impact of placental inflammation induced by different bacteria, including different GBS strains. We aimed to test the impact of chorioamnionitis induced by two common GBS serotypes (GBSIa and GBSIII) on growth and neuromotor outcomes in the progeny. Dams were exposed at the end of gestation to either saline, inactivated GBSIa or GBSIII. Inactivated GBS bacteria invaded placentas and triggered a chorioamnionitis featured by massive polymorphonuclear cell infiltrations. Offspring exposed to GBSIII – but not to GBSIa – developed IUGR, persisting beyond adolescent age. Male rats in utero exposed to GBSIII traveled a lower distance in the Open Field test, which was correlating with their level of IUGR. GBSIII-exposed rats presented decreased startle responses to acoustic stimuli beyond adolescent age. GBS-exposed rats displayed a dysmyelinated white matter in the corpus callosum adjacent to thinner primary motor cortices. A decreased density of microglial cells was detected in the mature corpus callosum of GBSIII-exposed males – but not females – which was correlating positively with the primary motor cortex thickness. Altogether, our results demonstrate a causal link between pathogen-induced acute chorioamnionitis and (1) IUGR, (2) serotype- and sex-specific neuromotor impairments and (3) abnormal development of primary motor cortices, dysmyelinated white matter and decreased density of microglial cells.
Angiostrongylus cantonensis (rat lungworm), a parasitic nematode, is expanding its distribution. Human infection, known as angiostrongyliasis, may manifest as eosinophilic meningitis, an emerging infectious disease. The range and incidence of this disease are expanding throughout the tropics and subtropics. Recently, the Hawaiian Islands have experienced an increase in reported cases. This study addresses factors affecting the parasite's distribution and projects its potential future distribution, using Hawaii as a model for its global expansion. Specimens of 37 snail species from the Hawaiian Islands were screened for the parasite using PCR. It was present on five of the six largest islands. The data were used to generate habitat suitability models for A. cantonensis, based on temperature and precipitation, to predict its potential further spread within the archipelago. The best current climate model predicted suitable habitat on all islands, with greater suitability in regions with higher precipitation and temperatures. Projections under climate change (to 2100) indicated increased suitability in regions with estimated increased precipitation and temperatures, suitable habitat occurring increasingly at higher elevations. Analogously, climate change could facilitate the spread of A. cantonensis from its current tropical/subtropical range into more temperate regions of the world, as is beginning to be seen in the continental USA.
Aplastic anaemia (AA) is characterised by pancytopenia resulting from a marked reduction in haemopoietic stem cells (HSC). The regulation of haemopoiesis depends on the interaction between HSC and various cells of the bone marrow (BM) microenvironment, including BM-derived mesenchymal stromal cells (BMSC). The purpose of this study was to analyse the biological effect of nutritional supplement (NS), a dietary supplement consisting of thirty-six compounds: amino acids, nucleotides, vitamins and micronutrients on the BMSC of AA rats. The AA rat model was established by irradiating X-ray (2·5 Gy) and intraperitoneal injections of cyclophosphamide (35 mg/kg; Sigma) and chloramphenicol (35 mg/kg; Sigma). Then AA rats were fed with NS in a dose-dependent manner (2266·95, 1511·3, 1057·91 mg/kg d) by intragastric administration. The effect of NS on the BMSC of AA rats was analysed. As compared with AA rats, NS treatment significantly improved these peripheral blood parameters and stimulated the proliferation of total femoral nucleated cells. NS treatment affected proliferative behaviour of BMSC and suppressed BMSC differentiation to adipocytes. Furthermore, NS treatment of AA rats accelerated osteogenic differentiation of BMSC and enhanced bone mineral density. Co-incubation of HSC with mesenchymal stromal cells and serum from AA rats subjected to high-dose NS markedly improved the yield of CD34+cells. Protein microarray analysis revealed that there were eleven differentially expressed proteins in the NS group compared with the AA rat group. The identified specific NS might be implicated in rehabilitation of BMSC in AA rats, suggesting their potential of nutritional support in AA treatment.
