Browsing by Subject "RESPONSES"

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  • Jalkanen, Pinja; Pasternack, Arja; Maljanen, Sari; Melen, Krister; Kolehmainen, Pekka; Huttunen, Moona; Lundberg, Rickard; Tripathi, Lav; Khan, Hira; Ritvos, Mikael A.; Naves, Rauno; Haveri, Anu; Österlund, Pamela; Kuivanen, Suvi; Jääskeläinen, Anne J.; Kurkela, Satu; Lappalainen, Maija; Rantasärkkä, Kaisa; Vuorinen, Tytti; Hytönen, Jukka; Waris, Matti; Tauriainen, Sisko; Ritvos, Olli; Kakkola, Laura; Julkunen, Ilkka (2021)
    Background. Primary diagnosis of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection is based on detection of virus RNA in nasopharyngeal swab samples. In addition, analysis of humoral immunity against SARS-CoV-2 has an important role in viral diagnostics and seroprevalence estimates. Methods. We developed and optimized an enzyme immunoassays (EIA) using SARS-CoV-2 nucleoprotein (N), Si and receptor binding domain (RBD) of the viral spike protein, and N proteins from SARS, Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), and 4 low-pathogenic human CoVs. Neutralizing antibody activity was compared with SARS-CoV-2 IgG, IgA, and IgM EIA results. Results. The sensitivity of EIA for detecting immune response in COVID-19 patients (n = 101) was 77% in the acute phase and 100% in the convalescent phase of SARS-CoV-2 infection when N and RBD were used as antigens in IgG and IgA specific EIAs. SARS-CoV-2 infection significantly increased humoral immune responses against the 229E and NL63 N proteins. Si and RBD-based EIA results had a strong correlation with microneutralization test results. Conclusions. The data indicate a combination of SARS-CoV-2 Si or RBD and N proteins and analysis of IgG and IgA immunoglobulin classes in sera provide an excellent basis for specific and sensitive serological diagnostics of COVID-19.
  • Valori, Miko; Jansson, Lilja; Kiviharju, Anna; Ellonen, Pekka; Rajala, Hanna; Awad, Shady; Mustjoki, Satu; Tienari, Pentti J. l (2017)
    Somatic mutations have a central role in cancer but their role in other diseases such as autoimmune disorders is poorly understood. Earlier work has provided indirect evidence of rare somatic mutations in autoreactive T-lymphocytes in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients but such mutations have not been identified thus far. We analysed somatic mutations in blood in 16 patients with relapsing MS and 4 with other neurological autoimmune disease. To facilitate the detection of somatic mutations CD4 +, CD8 +, CD19 + and CD4-/CD8-/CD19- cell subpopulations were separated. We performed next-generation DNA sequencing targeting 986 immune related genes. Somatic mutations were called by comparing the sequence data of each cell subpopulation to other subpopulations of the same patient and validated by amplicon sequencing. We found non-synonymous somatic mutations in 12 (60%) patients (10 MS, 1 myasthenia gravis, 1 narcolepsy). There were 27 mutations, all different and mostly novel (67%). They were discovered at subpopulation-wise allelic fractions of 0.2%-4.6% (median 0.95%). Multiple mutations were found in 8 patients. The mutations were enriched in CD8 + cells (85% of mutations). In follow-up after a median time of 2.3 years, 96% of the mutations were still detectable. These results unravel a novel class of persistent somatic mutations, many of which were in genes that may play a role in autoimmunity (ATM, BTK, CD46, CD180, CLIP2, HMMR, IKEF3, ITGB3, KIR3DL2, MAPK10, CD56/NCAM1, RBM6, RORA, RPM and STAT3). Whether some of this class of mutations plays a role in disease is currently unclear, but these results define an interesting hitherto unknown research target for future studies. (C) 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc.
