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Behavior, Animal - Top 30 Publications

Intracerebroventricular administration of the (1→6)-β-d-glucan (lasiodiplodan) in male rats prevents d-penicillamine-induced behavioral alterations and lipoperoxidation in the cortex.

Lasiodiplodan, an exocellular (1→6)-β-d-glucan of molecular weight >1.4 × 10(6) Da produced by MMPI strain of Lasiodiplodia theobromae (Pat.) Griffon & Maubl. (Brotyosphaeriaceae) is known to exhibit anti-proliferative activity on breast cancer cells (MCF-7), anticoagulant activity when sulfonylated, and reduction in transaminase activity when administered in rats.

Attributing Death to Diet: Precision Counts.

Effect of Insulin on Visuo-Spatial Memory and Histology of Cerebral Cortex in the Presence or Absence of Nitric Oxide Inhibition.

Insulin has emerged from its traditional 'peripheral' glucose-lowering function to become increasingly regarded as a brain hormone that controls a wide range of functions including learning and memory. Insulin action on learning and memory is linked to nitric oxide (NO) signalling, but its effects on memory and histology of cerebral cortex in conditions of varied NO availability is unclear. This research sought to determine the effect of insulin on visuo-spatial learning, memory and histology of cerebral cortex during NO deficiency. Twenty-four mice weighing 21-23 g, were divided into four groups (n = 6) and treated daily for seven days with 0.2 ml distilled water subcutaneously (s.c.) (control), 10 I.U/kg insulin s.c., 10 I.U/kg insulin + 50 mg/kg L-NAME intraperitoneally (i.p.), and 50 mg/kg i.p. L-NAME s.c., respectively. The 3-day MWM paradigm was used to assess memory. Brain tissue was examined for histological changes. There was no significant difference between day 1 and day 2 latencies for all the groups. The mice in all (but L-NAME) groups spent more time in the target quadrant, and the difference was significant within but not between groups. There was significant reduction in number of platform site crossings (4.83 ± 0.5, 0.67 ± 0.3, 0.50 ± 0.3 and 0.50 ± 0.3 for control, insulin, insulin+L-NAME and L-NAME groups, respectively) in all the groups compared to control. Normal histology of the cortex and absence of histological lesions were observed in brain slides of control and treatment groups. It was concluded that insulin administration impairs visuo-spatial memory to a greater extent in the presence of NO block, and to a lesser extent in the absence of NO block. Nitric oxide has a role in insulin-induced memory impairment. Insulin administration in the presence or absence of NO block had no effect on histology of cortex.

Effect of Low Dose Lead (Pb) Administration on Tail Immersion Test and Formalin-induced Pain in Wistar Rats: Possible Modulatory Role of Cobalt (II) Chloride.

Lead (Pb) is cheap and there is a long tradition of its use, but its toxic effects have also been recognized. There is increased public health concern regarding the hazards of low dose Pb exposure to adults and children. Studies have shown the risks for hypertension, decrements in renal function, subtle decline in cognitive function, and adverse reproductive outcome at low blood Pb level. In this study, the possible modulatory role of cobalt (II) chloride (CoCl2) on low level Pb exposure on tail immersion test and formalin induced pain was investigated. Twenty adult Wistar rats of both sexes (weight 150g to 200g) were used. The animals were divided into four groups (n = 5) and administered Pb (5mg/kg), Pb (5mg/kg) + CoCl2 (50mg/kg) and CoCl2 (50mg/kg) orally for twenty-eight days. The last group served as control and were given distilled water only. In the tail immersion test, there was no significant change in reaction time for all three groups when compared to the control. In the formalin-induced pain, pain score after five and forty-five minutes also do not show significant change for all the three groups when compared to control. This work suggested that exposure to 5mg/kg Pb for twenty-eight days do not significantly impair reaction time in tail immersion test and pain score in formalin induced pain in Wistar rats. Also, administration of 50mg/kg CoCl2 do not improve performance of the animals in the experiments.

Repeated Acute Oral Exposure to Cannabis sativa Impaired Neurocognitive Behaviours and Cortico-hippocampal Architectonics in Wistar Rats.

