Comparisons of life-history parameters between free-ranging and captive killer whale (Orcinus orca) populations for application toward species management.
ABSTRACT: Data collected on life-history parameters of known-age animals from the northern (NR) and southern resident (SR) killer whales (Orcinus orca) of the eastern North Pacific were compared with life-history traits of killer whales located at SeaWorld (SEA) facilities. For captive-born SEA animals, mean age and body length at 1st estrus was 7.5 years and 483.7cm, respectively. Estimated mean age at 1st conception was different (P < 0.001) for the combined data from both northern and southern resident (NSR) free-ranging populations (12.1 years) compared to SEA (9.8 years), as was the estimated mean age at 1st observed calf (SEA: 11.1 years, NSR: 14.2 years, P < 0.001). Average calf survival rate to 2 years of age for SEA animals (0.966) was significantly greater (P = 0.04) than that for SR (0.799). Annual survival rate (ASR) for SEA increased over approximately 15-year increments with rates in the most recent period (2000-2015 ASR: 0.976) improved (P < 0.05) over the first 2 periods of captivity (1965-1985: 0.906; 1985-2000: 0.941). The SR (0.966) and NR ASR (0.977) were higher (P ≤ 0.05) than that of SEA until 2000, after which there were no inter-population differences. Based on ASR, median and average life expectancy were 28.8 and 41.6 years (SEA: 2000-2015), 20.1 and 29.0 years (SR), and 29.3 and 42.3 years (NR), respectively. The ASR for animals born at SEA (0.979) was higher (P = 0.02) than that of wild-caught SEA animals (0.944) with a median and average life expectancy of 33.1 and 47.7 years, respectively. These data present evidence for similar life-history parameters of free-ranging and captive killer whale populations and the reproductive potential and survivorship patterns established herein have application for use in future research concerning the overall health of both populations.
Project description:<h4>Introduction</h4>Changes in thyroid hormone levels, mostly as non-thyroidal illness syndrome (NTIS), have been described in many diseases. However, the relationship between acute liver failure (ALF) and thyroid hormone levels has not yet been clarified. The present study evaluates potential correlations of select thyroid functional parameters with ALF.<h4>Methods</h4>84 consecutively recruited ALF patients were grouped according to the outcome of ALF (spontaneous recovery: SR; transplantation or death: NSR). TSH, free thyroxine (fT4), free triiodothyronine (fT3), T4, and T3 were determined.<h4>Results</h4>More than 50% of patients with ALF presented with abnormal thyroid parameters. These patients had greater risk for an adverse outcome than euthyroid patients. SR patients had significantly higher TSH, T4, and T3 concentrations than NSR patients. Albumin concentrations were significantly higher in SR than in NSR. In vitro T3 treatment was not able to rescue primary human hepatocytes from acetaminophen induced changes in mRNA expression.<h4>Conclusions</h4>In patients with ALF, TSH and total thyroid hormone levels differed significantly between SR patients and NSR patients. This might be related to diminished liver-derived transport proteins, such as albumin, in more severe forms of ALF. Thyroid parameters may serve as additional indicators of ALF severity.
Project description:Small ankyrin 1 (sAnk1; Ank1.5) is a ~20 kDa protein of striated muscle that concentrates in the network compartment of the sarcoplasmic reticulum (nSR). We used siRNA targeted to sAnk1 to assess its role in organizing the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) of skeletal myofibers in vitro. siRNA reduced sAnk1 mRNA and protein levels and disrupted the organization of the remaining sAnk1. Sarcomeric proteins were unchanged, but two other proteins of the nSR, SERCA and sarcolipin, decreased significantly in amount and segregated into distinct structures containing sarcolipin and sAnk1, and SERCA, respectively. Exogenous sAnk1 restored SERCA to its normal distribution. Ryanodine receptors and calsequestrin in the junctional SR, and L-type Ca(2+) channels in the transverse tubules were not reduced, although their striated organization was mildly altered. Consistent with the loss of SERCA, uptake and release of Ca(2+) were significantly inhibited. Our results show that sAnk1 stabilizes the nSR and that its absence causes the nSR to fragment into distinct membrane compartments.
Project description:SR-BI is the main receptor for high density lipoproteins (HDL) and mediates the bidirectional transport of lipids, such as cholesterol and vitamin E, between these particles and cells. During early development, SR-BI is expressed in extraembryonic tissue, specifically in trophoblast giant cells in the parietal yolk sac. We previously showed that approximately 50% of SR-BI-/- embryos fail to close the anterior neural tube and develop exencephaly, a perinatal lethal condition. Here, we evaluated the role of SR-BI in embryonic vitamin E uptake during murine neural tube closure. Our results showed that SR-BI-/- embryos had a very low vitamin E content in comparison to SR-BI+/+ embryos. Whereas SR-BI-/- embryos with closed neural tubes (nSR-BI-/-) had high levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS), intermediate ROS levels between SR-BI+/+ and nSR-BI-/- embryos were detected in SR-BI-/- with NTD (NTD SR-BI-/-). Reduced expression of Pax3, Alx1 and Alx3 genes was found in NTD SR-BI-/- embryos. Maternal ?-tocopherol dietary supplementation prevented NTD almost completely (from 54% to 2%, p?<?0.001) in SR-BI-/- embryos and normalized ROS and gene expression levels. In sum, our results suggest the involvement of SR-BI in the maternal provision of embryonic vitamin E to the mouse embryo during neural tube closure.
