• Behavioural and physiological adaptations to low-temperature environments in the common frog, Rana temporaria

      Muir, Anna P.; Biek, Roman; Mable, Barbara K.; University of Chester; University of Glasgow (BioMed Central, 2014-05-23)
      Background: Extreme environments can impose strong ecological and evolutionary pressures at a local level. Ectotherms are particularly sensitive to low-temperature environments, which can result in a reduced activity period, slowed physiological processes and increased exposure to sub-zero temperatures. The aim of this study was to assess the behavioural and physiological responses that facilitate survival in low-temperature environments. In particular, we asked: 1) do high-altitude common frog (Rana temporaria) adults extend the time available for larval growth by breeding at lower temperatures than low-altitude individuals?; and 2) do tadpoles sampled from high-altitude sites differ physiologically from those from low-altitude sites, in terms of routine metabolic rate (RMR) and freeze tolerance? Breeding date was assessed as the first day of spawn observation and local temperature recorded for five, paired high- and low-altitude R. temporaria breeding sites in Scotland. Spawn was collected and tadpoles raised in a common laboratory environment, where RMR was measured as oxygen consumed using a closed respiratory tube system. Freeze tolerance was measured as survival following slow cooling to the point when all container water had frozen. Results: We found that breeding did not occur below 5°C at any site and there was no significant relationship between breeding temperature and altitude, leading to a delay in spawning of five days for every 100 m increase in altitude. The relationship between altitude and RMR varied by mountain but was lower for individuals sampled from high- than low-altitude sites within the three mountains with the highest high-altitude sites (≥900 m). In contrast, individuals sampled from low-altitudes survived freezing significantly better than those from high-altitudes, across all mountains. Conclusions: Our results suggest that adults at high-altitude do not show behavioural adaptations in terms of breeding at lower temperatures. However, tadpoles appear to have the potential to adapt physiologically to surviving at high-altitude via reduced RMR but without an increase in freeze tolerance. Therefore, survival at high-altitude may be facilitated by physiological mechanisms that permit faster growth rates, allowing completion of larval development within a shorter time period, alleviating the need for adaptations that extend the time available for larval growth.
    • Lower limb orthopaedic surgery results in changes to coagulation and non-specific inflammatory biomarkers, including selective clinical outcome measures

      Hughes, Stephen F.; Hendricks, Beverly D.; Edwards, David R.; Bastawrous, Salah S.; Middleton, Jim F.; University of Chester; Keele University; Glan Clwyd Hospital; Gwynedd Hospital; University of Bristol (BioMed Central, 2013-11-09)
      Background: With an aging society and raised expectations, joint replacement surgery is likely to increase significantly in the future. The development of postoperative complications following joint replacement surgery (for example, infection, systemic inflammatory response syndrome and deep vein thrombosis) is also likely to increase. Despite considerable progress in orthopaedic surgery, comparing a range of biological markers with the ultimate aim of monitoring or predicting postoperative complications has not yet been extensively researched. The aim of this clinical pilot study was to test the hypothesis that lower limb orthopaedic surgery results in changes to coagulation, non-specific markers of inflammation (primary objective) and selective clinical outcome measures (secondary objective). Methods Test subjects were scheduled for elective total hip replacement (THR) or total knee replacement (TKR) orthopaedic surgery due to osteoarthritis (n = 10). Platelet counts and D-dimer concentrations were measured to assess any changes to coagulation function. C-reactive protein (CRP) and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) were measured as markers of non-specific inflammation. Patients were monitored regularly to assess for any signs of postoperative complications, including blood transfusions, oedema (knee swelling), wound infection, pain and fever. Results THR and TKR orthopaedic surgery resulted in similar changes of coagulation and non-specific inflammatory biomarkers, suggestive of increased coagulation and inflammatory reactions postoperatively. Specifically, THR and TKR surgery resulted in an increase in platelet (P = 0.013, THR) and D-dimer (P = 0.009, TKR) concentrations. Evidence of increased inflammation was demonstrated by an increase in CRP and ESR (P ≤ 0.05, THR and TKR). Four patients received blood transfusions (two THR and two TKR patients), with maximal oedema, pain and aural temperatures peaking between days 1 and 3 postoperatively, for both THR and TKR surgery. None of the patients developed postoperative infections. Conclusions The most noticeable changes in biological markers occur during days 1 to 3 postoperatively for both THR and TKR surgery, and these may have an effect on such postoperative clinical outcomes as oedema, pyrexia and pain. This study may assist in understanding the postoperative course following lower limb orthopaedic surgery, and may help clinicians in planning postoperative management and patient care.
    • Monocytes/macrophages express CCR9 in rheumatoid arthritis and CCL25 stimulates their differentiation