The most abused illicit drug in both the developing and the developed world is Cannabis disposing users to varying forms of personality disorders. However, the effects of cannabis on cortico-hippocampal architecture and cognitive behaviours still remain elusive.  The present study investigated the neuro-cognitive implications of oral cannabis use in rats. Eighteen adult Wistar rats were randomly grouped to three. Saline was administered to the control rats, cannabis (20 mg/kg) to the experimental group I, while Scopolamine (1 mg/kg. ip) was administered to the last group as a standard measure for the cannabis induced cognitive impairment. All treatments lasted for seven consecutive days. Open Field Test (OFT) was used to assess locomotor activities, Elevated Plus Maze (EPM) for anxiety-like behaviour, and Y maze paradigm for spatial memory and data subjected to ANOVA and T test respectively. Thereafter, rats were sacrificed and brains removed for histopathological studies. Cannabis significantly reduced rearing frequencies in the OFT and EPM, and increased freezing period in the OFT. It also reduced percentage alternation similar to scopolamine in the Y maze, and these effects were coupled with alterations in the cortico-hippocampal neuronal architectures. These results point to the detrimental impacts of cannabis on cortico-hippocampal neuronal architecture and morphology, and consequently cognitive deficits.

Neurobehavioral Deficits in Progressive Experimental Hydrocephalus in Neonatal Rats.

Hydrocephalus is usually associated with functional deficits which can be assessed by neurobehavioral tests. This study characterizes the neurobehavioral deficits occurring with increasing duration and severity of ventriculomegaly in an experimental neonatal hydrocephalic rat model. Hydrocephalus was induced in three weeks old albino rats by intracisternal injection of kaolin while controls received sterile water injection. They were sacrificed in batches at one, four and eight weeks post-injection after neurobehavioral tests (forelimb grip strength, open field and Morris water maze tests) were performed. The hydrocephalic rats were also categorized into mild, moderate and severe hydrocephalus based on ventricular size. The indices of muscular strength and vertical movements in severely hydrocephalic rats were 28.05 ± 5.19 seconds and 7.29 ± 2.71 rearings respectively, compared to controls (75.68 ± 8.58 seconds and 17.09 ± 1.25 rearings respectively). At eight weeks, vertical movements were significantly reduced in hydrocephalic rats compared to controls (3.14 ± 1.3 vs 13 ± 4.11 rearings). At one week, indices of learning and memory were significantly reduced in hydrocephalic rats, compared to controls (0.89±0.31 vs 3.88±1.01 crossings), but at 8 weeks, the indices were similar (2.56 ± 0.41 vs 3.33 ± 0.71 crossings). Untreated hydrocephalus is accompanied by decline in motor functions which increase with duration and severity of ventriculomegaly. However, cognitive deficits appear to partially recover.

Remarkable vocal identity in wild-living mother and neonate saiga antelopes: a specialization for breeding in huge aggregations?

Saiga antelopes Saiga tatarica tatarica give birth in large aggregations, and offspring follow the herd soon after birth. Herding is advantageous as anti-predator strategy; however, communication between mothers and neonates is strongly complicated in large aggregations. Individual series of nasal and oral contact calls of mother and neonate saiga antelopes were selected from recordings made with automated recording systems placed near the hiding neonates on the saiga breeding grounds in Northern Kazakhstan during synchronized parturitions of 30,000 calving females. We used for comparison of the acoustic structure of nasal and oral contact calls 168 nasal calls of 18 mothers, 192 oral calls of 21 mothers, 78 nasal calls of 16 neonates, and 197 oral calls of 22 neonates. In the oral calls of either mothers or neonates, formant frequencies were higher and the duration was longer than in the nasal calls, whereas fundamental frequencies did not differ between oral and nasal calls. Discriminant function analysis (DFA) based on six acoustic variables, accurately classified individual identity for 99.4% of oral calls of 18 mothers, for 89.3% of nasal calls of 18 mothers, and for 94.4% of oral calls of 18 neonates. The average value of correct classification to individual was higher in mother oral than in mother nasal calls and in mother oral calls than in neonate oral calls; no significant difference was observed between mother nasal and neonate oral calls. Variables mainly responsible for vocal identity were the fundamental frequency and the second and third formants in either mothers or neonates, and in either nasal or oral calls. The high vocal identity of mothers and neonates suggests a powerful potential for the mutual mother-offspring recognition in dense aggregations of saiga antelopes as an important component of their survival strategy.

