• The Application of Critical Power, the Work Capacity above Critical Power (W'), and its Reconstitution: A Narrative Review of Current Evidence and Implications for Cycling Training Prescription

      Chorley, Alan; Lamb, Kevin L; University of Chester
      The two-parameter critical power (CP) model is a robust mathematical interpretation of the power–duration relationship, with CP being the rate associated with the maximal aerobic steady state, and W' the fixed amount of tolerable work above CP available without any recovery. The aim of this narrative review is to describe the CP concept and the methodologies used to assess it, and to summarize the research applying it to intermittent cycle training techniques. CP and W' are traditionally assessed using a number of constant work rate cycling tests spread over several days. Alternatively, both the 3-min all-out and ramp all-out protocols provide valid measurements of CP and W' from a single test, thereby enhancing their suitability to athletes and likely reducing errors associated with the assumptions of the CP model. As CP represents the physiological landmark that is the boundary between heavy and severe intensity domains, it presents several advantages over the de facto arbitrarily defined functional threshold power as the basis for cycle training prescription at intensities up to CP. For intensities above CP, precise prescription is not possible based solely on aerobic measures; however, the addition of the W' parameter does facilitate the prescription of individualized training intensities and durations within the severe intensity domain. Modelling of W' reconstitution extends this application, although more research is needed to identify the individual parameters that govern W' reconstitution rates and their kinetics
    • Changes in physical activity and sedentary behaviour due to enforced covid-19-related lockdown and movement restrictions: A protocol for a systematic review and meta-analysis

      Kite, Chris; Lagojda, Lukasz; Clark, Cain C T; Uthman, Olalekan; Denton, Francesca; McGregor, Gordon; Harwood, Amy E; Atkinson, Lou; Broom, David R; Kyrou, Ioannis; et al. (MDPI, 2021-05-14)
      Prolonged lockdown/restriction measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic have reportedly impacted opportunities to be physically active for a large proportion of the population in affected countries globally. The exact changes to physical activity and sedentary behaviours due to these measures have not been fully studied. Accordingly, the objective of this PROSPERO-registered systematic review is to evaluate the available evidence on physical activity and sedentary behaviours in the general population during COVID-19-related lockdown/restriction measures, compared to prior to restrictions being in place. Defined searches to identify eligible studies published in English, from November 2019 up to the date of submission, will be conducted using the following databases: CENTRAL, MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, SPORTDiscus, PSYCinfo, Coronavirus Research Database, Public Health Database, Publicly Available Content Database, SCOPUS, and Google Scholar. The applied inclusion criteria were selected to identify observational studies with no restrictions placed on participants, with outcomes regarding physical activity and/or sedentary behaviour during lockdown/restriction measures, and with comparisons for these outcomes to a time when no such measures were in place. Where appropriate, results from included studies will be pooled and effect estimates will be presented in random effects meta-analyses. To the best of our knowledge, this will be the first systematic review to evaluate one complete year of published data on the impact of COVID-19-related lockdown/restriction measures on physical activity and sedentary behaviour. Thus, this systematic review and meta-analysis will constitute the most up-to-date synthesis of published evidence on any such documented changes, and so will comprehensively inform clinical practitioners, public health agencies, researchers, policymakers and the general public regarding the effects of lockdown/restriction measures on both physical activity and sedentary behaviour.
    • Comparison of Iron (III) Reducing Antioxidant Capacity (iRAC) and ABTS Radical Quenching Assays for Estimating Antioxidant Activity of Pomegranate

      Wan, Hau Ching; Sultana, Bushra; Nigam, Poonam S.; Owusu-Apenten, Richard K.; University of Ulster; University of Agriculture Parkistan; University of Chester (MDPI, 2018-08-07)
      Pomegranate juice (PJ) has total antioxidant capacity which is reportedly higher compared to other common beverages. This short study aimed to assess the total antioxidant capacity of commercial PJ and pomegranate fruit using a newly described method for iron (III) reducing antioxidant capacity (iRAC) and to compare with the ABTS (2,2′-azino-bis(3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulphonic acid)) and Folin–Ciocalteu assays. Commercial PJ, freeze-dried pomegranate, and oven-dried pomegranate were analyzed. The calibration results for iRAC were comparable to ABTS and Folin–Ciocalteu methods in terms of linearity (R2 > 0.99), sensitivity and precision. The total antioxidant capacity for PJ expressed as trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity (TEAC) was 33.4 ± 0.5 mM with the iRAC method and 36.3 ± 2.1 mM using the ABTS method. For dried pomegranates, total antioxidant capacity on a dry weight basis (DB) was 89–110 mmol/100 g DB or 76.0 ± 4.3 mmol/100 g DB using iRAC and ABTS methods, respectively. Freeze-dried pomegranate had 15% higher total antioxidant capacity compared with oven-dried pomegranate. In conclusion, pomegranate has high total antioxidant capacity as evaluated by the iRAC and ABTS methods, though variations occur due to the type of cultivar, geographic origin, processing and other factors. The study is relevant for attempts to refine food composition data for pomegranate and other functional foods
    • Development of an Automated Pain Facial Expression Detection System for Sheep (Ovis Aries).

