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17 result(s) for "Erickson, Johanna"
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Seasonal changes in flock size and winter flower-foraging habits of Bushtits (Psaltriparus minimus) in Washington state
Seasonal changes in flock size and winter flower-foraging habits of Bushtits (Psaltriparus minimus) in Washington state
We recorded Bushtit (Psaltriparus minimus) flock size on the Seattle University campus across multiple seasons in order to characterize the timing of pair formation prior to nest building in Washington state and compare it to that of California and Arizona. We also collected autumn and winter foraging locations, specifically vegetation types and foraging heights. We found the disbanding of large flocks (15–20 birds) into nest-building pairs occurred 1–2 months later in the northern part of the Bushtit's range than what is reported in more southern states. Bushtits spent a similar percentage of time foraging in deciduous trees, evergreen trees, and mixed shrubs in fall and winter, often moving along garden strips at heights of 3–4.5 m off the ground. Contrary to published reports, groups of Bushtits repeatedly visited fixed food sources, specifically the yellow flowers of the exotic leatherleaf mahonia (Mahonia bealei) for over 2 weeks on early winter mornings.
The anxiety and ethanol intake controlling GAL5.1 enhancer is epigenetically modulated by, and controls preference for, high-fat diet
The anxiety and ethanol intake controlling GAL5.1 enhancer is epigenetically modulated by, and controls preference for, high-fat diet
Excess maternal fat intake and obesity increase offspring susceptibility to conditions such as chronic anxiety and substance abuse. We hypothesised that environmentally modulated DNA methylation changes (5mC/5hmC) in regulatory regions of the genome that modulate mood and consumptive behaviours could contribute to susceptibility to these conditions. We explored the effects of environmental factors on 5mC/5hmC levels within the GAL5.1 enhancer that controls anxiety-related behaviours and alcohol intake. We first observed that 5mC/5hmC levels within the GAL5.1 enhancer differed significantly in different parts of the brain. Moreover, we noted that early life stress had no significant effect of 5mC/5hmC levels within GAL5.1. In contrast, we identified that allowing access of pregnant mothers to high-fat diet (> 60% calories from fat) had a significant effect on 5mC/5hmC levels within GAL5.1 in hypothalamus and amygdala of resulting male offspring. Cell transfection-based studies using GAL5.1 reporter plasmids showed that 5mC has a significant repressive effect on GAL5.1 activity and its response to known stimuli, such as EGR1 transcription factor expression and PKC agonism. Intriguingly, CRISPR-driven disruption of GAL5.1 from the mouse genome, although having negligible effects on metabolism or general appetite, significantly decreased intake of high-fat diet suggesting that GAL5.1, in addition to being epigenetically modulated by high-fat diet, also actively contributes to the consumption of high-fat diet suggesting its involvement in an environmentally influenced regulatory loop. Furthermore, considering that GAL5.1 also controls alcohol preference and anxiety these studies may provide a first glimpse into an epigenetically controlled mechanism that links maternal high-fat diet with transgenerational susceptibility to alcohol abuse and anxiety.
CRISPR disruption and UK Biobank analysis of a highly conserved polymorphic enhancer suggests a role in male anxiety and ethanol intake
CRISPR disruption and UK Biobank analysis of a highly conserved polymorphic enhancer suggests a role in male anxiety and ethanol intake
Excessive alcohol intake is associated with 5.9% of global deaths. However, this figure is especially acute in men such that 7.6% of deaths can be attributed to alcohol intake. Previous studies identified a significant interaction between genotypes of the galanin (GAL) gene with anxiety and alcohol abuse in different male populations but were unable to define a mechanism. To address these issues the current study analysed the human UK Biobank cohort and identified a significant interaction (n = 115,865; p = 0.0007) between allelic variation (GG or CA genotypes) in the highly conserved human GAL5.1 enhancer, alcohol intake (AUDIT questionnaire scores) and anxiety in men. Critically, disruption of GAL5.1 in mice using CRISPR genome editing significantly reduced GAL expression in the amygdala and hypothalamus whilst producing a corresponding reduction in ethanol intake in KO mice. Intriguingly, we also found the evidence of reduced anxiety-like behaviour in male GAL5.1KO animals mirroring that seen in humans from our UK Biobank studies. Using bioinformatic analysis and co-transfection studies we further identified the EGR1 transcription factor, that is co-expressed with GAL in amygdala and hypothalamus, as being important in the protein kinase C (PKC) supported activity of the GG genotype of GAL5.1 but less so in the CA genotype. Our unique study uses a novel combination of human association analysis, CRISPR genome editing in mice, animal behavioural analysis and cell culture studies to identify a highly conserved regulatory mechanism linking anxiety and alcohol intake that might contribute to increased susceptibility to anxiety and alcohol abuse in men.