Clinical depression is accompanied by changes in sleep patterning, which is controlled in a circadian fashion. It is thus desirable that animal models of depression mirror such diurnally-specific state alterations, along with other behavioral and physiological changes. We previously found several changes in behavior indicative of a depression-like phenotype in offspring of rats subjected to repeated, variable prenatal stress (PNS), including increased locomotor activity during specific periods of the circadian cycle. We, therefore, investigated whether PNS rats also exhibit alterations in sleep/wakefulness behavior around the change from light-to-dark phase. Control and PNS Sprague–Dawley rats were implanted with electrodes for continuous monitoring of electroencephalic activity used to determine behavioral state. The distribution of slow-wave sleep (SWS), rapid eye movement sleep (REMS) and wakefulness was compared for periods before and after lights were turned off, between baseline conditions and after exposure to an acute stressor. Both REMS and SWS amounts were increased in PNS rats relative to control animals in the beginning of the dark phase. REMS changes were due to an increase in REMS bout number, rather than in bout duration. During this circadian time period, we did not find any sex differences in the state changes. These results indicate that PNS affects baseline sleep patterning in both male and female rats around active-phase onset.
The Subantarctic island of South Georgia lost most of its birds to predation by rodents introduced by people over 2 centuries. In 2011 a UK charity began to clear brown rats Rattus norvegicus and house mice Mus musculus from the 170 km long, 3,500 km2 island using helicopters to spread bait containing Brodifacoum as the active ingredient. South Georgia's larger glaciers were barriers to rodent movement, resulting in numerous independent sub-island populations. The eradication could therefore be spread over multiple seasons, giving time to evaluate results before recommencing, and also reducing the impact of non-target mortality across the island as a whole. Eradication success was achieved in the 128 km2 Phase 1 trial operation. Work in 2013 (Phase 2) and early 2015 (Phase 3) covered the remaining 940 km2 occupied by rodents. By July 2017, 28 months after baiting was concluded, there was no sign of surviving rodents, other than one apparently newly introduced by ship in October 2014. A survey using detection dogs and passive devices will search the Phase 2 and Phase 3 land for rodents in early 2018. Seven (of 30) species of breeding birds suffered losses from poisoning, but all populations appear to have recovered within 5 years. The endemic South Georgia pipit Anthus antarcticus was the first bird to breed in newly rat-free areas, but there were also signs that cavity-nesting seabirds were exploring scree habitat denied them for generations. Enhanced biosecurity measures on South Georgia are needed urgently to prevent rodents being reintroduced.
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is one of the most efficient treatments for major depression. Electroconvulsive seizures (ECS), the animal model of ECT, is widely used to study both mechanisms of action and adverse effects of ECT. As the treatment itself serves as an instant anaesthetic and anaesthetic agents may affect memory functions and behaviour, ECS is traditionally administered without muscle relaxation and anaesthesia. A major problem of unmodified ECS, which has only been addressed peripherally in the literature, is that some animals sustain spinal fractures and subsequent hind leg paralysis (paraplegia). This phenomenon leads to a higher degree of suffering and these animals need to be excluded from the studies. To reach sufficient statistical power, the group sizes are therefore often increased and this may lead to a pre-selected study group in risk of skewing the results. Moreover, the study design of the experiments do not comply with the 3R principles, which advocate for both refinement and reduction of animal experiments. The objective of this study is to systematically evaluate injuries caused by ECS.
We summarise the incidence of spinal fractures from 24 studies conducted during 2009–2015 in six different rat strains and report preliminary findings on scapular fractures following auricular ECS.
In total, 12.8% of all tested animals suffered from spinal fractures and we find an increase in spinal fracture incidence over time. Furthermore, X-ray analyses revealed that some animals displayed scapular fractures.
We discuss consequences of and possible explanations for ECS-induced fractures. Modifications of the method are highly warranted and we furthermore suggest that all animals are thoroughly examined for discrete fractures.
Adenosine is a neuromodulator present in various areas of the central nervous system, including the retina. Adenosine may serve a neuroprotective role in the retina, based on electroretinogram (ERG) recordings from the rat retina. Our purpose was to assess the role of A2A and A3 adenosine receptors in the generation and modulation of the rat ERG. The flash ERG was recorded with corneal electrodes from Sprague Dawley rats. Agonists and antagonists for A2A and A3 receptors, and adenosine were injected (5 µl) into the vitreous. The effects on the components of the single flash scotopic and photopic ERGs were examined, and ERG flicker. Adenosine (0.5 mM) increased the mean amplitudes of the scotopic ERG a-waves (68 ± 8 to 97 ± 14 µV, P = 0.042), and b-waves (236 ± 38 µV to 305 ± 42 µV). A2A agonist CGS21680 (2 mM) reduced the mean amplitude of the ERG b-wave, from 298 ± 21 µV in response to the brightest stimulus to 212 ± 19 µV (P = 0.005), and mean scotopic oscillatory potentials (OPs) from 100 ± 9 µV to 47 ± 11 µV (P = 0.023). ZM241385 [4 mM], an A2A antagonist, decreased the scotopic b-wave of the ERG. A3 agonist 2-CI-IB-MECA (0.5 mM) increased the a-wave, while decreasing the scotopic and photopic ERG b-waves, and the scotopic OPs. A3 antagonist VUF5574 (1 mM) increased the mean amplitude of the scotopic a-wave (66 ± 8 to 140 ± 29 µV, P = 0.046) and b-wave (224 ± 20 to 312 ± 39 µV, P = 0.0037). No significant effects on ERG flicker were found. We conclude that retinal neurons containing A2A and/or A3 adenosine receptors contribute to the generation of the ERG a- and b-waves and OPs.