      McLennan, Krista M.; Mahmoud, Marwa; University of Chester; University of Cambridge (MDPI, 2019-04-25)
      Detecting signs of pain in sheep is a challenging problem, as they are a prey species and would usually try to hide any signs that they are unwell or injured. This means that treating ill or injured sheep and preventing any further spread of contagious diseases such as footrot can be slow. The recent development and publication of a Sheep Pain Facial Expression Scale (SPFES) has provided a tool to reliably detect pain in this species. However, due to the increase in intensification in farming and larger flock sizes being cared for by individual farmers, there is less time to spend monitoring sheep for changes in behaviour that may indicate illness or injury. Having an automated system that could detect changes in the facial expression of individual sheep would mean that farmers could receive information directly about particular individuals that need assessment. This would allow treatment to be provided in a timely and direct manner, reducing suffering. We have been developing the SPFES further in order for it to become an automated system. In this paper, we present our novel framework that integrates SPFES concepts with automatic facial expression analysis technologies.
    • Eukarion-134 Attenuates Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress-Induced Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Human Skeletal Muscle Cells

      Nye, Gareth; Thoma, Anastasia; Lyon, Max; Al-Shanti, Nasser; Cooper, Robert; Lightfoot, Adam; University of Chester; Manchester Metropolitan University; University of Liverpool
      Maladaptive endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress is associated with modified reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation and mitochondrial abnormalities; and is postulated as a potential mechanism involved in muscle weakness in myositis, an acquired autoimmune neuromuscular disease. This study investigates the impact of ROS generation in an in vitro model of ER stress in skeletal muscle, using the ER stress inducer tunicamycin (24 h) in the presence or absence of a superoxide dismutase/catalase mimetic Eukarion (EUK)-134. Tunicamycin induced maladaptive ER stress, which was mitigated by EUK-134 at the transcriptional level. ER stress promoted mitochondrial dysfunction, described by substantial loss of mitochondrial membrane potential, as well as a reduction in respiratory control ratio, reserve capacity, phosphorylating respiration, and coupling efficiency, which was ameliorated by EUK-134. Tunicamycin induced ROS-mediated biogenesis and fusion of mitochondria, which, however, had high propensity of fragmentation, accompanied by upregulated mRNA levels of fission-related markers. Increased cellular ROS generation was observed under ER stress that was prevented by EUK-134, even though no changes in mitochondrial superoxide were noticeable. These findings suggest that targeting ROS generation using EUK-134 can amend aspects of ER stress-induced changes in mitochondrial dynamics and function, and therefore, in instances of chronic ER stress, such as in myositis, quenching ROS generation may be a promising therapy for muscle weakness and dysfunction.
    • Evaluation of the Feasibility, Reliability, and Repeatability of Welfare Indicators in Free-Roaming Horses: A Pilot Study.

      Harley, Jessica; Stack, J.D.; Braid, H; McLennan, Krista M.; Stanley, Christina; University of Chester; University of Liverpool
      Validated assessment protocols have been developed to quantify welfare states for intensively managed sport, pleasure, and working horses. There are few protocols for extensively managed or free-roaming populations. Here, we trialed welfare indicators to ascertain their feasibility, reliability, and repeatability using free-roaming Carneddau Mountain ponies as an example population. The project involved (1) the identification of animal and resource-based measures of welfare from both the literature and discussion with an expert group; (2) testing the feasibility and repeatability of a modified body condition score and mobility score on 34 free-roaming and conservation grazing Carneddau Mountain ponies; and (3) testing a prototype welfare assessment template comprising 12 animal-based and 6 resource-based welfare indicators, with a total of 20 questions, on 35 free-roaming Carneddau Mountain ponies to quantify inter-assessor reliability and repeatability. This pilot study revealed that many of the indicators were successfully repeatable and had good levels of inter-assessor reliability. Some of the indicators could not be verified for reliability due to low/absent occurrence. The results indicated that many animal and resource-based indicators commonly used in intensively managed equine settings could be measured in-range with minor modifications. This study is an initial step toward validating a much-needed tool for the welfare assessment of free-roaming and conservation grazing ponies.
    • Exercise-induced muscle damage and recovery in young and middle-aged males with different resistance training experience