Age and Environment Influences on Mouse Prion Disease Progression: Behavioral Changes and Morphometry and Stereology of Hippocampal Astrocytes.

Because enriched environment (EE) and exercise increase and aging decreases immune response, we hypothesized that environmental enrichment and aging will, respectively, delay and increase prion disease progression. Mice dorsal striatum received bilateral stereotaxic intracerebral injections of normal or ME7 prion infected mouse brain homogenates. After behavior analysis, animals were euthanized and their brains processed for astrocyte GFAP immunolabeling. Our analysis related to the environmental influence are limited to young adult mice, whereas age influence refers to aged mice raised on standard cages. Burrowing activity began to reduce in ME7-SE two weeks before ME7-EE, while no changes were apparent in ME7 aged mice (ME7-A). Object placement recognition was impaired in ME7-SE, NBH-A, and ME7-A but normal in all other groups. Object identity recognition was impaired in ME7-A. Cluster analysis revealed two morphological families of astrocytes in NBH-SE animals, three in NBH-A and ME7-A, and four in NBH-EE, ME7-SE, and ME7-EE. As compared with control groups, astrocytes from DG and CA3 prion-diseased animals show significant numerical and morphological differences and environmental enrichment did not reverse these changes but induced different morphological changes in GFAP+ hippocampal astroglia. We suggest that environmental enrichment and aging delayed hippocampal-dependent behavioral and neuropathological signs of disease progression.

Repeatability and consistency of individual behaviour in juvenile and adult Eurasian harvest mice.

Knowledge on animal personality has provided new insights into evolutionary biology and animal ecology, as behavioural types have been shown to affect fitness. Animal personality is characterized by repeatable and consistent between-individual behavioural differences throughout time and across different situations. Behavioural repeatability within life history stages and consistency between life history stages should be checked for the independence of sex and age, as recent data have shown that males and females in some species may differ in the repeatability of behavioural traits, as well as in their consistency. We measured the repeatability and consistency of three behavioural and one cognitive traits in juvenile and adult Eurasian harvest mice (Micromys minutus). We found that exploration, activity and boldness were repeatable in juveniles and adults. Spatial recognition measured in a Y Maze was only repeatable in adult mice. Exploration, activity and boldness were consistent before and after maturation, as well as before and after first sexual contact. Data on spatial recognition provided little evidence for consistency. Further, we found some evidence for a litter effect on behaviours by comparing different linear mixed models. We concluded that harvest mice express animal personality traits as behaviours were repeatable across sexes and consistent across life history stages. The tested cognitive trait showed low repeatability and was less consistent across life history stages. Given the rising interest in individual variation in cognitive performance, and in its relationship to animal personality, we suggest that it is important to gather more data on the repeatability and consistency of cognitive traits.

Female conspecifics restore rhythmic singing behaviour in arrhythmic male zebra finches.

The present study investigated whether pairing with a conspecific female would restore rhythmicity in the singing behaviour of arrhythmic male songbirds. We recorded the singing and, as the circadian response indicator, monitored the activity-rest pattern in male zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) housed without or with a conspecific female under 12 h light: 12 h darkness (12L:12D) or constant bright light (LL bright). Both unpaired and paired birds exhibited a significant daily rhythm in the singing and activity behaviour, but paired birds, under 12L:12D, showed a ~2 h extension in the evening. Exposure to LLbright decayed rhythmicity, but the female presence restored rhythmic patterns without affecting the 24 h song output. In the acoustic features, we found a significant difference in the motif duration between unpaired and paired male songs. Overall, these results demonstrated for the first time the role of the female in restoring the circadian phenotype of singing behaviour in male songbirds with disrupted circadian functions, although how interaction between sexes affects the circadian timing of male singing is not understood yet. It is suggested that social cues rendered by a conspecific female could improve the circadian performance by restoring rhythmicity in the biological functions of the cohabiting arrhythmic male partner.