Consumption of chicken meat enriched with bioactive compounds such as n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAn-3), vitamin E (vE) and selenium (Se) can help prevent many diseases and can be used to deliver those substances to humans. This might be of importance as chicken meat consumption is increasing worldwide. The effects of enriching chicken meat with PUFAn-3, vE and Se through dietary interventions were studied in rats. Four groups of Ross 308 female broilers from day 22 to day 35 of age were fed control diet (L) that contained lard and 80 mg vE and 0.3 mg Se/kg, or diets that contained rape seeds and fish oil with the same level of Se and vE as in the control diet, the same level of Se as in the control and 150 mg vE/kg, or 150 mg of vE and 0.7 mg Se/kg. Broiler carcasses were boiled, deboned, lyophilized and pooled by group. Boiled edible components of chicken carcass (BECC) were included (240 g/kg) in the diets fed to four groups of ten 10-week-old Wistar male rats for 8 weeks. Inclusion of BECCs modulated dietary fatty acid profile in the rat diets. Feeding these diets did not influence parameters related to growth or relative weights of internal organs in the rats. Feeding BECCs with lower PUFAn-6/n-3 decreased the n-6/n-3 ratio in the rat brain and liver, and increased the proportion of docosahexaenoic acid in the brain lipids. Liver cholesterol level was similar among the experimental groups, whereas the concentration of vE in the liver of rats fed BECC with increased vE levels was higher than that in the rats fed BECC with the basal vE level. Haematological and biochemical parameters in blood were within the normal range for rats, but a few rats showed a tendency towards increased levels because of the higher vE and Se level. The health-promoting effect of feeding rats PUFAn-3 enriched BECC was more pronounced when an increased dietary level of vE was used, but the increased level of Se did not provide the rats with additional benefits. Thus, the findings indicate that BECC enriched with PUFAn-3 and vE by a dietary intervention is a functional food with great potential of implementation.
Populations of grey petrels have declined globally due to both incidental capture in commercial fisheries and predation by introduced mammals at breeding sites. In the New Zealand region, grey petrels only breed on Campbell and Antipodes islands. Rats were successfully eradicated from Campbell Island in 2001. We assessed the spatial extent and conducted the first quantitative population estimate of the grey petrel population on Campbell Island and surrounding islets. There was an estimated c. 96 pairs (95% CI: 83, 109) of breeding grey petrels from the four colonies. Since work was conducted during the middle of the chick-rearing stage, this is an underestimate of the breeding population. The Campbell Island grey petrel breeding population remains small. Our study provides a baseline for future population estimates of grey petrels on Campbell Island.
We previously reported that rice endosperm protein (REP) has renoprotective effects in Goto–Kakizaki rats, a non-obese diabetic model. However, whether these effects occur in obese diabetes remains unclear. This study aimed to clarify the effects of REP on obese diabetes, especially on fatty liver and diabetic nephropathy, using the obese diabetic model Zucker diabetic fatty (ZDF) rats. In total, 7-week-old male ZDF rats were fed diets containing 20 % REP or casein (C) for 8 weeks. Changes in fasting blood glucose levels and urinary markers were monitored during the experimental period. Hepatic lipids and metabolites were measured and renal glomeruli were observed morphologically. HbA1c levels were significantly lower in rats fed REP, compared with C (P<0·05). Compared with C in the liver, REP prevented lipid accumulation (total lipid, TAG and total cholesterol, P<0·01). Liver metabolome analysis indicated that levels of metabolites associated with glycolysis, the pentose phosphate pathway and carnitine metabolism were significantly greater in the REP group than in the C group (P<0·05), suggesting activation of both glucose catabolism and fatty acid oxidation. The metabolite increases promoted by REP may contribute to suppression of liver lipid accumulation. Urinary excretion of albumin and N-acetyl-β-d-glucosaminidase was significantly reduced in rats fed REP for 8 weeks (P<0·01). In addition, there was a distinct suppression of mesangial matrix expansion and glomerular hypertrophy in response to REP (P<0·01). Thus, REP had preventive effects on obese diabetes, fatty liver and diabetic nephropathy.