  • Ala-Kurikka, Tommi; Pospelov, Alexey; Summanen, Milla; Alafuzoff, Aleksander; Kurki, Samu; Voipio, Juha; Kaila, Kai (2021)
    Objective Birth asphyxia (BA) is often associated with seizures that may exacerbate the ensuing hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy. In rodent models of BA, exposure to hypoxia is used to evoke seizures, that commence already during the insult. This is in stark contrast to clinical BA, in which seizures are typically seen upon recovery. Here, we introduce a term-equivalent rat model of BA, in which seizures are triggered after exposure to asphyxia. Methods Postnatal day 11-12 male rat pups were exposed to steady asphyxia (15 min; air containing 5% O-2 + 20% CO2) or to intermittent asphyxia (30 min; three 5 + 5-min cycles of 9% and 5% O-2 at 20% CO2). Cortical activity and electrographic seizures were recorded in freely behaving animals. Simultaneous electrode measurements of intracortical pH, Po-2, and local field potentials (LFPs) were made under urethane anesthesia. Results Both protocols decreased blood pH to Significance The rate of brain pH recovery has a strong influence on post-asphyxia seizure propensity. The recurring hypoxic episodes during intermittent asphyxia promote neuronal excitability, which leads to seizures only after the suppressing effect of the hypercapnic acidosis is relieved. The present rodent model of BA is to our best knowledge the first one in which, consistent with clinical BA, behavioral and electrographic seizures are triggered after and not during the BA-mimicking insult.
  • Voutilainen, Liisa; Henttonen, Pentti; Kahri, Mikko; Kivioja, Maari; Ravaja, Niklas; Sams, Mikko; Perakyla, Anssi (2014)
  • Malhotra, Rajneesh; Kurian, Nisha; Zhou, Xiao-Hong; Jiang, Fanyi; Monkley, Susan; DeMicco, Amy; Clausen, Ib G.; Dellgren, Göran; Edenro, Goran; Ahdesmaki, Miika J.; Clausen, Maryam; Oberg, Lisa; Israelsson, Elisabeth; Belfield, Graham; Vaarala, Outi (2017)
    Background BET proteins (BRD2, BRD3, BRDT and BRD4) belong to the family of bromodomain containing proteins, which form a class of transcriptional co-regulators. BET proteins bind to acetylated lysine residues in the histones of nucleosomal chromatin and function either as co-activators or co-repressors of gene expression. An imbalance between HAT and HDAC activities resulting in hyperacetylation of histones has been identified in COPD. We hypothesized that pan-BET inhibitor (JQ1) treatment of BET protein interactions with hyperacety-lated sites in the chromatin will regulate excessive activation of pro-inflammatory genes in key inflammatory drivers of alveolar macrophages (AM) in COPD. Methods and findings Transcriptome analysis of AM from COPD patients indicated up-regulation of macrophage M1 type genes upon LPS stimulation. Pan-BET inhibitor JQ1 treatment attenuated expression of multiple genes, including pro-inflammatory cytokines and regulators of innate and adaptive immune cells. We demonstrated for the first time that JQ1 differentially modulated LPS-induced cytokine release from AM or peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) of COPD patients compared to PBMC of healthy controls. Using the BET regulated gene signature, we identified a subset of COPD patients, which we propose to benefit from BET inhibition. Conclusions This work demonstrates that the effects of pan-BET inhibition through JQ1 treatment of inflammatory cells differs between COPD patients and healthy controls, and the expression of BET protein regulated genes is altered in COPD. These findings provide evidence of histone hyperacetylation as a mechanism driving chronic inflammatory changes in COPD.
