Nitric oxide (NO), generated from L-arginine by three different isoforms of nitric oxide synthase (NOS), is a pleiotropic factor to regulate physiological functions in almost every organ and tissue. Each knockout mouse of iNOS or eNOS has been used to suggest that NO has a crucial role in liver regeneration after partial hepatectomy (PH), for NO may inhibit caspase 3 activity and is required for EGFR signaling. In previous reports, defective mitochondrial β-oxidation was observed in eNOS KO mice, and hepatic steatosis was often correlated to deficient liver regeneration, so we focused on metabolic perspective and hypothesized that NO depletion in PH mice would affect hepatocytic lipolysis and impair hepatocytes proliferation. We inhibited all NOS isoforms by administrating L-NG-nitroarginine methyl ester (L-NAME) to PH mice, and hepatocyte DNA synthesis was severely inhibited at 40–44 h post PH in L-NAME (+) group. IL-6 was robustly secreted into circulating blood in L-NAME (−) group, but not in L-NAME (+) group. Down-regulation of carnitine palmytoyltransferase 1A, massive lipid accumulation and elevated endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress relative genes expression level were observed in L-NAME (+) group mouse liver. The expression level of C/EBP homologous protein, a mediator of ER stress induced apoptosis, significantly increased in L-NAME (+) group. Our findings suggest the lack of NO affected IL-6 induction and hepatocyte lipolysis after PH, consequently leading to excessive hepatic lipid accumulation, elevated ER stress and impaired hepatocyte proliferation.
Esculentoside A (EsA), a saponin isolated from Phytolacca esculenta, can attenuate acute liver and lung injury. However, whether EsA has a protective effect against sepsis-induced acute kidney injury (AKI) has not been reported. In this study, EsA (2.5, 5, or 10 mg/kg) was given to rats with sepsis induced by cecal ligation and puncture (CLP). We found that EsA improved the survival of septic rats in a dose-dependent manner. In addition, EsA lowered the kidney tubular damage score and decreased blood urea nitrogen and creatinine. Moreover, EsA inhibited excessive generation of pro-inflammatory tumor necrosis factor-α, IL-1β, and IL-6 in the serum and downregulated cyclooxygenase-2 and inducible nitric oxide synthase in the renal tissues of septic rats. EsA also suppressed the production of malonaldehyde and the activity of myeloperoxidase in the septic kidney and enhanced the activity of superoxide dismutase and glutathione. The anti-inflammatory and antioxidative effects of a high dose of EsA were comparable to those of dexamethasone. Mechanically, EsA inhibited CLP-induced increases in high-mobility group box 1, Toll-like receptor-4, and myeloid differentiation primary response 88 and nuclear accumulation of nuclear factor kappa B p65 in renal tissues. In vitro, lipopolysaccharide-induced alteration of AKI-related factors in HK-2 cells, which had been evaluated in vivo, was inhibited after EsA administration. Taken together, our study suggests that EsA effectively protects rats against septic AKI caused by CLP.
Live animals are used in surgical skills training in wet lab, which has undeniable effectiveness for the development of future surgeons. However, where such training is provided, animal welfare is a major consideration. Increasingly, institutions that offer wet-lab training are incorporating animal ethics and welfare-related content into their training courses, but the effectiveness of such animal ethics education has yet to be evaluated quantitatively. We investigated whether the animal ethics content of a training course affected trainees by measuring increase in ethical awareness using visual analog scale questionnaires before and after training. Our results demonstrated a significant and positive increase in awareness of animal ethics (significance level of 5%; 0.0380≤P≤0.0016).
Daily torpor is a physiological adaptation in mammals and birds characterized by a controlled reduction of metabolic rate and body temperature during the resting phase of circadian rhythms. In laboratory mice, daily torpor is induced by dietary caloric restriction. However, it is not known which nutrients are related to daily torpor expression. To determine whether dietary protein is a key factor in inducing daily torpor in mice, we fed mice a protein-restricted (PR) diet that included only one-quarter of the amount of protein but the same caloric level as a control (C) diet. We assigned six non-pregnant female ICR mice to each group and recorded their body weights and core body temperatures for 4 weeks. Body weights in the C group increased, but those in the PR group remained steady or decreased. Mice in both groups did not show daily torpor, but most mice in a food-restricted group (n=6) supplied with 80% of the calories given to the C group exhibited decreased body weights and frequently displayed daily torpor. This suggests that protein restriction is not a trigger of daily torpor; torpid animals can conserve their internal energy, but torpor may not play a significant role in conserving internal protein. Thus, opportunistic daily torpor in mice may function in energy conservation rather than protein saving.
