Changes in dopamine (DA) signaling have been implicated in a number of human neurologic and psychiatric disorders. Similarly, defects in DA signaling in the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, have also been associated with several behavioral defects. As most genes involved in DA synthesis, transport, secretion, and signaling are conserved between species, Drosophila is a powerful genetic model organism to study the regulation of DA signaling in vivo. In this review, we will provide an overview of the genes and drugs that regulate DA biology in Drosophila. Furthermore, we will discuss the behavioral paradigms that are regulated by DA signaling in flies. By analyzing the genes and neuronal circuits that govern such behaviors using sophisticated genetic, pharmacologic, electrophysiologic, and imaging approaches in Drosophila, we will likely gain a better understanding about how this neuromodulator regulates motor tasks and cognition in humans.
We overviewed the pathophysiological features of diabetes and its complications in obese type 2 diabetic rat models: Otsuka Long-Evans Tokushima fatty (OLETF) rat, Wistar fatty rat, Zucker diabetic fatty (ZDF) rat and Spontaneously diabetic Torii (SDT) fatty rat. Pancreatic changes with progression of diabetes were classified into early changes, such as islet hypertrophy and degranulation of β cells, and degenerative changes, such as islet atrophy and fibrosis of islet with infiltration of inflammatory cells. Renal lesions in tubuli and glomeruli were observed, and nodular lesions in glomeruli were notable changes in OLETF and SDT fatty rats. Among retinal changes, folding and thickening were interesting findings in SDT fatty rats. A decrease of motor nerve conduction velocity with progression of diabetes was presented in obese diabetic rats. Other diabetic complications, osteoporosis and sexual dysfunction, were also observed. Observation of bone metabolic abnormalities, including decrease of osteogenesis and bone mineral density, and sexual dysfunction, including hypotestosteronemia and erectile dysfunction, in obese type 2 diabetic rats have been reported.
Ulcerative colitis (UC) is an inflammatory bowel disease, and its pathogenesis includes genetic, environmental, and immunological factors, such as T helper cells and their secreted cytokines. T helper cells are classified as Th1, Th2, and Th17 cells. However, it is unclear which T helper cells are important in UC. Dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)-induced colitis is a commonly used model of UC. In this study, we induced DSS colitis in Th1 dominant (T-bet transgenic (Tg)) mice, Th2 dominant (GATA-3 Tg) mice, and Th17 dominant (RORγt Tg) mice to elucidate the roles of T helper cell in DSS colitis. The results showed that GATA-3 Tg mice developed the most severe DSS colitis compared with the other groups. GATA-3 Tg mice showed a significant decreased in weight from day 1 to day 7, and an increased high score for the disease activity index compared with the other groups. Furthermore, GATA-3 Tg mice developed many ulcers in the colon, and many neutrophils and macrophages were detected on day 4 after DSS treatment. Measurement of GATA-3-induced cytokines demonstrated that IL-13 was highly expressed in the colon from DSS-induced GATA-3 Tg mice. In conclusion, GATA-3 overexpression in T-cells and IL-13 might play important roles in the development of DSS colitis.
Weak acid hypochlorous solution (WAHS) is known to have efficacy for inactivating pathogens and to be relatively safe with respect to the live body. Based on these advantages, many animal facilities have recently been introducing WAHS for daily cleaning of animal houses. In this study, we determined the effect of WAHS in inactivating specific pathogens of laboratory rodents and pathogens of opportunistic infection. WAHS with an actual chloride concentration of 60 ppm and a pH value of 6.0 was generated using purpose-built equipment. One volume of mouse hepatitis virus (MHV), Sendai virus, lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus, Bordetella bronchiseptica, Pasteurella pneumotropica, Corynebacterium kutscheri, Staphylococcus aureus, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa was mixed with 9 or 99 volumes of WAHS (×10 and ×100 reaction) for various periods (0.5, 1, and 5 min) at 25°C. After incubation, the remaining infectious viruses and live bacteria were determined by plaque assay or culture. In the ×100 reaction mixture, infectious viruses and live bacteria could not be detected for any of the pathogens examined even with the 0.5-min incubation. However, the effects for MHV, B. bronchiseptica, and P. aeruginosa were variable in the ×10 reaction mixture with the 0.5- and 1-min incubations. Sufficient effects were obtained by elongation of the reaction time to 5 min. In the case of MHV, reducing organic substances in the virus stock resulted in the WAHS being completely effective. WAHS is recommended for daily cleaning in animal facilities but should be used properly in order to obtain a sufficient effect, which includes such things as using a large enough volume to reduce effects of organic substances.