  • Hamari, S.; Kirveskoski, T.; Glumoff, V.; Kulmala, P.; Simell, O.; Knip, M.; Veijola, R. (2016)
    Our aim was to study whether the aberrant amount or function of regulatory T cells is related to the development of type 1 diabetes (T1D) in children. We also set out to investigate the balance of different T cell subtype markers during the T1D autoimmune process. Treg cells were quantified with flow cytometric assay, and the suppression capacity was analysed with a carboxyfluorescein succinimidyl ester (CFSE)-based T cell suppression assay in children in various phases of T1D disease process and in healthy autoantibody-negative control children. The mRNA expression of different T cell subpopulation markers was analysed with real-time qPCR method. The proportion and suppression capacity of regulatory T cells were similar in seroconverted children at an early stage of beta cell autoimmunity and also in children with T1D when compared to healthy and autoantibody-negative children. Significant differences were observed in the mRNA expression of different T cell subpopulation markers in prediabetic children with multiple (2) autoantibodies and in children with newly diagnosed T1D when compared to the control children. In conclusion, there were no quantitative or functional differences in regulatory T cells between the case and control groups in any phase of the autoimmune process. Decreased mRNA expression levels of T cell subtype markers were observed in children with multiple islet autoantibodies and in those with newly diagnosed T1D, probably reflecting an exhaustion of the immune system after the strong immune activation during the autoimmune process or a generally aberrant immune response related to the progression of the disease.
  • He, Suxu; Ran, Chao; Qin, Chubin; Li, Shuning; Zhang, Hongling; de Vos, Willem M.; Ringo, Einar; Zhou, Zhigang (2017)
    In this study, we tested the distribution of 49 Lactobacillus strains in the mucus and mucosa of the intestine tissue of zebrafish. We observed a progressive change in the spatial distribution of Lactobacillus strains, and suggested a division of the strains into three classes: mucus type (>70% in mucus), mucosa type (>70% in mucosa) and hybrid type (others). The hybrid type strains were more efficient in protection of zebrafish against Aeromonas hydrophila infection. Three strains representing different distribution types (JCM1149, CGMCC1.2028, and JCM 20300) were selected. The mucosa type strain JCM1149 induced higher intestinal expression of inflammatory cytokines and Hsp70 than the other strains. Furthermore, we used L. rhamnosus GG and its mutant (PB22) lacking SpaCBA pili to investigate the influence of pili on spatial distribution. LGG showed a mucosa type distribution, while PB22 revealed a hybrid distribution and the disease protection was accordingly improved. The different protection ability between LGG and PB22 did not involve the intestinal microbiota, however, LGG induced injury to the mucosa of zebrafish. Collectively, the disease protection activity of Lactobacillus in zebrafish is correlated with their spatial distribution in the intestinal tissue, with strains showing a balanced distribution (hybrid type) more efficient in protection.
  • Lindström, Stafva; Timonen, Sari; Sundström, Liselotte; Johansson, Helena (2019)
    Biotic and abiotic characteristics shape the microbial communities in the soil environment. Manipulation of soil, performed by ants when constructing their nests, radically changes the soil characteristics and creates a unique environment, which differs in its composition, frequency and abundance of microbial taxa, from those in the reference soils. We sampled nests of the mound-building ant Formica exsecta, and the surrounding reference soils over a three-month period, and generated NGS (Illumina MiSeq), and T-RFLP data of the bacterial and fungal communities. We used ordination techniques and network analysis to disclose the community structure, and we assessed the variation in diversity, evenness and enrichment of taxa between the two environments. We also used indicator analysis to identify the potential core microbiome of the nests. Our results show that the bacterial and fungal communities, in the rigorously curated nest environment, are significantly different from those in the reference soils, in terms of community structure and enrichment of characteristic indicator taxa. We demonstrate that the nests represent a niche, where microbial species can adapt and diverge from the communities in the surrounding soils. Our findings contribute to our understanding of the composition and function of microbiomes in fragmented habitats.