A normal bone marrow microenvironment plays a very important role in the normal functioning of hematopoietic stem cells. Once disturbed, this microenvironment can become favorable for the occurrence of blood disorders, cancers, and other diseases. Therefore, further studies on the bone marrow microenvironment should be performed to reveal regulatory and stem cell fate determination mechanisms and promote the development of bone marrow transplantation, tissue repair and regenerative medicine, and other fields. A small animal model for further research is also urgently needed. In this study, an electric shock device was designed to elicit a femur bone marrow microenvironment injury in mice. A wire was inserted into the distal femur but not into the proximal femur, and the bone marrow microenvironment was evidently damaged by application of 100 ± 10 V for 1.5 ± 0.5 min ; mortality, however, was low in the mice. Gross observation, hematoxylin and eosin staining, immunohistochemistry, bright-field microscopy, and micro-CT scanning were also conducted. A large number of new blood capillaries and sinusoids appeared in the injured distal femur after 2 weeks. The capillaries in the injured femur disappeared after 4 weeks, and mature blood vessels were scattered throughout the injured area. Red blood cells disappeared, and the cellular structure and trabecular bone were better than those observed 2 weeks previously. Thus, we developed a simply operated, accurate, reliable, and easily controlled small animal model as a good technical platform to examine angiogenesis and segmentation damage in the bone marrow microenvironment.
Transient receptor potential cation channel subfamily M member 8 (TRPM8) is associated with sensitivity to cold sensation in mammals. A previous study demonstrated that TRPM8 was overexpressed in the skin of ovariectomized (OVX) rats due to the loss of estrogen. In the present study, we investigated whether estrogen replacement restricts overexpression of the TRPM8 channel in the skin of OVX rats. We divided 15 Sprague Dawley rats into three groups: a non-operated group (NON-OPE), an ovariectomy group (OVX), and a group subjected to estrogen replacement during 4 weeks beginning 7 days after ovariectomy (OVX + E2). Five weeks later, TRPM8 channel mRNA and protein in lumbar skin were quantified by real-time RT-PCR, protein ELISA, and immunohistochemistry. The OVX + E2 group exhibited a trend for decreased expression of the TRPM8 channel in the lumbar skin in comparison with the OVX group, whereas ELISA data and immunohistochemistry data and immunohistochemistry graphs relating to TRPM8 protein did not show any obvious differences between the OVX group and the OVX + E2 group. Estrogen replacement may restrict the overexpression of TRPM8 in the dermis of OVX rats.
Parathyroidectomy (PTX), especially total parathyroidectomy (TPTX), is often recommended for severe secondary hyperparathyroidism (SHPT) if other medical treatments fail. Accurate identification and resection of parathyroid gland (PTG) tissue is the cornerstone of PTX. The establishment of a rat TPTX model would be beneficial for several applications but faces the same problems. In this experiment, we studied the mechanisms of ischemia for the accurate identification and excision of PTG tissue to establish TPTX rat models and to analyze the effects of surgical removal of PTG tissue as well as the effects of different types of water intake in rats on clinical indices. We found that the ischemia method had advantages when establishing a rat TPTX model. Removal of the PTG tissue resulted in significantly changed postoperative indices, and varying the types of water intake induced significant differences in these indices after removal of the PTG tissue. The absolute value of the difference between the serum calcium and phosphorus concentrations (|Ca−P|) accurately reflected the effect of removal of the PTG tissue and was superior to the calcium-phosphorus product (Ca × P); Ca × P accurately reflected the effect of varying the types of water intake in rats and was superior to the |Ca−P|.
Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the pathogen that causes tuberculosis (TB), is becoming increasingly recognized as an important cause of fatal chronic illnesses in China. In this study, we report an infectious disease among 84 rhesus macaques at a Chinese zoo. Their clinical signs and symptoms were very similar with the manifestations of TB in humans. To determine the potential pathogens of this outbreak, many methods were used. First, tuberculin skin tests showed that none of the monkeys displayed significant skin reactions. Subsequently, the sera were tested for specific antibody IgG; 29 (34.5%) and 39 (46.4%) blood samples tested positive by TB-IgG and TB-DOT, respectively. Radiographic examination showed characteristic imageology changes in 14 (16.7%) monkeys. One individual determined as positive by the above three methods was euthanized, and histopathological analysis demonstrated typical granulomas and caseous necrosis in the lung, liver, spleen, and intestine. Furthermore, the pathogenic mycobacteria were isolated from lung lobe, cultured on acidic Lowenstein-Jensen culture medium, and identified as M. tuberculosis by real-time PCR and DNA sequencing. Nevertheless, the origin of the infection remained unknown. These findings emphasize the need to strengthen the management and training of staff, especially those working at animal shelters.