Polyandrous behavior in an overexploited giant South American turtle (Podocnemis expansa) population in Central Amazon, Brazil.

The aim of the present study was to investigate the reproductive behavior of the giant Amazon River turtle (Podocnemis expansa) in the Amazon. This was carried out by estimating the degree of polymorphism in five DNA microsatellites in a sample of 359 hatchlings from 12 nests in the Mamirauá Sustainable Development Reserve in the municipality of Tefé, state of Amazonas, Brazil. An analysis of allele frequency and variation in the five microsatellite loci allowed for determination of multiple paternity in all nests sampled. Contributions of at least four male turtles to one nest, three male turtles to six nests, and two male turtles to five nests were identified. Knowledge on the reproductive behavior of P. expansa can assist in the establishment of management and conservation strategies for the population in the Mamirauá Reserve.

Responses of wintering geese to the designation of goose foraging areas in The Netherlands.

The Netherlands is important for wintering migratory herbivorous geese, numbers of which have rapidly increased, leading to conflict with agriculture. In 2005/2006, a new goose management policy aimed to limit compensation payments to farmers by concentrating foraging geese in 80 000 ha of designated 'go' areas-where farmers received payment to accommodate them-and scaring geese from 'no go' areas elsewhere. Monthly national counts of four abundant goose species during 10 years prior to the new policy and in 8 years following implementation found that 57% of all goose days were spent within 'go' areas under the new management, the same as prior to implementation. Such lack of response suggests no predicted learning effects, perhaps because of (i) increases in abundance outside of 'go' areas, (ii) irregularly shaped boundaries and enclaves of 'no go' farmland within 'go' areas and/or (iii) insufficient differences in disturbance levels within and outside designated areas.

Scaring as a tool to alleviate crop damage by geese: Revealing differences between farmers' perceptions and the scale of the problem.

Expanding populations of farmland foraging geese are causing escalating conflict with agriculture. We used questionnaires to investigate farmers´ perceptions in mid-Norway of spring staging geese and the extent to which they attempt to reduce pasture damage by goose scaring. We predicted farmers' scaring effort (a measure of dissatisfaction) to increase on fields closer to goose roosting sites where goose grazing intensity was highest (measured by dropping counts). Results showed no such relationship, suggesting that farmers' perception of goose use was not linked to actual goose use, but influenced by sociological factors and individual opinion. These results confirm the need to distribute subsidies/compensation to affected farmers based upon quantifiable measures of goose use rather than complaint levels. To avoid further conflict escalation, it is equally important that managers are aware of farmers´ perceptions and their causes, to effectively target communication about policies and measures to mitigate goose-agriculture problems.

Reconciling competing values placed upon goose populations: The evolution of and experiences from the Islay Sustainable Goose Management Strategy.

The Scottish island of Islay hosts 45 000 barnacle geese Branta leucopsis (56% of the Greenland barnacle goose population, plus those passing through on migration), 5000 Greenland white-fronted geese Anser albifrons flavirostris (up to 30% of the world population) and 2500 greylag geese Anser anser, most of which feed on 9000 ha of grassland. The financial impacts of estimated agricultural damage have risen greatly over the past 20 years due to increasing goose numbers and higher farming costs. Mechanisms implemented to resolve conflict over time are reviewed for their effectiveness. Emphasis is placed on coordinating the implementation of strategic national conflict resolution at a local scale where the relative pressure from internationally important concentrations of geese on agriculture is acute. Despite the "local" nature of this problem, the benefit from the experience of decades of attempted conflict resolution and the effectiveness of existing programmes can contribute much to the regional and flyway dimensions of this international issue.

Management of a Dutch resident barnacle goose Branta leucopsis population: How can results from counts, ringing and hunting bag statistics be reconciled?

The resident Dutch Northern Delta barnacle geese Branta leucopsis population expanded steadily since birds first bred in 1982, increasing agricultural conflict. Derogation shooting has been used since 2005 to scare geese from sensitive crops and to reduce population size. Numbers almost doubled to ca. 28 000 individuals during 2007-2014, despite annual removal of 15-25% of geese and adult and juvenile survival rates of 79 and 67% (cf. natural survival of 96% for both age classes). Simple population modelling, using estimated annual survival values and fixed fecundity, predicted a moderate increase to 21 500 individuals in 2014. It is unclear whether current harvest levels are sufficient to halt population growth. Shooting may be less effective because of the disproportionate take of immature post-breeding and of individuals from other populations in winter. Discrepancies between counted and modelled abundance call for caution and improved effect monitoring of derogation shooting before harvest levels are increased further.

