This week in animal research 310715
Despite repeated health warnings about the dangers of eating food which contain high levels of saturated fats and cholesterol, a new study has found a particular saturated far which may help reverse prediabetes. Studies on bottle-nose dolphins found dolphins with high levels of heptadeconoic acid had lower insulin and triglycerides.
"We hypothesize that widespread movement away from whole fat dairy products in human populations may have created unanticipated heptadecanoic acid deficiencies," said Venn-Watson, "and, in turn, this dietary deficiency may be playing a role in the global diabetes pandemic."
Original Paper: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article…
A study has made the link between stomach bugs and depression. Canadian researchers showed that if newborn mice are subjected to the stress of being repeatedly separated and reunited with their mothers, they appear anxious and depressed. However, if their guts are germ-free, this stress does not seem to affect their mental health.
Rett Syndrome symptoms have been reversed in mice using an experimental treatment. Rett syndrome is a rare genetic disorder that stops the nerve cells in the brain from developing properly and is often labelled as an autism spectrum disorder. Researchers believe they have developed a drug that can improve the symptoms of the disease in mice. By inhibiting a particular enzyme, they were able to improve the symptoms in behavioural tests of mice modelling the disease. The enzyme showed abnormal levels in patients with Rett syndrome, this interferes with neural growth factors which lead to the stunted development of nerve cells.
New molecule that mimics exercise could help treat obesity and type II diabetes. The molecule inhibits the function of a cellular enzyme involved in metabolism. This tricks the cells into acting as if they are running out of energy. The cell's central energy sensor is activated, causing the cells to compensate for the supposed lack of energy by increasing their glucose uptake and metabolism – which is what usually occurs when we exercise. This compound reduced the weight of obese mice, while didn’t seem to affect the mice on a normal diet. While a workout pill isn’t exactly around the corner, researchers do think that this molecule could play an important role in tackling obesity and type II diabetes.
For more information on obesity in the news:http://www.animalresearch.info/…/medical-advances/…/obesity/
First MERS vaccine shows promise in mice and monkeys. There is currently no treatment for MERS (Middle East Respiratory syndrome) which can cause shortness of breath, fever and sometimes gastrointestinal problems. Vaccinated mice produced antibodies capable of neutralizing several strains of the pathogen. Similarly, 12 macaques received the experimental vaccine and were protected against a severe lung infection. However, it Is difficult to tell how effective the vaccine really was as the coronavirus only triggers mild symptoms in animals.
Scientists have also found a protein in the immune system of a patient that beat the MERS virus that might help develop a treatment. When put into mice, the protein (LCA60) drastically reduced the level of the virus in the lungs. The virus became undetectable in most mice within five days.
Running and playing boosts the mood of rodents. In enriched environments, hamsters showed a similar state to happy people. Researchers monitored ‘judgement bias’ of the animals – the way that mood affects behaviour and decision–making and found that cages with extra toys, ramps, bedding and hammocks increased the animals’ general mood.. The researchers believe that a better understanding of hamsters’ emotional lives should help make research and pet care more humane.