Project description:During ice-free periods, the Northern Sea Route (NSR) could be an attractive shipping route. The decline in Arctic sea-ice extent, however, could be associated with an increase in the frequency of the causes of severe weather phenomena, and high wind-driven waves and the advection of sea ice could make ship navigation along the NSR difficult. Accurate forecasts of weather and sea ice are desirable for safe navigation, but large uncertainties exist in current forecasts, partly owing to the sparse observational network over the Arctic Ocean. Here, we show that the incorporation of additional Arctic observations improves the initial analysis and enhances the skill of weather and sea-ice forecasts, the application of which has socioeconomic benefits. Comparison of 63-member ensemble atmospheric forecasts, using different initial data sets, revealed that additional Arctic radiosonde observations were useful for predicting a persistent strong wind event. The sea-ice forecast, initialised by the wind fields that included the effects of the observations, skilfully predicted rapid wind-driven sea-ice advection along the NSR.
Project description:Electromechanical wave imaging (EWI) has been show capable of directly and entirely non-invasively mapping the trans mural electromechanical activation in all four cardiac chambers in vivo. In this study, we assessed EWI repeatability and reproducibility, as well as its capability of localizing electronic and, for the first time, biological pacing locations in closed-chest, conscious canines. Electromechanical activation was obtained in six conscious animals during normal sinus rhythm (NSR) and idioventricular rhythms occurring in dogs with complete heart block instrumented with electronic and biologic pacemakers (EPM and BPM respectively). After atrioventricular node ablation, dogs were implanted with an EPM in the right ventricular (RV) endocardial apex (n = 4) and two additionally received a BPM at the left ventricular (LV) epicardial base (n = 2). EWI was performed trans thoracically during NSR, BPM and EPM pacing, in conscious dogs, using an unfocused transmit sequence at 2000 frames/s. During NSR, the EW originated at the right atrium (RA), propagated to the left atrium (LA) and emerged from multiple sources in both ventricles. During EPM, the EW originated at the RV apex and propagated throughout both ventricles. During BPM, the EW originated from the LV basal lateral wall and subsequently propagated throughout the ventricles. EWI differentiated BPM from EPM and NSR and identified the distinct pacing origins. Isochrone comparison indicated that EWI was repeatable and reliable. These findings thus indicate the potential for EWI to serve as a simple, non-invasive and direct imaging technology for mapping and characterizing arrhythmias as well as the treatments thereof.
Project description:In this paper, an eco-efficiency analysis is conducted using the epsilon-based measure data envelopment analysis (EBM-DEA) model for Russian cities along the Northern Sea Route (NSR). The EBM-DEA model includes five input variables: population, capital, public investment, water supply, and energy supply and four output variables: gross regional product (GRP), greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, solid waste, and water pollution. The pattern of eco-efficiency of 28 Russian cities along the NSR is empirically analyzed based on the associated real data across the years from 2010 to 2019. The empirical results obtained from the analysis show that St. Petersburg, Provideniya, Nadym, N. Urengoy, and Noyabrsk are eco-efficient throughout the 10 years. The results also indicate that the cities along the central section of the NSR are generally more eco-efficient than those along other sections, and the cities with higher level of GRPs per capita have relatively higher eco-efficiency with a few exceptions. The study provides deeper insights into the causes of disparity in eco-efficiency, and gives further implications on eco-efficiency improvement strategies. The contributions of this study lie in the fact that new variables are taken into account and new modeling techniques are employed for the assessment of the eco-efficiency of the Russian cities.
Project description:How entire microbial communities are structured across stratified sediments from the historical standpoint is unknown. The Baltic Sea is an ideal research object for historical reconstruction, since it has experienced many fresh- and brackish water periods and is depleted of dissolved oxygen, which increases the sediment's preservation potential. We investigated the bacterial communities, chemical elements (e.g. Cr, Pb Na, P, Sr and U) and sediment composition in a stratified sediment core dated by radiocarbon and spanning 8000 years of Baltic Sea history, using up-to-date multivariate statistics. The communities were analysed by 16S rRNA gene terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism. The communities of the deep Early Litorina and surface Late Litorina Sea laminae were separated from the communities of the middle Litorina Sea laminae, which were associated with elevated concentrations of U and Sr trace elements, palaeo-oxygen and palaeosalinity proxies. Thus, the Litorina Sea laminae were characterized by past oxygen deficiency and salinity increase. The communities of the laminae, bioturbated and homogeneous sediments were differentiated, based on the same historical sea phases, with correct classifications of 90%. Palaeosalinity was one of the major parameters that separated the bacterial communities of the stratified sediments. A discontinuous spatial structure with a surprising increase in community heterogeneity was detected in Litorina Sea sediments from 388 to 422 cm deep, which suggests that a salinity maximum occurred in the central Gulf of Finland app. 6200-6600 years ago. The community heterogeneity decreased from the surface down to 306 cm, which reflected downcore mineralization. The plateau of the decrease was in the app. 2000-year-old sediment layers. Bacterial community data may be used as an additional tool in ocean-drilling projects, in which it is important to detect mineralization plateaus both to determine historically comparable portions of sediment samples and historical events, such as sea-level rise culminations.