The motility of sperm after freezing and thawing is critical for effective cryopreservation. It is known that supplementation with cholesterol-loaded cyclodextrin (CLC) improves cryosurvival of sperm in various animals. To clarify the effects of supplementation with CLC on rabbit sperm motility after freezing and thawing, rabbit sperm motility was analyzed using a computer-assisted sperm analysis system. Sperm motility with CLC supplementation was 29.4 ± 9.6% (mean ± SD), which was significantly higher than that of controls (20.8 ± 7.1%, P<0.05). The curvilinear velocity of sperm with CLC exceeded that of controls, whereas the values for linearity and wobble were significantly lower in sperm with CLC compared with controls. After artificial insemination, 44.3% of recovered ova were fertilized in the CLC-supplemented group, which was higher than the percentage in the control group (36.4%). The results indicate that supplementation with CLC improves the rate and quality of motility in rabbit sperm after freezing and thawing, and would be advantageous for successful cryopreservation.
Neonatal thymectomy (NTx) induces autoimmune gastritis (AIG) in BALB/c mice, a model for human type A chronic atrophic gastritis, but not in DBA/2 mice and rarely in CDF1 mice (a hybrid of BALB/c and DBA/2 mice). The aim of this study was to clarify the mechanisms of AIG-resistance in mice bearing the dominant trait of DBA/2. Linkage groups associated with, and cells related to AIG resistance were examined with CDF1-BALB/c backcrosses. Intracellular staining and flow-cytometric bead array for several cytokines were performed on NTx BALB/c mice and NTx DBA/2-chimeric BALB/c mice receiving DBA/2-bone marrow cells. In NTx BALB/c mice, IFN-γ-secreting CD4+ T cells were increased, but not in NTx DBA/2 mice. Because Vβ6+ T cell-bearing mice of half of their backcrosses developed AIG, but the other half of Vβ6+ T cell-negative mice developed scarcely, resistance for AIG generation is associated with the presence of the Mls-1a locus on chromosome 1 in DBA/2 mice, which deletes Vβ6+ T cells. NTx DBA/2-chimera BALB/c mice showed dominant production of IL-10 and resistance for AIG, although the deletion of Vβ6+ T cells was found not to be a cause of AIG-resistance from Mls-1a locus segregation experiments. Although NTx DBA/2-chimeric BALB/c mice did not suffer from AIG, they brought immediate precursors of T cells for AIG. It is concluded that DBA/2 mice generate bone marrow-derived cells that produce anti-inflammatory cytokines to prevent the activation of AIG-T cells.
Prevalence of Helicobacter is mostly unknown in laboratory animals in Thailand. The 221 mice feces/cecum from 8 universities, 2 pharmaceutical companies and 3 research institutions in Thailand were surveyed for the prevalence and distribution of Helicobacter species by using the Electrochemical DNA chip. Helicobacter were detected 23/46 samples in Specific Pathogen Free (SPF) and 168/175 in conventional condition. Prevalence of Helicobacter were 98%, 96%, 92% and 78% in South (n=40), Northeast (n=40), North (n=25) and Central area (n=116), respectively. Only Central area holds SPF facility resulting in Helicobacter prevalence that seems to be lower than other areas. Three species of Helicobacter were detected in feces/cecum samples by sequence analysis: H. rodentium (67.0%, 148 samples), Helicobacter sp. MIT 01-6451 (15.4%, 34 samples), and unidentified Helicobacter species (14.1%, 9 samples). The results suggested that H. rodentium is the most common species of Helicobacter in laboratory mice in Thailand.
