Effects of Fatty Acids on Intracellular [Ca2+], Mitochondrial Uncoupling and Apoptosis in Rat Pachytene Spermatocytes and Round Spermatids.

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Effects of Fatty Acids on Intracellular [Ca2+], Mitochondrial Uncoupling and Apoptosis in Rat Pachytene Spermatocytes and Round Spermatids.

PLoS One. 2016;11(7):e0158518

Authors: Paillamanque J, Madrid C, Carmona EM, Osses N, Moreno RD, Oresti GM, Pino JA, Reyes JG

Abstract
The aim of this work was to explore the ability of free arachidonic acid, palmitic acid and the unsaturated fatty acids oleic acid and docosahexaenoic acid to modify calcium homeostasis and mitochondrial function in rat pachytene spermatocytes and round spermatids. In contrast to palmitic acid, unsaturated fatty acids produced significant increases in intracellular calcium concentrations ([Ca2+]i) in both cell types. Increases were fatty acid specific, dose-dependent and different for each cell type. The arachidonic acid effects on [Ca2+]i were higher in spermatids than in spermatocytes and persisted when residual extracellular Ca2+ was chelated by EGTA, indicating that the increase in [Ca2+]i originated from release of intracellular calcium stores. At the concentrations required for these increases, unsaturated fatty acids produced no significant changes in the plasma membrane potential of or non-specific permeability in spermatogenic cells. For the case of arachidonic acid, the [Ca2+]i increases were not caused by its metabolic conversion to eicosanoids or anandamide; thus we attribute this effect to the fatty acid itself. As estimated with fluorescent probes, unsaturated fatty acids did not affect the intracellular pH but were able to induce a progressive decrease in the mitochondrial membrane potential. The association of this decrease with reduced reactive oxygen species (ROS) production strongly suggests that unsaturated fatty acids induced mitochondrial uncoupling. This effect was stronger in spermatids than in spermatocytes. As a late event, arachidonic acid induced caspase 3 activation in a dose-dependent manner both in the absence and presence of external Ca2+. The concurrent but differential effects of unsaturated fatty acids on [Ca2+]i and mitochondrial functions are additional manifestations of the metabolic changes that germ cells undergo during their differentiation.

PMID: 27428262 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

Cysteine protects rabbit spermatozoa against reactive oxygen species-induced damages.

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Cysteine protects rabbit spermatozoa against reactive oxygen species-induced damages.

PLoS One. 2017;12(7):e0181110

Authors: Zhu Z, Ren Z, Fan X, Pan Y, Lv S, Pan C, Lei A, Zeng W

Abstract
The process of cryopreservation results in over-production of reactive oxygen species, which is extremely detrimental to spermatozoa. The aim of this study was to investigate whether addition of cysteine to freezing extender would facilitate the cryosurvival of rabbit spermatozoa, and if so, how cysteine protects spermatozoa from cryodamages. Freshly ejaculated semen was diluted with Tris-citrate-glucose extender supplemented with different concentrations of cysteine. The motility, intact acrosomes, membrane integrity, mitochondrial potentials, 8-hydroxyguanosine level and sperm-zona pellucida binding capacity were examined. Furthermore, glutathione peroxidase (GPx) activity, glutathione content (GSH), and level of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and hydrogen peroxide of spermatozoa were analyzed. The values of motility, intact acrosomes, membrane integrity, mitochondrial potentials and sperm-zona pellucida binding capacity of the frozen-thawed spermatozoa in the treatment of cysteine were significantly higher than those of the control. Addition of cysteine to extenders improved the GPx activity and GSH content of spermatozoa, while lowered the ROS, DNA oxidative alterations and lipid peroxidation level, which makes spermatozoa avoid ROS to attack DNA, the plasma membrane and mitochondria. In conclusion, cysteine protects spermatozoa against ROS-induced damages during cryopreservation and post-thaw incubation. Addition of cysteine is recommended to facilitate the improvement of semen preservation for the rabbit breeding industry.

PMID: 28700739 [PubMed – in process]

A new approach for the analysis of facial growth and age estimation: Iris ratio.

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A new approach for the analysis of facial growth and age estimation: Iris ratio.