Project description:Recent advances in nanotechnology applied to medicine and regenerative medicine have an enormous and unexploited potential for future space and terrestrial medical applications. The Nanoparticles and Osteoporosis (NATO) project aimed to develop innovative countermeasures for secondary osteoporosis affecting astronauts after prolonged periods in space microgravity. Calcium- and Strontium-containing hydroxyapatite nanoparticles (nCa-HAP and nSr-HAP, respectively) were previously developed and chemically characterized. This study constitutes the first investigation of the effect of the exogenous addition of nCa-HAP and nSr-HAP on bone remodeling in gravity (1?g), Random Positioning Machine (RPM) and onboard International Space Station (ISS) using human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (hBMMSCs). In 1?g conditions, nSr-HAP accelerated and improved the commitment of cells to differentiate towards osteoblasts, as shown by the augmented alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity and the up-regulation of the expression of bone marker genes, supporting the increased extracellular bone matrix deposition and mineralization. The nSr-HAP treatment exerted a protective effect on the microgravity-induced reduction of ALP activity in RPM samples, and a promoting effect on the deposition of hydroxyapatite crystals in either ISS or 1?g samples. The results indicate the exogenous addition of nSr-HAP could be potentially used to deliver Sr to bone tissue and promote its regeneration, as component of bone substitute synthetic materials and additive for pharmaceutical preparation or food supplementary for systemic distribution.
Project description:<h4>Objective</h4>To highlight the current global trends in mortality for cardiovascular disease and cancer.<h4>Methods</h4>The World Health Organization and the World Bank DataBank databases were used to analyze mortality rates for cancer and cardiovascular disease by calculating age-standardized mortality rates (ASRs) from 2000 to 2015 for high-income, upper-middle-income, and lower-middle-income countries. Data for cancer mortality and population for 43 countries representing 5 of the 7 continents (except Australia and Antarctica) were analyzed.<h4>Results</h4>From 2000 to 2015, there was an increase in the ASR for cancer for both men and women irrespective of a country's income status, representing an overall 7% increase in cancer ASR (Pearson <i>r</i>, +0.99; <i>P</i><.00001). We report a higher ASR for cancer in high-income countries than in upper-middle-income and lower-middle-income countries specifically; high-income countries saw a 3% increase in cancer ASR vs +31% for upper-middle-income and +19% for lower-middle-income countries (<i>P</i><.01). There has been a decrease in the ASR for cardiovascular disease for the 15 years analyzed (<i>P</i><.00001). In addition, high-income countries had a higher ASR for cardiovascular disease than upper-middle-income countries during the 15-year period (<i>P</i><.05).<h4>Conclusion</h4>We suspect that because of early detection and targeted interventions, cardiovascular disease mortality rates have decreased during the past decade. On the basis of our results, cancer mortality rates continue to rise, with the projection of surpassing cardiovascular disease mortality rates in the near future.
Project description:BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Nephrotic syndrome (NS) is a rare manifestation of IgA nephropathy (IgAN). Clinical characteristics and long-term outcomes of this condition have not yet been explored. DESIGN, SETTING, PARTICIPANTS, & MEASUREMENTS: A multicenter observational study was conducted between January 2000 and September 2010 in 1076 patients with biopsy-proven IgAN from four medical centers in Korea. The primary outcome was a doubling of the baseline serum creatinine concentration. RESULTS: Of the 1076 patients, 100 (10.2%) presented with NS; complete remission (CR), partial remission (PR), and no response (NR) occurred in 48 (48%), 32 (32%), and 20 (20%) patients, respectively. During the median follow-up of 45.2 months, 24 patients (24%) in the NS group reached the primary endpoint compared with 63 (7.1%) in the non-NS group (P<0.001). The risk of reaching the primary endpoint was significantly higher in the PR (P=0.04) and NR groups (P<0.001) than in the CR group. Among patients with NS, 24 (24%) underwent spontaneous remission (SR). SR occurred more frequently in female patients and in patients with serum creatinine levels ?1.2 mg/dl and a >50% decrease in proteinuria within 3 months after NS onset. None of the patients with SR reached the primary endpoint and they had fewer relapses during follow-up. CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrated that the prognosis of NS in IgAN was not favorable unless PR or CR was achieved. In addition, SR was more common than expected, particularly in patients with preserved kidney function and spontaneous decrease in proteinuria shortly after NS onset.