      Fernandes, John; Lamb, Kevin L.; Twist, Craig (MDPI, 2019-05-29)
      This study compared the time course of recovery after a squatting exercise in trained young (YG; n = 9; age 22.3 ± 1.7 years) and trained (MT; n = 9; 39.9 ± 6.2 years) and untrained (MU; n = 9; age 44.4 ± 6.3 years) middle-aged males. Before and at 24 and 72 h after 10 × 10 squats at 60% one-repetition maximum (1RM), participants provided measurements of perceived muscle soreness (VAS), creatine kinase (CK), maximal voluntary contraction (MVC), voluntary activation (VA), and resting doublet force of the knee extensors and squatting peak power at 20% and 80% 1RM. When compared to the YG males, the MT experienced likely and very likely moderate decrements in MVC, resting doublet force, and peak power at 20% and 80% 1RM accompanied by unclear differences in VAS, CK, and VA after the squatting exercise. MU males, compared to MT, experienced greater alterations in peak power at 20% and 80% 1RM and VAS. Alterations in CK, MVC, VA, and resting doublet force were unclear at all time-points between the middle-aged groups. Middle-aged males experienced greater symptoms of muscle damage and an impaired recovery profile than young resistance trained males. Moreover, regardless of resistance training experience, middle-aged males are subject to similar symptoms after muscle-damaging lower-body exercise.
    • From Surveillance to Intervention: Overview and Baseline Findings for the Active City of Liverpool Active Schools and SportsLinx (A-CLASS) Project

      McWhannell, Nicola; Foweather, Lawrence; Graves, Lee; Henaghan, Jayne; Ridgers, Nicola D.; Stratton, Gareth; University of Chester; Liverpool John Moores University, Laude Lady Elizabeth Junior School, Deakin University, Swansea University (MDPI, 2018-03-23)
      This paper outlines the implementation of a programme of work that started with the development of a population-level children’s health, fitness and lifestyle study in 1996 (SportsLinx) leading to selected interventions one of which is described in detail: the Active City of Liverpool, Active Schools and SportsLinx (A-CLASS) Project. The A-CLASS Project aimed to quantify the effectiveness of structured and unstructured physical activity (PA) programmes on children’s PA, fitness, body composition, bone health, cardiac and vascular structures, fundamental movement skills, physical self-perception and self-esteem. The study was a four-arm parallel-group school-based cluster randomised controlled trial (clinical trials no. NCT02963805), and compared different exposure groups: a high intensity PA (HIPA) group, a fundamental movement skill (FMS) group, a PA signposting (PASS) group and a control group, in a two-schools-per-condition design. Baseline findings indicate that children’s fundamental movement skill competence levels are low-to-moderate, yet these skills are inversely associated with percentage body fat. Outcomes of this project will make an important contribution to the design and implementation of children’s PA promotion initiatives.
    • Impacts of Reducing UK Beef Consumption Using a Revised Sustainable Diets Framework

      Chalmers, Neil; email: neil.chalmers@abdn.ac.uk; Stetkiewicz, Stacia; email: s.stetkiewicz@lancaster.ac.uk; Sudhakar, Padhmanand; orcid: 0000-0003-1907-4491; email: Padhmanand.Sudhakar@earlham.ac.uk; Osei-Kwasi, Hibbah; orcid: 0000-0001-5084-6213; email: h.oseikwasi@chester.ac.uk; Reynolds, Christian J; orcid: 0000-0002-1073-7394; email: c.reynolds@sheffield.ac.uk (MDPI, 2019-12-02)
      The impact of beef consumption on sustainability is a complex and evolving area, as sustainability covers many areas from human nutrient adequacy to ecosystem stability. Three sustainability assessment frameworks have been created to help policy makers unpack the complexities of sustainable food systems and healthy sustainable dietary change. However, none of these frameworks have yet to be applied to a case study or individual policy issue. This paper uses a hybrid version of the sustainability assessment frameworks to investigate the impact of reducing beef consumption (with a concurrent increase in consumption of plant-based foods, with a focus on legumes) on sustainability at a UK level. The aim of this paper is to understand the applicability of these overarching frameworks at the scale of an individual policy. Such an assessment is important, as this application of previously high-level frameworks to individual policies makes it possible to summarise, at a glance, the various co-benefits and trade-offs associated with a given policy, which may be of particular value in terms of stakeholder decision-making. We find that many of the proposed metrics found within the sustainability assessment frameworks are difficult to implement at an individual issue level; however, overall they show that a reduction in beef consumption and an increase in consumption of general plant-based foods, with a focus around legumes production, would be expected to be strongly beneficial in five of the eight overarching measures which were assessed.
    • An in vitro comparison of the neurotrophic and angiogenic activity of human and canine adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs): translating MSC-based therapies for spinal cord injury.