PLoS One. 2017;12(7):e0180330

Authors: Machado CEP, Flores MRP, Lima LNC, Tinoco RLR, Franco A, Bezerra ACB, Evison MP, Guimarães MA

Abstract
The study of facial growth is explored in many fields of science, including anatomy, genetics, and forensics. In the field of forensics, it acts as a valuable tool for combating child pornography. The present research proposes a new method, based on relative measurements and fixed references of the human face-specifically considering measurements of the diameter of the iris (iris ratio)-for the analysis of facial growth in association with age in children and sub-adults. The experimental sample consisted of digital photographs of 1000 Brazilian subjects, aged between 6 and 22 years, distributed equally by sex and divided into five specific age groups (6, 10, 14, 18, and 22 year olds ± one month). The software package SAFF-2D® (Forensic Facial Analysis System, Brazilian Federal Police, Brazil) was used for positioning 11 landmarks on the images. Ten measurements were calculated and used as fixed references to evaluate the growth of the other measurements for each age group, as well the accumulated growth (6-22 years old). The Intraclass Correlation Coefficient (ICC) was applied for the evaluation of intra-examiner and inter-examiner reliability within a specific set of images. Pearson’s Correlation Coefficient was used to assess the association between each measurement taken and the respective age groups. ANOVA and Post-hoc Tukey tests were used to search for statistical differences between the age groups. The outcomes indicated that facial structures grow with different timing in children and adolescents. Moreover, the growth allometry expressed in this study may be used to understand what structures have more or less proportional variation in function for the age ranges studied. The diameter of the iris was found to be the most stable measurement compared to the others and represented the best cephalometric measurement as a fixed reference for facial growth ratios (or indices). The method described shows promising potential for forensic applications, especially as part of the armamentarium against crimes involving child pornography and child abuse.

PMID: 28686631 [PubMed – in process]

Rib biomechanical properties exhibit diagnostic potential for accurate ageing in forensic investigations.

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Rib biomechanical properties exhibit diagnostic potential for accurate ageing in forensic investigations.

PLoS One. 2017;12(5):e0176785

Authors: Bonicelli A, Xhemali B, Kranioti EF, Zioupos P

Abstract
Age estimation remains one of the most challenging tasks in forensic practice when establishing a biological profile of unknown skeletonised remains. Morphological methods based on developmental markers of bones can provide accurate age estimates at a young age, but become highly unreliable for ages over 35 when all developmental markers disappear. This study explores the changes in the biomechanical properties of bone tissue and matrix, which continue to change with age even after skeletal maturity, and their potential value for age estimation. As a proof of concept we investigated the relationship of 28 variables at the macroscopic and microscopic level in rib autopsy samples from 24 individuals. Stepwise regression analysis produced a number of equations one of which with seven variables showed an R2 = 0.949; a mean residual error of 2.13 yrs ±0.4 (SD) and a maximum residual error value of 2.88 yrs. For forensic purposes, by using only bench top machines in tests which can be carried out within 36 hrs, a set of just 3 variables produced an equation with an R2 = 0.902 a mean residual error of 3.38 yrs ±2.6 (SD) and a maximum observed residual error 9.26yrs. This method outstrips all existing age-at-death methods based on ribs, thus providing a novel lab based accurate tool in the forensic investigation of human remains. The present application is optimised for fresh (uncompromised by taphonomic conditions) remains, but the potential of the principle and method is vast once the trends of the biomechanical variables are established for other environmental conditions and circumstances.

PMID: 28520764 [PubMed – in process]

Age Estimation of African Lions Panthera leo by Ratio of Tooth Areas.

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Age Estimation of African Lions Panthera leo by Ratio of Tooth Areas.

PLoS One. 2016;11(4):e0153648

Authors: White PA, Ikanda D, Ferrante L, Chardonnet P, Mesochina P, Cameriere R

Abstract
Improved age estimation of African lions Panthera leo is needed to address a number of pressing conservation issues. Here we present a formula for estimating lion age to within six months of known age based on measuring the extent of pulp closure from X-rays, or Ratio Of tooth AReas (ROAR). Derived from measurements taken from lions aged 3-13 years for which exact ages were known, the formula explains 92% of the total variance. The method of calculating the pulp/tooth area ratio, which has been used extensively in forensic science, is novel in the study of lion aging. As a quantifiable measure, ROAR offers improved lion age estimates for population modeling and investigations of age-related mortality, and may assist national and international wildlife authorities in judging compliance with regulatory measures involving age.

PMID: 27089506 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

In vitro matured oocytes are more susceptible than in vivo matured oocytes to mock ICSI induced functional and genetic changes.

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In vitro matured oocytes are more susceptible than in vivo matured oocytes to mock ICSI induced functional and genetic changes.