We investigated the fertilization and developmental ability of superovulated eggs obtained from adult Wistar-Imamichi (WI) rats, by using pregnant mare serum gonadotropin (PMSG) and human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) treatment. Female WI rats, 11–13 weeks of age, were divided into four groups by estrous stage (metestrus [ME], diestrus [DE], proestrus [PE], or estrus [E]). PMSG (150 IU/kg) and hCG (75 IU/kg) were injected at an interval of 48 or 55 h and the female rats were mated with mature male rats. The ovulated eggs were collected 20, 24, and 27 h after hCG injection. Regardless of the estrous stage at the time of PMSG injection, the treated rats mated and ovulated similar to the untreated spontaneously ovulated rats (S group). Although the proportion of fertilized eggs in the E- and PE-treated groups was less than the S group 20 h after hCG injection, the proportion was not different among all treated and S groups 24 h after hCG injection. The proportion of fertilized eggs using in vitro fertilization and the proportion of offspring obtained from 2-cell stage embryo transfer did not differ among the treated and S groups. In comparison with PMSG/hCG-treated immature rats, mating and ovulation rate of adult rats were significantly higher. The proportion of fertilized eggs obtained from mated rats did not differ between immature and adult rats. These results demonstrate that adult WI rats are good egg donors for reproductive biotechnological studies using unfertilized or fertilized eggs.
Cre/loxP system-mediated site-specific recombination is utilized to study gene function in vivo. Successful conditional knockout of genes of interest is dependent on the availability of Cre-driver mice. We produced and characterized pancreatic β cell-specific Cre-driver mice for use in diabetes mellitus research. The gene encoding Cre was inserted into the second exon of mouse Ins1 in a bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC). Five founder mice were produced by microinjection of linearized BAC Ins1-cre. The transgene was integrated between Mafa and the telomere on chromosome 15 in one of the founders, BAC Ins1-cre25. To investigate Cre-loxP recombination, BAC Ins1-cre25 males were crossed with two different Cre-reporters, R26R and R26GRR females. On gross observation, reporter signal after Cre-loxP recombination was detected exclusively in the adult pancreatic islets in both F1 mice. Immunohistological analysis indicated that Cre-loxP recombination-mediated reporter signal was colocalized with insulin in pancreatic islet cells of both F1 mice, but not with glucagon. Moreover, Cre-loxP recombination signal was already observed in the pancreatic islets at E13.5 in both F1 fetuses. Finally, we investigated ectopic Cre-loxP recombination for Ins1, because the ortholog Ins2 is also expressed in the brain, in addition to the pancreas. However, there was no Cre-loxP recombination-mediated reporter signal in the brain of both F1 mice. Our data suggest that BAC Ins1-cre25 mice are a useful Cre-driver C57BL/6N for pancreatic β cell-specific Cre-loxP recombination, except for crossing with knock-in mice carrying floxed gene on chromosome 15.
We recently have reported on a novel ankylosis gene that is closely linked to the Enpp1 (ectonucleotide pyrophosphatase/phosphodiesterase 1) gene on chromosome 10. Here, we have discovered novel mutant mice in a Jcl:ICR closed colony with ankylosis in the toes of the forelimbs at about 3 weeks of age. The mutant mice exhibited rigidity in almost all joints, including the vertebral column, which increased with age. These mice also showed hypogrowth with age after 16 weeks due to a loss of visceral fat, which may have been caused by poor nutrition. Histological examination and soft X-ray imaging demonstrated the ectopic ossification of various joints in the mutant mice. In particular, increased calcium deposits were observed in the joints of the toes, the carpal bones and the vertebral column. We sequenced all exons and exon/intron boundaries of Enpp1 in the normal and mutant mice, and identified a G-to-T substitution (c.259+1G>T) in the 5′ splice donor site of intron 2 in the Enpp1 gene of the mutant mice. This substitution led to the skipping of exon 2 (73 bp), which generated a stop codon at position 354 bp (amino acid 62) of the cDNA (p.V63Xfs). Nucleotide pyrophosphohydrolase (NPPH) activity of ENPP1 in the mutant mice was also decreased, suggesting that Enpp1 gene function is disrupted in this novel mutant. The mutant mice reported in this study will be a valuable animal model for future studies of human osteochondral diseases and malnutrition.