Neuroprotective effects of pretreatment with quercetin as assessed by acetylcholinesterase assay and behavioral testing in poloxamer-407 induced hyperlipidemic rats.

Hyperlipidemia is a group of disorders characterized by excessive lipids in the bloodstream. It is associated with the incidence of cardiovascular diseases and recognized as the most important factor underlying the occurrence of atherosclerosis. This study was conducted to investigate whether pretreatment with quercetin can protect against possible memory impairment and deterioration of the cholinergic system in hyperlipidemic rats. Animals were divided into ten groups (n=7): saline/control, saline/quercetin 5mg/kg, saline/quercetin 25mg/kg, saline/quercetin 50mg/kg, saline/simvastatin (0.04mg/kg), hyperlipidemia, hyperlipidemia/quercetin 5mg/kg, hyperlipidemia/quercetin 25mg/kg, hyperlipidemia/quercetin 50mg/kg and hyperlipidemia/simvastatin. The animals were pretreated with quercetin by oral gavage for a period of 30days and hyperlipidemia was subsequently induced by intraperitoneal administration of a single dose of 500mg/kg of poloxamer-407. Simvastatin was administered after the induction of hyperlipidemia. The results demonstrated that hyperlipidemic rats had memory impairment compared with the saline control group (P<0.001). However, pretreatment with quercetin and simvastatin treatment attenuated the damage caused by hyperlipidemia compared with the hyperlipidemic group (P<0.05). Acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity in the cerebral hippocampus was significantly (P<0.001) reduced in the hyperlipidemic group compared with the control saline group. Pretreatment with quercetin and simvastatin treatment in the hyperlipidemic groups significantly (P<0.05) increased AChE activity compared with the hyperlipidemic group. Our results thus suggest that quercetin may prevent memory impairment, alter lipid metabolism, and modulate AChE activity in an experimental model of hyperlipidemia.

The reproductive performance of female goats treated with melatonin is not improved after introduction to bucks displaying springtime sexual activity if these does are experiencing decreasing body weight/condition score.

The aim of the present work was to determine whether treatment with melatonin modifies the reproductive response of female goats experiencing increasing or decreasing body weight (BW)/body condition score (BCS) when introduced to bucks displaying springtime sexual activity. During natural anoestrus, 53 does were isolated from bucks for a period of 42days and distributed into two groups: 1) low BW/low BCS animals (N=24) (LLg group), which were fed 1.9 times their maintenance requirements so they would experience increasing BW and BCS; and 2) high BW/high BCS animals (N=29) (HHl group), which were fed 0.4 times their maintenance requirements so they would experience decreasing BW and BCS. Half of each group was treated, or not, with melatonin (LLg+Mel N=12, HHl+Mel N=15, LLg-Mel N=12 and HHl-Mel N=14). On 6th May they were introduced to six males, showing natural sexual activity, fitted with marking harnesses (thus permitting the detection of oestrous activity). The ovulation rate was assessed by transrectal ultrasonography and confirmed via the plasma progesterone concentration (measured twice per week in blood samples). Plasma glucose, IGF-1 and non-esterified fatty acid concentrations were also determined, along with the conception rate, fertility, prolificacy and productivity of the does. LH concentrations and LH pulsatility were also recorded in the hours around introduction to the males. 'Oestrous plus ovulation' was observed only in does treated with melatonin. A higher conception rate and greater fertility and productivity were observed among the LLg+Mel does. These females showed higher glucose and IGF-1 concentrations after the introduction of the males. LH concentrations increased after male introduction independent of all other conditions. In conclusion, the present results show that treatment with melatonin does not enhance reproductive performance in does experiencing decreasing BW/BCS, but can improve it when does are experiencing increasing BW/body fat reserves - even when exposed to males displaying only springtime sexual activity. This might be explained by the higher blood glucose and IGF-1 concentrations of the LLg+Mel females.