      Al Delfi, Ibtesam R. T; Wood, Chelsea R.; Johnson, Louis D. V.; Snow, Martyn D.; Innes, John F.; Myint, Peter; Johnson, William E. B.; Kut University College; University of Chester; Royal Orthopaedic Hospital, Birmingham; Veterinary Tissue Bank, Chirk
      The majority of research into the effects of mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) transplants on spinal cord injury (SCI) is performed in rodent models, which may help inform on mechanisms of action, but does not represent the scale and wound heterogeneity seen in human SCI. In contrast, SCI in dogs occurs naturally, is more akin to human SCI, and can be used to help address important aspects of the development of human MSC-based therapies. To enable translation to the clinic and a comparison across species, we have examined the paracrine, regenerative capacity of human and canine adipose-derived MSCs in vitro. MSCs were initially phenotyped according to tissue culture plastic adherence, CD immunoprofiling and tri-lineage differentiation potential. Conditioned medium (CM) from MSC cultures was then assessed for its neurotrophic and angiogenic activity using established cell-based assays. MSC CM significantly increased neuronal cell proliferation, neurite outgrowth, and βIII tubulin immunopositivity. In addition, MSC CM significantly increased endothelial cell migration, cell proliferation and the formation of tubule-like structures in Matrigel assays. There were no marked or significant differences in the capacity of human or canine MSC CM to stimulate neuronal cell or endothelial cell activity. Hence, this study supports the use of MSC transplants for canine SCI, furthermore it increases understanding of how this may subsequently provide useful information and translate to MSC transplants for human SCI.
    • Influence of Playing Standard on Upper- and Lower-Body Strength, Power, and Velocity Characteristics of Elite Rugby League Players

      Fernandes, John; Daniels, Matthew; Myler, Liam; Twist, Craig (MDPI, 2019-04-17)
      Background: To compare load–velocity and load–power relationships among first grade (n = 26, age 22.9 ± 4.3 years), academy (n = 23, age 17.1 ± 1.0 years), and scholarship (n = 16, age 15.4 ± 0.5 years) Super League rugby league players. Methods: Participants completed assessments of maximal upper- and lower-body strength (1RM) and peak velocity and power at 20, 40, 60, and 80 kg during bench press and squat exercises, in a randomised order. Results: Bench press and squat 1RM were highest for first grade players compared with other standards (effect size (ES) = −0.43 to −3.18). Peak velocities during bench and squat were greater in the higher playing standards (ES = −0.39 to −3.72 range), except for the squat at 20 and 40 kg. Peak power was higher in the better playing standards for all loads and exercises. For all three groups, velocity was correlated to optimal bench press power (r = 0.514 to 0.766), but only 1RM was related to optimal power (r = 0.635) in the scholarship players. Only squat 1RM in the academy was related to optimal squat power (r = 0.505). Conclusions: Peak velocity and power are key physical qualities to be developed that enable progression from junior elite rugby league to first grade level. Resistance training should emphasise both maximal strength and velocity components, in order to optimise upper- and lower-body power in professional rugby league players.
    • Low body fat does not influence recovery after muscle-damaging lower-limb plyometrics in young male team sport athletes

