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Nitric Oxide Synthesis/Pathway Inhibitors in Daphnia magna Reverse Alcohol-Induced Heart Rate Decrease

Gunturi et al. | Sep 17, 2019

Nitric Oxide Synthesis/Pathway Inhibitors in Daphnia magna Reverse Alcohol-Induced Heart Rate Decrease

Chronic alcohol consumption can cause cardiac myopathy, which afflicts about 500,000 Americans annually. Gunturi et al. wanted to understand the effects of alcohol on heart rate and confirm the role of nitric oxide (NO) signaling in heart rate regulation. Using the model organism Daphnia magna, a water crustacean with a large, transparent heart, they found that the heart rate of Daphnia magna was reduced after treatment with alcohol. This depression could be reversed after treatment with inhibitors of NO synthesis and signaling. Their work has important implications for how we understand alcohol-induced effects on heart rate and potential treatments to reverse heart rate depression as a result of alcohol consumption.

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Expression of Anti-Neurodegeneration Genes in Mutant Caenorhabditis elegans Using CRISPR-Cas9 Improves Behavior Associated With Alzheimer’s Disease

Mishra et al. | Sep 14, 2019

Expression of Anti-Neurodegeneration Genes in Mutant <em>Caenorhabditis elegans</em> Using CRISPR-Cas9 Improves Behavior Associated With Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer's disease is one of the leading causes of death in the United States and is characterized by neurodegeneration. Mishra et al. wanted to understand the role of two transport proteins, LRP1 and AQP4, in the neurodegeneration of Alzheimer's disease. They used a model organism for Alzheimer's disease, the nematode C. elegans, and genetic engineering to look at whether they would see a decrease in neurodegeneration if they increased the amount of these two transport proteins. They found that the best improvements were caused by increased expression of both transport proteins, with smaller improvements when just one of the proteins is overly expressed. Their work has important implications for how we understand neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's disease and what we can do to slow or prevent the progression of the disease.

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Testing the Effects of Salep Derived From the Tubers of Orchis mascula, Aloe vera, and Alpha-chymotrypsin on Wound Healing in Drosophila melanogaster Larvae

Halder et al. | Sep 09, 2019

Testing the Effects of Salep Derived From the Tubers of <em>Orchis mascula</em>, <em>Aloe vera</em>, and Alpha-chymotrypsin on Wound Healing in <em>Drosophila melanogaster</em> Larvae

Aloe vera and alpha-chymotrypsin have been used in are known for their various wound healing properties. Halder et al hypothesized that these treatments would enhance wound healing in Drosophila melanogaster larvae over 2 weeks by decreasing wound size more effectively compared to controls. The results of two of the treatment groups, Salep and Aloe vera, yielded wound sizes small enough to present a significant percent decrease when compared with the wound sizes of the control group. Their results show support that both Salep and Aloe vera were effective for enhancing wound healing in epithelial cells in D. melanogaster larvae.

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Varying Growth Hormone Levels in Chondrocytes Increases Proliferation Rate and Collagen Production by a Direct Pathway

Bennett et al. | Sep 03, 2019

Varying Growth Hormone Levels in Chondrocytes Increases Proliferation Rate and Collagen Production by a Direct Pathway

Bennett and Joykutty test whether growth hormone directly or indirectly affected the rate at which cartilage renewed itself. Growth hormone could exert a direct effect on cartilage or chondrocytes by modifying the expression of different genes, whereas an indirect effect would come from growth hormone stimulating insulin-like growth factor. The results from this research support the hypothesis that growth hormone increases proliferation rate using the direct pathway. This research can be used in the medical sciences for people who suffer from joint damage and other cartilage-related diseases, since the results demonstrated conditions that lead to increased proliferation of chondrocytes. These combined results could be applied in a clinical setting with the goal of allowing patient cartilage to renew itself at a faster pace, therefore keeping those patients out of pain from these chondrocyte-related diseases.