Genetic variations in the wild-derived inbred mouse strains are more diverse than that of classical laboratory inbred mouse strains, including C57BL/6J (B6). The sleep/wake and monoamine properties of six wild-derived inbred mouse strains (PGN2, NJL, BLG2, KJR, MSM, HMI) were characterized and compared with those of B6 mice. All examined mice were nocturnal and had a polyphasic sleep pattern with a “main sleep period” identified during the light period. However, there were three sleep/wake phenotypic differences between the wild-derived mouse strains and B6 strain. First, the amount of sleep during the dark phase was comparable with that of B6 mice. However, the amount of sleep during the light phase was more varied among strains, in particular, NJL and HMI had significantly less sleep compared with that of B6 mice. Second, PGN2, NJL, BLG2, and KJR mice showed a “highly awake period” (in which the hourly total sleep time was <10%) immediately after the onset of the dark period, which was not seen in B6 mice. Third, relative to that of B6 mice, PGN2 and KJR mice showed longer duration of wakefulness episodes during the 12-h dark phase. Differences in whole brain noradrenaline, dopamine, and 5-hydroxy-tryptamine contents between the wild-derived mouse strains and B6 strain were also found. These identified phenotypes might be potentially under strong genetic control. Hence, wild-derived inbred mice could be useful for identifying the genetic factors underlying the regulation of sleep and wakefulness.
The humanized pig model, in which human cells or tissues can be functionally maintained in pigs, can be an invaluable tool for human medical research. Although the recent development of immunodeficient pigs has opened the door for the development of such a model, the efficient engraftment and differentiation of human cells may be difficult to achieve. The transplantation of human cells into fetal pigs, whose immune system is immature, will ameliorate this problem. Therefore, we examined the development of porcine fetal thymus, which is critical for the establishment of the immune system. We first analyzed the levels of mRNA expression of genes that are relevant to the function of thymic epithelial cells or thymocytes in whole thymi from 35 to 85 days of gestation (DG) and at 2 days postpartum (DP) by quantitative RT-PCR. In addition, immunohistochemical analyses of thymic epithelial cells from DG35 to DG55 and DP2 were performed. These analyses showed that the thymic cortex was formed as early as DG35, and thymic medulla gradually developed from DG45 to DG55. These findings suggested that, at least before DG45, the thymus do not differentiate to form fully functional T cells.
To establish a minimally invasive rat model of lumbar intervertebral disc degeneration (IDD) to better understand the pathophysiology of the human condition. The annulus fibrosus of lumbar level 4–5 (L4-5) and L5-6 discs were punctured by 27-gauge needles using the posterior approach under C-arm fluoroscopic guidance. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), histological examination by hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) staining, and reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) were performed at baseline and 2, 4, and 8 weeks after disc puncture surgery to determine the degree of degeneration. All sixty discs (thirty rats) were punctured successfully. Only two of thirty rats subjected to the procedure exhibited immediate neurological symptoms. The MRI results indicated a gradual increase in Pfirrmann grade from 4 to 8 weeks post-surgery (P<0.05), and H&E staining demonstrated a parallel increase in histological grade (P<0.05). Expression levels of aggrecan, type II collagen (Col2), and Sox9 mRNAs, which encode disc components, decreased gradually post-surgery. In contrast, mRNA expression of type I collagen (Col1), an indicator of fibrosis, increased (P<0.05). The procedure of annular puncture using a 27-gauge needle under C-arm fluoroscopic guidance had a high success rate. Histological, MRI, and RT-PCR results revealed that the rat model of disc degeneration is a progressive pathological process that is similar to human IDD.