      Fernandes, John; Lamb, Kevin; Twist, Craig; University of Chester
      Aim: This study assessed the influence of fat mass to fat-free mass ratio (FM:FFM) on recovery from plyometric exercise. Method: After assessment of body composition, 20 male team sport players (age 20.7 1.1 years; body mass 77.1 11.5 kg) were divided into low- (n = 10; 0.11 0.03) and normal- (n = 10; 0.27 0.09) fat groups based on FM:FFM ratio. Thereafter, participants completed measurements of knee extensor torque at 60 and 240 s􀀀1, countermovement jump flight time, plasma creatine kinase (CK) activity and perceived muscle soreness (VAS) before and at 0, 24 and 48 h after 10 10 maximal plyometric vertical jumps. Results: Evidence of muscle damage was confirmed by alterations in VAS, peak torque at 60 and 240 s􀀀1 and flight time at 0, 24 and 48 h after plyometric exercise (P < 0.05). CK was increased at 0 and 24 h (P < 0.05) but returned to baseline values by 48 h. No time by group e ects were observed for any of the dependent variables (P > 0.05). Conclusion: The current findings indicate that while muscle damage was present after plyometric exercise, the magnitude was similar across the two body composition groups. Applied practitioners can allow for a similar recovery time after plyometric exercise in those with low and normal body fat.
    • Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms of Action of Tumour Suppressor GAS5 LncRNA

      Pickard, Mark R.; Williams, Gwyn T.; Keele University (MDPI, 2015-07-07)
      It is increasingly recognised that lncRNAs play essential regulatory roles in fundamental biological processes and, consequently, that their dysregulation may contribute to major human diseases, including cancer. Better understanding of lncRNA biology may therefore offer new insights into pathogenetic mechanisms and thereby offer novel opportunities for diagnosis and therapy. Of particular interest in this regard is GAS5 lncRNA, which is down-regulated in multiple cancers, with expression levels related to both clinico-pathological characteristics and patient prognosis. Functional studies have further shown that GAS5 lncRNA both inhibits the proliferation and promotes the apoptosis of multiple cell types, and that together these cellular mechanisms of action are likely to form the basis of its tumour suppressor action. At the same time, advances have been made in our understanding of the molecular mechanisms of GAS5 lncRNA action in recent years, including riborepression of certain steroid hormone receptors and sequestration of miR-21, impacting key regulatory pathways of cell survival. Overall this accumulating knowledge has the potential to improve both the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, and ultimately patient outcome.
    • Social Experience of Captive Livingstone’s Fruit Bats (Pteropus livingstonii)

      Stanley, Christina R; Smith, Tessa; Welch, Morgan J; Hosie, Charlotte; Wormell, Dominic; Price, Eluned; University of Chester; Jersey Zoo (MDPI, 2020-07-30)
      Social network analysis has been highlighted as a powerful tool to enhance the evidence-based management of captive-housed species through its ability to quantify the social experience of individuals. We apply this technique to explore the social structure and social roles of 50 Livingstone’s fruit bats (Pteropus livingstonii) housed at Jersey Zoo, Channel Islands, through the observation of associative, affiliative, and aggressive interactions over two data collection periods. We implement binomial mixture modelling and characteristic-based assortment quantification to describe the complexity and organisation of social networks, as well as a multiple regression quadratic assignment procedural (MRQAP) test to analyse the relationship between network types. We examine the effects of individual characteristics (i.e., sex, age, and dominance rank) on social role by fitting models to explain the magnitude of node metrics. Additionally, we utilize a quadratic assignment procedural (QAP) test to assess the temporal stability of social roles over two seasons. Our results indicate that P. livingstonii display a non-random network structure. Observed social networks are positively assorted by age, as well as dominance rank. The frequency of association between individuals correlates with a higher frequency of behavioural interactions, both affiliative and aggressive. Individual social roles remain consistent over ten months. We recommend that, to improve welfare and captive breeding success, relationships between individuals of similar ages and dominance levels should be allowed to persist in this group where possible, and separating individuals that interact frequently in an affiliative context should be avoided.
    • Why pain is still a welfare issue for farm animals, and how facial expression may be the answer

      McLennan, Krista M.; University of Chester (MDPI, 2018-08-11)
      Pain is a sensory and emotional experience that significantly affects animal welfare and has negative impacts on the economics of farming. Pain is often associated with common production diseases such as lameness and mastitis, as well as introduced to the animal through routine husbandry practices such as castration and tail docking. Farm animals are prey species which tend not to overtly express pain or weakness, making recognizing and evaluating pain incredibly difficult. Current methods of pain assessment do not provide information on what the animal is experiencing at that moment in time, only that its experience is having a long term negative impact on its behavior and biological functioning. Measures that provide reliable information about the animals’ affective state in that moment are urgently required; facial expression as a pain assessment tool has this ability. Automation of the detection and analysis of facial expression is currently in development, providing further incentive to use these methods in animal welfare assessment.