PLoS One. 2015;10(3):e0119735

Authors: Uppangala S, Dhiman S, Salian SR, Singh VJ, Kalthur G, Adiga SK

Abstract
BACKGROUND: Concerns regarding the safety of ICSI have been intensified recently due to increased risk of birth defects in ICSI born children. Although fertilization rate is significantly higher in ICSI cycles, studies have failed to demonstrate the benefits of ICSI in improving the pregnancy rate. Poor technical skill, and suboptimal in vitro conditions may account for the ICSI results however, there is no report on the effects of oocyte manipulations on the ICSI outcome.
OBJECTIVE: The present study elucidates the influence of mock ICSI on the functional and genetic integrity of the mouse oocytes.
METHODS: Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) level, mitochondrial status, and phosphorylation of H2AX were assessed in the in vivo matured and IVM oocytes subjected to mock ICSI.
RESULTS: A significant increase in ROS level was observed in both in vivo matured and IVM oocytes subjected to mock ICSI (P<0.05-0.001) whereas unique mitochondrial distribution pattern was found only in IVM oocytes (P<0.01-0.001). Importantly, differential H2AX phosphorylation was observed in both in vivo matured and IVM oocytes subjected to mock ICSI (P <0.001).
CONCLUSION: The data from this study suggests that mock ICSI can alter genetic and functional integrity in oocytes and IVM oocytes are more vulnerable to mock ICSI induced changes.

PMID: 25786120 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

Vitamin E Analogue Improves Rabbit Sperm Quality during the Process of Cryopreservation through Its Antioxidative Action.

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Vitamin E Analogue Improves Rabbit Sperm Quality during the Process of Cryopreservation through Its Antioxidative Action.

PLoS One. 2015;10(12):e0145383

Authors: Zhu Z, Fan X, Lv Y, Zhang N, Fan C, Zhang P, Zeng W

Abstract
The process of cryopreservation results in high concentration of reactive oxygen species which is detrimental to spermatozoa. The aim of this study was to investigate whether addition of vitamin E analogue to freezing extender can facilitate the cryosurvival of spermatozoa in rabbits, and how vitamin E protects spermatozoa against damages during the process of preservation. Freshly ejaculated semen was diluted with Tris-citrate-glucose extender supplemented with different concentrations of Trolox (a vitamin E analogue). The level of radical oxygen species (ROS) in spermatozoa that was exposed to Trolox was significantly lower than that of the control during each step of the process of preservation. The percentage of frozen-thawed spermatozoa with lipid peroxidation in the Trolox treatments was significantly lower than that of the control. The motility, intact acrosome, membrane integrity and mitochondrial potentials of the frozen-thawed spermatozoa in the treatment of 200 μM Trolox were significantly higher than those of the control. These observations suggest that addition of vitamin E to a freezing extender leads to higher integrity of acrosome, plasma membrane and mitochondrial membrane potential as well as higher motility. Vitamin E protects spermatozoa through its capacity to quench ROS accumulation and lipid peroxidation during the process of preservation. Addition of Trolox is recommended to facilitate the improvement of semen preservation for the rabbit breeding industry.

PMID: 26700473 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

Inhibition of Mitochondrial Complex I Leads to Decreased Motility and Membrane Integrity Related to Increased Hydrogen Peroxide and Reduced ATP Production, while the Inhibition of Glycolysis Has Less Impact on Sperm Motility.

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Inhibition of Mitochondrial Complex I Leads to Decreased Motility and Membrane Integrity Related to Increased Hydrogen Peroxide and Reduced ATP Production, while the Inhibition of Glycolysis Has Less Impact on Sperm Motility.

PLoS One. 2015;10(9):e0138777

Authors: Plaza Davila M, Martin Muñoz P, Tapia JA, Ortega Ferrusola C, Balao da Silva C C, Peña FJ

Abstract
Mitochondria have been proposed as the major source of reactive oxygen species in somatic cells and human spermatozoa. However, no data regarding the role of mitochondrial ROS production in stallion spermatozoa are available. To shed light on the role of the mitochondrial electron transport chain in the origin of oxidative stress in stallion spermatozoa, specific inhibitors of complex I (rotenone) and III (antimycin-A) were used. Ejaculates from seven Andalusian stallions were collected and incubated in BWW media at 37°C in the presence of rotenone, antimycin-A or control vehicle. Incubation in the presence of these inhibitors reduced sperm motility and velocity (CASA analysis) (p<0.01), but the effect was more evident in the presence of rotenone (a complex I inhibitor). These inhibitors also decreased ATP content. The inhibition of complexes I and III decreased the production of reactive oxygen species (p<0.01) as assessed by flow cytometry after staining with CellRox deep red. This observation suggests that the CellRox probe mainly identifies superoxide and that superoxide production may reflect intense mitochondrial activity rather than oxidative stress. The inhibition of complex I resulted in increased hydrogen peroxide production (p<0.01). The inhibition of glycolysis resulted in reduced sperm velocities (p<0.01) without an effect on the percentage of total motile sperm. Weak and moderate (but statistically significant) positive correlations were observed between sperm motility, velocity and membrane integrity and the production of reactive oxygen species. These results indicate that stallion sperm rely heavily on oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) for the production of ATP for motility but also require glycolysis to maintain high velocities. These data also indicate that increased hydrogen peroxide originating in the mitochondria is a mechanism involved in stallion sperm senescence.