  • Mahil, Satveer K.; Twelves, Sophie; Farkas, Katalin; Setta-Kaffetzi, Niovi; Burden, A. David; Gach, Joanna E.; Irvine, Alan D.; Kepiro, Laszlo; Mockenhaupt, Maja; Oon, Hazel H.; Pinner, Jason; Ranki, Annamari; Seyger, Marieke M. B.; Soler-Palacin, Pere; Storan, Eoin R.; Tan, Eugene S.; Valeyrie-Allanore, Laurence; Young, Helen S.; Trembath, Richard C.; Choon, Siew-Eng; Szell, Marta; Bata-Csorgo, Zsuzsanna; Smith, Catherine H.; Di Meglio, Paola; Barker, Jonathan N.; Capon, Francesca (2016)
    Prominent skin involvement is a defining characteristic of autoinflammatory disorders caused by abnormal IL-1 signaling. However, the pathways and cell types that drive cutaneous autoinflammatory features remain poorly understood. We sought to address this issue by investigating the pathogenesis of pustular psoriasis, a model of autoinflammatory disorders with predominant cutaneous manifestations. We specifically characterized the impact of mutations affecting AP1S3, a disease gene previously identified by our group and validated here in a newly ascertained patient resource. We first showed that AP1S3 expression is distinctively elevated in keratinocytes. Because AP1S3 encodes a protein implicated in autophagosome formation, we next investigated the effects of gene silencing on this pathway. We found that AP1S3 knockout disrupts keratinocyte autophagy, causing abnormal accumulation of p62, an adaptor protein mediating NF-kappa B activation. We showed that as a consequence, AP1S3-deficient cells up-regulate IL-1 signaling and overexpress IL-36 alpha, a cytokine that is emerging as an important mediator of skin inflammation. These abnormal immune profiles were recapitulated by pharmacological inhibition of autophagy and verified in patient keratinocytes, where they were reversed by IL-36 blockade. These findings show that keratinocytes play a key role in skin autoinflammation and identify autophagy modulation of IL-36 signaling as a therapeutic target.
  • Wang, Qian; Lintunen, Anna; Zhao, Ping; Shen, Weijun; Salmon, Yann; Chen, Xia; Ouyang, Lei; Zhu, Liwei; Ni, Guangyan; Sun, Dan; Rao, Xinquan; Holtta, Teemu (2020)
    Prerequisite for selection of appropriate tree species in afforestation programs is to understand their water use strategy. Acacia mangium Willd., Schima wallichii Choisy, and Cunninghamia lanceolata (Lamb.) Hook are the three main vegetation restoration pioneer species in southern China, but no comparative research on the water use strategy of these three tree species have been reported. Our objective was to gain a detailed understanding of how photosynthetically active radiation (PAR), vapor pressure deficit (VPD), and soil water content (SWC) at different soil depths control the sap flux density (J(s)) in the dry and wet seasons. We measured the J(s) of these three tree species by using the thermal dissipation method in low subtropical China. We found that both S. wallichii and C. lanceolata differed clearly in their stomatal behavior from one season to another, while A. mangium did not. The canopy conductance per sapwood area of S. wallichii and C. lanceolata was very sensitive to VPD in the dry season, but not in the wet season. The J(s) of A. mangium was negatively correlated to SWC in all soil layers and during both seasons, while the other two species were not sensitive to SWC in the deeper layers and only positively correlated to SWC in dry season. Our results demonstrate that the three species have distinct water use strategies and may therefore respond differently to changing climate.
  • Quarto, Tiziana; Blasi, Giuseppe; Maddalena, Chiara; Viscanti, Giovanna; Lanciano, Tiziana; Soleti, Emanuela; Mangiulli, Ivan; Taurisano, Paolo; Fazio, Leonardo; Bertolino, Alessandro; Curci, Antonietta (2016)
    The human ability of identifying, processing and regulating emotions from social stimuli is generally referred as Emotional Intelligence (EI). Within EI, Ability EI identifies a performance measure assessing individual skills at perceiving, using, understanding and managing emotions. Previous models suggest that a brain "somatic marker circuitry" (SMC) sustains emotional sub-processes included in EI. Three primary brain regions are included: the amygdala, the insula and the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC). Here, our aim was to investigate the relationship between Ability EI scores and SMC activity during social judgment of emotional faces. Sixty-three healthy subjects completed a test measuring Ability EI and underwent fMRI during a social decision task (i.e. approach or avoid) about emotional faces with different facial expressions. Imaging data revealed that EI scores are associated with left insula activity during social judgment of emotional faces as a function of facial expression. Specifically, higher EI scores are associated with greater left insula activity during social judgment of fearful faces but also with lower activity of this region during social judgment of angry faces. These findings indicate that the association between Ability EI and the SMC activity during social behavior is region- and emotionspecific.