Assessing larval connectivity for marine spatial planning in the Adriatic.

There are plans to start building offshore marine renewable energy devices throughout the Mediterranean and the Adriatic has been identified as a key location for wind farm developments. The development of offshore wind farms in the area would provide hard substrata for the settlement of sessile benthos. Since the seafloor of the Adriatic is predominantly sedimentary this may alter the larval connectivity of benthic populations in the region. Here, we simulated the release of larvae from benthic populations along the coasts of the Adriatic Sea using coupled bio-physical models and investigated the effect of pelagic larval duration on dispersal. Our model simulations show that currents typically carry particles from east to west across the Adriatic, whereas particles released along western coasts tend to remain there with the Puglia coast of Italy acting as a sink for larvae from benthic populations. We identify areas of high connectivity, as well as areas that are much more isolated, and discuss how these results can be used to inform marine spatial planning and the licensing of offshore marine renewable energy developments.

Activity budget and social interactions in semi-captive gray woolly monkeys (Lagothrix lagotricha cana) living in an ex situ conservation area in Central Amazonia.

Areas holding primates in semi-captivity conditions represent an excellent opportunity for collecting data on rare, little known, and endangered taxa, contributing with insightful information to help in their conservation. Here, we present information on the activity budget and social interactions of the elusive gray woolly monkeys, Lagothrix lagotricha cana, in an ex situ conservation area in central Amazonia. We studied the behavior of 18 semi-captive individuals through instantaneous scan and focal animal samplings during 4 months in the wet season. The most frequent activity registered was resting (45%). The remaining time was dedicated to foraging (29%), travelling (23%), social interactions (3%), and self-grooming (1%). Resting and travelling time may be correlated to fruit availability in the area through different seasons. Huddling was the most frequent social interaction, being more common from young individuals toward adult females, which may be associated with breastfeeding. Playing was more common among young males. This activity prepares them to defend themselves from possible attacks and allows them to develop their role in the social group, as future adult males. Aggression was most frequent among adults, primarily from males toward females, likely to demonstrate their dominance over females. Social grooming occurred predominantly from mother to offspring. This interaction can reduce the risk of young predation, directly increasing the female reproductive success. Our data not only add to our understanding of the sociality and behaviors of the genus Lagothrix, but may also serve as a tool to identify environments that support an adequate activity budget for these monkeys. Zoo Biol. 36:21-29, 2017. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Vaccinium virgatum fruit extract as an important adjuvant in biochemical and behavioral alterations observed in animal model of metabolic syndrome.

The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of blueberry (Vaccinium virgatum) fruit extract on metabolic, behavioral and oxidative stress parameters in the hippocampus and cerebral cortex of mice submitted to an experimental model of metabolic syndrome induced by a highly palatable diet (HPD). Mice C57BL/6 were divided into 4 experimental groups: (1) received standard chow and saline orally, (2) received standard chow and blueberry hydroalcoholic extract, (3) received HPD and saline orally, (4) received HPD and blueberry hydroalcoholic extract. The animals were treated for 150days. Our results showed that the animals fed with HPD presented insulin resistance, increased body weight, visceral fat, glucose, triglycerides, and total cholesterol when compared to the control group. The blueberry extract prevented the increase of these metabolic parameters. Also, the extract was able to reduce the levels of thiobarbituric acid reactive substances in the cerebral cortex and hippocampus of animals submitted to HPD. In contrast, no differences were observed in the total thiol content, activity of the antioxidant enzymes catalase and superoxide dismutase. In addition, the HPD fed animals showed a significant increase in immobility time in the forced swimming test and blueberry prevented this alteration, although no changes were observed in the ambulatory behavior, as well as in the anxiolytic profile of these animals. Overall, our findings suggest that chronic consumption of blueberry extract exhibits hypoglycemic, hypolipidemic, antidepressant-like and antiperoxidative effects in an animal model of metabolic syndrome.

Antidepressant and anxiolytic activity of Lavandula officinalis aerial parts hydroalcoholic extract in scopolamine-treated rats.