The paternal-allele-specific methylation of the Igf2/H19 imprinting control region (ICR) is established during gametogenesis and maintained throughout development. To elucidate the requirement of the germline passage in the maintenance of the imprinting methylation, we established a system introducing a methylated or unmethylated ICR-containing DNA fragment (ICR-F) into the paternal or maternal genome by microinjecting into the paternal or maternal pronucleus of fertilized eggs, and traced the methylation pattern in the ICR-F. When the ICR-F was injected in a methylated form, it was demethylated approximately to half degree at blastocyst stage but was almost completely remethylated at 3 weeks of age. In the case of the unmethylated form, the ICR-F remained unmethylated at the blastocyst stage, but was almost half-methylated at 3 weeks of age. Interestingly, the paternally injected ICR-F was highly methylated compared with maternally injected ICR-F at 3 weeks of age, partially mimicking the endogenous methylation pattern. Moreover, introduction of mutations in the CTCF (CCCTC binding factor) binding sites of the ICR-F, which are known to be important for the maintenance of hypomethylated maternal ICR, induced hypermethylation of the mutated ICR-F in both paternal and maternal pronuclear injected 3-week-old mice. Our results suggest the presence of a protection-against-methylation activity of the CTCF binding site in establishing the preferential paternal methylation during post-fertilization development and the importance of germline passage in the maintenance of the parental specific methylation at H19 ICR.
Mutations in the hairless (Hr) gene in both mice and humans have been implicated in the development of congenital atrichia, but the role of Hr in skin and hair follicle (HF) biology remains unknown. Here, we established transgenic mice (TG) overexpressing mutant Hr to investigate its specific role in the development of HF. Three transgenic lines were successfully constructed, and two of them (TG3 and TG8) displayed a pattern of hair loss and regrowth with alternation in the expression of HR protein. The mutant Hr gene inhibited the expression of the endogenous gene in transgenic individuals, which led to the development of alopecia. Interestingly, the hair regrew with the increase in the endogenous expression levels resulting from decreased mutant Hr expression. The findings of our study indicate that the changes in the expression of Hr result in hair loss or regrowth.
A high sucrose and high fat (HSHF) diet induces insulin resistance (IR) and increased susceptibility to type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), but the underlying mechanisms are poorly characterized. This study aimed to investigate the molecular mechanisms by which the HSHF diet impairs insulin sensitivity in Bama miniature pigs (sus scrofa domesticus). Twelve Bama miniature pigs were randomly assigned to the control diet (CD) group (n=6) or the HSHF group (n=6) for 6 months. Biochemical parameters were measured. Western blot, RT-qPCR and immunohistochemistry were used to profile the changes of protein expression, mRNA expression and glucose transporter 4 (GLUT4) expression in skeletal muscle tissues, respectively. In comparison to the CD group, the homeostasis model assessment-insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) index of the HSHF group demonstrated a 2.9-fold increase, and the insulin sensitivity showed a 24.8% decrease. Compared with the CD group, p-Akt S473 decreased by approximately 59% and GLUT4 decreased by 43.8% in the skeletal muscle of the HSHF group. However, the expression of p-mTOR S2448 between the 2 groups was not significantly different (P=0.309). This study demonstrates that a 6-month HSHF diet caused IR, decreased insulin sensitivity, and reduced the expression of p-Akt S473 and GLUT4 in the skeletal muscle of Bama miniature pigs.
In general, the anesthesia in neonates involves high risk. Although hypothermic anesthesia is recommended in rats up to the age of 7 days, neonatal anesthesia for later periods has not been standardized. The present study investigated the pharmacological properties of conventional anesthetic protocols in 10-day-old SD rats. The rats were anesthetized with four anesthetics: a combination of ketamine and xylazine (K/X); a combination of medetomidine, midazolam, and butorphanol (M/M/B); isoflurane; and sevoflurane. Anesthetic depth was scored by reflex response to noxious stimuli. Induction and recovery times were recorded. Vital signs and mortality rate were evaluated for safety assessment. All rats died after administration of K/X at a dose of 60/6 mg/kg, whereas K/X at 40/4 mg/kg resulted in insufficient anesthetic depth, indicating inappropriate for neonatal anesthesia. Although M/M/B at the adult rat dose (0.15/2/2.5 mg/kg) did not provide surgical anesthetic depth, the mouse dose (0.3/4/5 mg/kg) showed sufficient anesthetic depth with relatively stable vital signs. Isoflurane required a long induction period, and caused remarkable respiratory depression and hypothermia, resulted in a 25% mortality rate. In contrast, sevoflurane provided consistent surgical anesthetic depth with rapid induction. Although respiratory rate decrease was markedly observed, all rats survived. Among the anesthetic protocols investigated in the present study, sevoflurane and M/M/B at the mouse dose were recommended for the neonatal anesthesia. Compared with adult rats, the required dose of both anesthetics in neonates was higher, possibly associated with their lower anesthetic sensitivity.