  • Rantalainen, V.; Lahti, J.; Henriksson, M.; Kajantie, E.; Mikkonen, M.; Eriksson, J. G.; Räikkönen, Katri (2018)
    Background. Being breastfed in infancy has been shown to benefit neurodevelopment. However, whether the benefits persist to old age remains unclear. Methods. We examined the associations between breastfeeding and its duration on cognitive ability in young adulthood and old age, and on aging-related cognitive change over five decades. In total, 931 men from the Helsinki Birth Cohort Study born in 1934-1944 in Finland took the Finnish Defence Forces Basic Intellectual Ability Test (total and verbal, arithmetic and visuospatial subtest scores) twice, at ages 20.2 and 67.9 years, and had data on breastfeeding (yes v. no) and its duration ('never breastfed', 'up to 3', '3 to 6' and 6 or more months'). Linear and mixed model regressions tested the associations. Results. At 20.2 years, breastfed men had higher cognitive ability total and visuospatial subtest scores [mean differences (MDs) ranged between 3.0-3.9, p values <0.013], and its longer duration predicted higher cognitive ability total and arithmetic and visuospatial subtest scores (MDs ranged between 3.0 and 4.8, p values <0.039). At 67.9 years, breastfed men had higher total cognitive ability and all subtest scores (MDs ranged between 2.6 and 3.4, p values <0.044) and its longer duration predicted all cognitive ability scores (MDs ranged between 3.1 and 4.7, p values <0.050). Verbal subtest scores decreased over five decades in men who were never breastfed or were breastfed for 3 months or less, and increased in those breastfed for longer than 3 months. Conclusions. Neurodevelopmental advantages of breastfeeding and its longer duration persist into old age, and longer duration of breastfeeding may benefit aging-related change, particularly in verbal reasoning ability.
  • Karhula, Kati; Harma, Mikko; Sallinen, Mikael; Lindholm, Harri; Hirvonen, Ari; Elovainio, Marko; Kivimaki, Mika; Vahtera, Jussi; Puttonen, Sampsa (2016)
    Although the prevalence of work-related stress has increased, knowledge on the contributions of that stress to long-term adverse health effects is still lacking. Stress biomarkers can reveal early signs of negative health effects, but no previous studies have measured both acute stress reactions and long-term exposure to job strain using both salivary cortisol and -amylase (AA). The present study examines the association between job strain and these biomarkers among shift-working female health care professionals in the laboratory and the field. The 95 participants were recruited from hospital wards categorized in either the top (high job strain [HJS] group, n = 42) or the bottom quartile of job strain (low job strain [LJS] group, n = 53), as rated by survey responses. Participants' self-perceived job strain was at least as high or low as the ward's average estimation. Saliva samples were collected during the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST), preselected morning and night shifts, and a day off. There was a larger increase in the cortisol concentration of participants in the HJS than in the LJS group (2.27- vs. 1.48-fold, respectively, nonsignificant) during the TSST. Participants in the HJS group also had higher salivary AA levels 30 min after awakening on the morning-shift day than those in the LJS group (p = .02), whereas the salivary cortisol awakening response on the day off was higher in the LJS group (p = .05, education as a covariate). The remaining stress-biomarker results did not differ significantly between groups. These data suggest that HJS in shift-working health care professionals is weakly associated with changes in stress biomarkers.