Seasonal changes in flock size and winter flower-foraging habits of Bushtits in Washington state/Cambios estacionales en tamano de parvada y habitus de forrajeo de flores del sastrecillo Psaltriparus minimus en el estado de Washington
Seasonal changes in flock size and winter flower-foraging habits of Bushtits in Washington state/Cambios estacionales en tamano de parvada y habitus de forrajeo de flores del sastrecillo Psaltriparus minimus en el estado de Washington
We recorded Bushtit (Psaltriparus minimus) flock size on the Seattle University campus across multiple seasons in order to characterize the timing of pair formation prior to nest building in Washington state and compare it to that of California and Arizona. We also collected autumn and winter foraging locations, specifically vegetation types and foraging heights. We found the disbanding of large flocks (15-20 birds) into nest-building pairs occurred 1-2 months later in the northern part of the Bushtit's range than what is reported in more southern states. Bushtits spent a similar percentage of time foraging in deciduous trees, evergreen trees, and mixed shmbs in fall and winter, often moving along garden strips at heights of 3-4.5 m off the ground. Contrary to published reports, groups of Bushtits repeatedly visited fixed food sources, specifically the yellow flowers of the exotic leatherleaf mahonia (Mahonia bealei) for over 2 weeks on early winter mornings. Received 22 August 2019. Accepted I October 2021.
Seasonal changes in flock size and winter flower-foraging habits of Bushtits
Seasonal changes in flock size and winter flower-foraging habits of Bushtits
We recorded Bushtit (Psaltriparus minimus) flock size on the Seattle University campus across multiple seasons in order to characterize the timing of pair formation prior to nest building in Washington state and compare it to that of California and Arizona. We also collected autumn and winter foraging locations, specifically vegetation types and foraging heights. We found the disbanding of large flocks (15-20 birds) into nest-building pairs occurred 1-2 months later in the northern part of the Bushtit's range than what is reported in more southern states. Bushtits spent a similar percentage of time foraging in deciduous trees, evergreen trees, and mixed shmbs in fall and winter, often moving along garden strips at heights of 3-4.5 m off the ground. Contrary to published reports, groups of Bushtits repeatedly visited fixed food sources, specifically the yellow flowers of the exotic leatherleaf mahonia (Mahonia bealei) for over 2 weeks on early winter mornings. Received 22 August 2019. Accepted I October 2021.
CRISPR disruption and UK Biobank analysis of a highly conserved polymorphic enhancer suggests a role in male anxiety and ethanol intake
CRISPR disruption and UK Biobank analysis of a highly conserved polymorphic enhancer suggests a role in male anxiety and ethanol intake
Excessive alcohol intake is associated with 5.9% of global deaths. However, this figure is especially acute in men such that 7.6% of deaths can be attributed to alcohol intake. Previous studies identified a significant interaction between genotypes of the galanin (GAL) gene with anxiety and alcohol abuse in different male populations but were unable to define a mechanism. To address these issues the current study analysed the human UK Biobank cohort and identified a significant interaction (n=115,865; p=0.0007) between allelic variation (GG or CA genotypes) in the highly conserved human GAL5.1 enhancer, alcohol intake (AUDIT questionnaire scores) and anxiety in men that was consistent with these previous studies. Critically, disruption of GAL5.1 in mice using CRISPR genome editing significantly reduced GAL expression in the amygdala and hypothalamus whilst producing a corresponding reduction in ethanol intake in KO mice. Intriguingly, we also found evidence of reduced anxiety-like behaviour in male GAL5.1KO animals mirroring that seen in humans. Using bioinformatic analysis and co-transfection studies we further identified the EGR1 transcription factor, that is co expressed with GAL in amygdala and hypothalamus, as being important in the protein kinase C (PKC) supported activity of the GG genotype of GAL5.1 but less so in the CA genotype. Our unique study uses a novel combination of human association analysis, CRISPR genome editing in mice, animal behavioural analysis and cell culture studies to identify a highly conserved regulatory mechanism linking anxiety and alcohol intake that might contribute to increased susceptibility to anxiety and alcohol abuse in men. Footnotes * This version of the manuscript contains more conclusive GAL5.1 CRISPR mouse knockout anxiety data as well as more robust PKC data.