Anxiety and depression are common in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Despite some evidence, it is difficult to confirm Lavandula officinalis Chaix ex Vill (Lamiaceae) as an anxiolytic and antidepressant drug.

A genome-wide association study in a large F2-cross of laying hens reveals novel genomic regions associated with feather pecking and aggressive pecking behavior.

Feather pecking and aggressive pecking in laying hens are serious economic and welfare issues. In spite of extensive research on feather pecking during the last decades, the motivation for this behavior is still not clear. A small to moderate heritability has frequently been reported for these traits. Recently, we identified several single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with feather pecking by mapping selection signatures in two divergent feather pecking lines. Here, we performed a genome-wide association analysis (GWAS) for feather pecking and aggressive pecking behavior, then combined the results with those from the recent selection signature experiment, and linked them to those obtained from a differential gene expression study.

Infant feeding practice and associated factors among HIV positive mothers in Debre Markos Referral Hospital East Gojam zone, North West Ethiopia.

The dilemma posed between lifesaving benefit and risk of transmission through breast feeding complicates infant feedings among communities grossly affected by HIV/AIDS. According to the world health organization's guideline which was revised in 2010, exclusive breast feeding and exclusive replacement feeding are the recommended infant feeding practices for HIV positive mothers. The aim of this study was to assess infant feeding practice and associated factors among HIV positive mothers in Debre Markos Referral Hospital, North West Ethiopia.

Sexually dimorphic aggression indicates male gray wolves specialize in pack defense against conspecific groups.

Aggression directed at conspecific groups is common among gregarious, territorial species, and for some species such as gray wolves (Canis lupus) intraspecific strife is the leading cause of natural mortality. Each individual in a group likely has different measures of the costs and benefits associated with a group task, such as an aggressive attack on another group, which can alter motivation and behavior. We observed 292 inter-pack aggressive interactions in Yellowstone National Park between 1 April 1995 and 1 April 2011 (>5300days of observation) in order to determine the role of both sexes, and the influence of pack, age, and other traits on aggression. We recorded the behaviors and characteristics of all individuals present during the interactions (n=534 individuals) and which individuals participated in each step (i.e. chase, attack, kill, flight) of the interaction. Overall, all wolves were more likely to chase rivals if they outnumbered their opponent, suggesting packs accurately assess their opponent's size during encounters and individuals adjust their behavior based on relative pack size. Males were more likely than females to chase rival packs and gray-colored wolves were more aggressive than black-colored wolves. Male wolves and gray-colored wolves also recorded higher cortisol levels than females and black-colored wolves, indicating hormonal support for more intense aggressive behavior. Further, we found a positive correlation between male age and probability of chasing, while age-specific participation for females remained constant. Chasing behavior was influenced by the sex of lone intruders, with males more likely to chase male intruders. This difference in behavior suggests male and female wolves may have different strategies and motivations during inter-pack aggressive interactions related to gray wolf mating systems. A division of labor between pack members concerning resource and territory defense suggests selection for specific traits related to aggression is an adaptive response to intense competition between groups of conspecifics.

Independent and combined relationship of habitual unhealthy eating behaviors with depressive symptoms: A prospective study.

Unhealthy eating has been found to be associated with the prevalence of depressive symptoms. However, prospective evidence of the combined effects of unhealthy eating and depressive symptoms has not been reported. This study aimed to elucidate the prospective relationship between habitual unhealthy eating habits and depressive symptoms.

Mice with Catalytically Inactive Cathepsin A Display Neurobehavioral Alterations.

The lysosomal carboxypeptidase A, Cathepsin A (CathA), is a serine protease with two distinct functions. CathA protects β-galactosidase and sialidase Neu1 against proteolytic degradation by forming a multienzyme complex and activates sialidase Neu1. CathA deficiency causes the lysosomal storage disease, galactosialidosis. These patients present with a broad range of clinical phenotypes, including growth retardation, and neurological deterioration along with the accumulation of the vasoactive peptide, endothelin-1, in the brain. Previous in vitro studies have shown that CathA has specific activity against vasoactive peptides and neuropeptides, including endothelin-1 and oxytocin. A mutant mouse with catalytically inactive CathA enzyme (CathA(S190A) ) shows increased levels of endothelin-1. In the present study, we elucidated the involvement of CathA in learning and long-term memory in 3-, 6-, and 12-month-old mice. Hippocampal endothelin-1 and oxytocin accumulated in CathA(S190A) mice, which showed learning impairments as well as long-term and spatial memory deficits compared with wild-type littermates, suggesting that CathA plays a significant role in learning and in memory consolidation through its regulatory role in vasoactive peptide processing.