  • Cardoso, Pedro; Branco, Vasco V.; Borges, Paulo A.; Carvalho, Jose C.; Rigal, Francois; Gabriel, Rosalina; Mammola, Stefano; Cascalho, Jose; Correia, Luis (2020)
    Ecological systems are the quintessential complex systems, involving numerous high-order interactions and non-linear relationships. The most used statistical modeling techniques can hardly accommodate the complexity of ecological patterns and processes. Finding hidden relationships in complex data is now possible using massive computational power, particularly by means of artificial intelligence and machine learning methods. Here we explored the potential of symbolic regression (SR), commonly used in other areas, in the field of ecology. Symbolic regression searches for both the formal structure of equations and the fitting parameters simultaneously, hence providing the required flexibility to characterize complex ecological systems. Although the method here presented is automated, it is part of a collaborative human-machine effort and we demonstrate ways to do it. First, we test the robustness of SR to extreme levels of noise when searching for the species-area relationship. Second, we demonstrate how SR can model species richness and spatial distributions. Third, we illustrate how SR can be used to find general models in ecology, namely new formulas for species richness estimators and the general dynamic model of oceanic island biogeography. We propose that evolving free-form equations purely from data, often without prior human inference or hypotheses, may represent a very powerful tool for ecologists and biogeographers to become aware of hidden relationships and suggest general theoretical models and principles.
  • Merilä, Juha (2015)
    Whether or not baiting influences stickleback catch per unit effort (CPUE) remains a matter of debate among stickleback researchers: While the opinions about the impact of baiting on CPUE differ, supporting quantitative data are scarce. The effect of baiting and trap type on nine-spined stickleback (Pungitius pungitius) CPUE was studied in a field experiment conducted over four consecutive days in a small pond in northeastern Finland. The results show that baited traps yielded better (mean CPUE=1.24 fish/trap/d) catches than unbaited traps (mean CPUE=0.66); however, there were also differences in CPUE depending on the type of collapsible trap that was used. The trap type effect on CPUE seemed to differ among age classes - the finer meshed trap caught more young-of-the-year fish than the coarse-meshed one, whereas the opposite was true for the older and larger individuals. The results agree with those of an earlier more restricted study conducted in the same locality: Together, these results provide strong evidence for the positive impact of baiting on nine-spined stickleback CPUE.
  • Khan, Suleiman A.; Leppaaho, Eemeli; Kaski, Samuel (2016)
    We introduce Bayesian multi-tensor factorization, a model that is the first Bayesian formulation for joint factorization of multiple matrices and tensors. The research problem generalizes the joint matrix-tensor factorization problem to arbitrary sets of tensors of any depth, including matrices, can be interpreted as unsupervised multi-view learning from multiple data tensors, and can be generalized to relax the usual trilinear tensor factorization assumptions. The result is a factorization of the set of tensors into factors shared by any subsets of the tensors, and factors private to individual tensors. We demonstrate the performance against existing baselines in multiple tensor factorization tasks in structural toxicogenomics and functional neuroimaging.
  • Moen, Gro Kvelprud; Ordiz, Andres; Kindberg, Jonas; Swenson, Jon E.; Sundell, Janne; Stoen, Ole-Gunnar (2019)
    Human disturbance causes behavioral responses in wildlife, including large carnivores. Previous research in Scandinavia has documented that brown bears (Ursus arctos) show a variety of behavioral reactions to different human activities. We investigated how proximity to human settlements and roads, as proxies of human influence, affected brown bears' reactions to encountering humans. We analyzed experimental approaches to GPS collared bears, 18 males and 23 single females, in Sweden (n = 148 approaches) and Finland (n = 33), conducted between 2004 and 2012. The bears in Finland inhabited areas with higher human density compared to Sweden. However, the proportion of bears staying or moving when approached and the flight initiation distances were similar in both countries. In Sweden, the flight responses were not dependent on human densities or roads inside the bears' home ranges or the distances from the bears to roads and settlements. Brown bears in Fennoscandia live in areas with relatively low human population densities, but in many areas with high forestry road densities. Our results show that bears' flight reactions were consistent between areas, which is an important message for management, reinforcing previous studies that have documented human avoidance by bears at different spatial and temporal scales.