Il1rn−/− mice spontaneously develop arthritis and aortitis by an autoimmune mechanism and also develop dermatitis by an autoinflammatory mechanism. Here, we show that Rag2−/−Il1rn−/− mice develop spontaneous colitis with high mortality, making a contrast to the suppression of arthritis in these mice. Enhanced IL-17A expression in group 3 innate lymphoid cells (ILC3s) was observed in the colon of Rag2−/−Il1rn−/− mice. IL-17A-deficiency prolonged the survival of Rag2−/−Il1rn−/− mice, suggesting a pathogenic role of this cytokine in the development of intestinal inflammation. Although IL-17A-producing T cells were increased in Il1rn−/− mice, these mice did not develop colitis, because CD4+Foxp3+ regulatory T cell population was also expanded. Thus, excess IL-1 signaling and IL-1-induced IL-17A from ILC3s cause colitis in Rag2−/−Il1rn−/− mice in which Treg cells are absent. These observations suggest that the balance between IL-17A-producing cells and Treg cells is important to keep the immune homeostasis of the colon.
The ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) plays a fundamental role in regulating various biological activities. Ubiquitin C-terminal hydrolase L1 (UCH-L1) is a deubiquitinating enzyme, belonging to the UPS. To date, it has been reported that UCH-L1 is highly and restrictedly expressed in neural and reproductive tissues and plays significant roles in these organs. Although the expression of UCH-L1 in the anterior pituitary gland has been reported, the detailed localization and the role of UCH-L1 remain obscure. In the present study, we detected UCH-L1 protein exclusively in hormone-producing cells, but not non-hormone producing folliculostellate cells in the anterior pituitary lobe. In addition, the cytoplasmic expression of UCH-L1 varied and was limited to gonadotropes and mammotropes. To investigate the role of UCH-L1 in anterior pituitary cells, we performed a comparative analysis using genetically UCH-L1-deficient gad mice. Significant decreases in the numbers of gonadotropes and mammotropes were observed in gad mice, suggesting a close involvement of UCH-L1 in these cells. Moreover, we also determined the expression of UCH-L1 in cultured gonadotropes. Taken together, this is the first report to definitely demonstrate the presence of UCH-L1 in mouse anterior pituitary gland, and our results might provide a novel insight for better understanding the role of UCH-L1 in the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis and in the reproduction.
The apelin/APJ system has been implicated in obesity-related hypertension. We investigated the mechanism responsible for the pathogenesis of obesity-related hypertension with a special focus on the crosstalk between AngII/its type 1 receptor (AT1R) signaling and apelin/APJ expression. Sprague-Dawley rats fed a high-fat (obesity-related hypertension, OH) or normal-fat diet (NF) for 15 weeks were randomly assigned to one of two groups and administered vehicle or perindopril for 4 weeks. Compared to the NF rats, the OH rats showed lower levels of plasma apelin and apelin/APJ mRNAs of perirenal adipose tissues, and these changes were restored by perindopril. Administration of the AT1R antagonist olmesartan resulted in the restoration of the reduction of apelin and APJ expressions induced by AngII for 48 h in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Among several inhibitors for extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1/2 (ERK1/2) PD98059, p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (p38MAPK) SB203580 and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) LY294002, the latter showed an additive effect on AngII-mediated inhibitory effects. In addition, the levels of p-Akt, p-ERK and p38MAPK proteins were decreased by long-term treatment with AngII (120 min), and these changes were restored by Olmesartan. Apelin/APJ appears to be impaired in obesity-related hypertension. The AngII inhibition-mediated beneficial effects are likely attributable, at least in part, to restoration of p38/ERK-dependent apelin/APJ expression in diet-induced obesity-related hypertension.