• A Global Survey of Current Zoo Housing and Husbandry Practices for Fossa: A Preliminary Review

      Harley, Jessica J; orcid: 0000-0002-9355-9641; O’Hara, Lisa; email: education@taytopark.ie; Rose, Paul E.; orcid: 0000-0002-5375-8267; email: p.rose@exeter.ac.uk (MDPI, 2021-07-20)
      The fossa is a specialized Malagasy carnivore housed in ex situ facilities since the late 19th century. Moderate breeding success has occurred since the 1970s, and welfare issues (notably stereotypic pacing behaviour) are commonly documented. To understand challenges relating to fossa housing and husbandry (H) across global facilities and to identify areas of good practice that dovetail with available husbandry standards, a survey was distributed to ZIMS-registered zoos in 2017. Results showed that outdoor housing area and volume varied greatly across facilities, the majority of fossa expressed unnatural behaviours, with pacing behaviour the most frequently observed. All fossa received enrichment, and most had public access restricted to one or two sides of the enclosure. The majority of fossa were locked in/out as part of their daily management and forty-one percent of the fossa surveyed as breeding individuals bred at the zoo. Dense cover within an enclosure, restricted public viewing areas, a variable feeding schedule and limited view of another species from the fossa exhibit appear to reduce the risk of unnatural behavior being performed. The achievement of best practice fossa husbandry may be a challenge due to its specialized ecology, the limited wild information guiding captive care, and the range of housing dimensions and exhibit features provided by zoos that makes identification of standardized practices difficult. We recommended that holders evaluate how and when enrichment is provided and assess what they are providing for environmental complexity as well as consider how the public views their fossa.
    • ABO Blood Groups Do Not Predict Schistosoma mansoni Infection Profiles in Highly Endemic Villages of Uganda

      Francoeur, Rachel; Atuhaire, Alon; Arinaitwe, Moses; Adriko, Moses; Ajambo, Diana; Nankasi, Andrina; Babayan, Simon A.; Lamberton, Poppy H. L.; University of Glasgow; University of Chester; Ministry of Health, Uganda
      Schistosoma mansoni is a parasite which causes significant public-health issues, with over 240 mil-lion people infected globally. In Uganda alone, approximately 11.6 million people are affected. Despite over a decade of mass drug administration in this country, hyper-endemic hotspots persist, and individuals who are repeatedly heavily and rapidly reinfected are observed. Human blood-type antigens are known to play a role in the risk of infection for a variety of diseases, due to cross-reactivity between host antibodies and pathogenic antigens. There have been conflicting results on the effect of blood type on schistosomiasis infection and pathology. Moreover, the ef-fect of blood type as a potential intrinsic host factor on S. mansoni prevalence, intensity, clearance, and reinfection dynamics and on co-infection risk remains unknown. Therefore, the epidemio-logical link between host blood type and S. mansoni infection dynamics was assessed in three hyper-endemic communities in Uganda. Longitudinal data incorporating repeated pretreatment S. mansoni infection intensities and clearance rates were used to analyse associations between blood groups in school-aged children. Soil-transmitted helminth coinfection status and biometric parameters were incorporated in a generalised linear mixed regression model including age, gender, and body mass index (BMI), which have previously been established as significant factors influencing the prevalence and intensity of schistosomiasis. The analysis revealed no associations between blood type and S. mansoni prevalence, infection intensity, clearance, reinfection, or coinfection. Variations in infection profiles were significantly different between the villages, and egg burden significantly decreased with age. While blood type has proven to be a predictor of several diseases, the data collected in this study indicate that it does not play a significant role in S. mansoni infection burdens in these high-endemicity communities.
    • 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
    • Behavioural Indicators of Intra- and Inter-Specific Competition: Sheep Co-Grazing with Guanaco in the Patagonian Steppe

      Fernandez, Tomas; Lancaster, Alex; Moraga, Claudio A.; Radic-Schilling, Sergio; von Hardenberg, Achaz; Corti, Paulo; Universidad Austral de Chile; University of Chester; Fundacion CEQUA; Universidad de Magallanes (MDPI, 2021-11-22)
      In extensive livestock production, high densities may inhibit regulation processes, main- taining high levels of intraspecific competition over time. During competition, individuals typically modify their behaviours, particularly feeding and bite rates, which can therefore be used as indicators of competition. Over eight consecutive seasons, we investigated if variation in herd density, food availability, and the presence of a potential competitor, the guanaco (Lama guanicoe), was related with behavioural changes in domestic sheep in Chilean Patagonia. Focal sampling, instantaneous scan sampling, measures of bite and movement rates were used to quantify behavioural changes in domestic sheep. We found that food availability increased time spent feeding, while herd density was associated with an increase in vigilant behaviour and a decrease in bite rate, but only when food availability was low. Guanaco presence appeared to have no impact on sheep behaviour. Our results suggest that the observed behavioural changes in domestic sheep are more likely due to intraspecific competition rather than interspecific competition. Consideration of intraspecific competition where guanaco and sheep co-graze on pastures could allow management strategies to focus on herd density, according to rangeland carrying capacity.
    • 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 Drinking Water Quality and Bacterial Antibiotic Sensitivity in Wells and Standpipes at Household Water Points in Freetown, Sierra Leone