Although the rat model of mammary tumors chemically induced by N-methyl-N-nitrosourea (MNU) has been frequently used by several research teams, there is a lack of ultrastructural studies in this field. The main aim of this work was to perform an ultrastructural characterization of MNU-induced mammary tumors in female rats. Some alterations previously reported in human mammary tumors, such as nucleus size and shape, accumulation of heterochromatin in the perinuclear region, and interdigitating cytoplasmic processes between cancer cells were also observed in MNU-induced mammary tumors. Although a low number of samples were analyzed by transmission electron microscopy in the present study, we consider that it may contribute to a better understanding of MNU-induced mammary carcinogenesis in a rat model. The ultrastructural characteristics of the two most frequently diagnosed mammary carcinomas described in the present work can be useful to differentiate them from other histological patterns. In addition, the loss of cytoplasm in neoplastic cells and formation of vacuoles were described.
There is a growing interest in the role of kynurenine pathway and tryptophan metabolites in the pathophysiology of depression. In the present study, the metabolism of tryptophan along the kynurenine pathway was analysed in a rat model of depression.
Kynurenic acid (KYNA) and 3-hydroxykynurenine (3-HK) were measured by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) in prefrontal cortex (PFC) and frontal cortex (FC) in a rat model of depression, the Flinders Sensitive Line (FSL) and their controls, the Flinders Resistant Line (FRL) rats. In addition, KYNA was also measured in hippocampus, striatum and cerebellum.
KYNA levels were reduced in the PFC of FSL rats compared with FRL rats, but did not differ with regard to the FC, hippocampus, striatum or cerebellum. 3-HK levels in PFC and FC, representing the activity of the microglial branch of the kynurenine pathway, did not differ between the FSL and FRL strains.
Our results suggest an imbalanced metabolism of the kynurenine pathway in the PFC of FSL rats.
Neuroimaging studies of depression considered as a stress-related disorder have shown uncoupling in regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) and regional cerebral metabolic rate for glucose (rCMRglc). We hypothesised that the mismatch change of rCBF and rCMRglc could be a stress-related phenomenon.
We exposed male rats to 15-min period of forced swim (FS), followed by the measurement of rCBF using N-isopropyl-4-[123I] iodoamphetamine (123I-IMP) and rCMRglc using 2-deoxy-2-[18F] fluoro-D-glucose (18F-FDG).
The uptake rate of 18F-FDG in the FS group showed a significant decrease in the prefrontal cortex (0.86±0.20%ID/g, p<0.01) and thalamus (0.77±0.17%ID/g, p<0.05) and tended to be lower in the hippocampus (0.58±0.13%ID/g) and cerebellum (0.59±0.13%ID/g) without overt alteration in the uptake rate of 123I-IMP.
The FS stress can cause mismatch change of rCBF and rCMRglc, which reflect a stress-related phenomenon.
The spiny rat (Proechimys guyannensis) is a neotropical rodent that is used in biomedical research, particularly research related to chronic resistance to epilepsy and infectious diseases. To our knowledge, there are few reports concerning the reproductive biology of this species. Therefore, besides providing basic biometric and morphometric data, in the present study we investigated testis function and spermatogenesis in adult spiny rats. The mean testis weight and gonadosomatic index obtained were 1.63 ± 0.2 g and 1.15 ± 0.1% respectively. Based on the development of the acrosomic system, 12 stages of the seminiferous epithelium cycle were characterized. Stages VI and VII presented the highest frequencies (~17–19%), whilst stages II to V showed the lowest frequencies (~2–4%). The most advanced germ cell types labelled at 1 h or 20 days after BrdU injections were respectively preleptotene/leptotene spermatocytes at stage VII and elongated spermatids at stage III. The mean duration of one cycle was 7.5 ± 0.01 days and the entire spermatogenic process lasted 33.7 ± 0.06 days (~4.5 cycles). The seminiferous tubules (ST) occupied ~96 ± 1% of the testis parenchyma, whereas Leydig cells comprised only 1.5 ± 0.4%. The number of Sertoli cells (SC) per testis gram and the SC efficiency (spermatids/SC) were respectively 78 × 106 ± 11 × 106 and 7.9 ± 1. The daily sperm production per testis gram (spermatogenic efficiency; daily sperm production (DSP)/g/testis) was 78 × 106 ± 8 × 106. To our knowledge, this spermatogenic efficiency is among the highest found for mammals investigated to date and is probably related to the very short duration of spermatogenesis and the very high ST percentage and SC number obtained for this species.