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Specific Transcription Factors Distinguish Umbilical Cord Mesenchymal Stem Cells From Fibroblasts

Park et al. | Aug 16, 2019

Specific Transcription Factors Distinguish Umbilical Cord Mesenchymal Stem Cells From Fibroblasts

Stem cells are at the forefront of research in regenerative medicine and cell therapy. Two essential properties of stem cells are self-renewal and potency, having the ability to specialize into different types of cells. Here, Park and Jeong took advantage of previously identified stem cell transcription factors associated with potency to differentiate umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells (US-MSCs) from morphologically similar fibroblasts. Western blot analysis of the transcription factors Klf4, Nanog, and Sox2 revealed their expression was unique to US-MSCs providing insight for future methods of differentiating between these cell lines.

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The Effects of Altered Microbiome on Caenorhabditis elegans Egg Laying Behavior

Gohari et al. | Aug 12, 2019

The Effects of Altered Microbiome on <em>Caenorhabditis elegans</em> Egg Laying Behavior

Since the discovery that thousands of different bacteria colonize our gut, many of which are important for human wellbeing, understanding the significance of balancing the different species on the human body has been intensely researched. Untangling the complexity of the gut microbiome and establishing the effect of the various strains on human health is a challenge in many circumstances, and the need for simpler systems to improve our basic understanding of microbe-host interactions seems necessary. C. elegans are a well-established laboratory animal that feed on bacteria and can thus serve as a less complex system for studying microbe-host interactions. Here the authors investigate how the choice of bacterial diet affects worm fertility. The same approach could be applied to many different outcomes, and facilitate our understanding of how the microbes colonizing our guts affect various bodily functions.

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Evaluating Biomarkers and Treatments for Acute Kidney Injury in a Zebrafish Model

Mathew et al. | Aug 11, 2019

Evaluating Biomarkers and Treatments for Acute Kidney Injury in a Zebrafish Model

Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) is the leading cause of death in the United States, and 81% of Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) patients in the renal fibrosis stage later develop CAD. In this study, Mathew and Joykutty aimed to create a cost-effective strategy to treat AKI and thus prevent CAD using a model of the zebrafish, Danio rerio. They first tested whether AKI is induced in Danio rerio upon exposure to environmental toxins, then evaluated nitrotyrosine as an early biomarker for toxin-induced AKI. Finally, they evaluated 4 treatments of renal fibrosis, the last stage of AKI, and found that the compound SB431542 was the most effective treatment (reduced fibrosis by 99.97%). Their approach to treating AKI patients, and potentially prevent CAD, is economically feasible for translation into the clinic in both developing and developed countries.

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Improving Wound Healing by Breaking Down Biofilm Formation and Reducing Nosocomial Infections

DiStefano et al. | Jul 09, 2019

Improving Wound Healing by Breaking Down Biofilm Formation and Reducing Nosocomial Infections

In a 10-year period in the early 2000’s, hospital-based (nosocomial) infections increased by 123%, and this number is increasing as time goes on. The purpose of this experiment was to use hyaluronic acid, silver nanoparticles, and a bacteriophage cocktail to create a hydrogel that promotes wound healing by increasing cell proliferation while simultaneously disrupting biofilm formation and breaking down Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which are two strains of bacteria that attribute to nosocomial infections and are increasing in antibiotic resistance.

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Cathodal Galvanotaxis: The Effect of Voltage on the distribution of Tetrahymena pyriformis

Zheng et al. | Jun 10, 2019

Cathodal Galvanotaxis: The Effect of Voltage on the distribution of <em>Tetrahymena pyriformis</em>

The surface of the unicellular eukaryote, Tetrahymena pyriformis, is covered with thousands of hair-like cilia. These cilia are very similar to cilia of the human olfactory and respiratory tracts making them model organisms for studying cilia function and pathology. The authors of this study investigated the effect of voltage on T. pyriformis galvanotaxis, the movement towards an electrical stimulus. They observed galvanotaxis towards the cathode at voltages over 4V which plateau, indicating opening of voltage gated-ion channels to trigger movement.

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