      Kamara, Dauda; orcid: 0000-0001-7750-8273; email: dkamara@mohs.gov.sl; Bah, Doris; email: dbah@mohs.gov.sl; Sesay, Momodu; email: sesaydu59@yahoo.com; Maruta, Anna; orcid: 0000-0002-6417-7273; email: marutaa@who.int; Sesay, Bockarie Pompey; email: sesaybo@who.int; Fofanah, Bobson Derrick; orcid: 0000-0003-3276-8949; email: fofanahb@who.int; Kamara, Ibrahim Franklyn; orcid: 0000-0003-1454-4650; email: ikamara@who.int; Kanu, Joseph Sam; orcid: 0000-0003-0799-6907; email: samjokanu@yahoo.com; Lakoh, Sulaiman; orcid: 0000-0002-7639-0004; email: lakoh2009@gmail.com; Molleh, Bailah; email: bmollehshs@gmail.com; et al. (MDPI, 2022-05-29)
      Water quality surveillance can help to reduce waterborne diseases. Despite better access to safe drinking water in Sierra Leone, about a third of the population (3 million people) drink water from unimproved sources. In this cross-sectional study, we collected water samples from 15 standpipes and 5 wells and measured the physicochemical and bacteriological water quality, and the antimicrobial sensitivity of Escherichia coli (E. coli) in two communities in Freetown, Sierra Leone in the dry and wet seasons in 2021. All water sources were contaminated with E. coli, and all five wells and 25% of standpipes had at least an intermediate risk level of E. coli. There was no antimicrobial resistance detected in the E. coli tested. The nitrate level exceeded the WHO’s recommended standard (>10 parts per million) in 60% of the wells and in less than 20% of the standpipes. The proportion of samples from standpipes with high levels of total dissolved solids (>10 Nephelometric Turbidity Units) was much higher in the rainy season (73% vs. 7%). The level of water contamination is concerning. We suggest options to reduce E. coli contamination. Further research is required to identify where contamination of the water in standpipes is occurring.
    • Evaluation of the Feasibility, Reliability, and Repeatability of Welfare Indicators in Free-Roaming Horses: A Pilot Study

      Harley, Jessica J; orcid: 0000-0002-9355-9641; Stack, J David; Braid, Helen; orcid: 0000-0003-2582-7584; McLennan, Krista M; orcid: 0000-0002-8888-540X; Stanley, Christina R. (MDPI, 2021-07-02)
      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.
    • 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.
    • Heterospecific Fear and Avoidance Behaviour in Domestic Horses (Equus caballus)

      Stanley, Christina; Wiśniewska, Anna; Janczarek, Iwona; Wilk, Izabela; Tkaczyk, Ewelina; Mierzicka, Martyna; Górecka‐Bruzda, Aleksandra; University of Chester; University of Life Sciences in Lublin; Polish Academy of Sciences (MDPI, 2021-10-28)
      Ridden horses have been reported to be fearful of cows. We tested whether cows could provoke behavioural and cardiac fear responses in horses, and whether these responses differ in magnitude to those shown to other potential dangers. Twenty horses were exposed to cow, a mobile object or no object. The time spent at different distances from the stimulus was measured. In a separate test, heart rate (HR), root mean square of successive differences between heartbeats (RMSSD) and the horses’ perceived fear were assessed at various distances from the stimuli. The horses avoided the area nearest to all stimuli. During hand‐leading, the cow elicited the highest HR and lowest RMSSD. Led horses’ responses to the cow and box were rated as more fearful as the distance to the stimulus decreased. Mares had a higher HR than geldings across all tests. HR positively correlated with the fearfulness rating at the furthest distance from the cow and box, and RMSSD negatively correlated with this rating in cow and control conditions. Our results show that these horses’ avoidance response to cows was similar or higher to that shown towards a novel moving object, demonstrating that potentially, both neophobia and heterospecific communication play a role in this reaction.
    • 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.
    • Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) and Potential Links to Depression, Anxiety, and Chronic Stress

      Shea, Sue; Lionis, Christos; Kite, Chris; Atkinson, Lou; Chaggar, Surinderjeet; Randeva, Harpal S; Kyrou, Ioannis; University of Warwick; University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust; University of Crete; University of Chester; Coventry University; Aston University; Forum Health Centre; Agricultural University of Athens (MDPI, 2021-11-16)
      Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) constitutes the most common liver disease worldwide, and is frequently linked to the metabolic syndrome. The latter represents a clustering of related cardio-metabolic components, which are often observed in patients with NAFLD and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Furthermore, growing evidence suggests a positive association between metabolic syndrome and certain mental health problems (e.g., depression, anxiety, and chronic stress). Given the strong overlap between metabolic syndrome and NAFLD, and the common underlying mechanisms that link the two conditions, it is probable that potentially bidirectional associations are also present between NAFLD and mental health comorbidity. The identification of such links is worthy of further investigation, as this can inform more targeted interventions for patients with NAFLD. Therefore, the present review discusses published evidence in relation to associations of depression, anxiety, stress, and impaired health-related quality of life with NAFLD and metabolic syndrome. Attention is also drawn to the complex nature of affective disorders and potential overlapping symptoms between such conditions and NAFLD, while a focus is also placed on the postulated mechanisms mediating associations between mental health and both NAFLD and metabolic syndrome. Relevant gaps/weaknesses of the available literature are also highlighted, together with future research directions that need to be further explored.