Disentangling the various mechanisms that account for the decline in vigilance with group size.

Foraging in groups is widespread in animals. In birds and mammals, reduced predation risk represents one of the main benefits of group foraging. In a group, more eyes and ears can monitor the surroundings for signs of danger, and the presence of alternative targets for a predator dilutes individual risk. Enhanced detection and risk dilution provide extra safety; this allows foragers to reduce their own investment in antipredator vigilance in a group at no increased risk to themselves. The prediction that vigilance decreases with group size has been tested in hundreds of studies, but disentangling the relative contribution of detection and dilution to this decline has proved difficult. Using models, I determined how vigilance is expected to decline with group size assuming that detection or dilution acted alone or in combination. I tested the fit of these predictions using 53 published relationships between vigilance and group size in birds and mammals. I found statistical evidence in support of detection or dilution acting alone or in combination in 24 of these cases with no obvious differences between birds and mammals. Detection and dilution acted together more often in species that form larger groups. This more quantitative approach holds much promise to understand the contribution of various mechanisms to the group-size effect on vigilance in group-foraging species.

Boxwood Borer Heterobostrychus brunneus (Coleoptera: Bostrichidae) Infesting Dried Cassava: A Current Record from Southern Ethiopia.

Insect specimens of adult beetles and larvae of 7-9 and 9-10 mm length, respectively were collected from infested dry cassava at two locations from multiple stores in southern Ethiopia. The specimens were identified as Heterobostrychus brunneus (Murray, 1867) commonly known as boxwood borer and auger beetle. The study presents a current record of H. brunneus in Ethiopia, particularly in the context of infesting food products. Additionally, a wide geographical distribution of the pest was reviewed and presented in this article. Current evidence suggests that H. brunneus is a serious pest of forest wood, structural timbers, and dried food products and that it carries a risk to be introduced into various other parts of the world via global trade.

The National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases sponsored guidelines on preventing peanut allergy: A new paradigm in food allergy prevention.

Peanut allergy is a significant public health problem without proven treatment or cure at present. In 2000, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that solid-food introduction be delayed in infants at high risk, including peanut introduction, until age 3 years. In 2008, the American Academy of Pediatrics revised these recommendations based on limited evidence of benefit and, instead, recommended solid-food introduction not be delayed past 4-6 months of life. In 2015, the Learning Early About Peanut Allergy study showed that early peanut introduction (between 4 and 11 months of life) was associated with a significant absolute and relative risk reduction in the development of peanut allergy compared with delayed introduction. Based on these findings, the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases sponsored an expert panel to create an addendum to the 2010 Food Allergy Guidelines that specifically focuses on peanut allergy prevention. The addendum recommends that children with severe eczema, egg allergy, or both have peanut introduced as early as 4-6 months of life, after assessment by a trained allergy specialist. For children with mild-to-moderate eczema, peanut can be introduced at ∼6 months, without the need for specialist evaluation. For children with no eczema, peanut can be introduced in accordance with family and cultural preferences, without the need for specialist evaluation. Adherence to these clinical practice recommendations can help potentially reduce the number of cases of peanut allergy per year. However, this can only be accomplished with the cooperation of parents and health care providers who adhere to these recommendations.

Blockade of NMDA receptors decreased spinal microglia activation in bee venom induced acute inflammatory pain in rats.

Microglial cells in spinal dorsal horn can be activated by nociceptive stimuli and the activated microglial cells release various cytokines enhancing the nociceptive transmission. However, the mechanisms underlying the activation of spinal microglia during nociceptive stimuli have not been well understood. In order to define the role of NMDA receptors in the activation of spinal microglia during nociceptive stimuli, the present study was undertaken to investigate the effect of blockade of NMDA receptors on the spinal microglial activation induced by acute peripheral inflammatory pain in rats.