A relationship between type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and intestinal flora has been suggested since development of analysis technology for intestinal flora. An animal model of T2DM is important for investigation of T2DM. Although there are some animal models of T2DM, a comparison of the intestinal flora of healthy animals with that of T2DM animals has not yet been reported. The intestinal flora of Tsumura Suzuki Obese Diabetes (TSOD) mice was compared with that of Tsumura, Suzuki, Non Obesity (TSNO) mice in the present study. The TSOD mice showed typical type 2 diabetes symptoms, which were high-fat diet-independent. The TSOD and the TSNO mouse models were derived from the same strain, ddY. In this study, we compared the intestinal flora of TSOD mice with that if TSNO mice at 5 and 12 weeks of age. We determined that that the number of operational taxonomic units (OTUs) was significantly higher in the cecum of TSOD mice than in that of TSNO mice. The intestinal flora of the cecum and that of the feces were similar between the TSNO and the TSOD strains. The dominant bacteria in the cecum and feces were of the phyla Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes. However, the content of some bacterial species varied between the two strains. The percentage of Lactobacillus spp. within the general intestinal flora was higher in TSOD mice than in TSNO mice. In contrast, the percentages of order Bacteroidales and family Lachnospiraceae were higher in TSNO mice than in TSOD mice. Some species were observed only in TSOD mice, such as genera Turicibacter and SMB53 (family Clostridiaceae), the percentage of which were 3.8% and 2.0%, respectively. Although further analysis of the metabolism of the individual bacteria in the intestinal flora is essential, genera Turicibacter and SMB53 may be important for the abnormal metabolism of type 2 diabetes.
In an earlier report, we demonstrated an antipsychotic-like activity of a methanolic extract of Morinda citrifolia Linn fruit in mouse models and postulated the contribution of its bioactive principles, scopoletin and rutin. Moreover, the antidopaminergic activities of scopoletin and rutin were reported in isolated vas deferens preparations. In the present study, scopoletin and rutin were assessed for antipsychotic-like activity using apomorphine-induced climbing behavior and methamphetamine-induced stereotypy in mice. The results of this study revealed that scopoletin and rutin (0.05, 0.1, 0.5, and 1 mg/kg, p.o.) had a “U-shaped” dose-dependent effect on climbing and stereotyped behaviors induced by apomorphine and methamphetamine, respectively, in mice. A significant reduction in climbing and stereotyped behaviors caused by scopoletin and rutin was observed only at a dose 0.1 mg/kg. This study suggests that scopoletin and rutin can alleviate positive symptoms of schizophrenia only at a specific dose. Further studies evaluating the effects of scopoletin and rutin on animal models for negative symptoms of schizophrenia are required for a novel drug discovery in the treatment of neuropsychiatric diseases.
Severely immunodeficient NOD/Shi-scid, IL-2Rγnull (NOG) mice provide an in vivo model for human cell/tissue transplantation studies. NOG mice were established by combining interleukin-2 receptor-γ chain knockout mice and NOD/Shi-scid mice. They exhibit a high incidence of thymic lymphomas and immunoglobulin (Ig) leakiness. In this study, we assessed the incidence of malignant lymphomas and the occurrence of leakiness in 2,184 non-experimental NOG retired breeder mice aged 16–40 weeks. We established that the total incidence of lymphomas was only 0.60% (13/2,184). Most lymphomas (10/13) occurred in female mice by the age of around 25 weeks. No mice developed Ig leakiness. All lymphomas were derived from the thymus, and consisted mainly of CD3-positive and CD45R-negative lymphoblastic-like cells. Therefore, based on the absence of Ig leakiness and a very low incidence of lymphomas, including thymic lymphomas, NOG mice may be useful in regeneration medicine for xenotransplantation of human embryonic stem (ES) cells or induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, and in transplantation experiments involving tumor cells.
The in vivo imaging of mice makes it possible to analyze disease progress non-invasively through reporter gene expression. As the removal of hair improves the accuracy of in vivo imaging, gene-modified mice with a reporter gene are often crossed with Hos:HR-1 mutant mice homozygous for the spontaneous Hrhr mutation that exhibit a hair loss phenotype. However, it is time consuming to produce mice carrying both the reporter gene and mutant Hrhr gene by mating. In addition, there is a risk that genetic background of the gene-modified mice would be altered by mating. To resolve these issues, we established a simple method to generate hairless mice maintaining the original genetic background by CRISPR technology. First, we constructed the pX330 vector, which targets exon 3 of Hr. This DNA vector (5 ng/µl) was microinjected into the pronuclei of C57BL/6J mice. Induced Hr gene mutations were found in many founders (76.1%) and these mutations were heritable. Next, we performed in vivo imaging using these gene-modified hairless mice. As expected, luminescent objects in their body were detected by in vivo imaging. This study clearly showed that hairless mice could be simply generated by the CRISPR/Cas9 system, and this method may be useful for in vivo imaging studies with various gene-modified mice.