  • Yun, Jinhyeon; Ollila, Anna; Valros, Anna; Larenza Menzies, Maria Paula; Heinonen, Mari; Oliviero, Claudio; Peltoniemi, Olli (2019)
    The present study aimed to use behavioural measures to assess pain induced by surgical castration of piglets, and evaluate the efficacy of pain-relief medications. In total, 143 male piglets from 29 sows were used. The treatments included: 1) non-castration (NC; n = 28), 2) castration without medication (SC; n = 29), 3) castration with meloxicam injection 0.4 mg/kg i.m. (ME; n = 28), 4) castration with 0.5 ml of 2% lidocaine in each testicle (LA; n = 29), and 5) castration with general inhalation anaesthesia using isoflurane (1.5%) and meloxicam injection (GA; n = 29). Behaviour was monitored continuously for a ten minute period one hour prior to castration (−1 h), as well as immediately (0 h), one hour (1 h), and two hours (2 h) after castration. Behaviour was also monitored twice (08:00 and 20:00) during the following day. Compared to −1 h, castration induced changes in several behavioural measures in SC piglets at 0 h, suggesting that castration was painful. Furthermore, inactive standing or sitting, tail wagging and aggressive behaviour differed between SC and NC piglets at 0 h. ME and LA piglets spent less time standing or sitting inactively, and LA and GA piglets showed more tail wagging than SC piglets at 0 h (P < 0.05 for all). No other behavioural measures differed among the various groups of castrated piglets. In conclusion, the results indicate that surgical castration is indeed painful. However, the efficacy of various pain-relief protocols in piglets shortly after castration was not verified.
  • Heinla, Indrek; Åhlgren, Johanna; Vasar, Eero; Voikar, Vootele (2018)
    Developing reliable mouse models for social behaviour is challenging. Different tests have been proposed, but most of them consist of rather artificial confrontations of unfamiliar mice in novel arenas or are relying on social stress induced by aggressive conspecifics. Natural social interaction in home cage in laboratory has not been investigated well. IntelliCage is a fully automated home-cage system, where activity of the group-housed mice can be monitored along with various cognitive tasks. Here we report the behavioural profile of C57BL/6N (86) and BALB/c (BALB) female mice in IntelliCage when separated by strain, followed by monitoring of activity and formation of 'home-base' after mixing two strains. For that purpose, 3 cages were connected. Significant differences between the strains were established in baseline behaviour in conventional tests and in IntelliCage. The B6 mice showed reduced anxiety-like behaviour in open field and light-dark box, slightly enhanced exploratory activity in IntelliCage during initial adaptation and clearly distinct circadian activity. Mixing of two strains resulted in reduction of body weight and anhedonia in B6 mice. In addition, the B6 mice showed clear preference to previous home-cage, and formed a new home-base faster than BALB mice. In contrast, BALB mice showed enhanced activity and moving between the cages without showing any preference to previous home-cage. It could be argued that social challenge caused changes in both strains and different coping styles are responsible for behavioural manifestations. Altogether, this approach could be useful in modelling and validating mouse models for disorders with disturbed social behaviour.
  • Coppock, Rachel L.; Lindeque, Penelope K.; Cole, Matthew; Galloway, Tamara S.; Nakki, Pinja; Birgani, Hannah; Richards, Saskiya; Queiros, Ana M. (2021)
    Microplastics are ubiquitous in the marine environment, however, the mechanisms governing their uptake by, and burial within, seabed habitats are poorly understood. In this study, microplastic burial and its impact on fauna-mediated sedimentary processes was quantified at three coastal sites, and the potential contribution of burrowing faunal communities to this process assessed via functional trait diversity analysis of field data. In addition, laboratory exposures were used to assess whether sediment-processing undertaken by the brittlestar Amphiura filiformis, a key species in the sampled area, could explain the burial of microplastic fibres. Field observations confirmed broad-scale burial of microplastics across the coastal seabed, consistent across sites and seasons, with microplastic sequestration linked to benthic-pelagic exchange pathways, driven by burrowing fauna. Brittlestars were observed to bury and line their burrow walls with microfibres during experiments, and their burial activity was also modified following exposure to nylon fibres, relative to controls. Collectively, these results indicate that biodiverse and functionally important seabed habitats act as microplastic sinks, with burrowing fauna contributing to this process via well-known benthic-pelagic pathways, the rates of which are modified by plastic exposure.