An ancient polymorphic regulatory region within the BDNF gene associated with obesity modulates anxiety-like behaviour in mice and humans
An ancient polymorphic regulatory region within the BDNF gene associated with obesity modulates anxiety-like behaviour in mice and humans
Obesity and anxiety are morbidities notable for their increased impact on society during the recent COVID-19 pandemic. Understanding the mechanisms governing susceptibility to these conditions will increase quality of life and our resilience to future pandemics. In the current study we explored the function of a highly conserved regulatory region (BE5.1) within the BDNF gene that harbours a polymorphism strongly associated with obesity (rs10767664; p=4.69x10-26). Analysis in primary cells suggested that the major T-allele of BE5.1 was an enhancer whereas the obesity associated A-allele was not. However, CRISPR/CAS9 deletion of BE5.1 from the mouse genome (BE5.1KO) produced no significant effect on the expression of BDNF transcripts in the hypothalamus, no change in weight gain after 28 days and only a marginally significant increase in food intake. Nevertheless, transcripts were significantly increased in the amygdala of female mice and elevated zero maze and marble burying tests demonstrated a significant increase in anxiety-like behaviour that could be reversed by diazepam. Consistent with these observations, human GWAS cohort analysis demonstrated a significant association between rs10767664 and anxiousness in human populations. Intriguingly, interrogation of the human GTEx eQTL database demonstrated no effect on BDNF mRNA levels associated with rs10767664 but a highly significant effect on BDNF-antisense (BDNF-AS) gene expression and splicing suggesting a possible mechanism. We discuss our findings within the context of the known function and regulation of BDNF in obesity and anxiety whilst exploring the validity of interrogating GWAS data using comparative genomics and functional analysis using CRISPR genome editing in mice. Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.
Rapid Evidence Review of Bariatric Surgery in Super Obesity (BMI ≥ 50 kg/m2)
Rapid Evidence Review of Bariatric Surgery in Super Obesity (BMI ≥ 50 kg/m2)
Background Despite accumulating evidence of the important health benefits of bariatric surgery in morbidly obese patients in general, bariatric surgery outcomes are less clear in higher-risk, high-priority populations of patients with BMI ≥ 50 kg/m 2 . To help the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Health Services Research & Development Service (HSR&D) develop a research agenda, we conducted a rapid evidence review to better understand bariatric surgery outcomes in adults with BMI ≥ 50 kg/m 2 . Methods We searched MEDLINE ® , the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, the Cochrane Central Registry of Controlled Trials, and ClinicalTrials.gov through June 2016. We included trials and observational studies. We used pre-specified criteria to select studies, abstract data, and rate internal validity and strength of the evidence (PROSPERO registration number CRD42015025348). All decisions were completed by one reviewer and checked by another. Results Among 1892 citations, we included 23 studies in this rapid review. Compared with usual care, one large retrospective VA study provided limited evidence that bariatric surgery can lead to increased mortality in the first year, but decreased mortality long-term among super obese veterans. Studies that compared different bariatric surgical approaches suggested some differences in weight loss and complications. Laparoscopic gastric bypass generally resulted in greater short-term proportion of excess weight loss than did other procedures. Duodenal switch led to greater long-term weight loss than did gastric bypass, but with more complications. Conclusions The published literature that separates the super obese is insufficient for determining the precise balance of benefits and harms of bariatric surgery in this high-risk subgroup. Future studies should evaluate a more complete set of key outcomes with longer follow-up in larger samples of more broadly representative adults.
Alternatives in Education—Rat and Mouse Simulators Evaluated from Course Trainers’ and Supervisors’ Perspective
Alternatives in Education—Rat and Mouse Simulators Evaluated from Course Trainers’ and Supervisors’ Perspective
Simulators allow the inexperienced to practice their skills prior to exercise on live animals. Therefore, they bear great potential in overcoming the dilemma between the present demand for high-quality practical training involving live animals whilst implementing the 3R principle according to the Directive 2010/63/EU. Currently, one mouse and six rat simulators are commercially available. As data on their impact are lacking, this project aimed at providing an overview of the awareness, implementation, and methodical and practical satisfaction provided by 35 course trainers and supervisors of laboratory animal training courses for mice and rats regarding the simulators available. Although simulators facilitate training of relevant techniques and relatively high awareness of them seemed to be present, their implementation is currently very low, possibly due to lack of meeting the respondents’ demands. Thus, this study revealed the overall approval of simulator training and general demand for user-optimized, realistic, and financially affordable simulators and, hence, indicates a strong impulse for new developments strengthening the 3Rs as a benefit to all animals used in research.