PMID: 26407142 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

The 5′-AMP-Activated Protein Kinase (AMPK) Is Involved in the Augmentation of Antioxidant Defenses in Cryopreserved Chicken Sperm.

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The 5′-AMP-Activated Protein Kinase (AMPK) Is Involved in the Augmentation of Antioxidant Defenses in Cryopreserved Chicken Sperm.

PLoS One. 2015;10(7):e0134420

Authors: Nguyen TM, Seigneurin F, Froment P, Combarnous Y, Blesbois E

Abstract
Semen cryopreservation is a unique tool for the management of animal genetic diversity. However, the freeze-thaw process causes biochemical and physical alterations which make difficult the restoration of sperm energy-dependent functions needed for fertilization. 5′-AMP activated protein kinase (AMPK) is a key sensor and regulator of intracellular energy metabolism. Mitochondria functions are known to be severely affected during sperm cryopreservation with deleterious oxidative and peroxidative effects leading to cell integrity and functions damages. The aim of this study was thus to examine the role of AMPK on the peroxidation/antioxidant enzymes defense system in frozen-thawed sperm and its consequences on sperm functions. Chicken semen was diluted in media supplemented with or without AMPK activators (AICAR or Metformin [MET]) or inhibitor (Compound C [CC]) and then cryopreserved. AMPKα phosphorylation, antioxidant enzymes activities, mitochondrial potential, ATP, citrate, viability, acrosome reaction ability (AR) and various motility parameters were negatively affected by the freeze-thaw process while reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, lipid peroxidation (LPO) and lactate concentration were dramatically increased. AICAR partially restored superoxide dismutase (SOD), Glutathione Peroxidase (GPx) and Glutathione Reductase (GR), increased ATP, citrate, and lactate concentration and subsequently decreased the ROS and LPO (malondialdehyde) in frozen-thawed semen. Motility parameters were increased (i.e., + 23% for motility, + 34% for rapid sperm) as well as AR (+ 100%). MET had similar effects as AICAR except that catalase activity was restored and that ATP and mitochondrial potential were further decreased. CC showed effects opposite to AICAR on SOD, ROS, LPO and AR and motility parameters. Taken together, our results strongly suggest that, upon freeze-thaw process, AMPK stimulated intracellular anti-oxidative defense enzymes through ATP regulation, thus reducing ROS and lipid peroxidation, and consequently partially restoring several essential sperm functions and leading to a better quality of cryopreserved sperm.

PMID: 26222070 [PubMed – in process]

Functional and Structural Succession of Soil Microbial Communities below Decomposing Human Cadavers.

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Functional and Structural Succession of Soil Microbial Communities below Decomposing Human Cadavers.

PLoS One. 2015;10(6):e0130201

Authors: Cobaugh KL, Schaeffer SM, DeBruyn JM

Abstract
The ecological succession of microbes during cadaver decomposition has garnered interest in both basic and applied research contexts (e.g. community assembly and dynamics; forensic indicator of time since death). Yet current understanding of microbial ecology during decomposition is almost entirely based on plant litter. We know very little about microbes recycling carcass-derived organic matter despite the unique decomposition processes. Our objective was to quantify the taxonomic and functional succession of microbial populations in soils below decomposing cadavers, testing the hypotheses that a) periods of increased activity during decomposition are associated with particular taxa; and b) human-associated taxa are introduced to soils, but do not persist outside their host. We collected soils from beneath four cadavers throughout decomposition, and analyzed soil chemistry, microbial activity and bacterial community structure. As expected, decomposition resulted in pulses of soil C and nutrients (particularly ammonia) and stimulated microbial activity. There was no change in total bacterial abundances, however we observed distinct changes in both function and community composition. During active decay (7 – 12 days postmortem), respiration and biomass production rates were high: the community was dominated by Proteobacteria (increased from 15.0 to 26.1% relative abundance) and Firmicutes (increased from 1.0 to 29.0%), with reduced Acidobacteria abundances (decreased from 30.4 to 9.8%). Once decay rates slowed (10 – 23 d postmortem), respiration was elevated, but biomass production rates dropped dramatically; this community with low growth efficiency was dominated by Firmicutes (increased to 50.9%) and other anaerobic taxa. Human-associated bacteria, including the obligately anaerobic Bacteroides, were detected at high concentrations in soil throughout decomposition, up to 198 d postmortem. Our results revealed the pattern of functional and compositional succession in soil microbial communities during decomposition of human-derived organic matter, provided insight into decomposition processes, and identified putative predictor populations for time since death estimation.

PMID: 26067226 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]