      Schmutz, Caroline; Cartwright, Alison; Williams, Helen; Haworth, Oliver; Williams, John H. H.; Filer, Andrew; Salmon, Mike; Buckley, Christopher D.; Middleton, Jim F.; Keele University/University of Birmingham ; Keele University ; University of Chester ; University of Birmingham ; University of Chester ; University of Birmingham ; University of Birmingham ; University of Birmingham ; Keele University/University of Bristol (BioMed Central, 2010-08-05)
      Abstract Introduction Monocytes/macrophages accumulate in the rheumatoid (RA) synovium where they play a central role in inflammation and joint destruction. Identification of molecules involved in their accumulation and differentiation is important to inform therapeutic strategies. This study investigated the expression and function of chemokine receptor CCR9 in the peripheral blood (PB) and synovium of RA, non-RA patients and healthy volunteers. Methods CCR9 expression on PB monocytes/macrophages was analysed by flow cytometry and in synovium by immunofluorescence. Chemokine receptor CCR9 mRNA expression was examined in RA and non-RA synovium, monocytes/macrophages from PB and synovial fluid (SF) of RA patients and PB of healthy donors using the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Monocyte differentiation and chemotaxis to chemokine ligand 25 (CCL25)/TECK were used to study CCR9 function. Results CCR9 was expressed by PB monocytes/macrophages in RA and healthy donors, and increased in RA. In RA and non-RA synovia, CCR9 co-localised with cluster of differentiation 14+ (CD14+) and cluster of differentiation 68+ (CD68+) macrophages, and was more abundant in RA synovium. CCR9 mRNA was detected in the synovia of all RA patients and in some non-RA controls, and monocytes/macrophages from PB and SF of RA and healthy controls. CCL25 was detected in RA and non-RA synovia where it co-localised with CD14+ and CD68+ cells. Tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNFα) increased CCR9 expression on human acute monocytic leukemia cell line THP-1 monocytic cells. CCL25 induced a stronger monocyte differentiation in RA compared to healthy donors. CCL25 induced significant chemotaxis of PB monocytes but not consistently among individuals. Conclusions CCR9 expression by monocytes is increased in RA. CCL25 may be involved in the differentiation of monocytes to macrophages particularly in RA.
    • Seasonality of Plasmodium falciparum transmission: a systematic review

      Reiner, Robert C.; Geary, Matthew; Atkinson, Peter M.; Smith, David L.; Gething, Peter W.; 1 Fogarty International Center, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA 2 Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Indiana University School of Public Health, Bloomington, IN, USA 3 Department of Entomology, University of California, Davis, CA, USA 4 Department of Biological Sciences, University of Chester, Chester, UK 5 Faculty of Science and Technology, Engineering Building, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YR, UK 6 Faculty of Geosciences, University of Utrecht, Heidelberglaan 2, Utrecht, 3584 CS, The Netherlands 7 School of Geography, Archaeology and Palaeoecology, Queen’s University Belfast, Belfast BT7 1NN, Northern Ireland, UK 8 Geography and Environment, University of Southampton, Highfield, Southampton SO17 1BJ, UK 9 Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy, Washington, DC, USA 10 Spatial Ecology and Epidemiology Group, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK (BioMed Central, 2015-09-15)
      Background Although Plasmodium falciparum transmission frequently exhibits seasonal patterns, the drivers of malaria seasonality are often unclear. Given the massive variation in the landscape upon which transmission acts, intra-annual fluctuations are likely influenced by different factors in different settings. Further, the presence of potentially substantial inter-annual variation can mask seasonal patterns; it may be that a location has “strongly seasonal” transmission and yet no single season ever matches the mean, or synoptic, curve. Accurate accounting of seasonality can inform efficient malaria control and treatment strategies. In spite of the demonstrable importance of accurately capturing the seasonality of malaria, data required to describe these patterns is not universally accessible and as such localized and regional efforts at quantifying malaria seasonality are disjointed and not easily generalized. Methods The purpose of this review was to audit the literature on seasonality of P. falciparum and quantitatively summarize the collective findings. Six search terms were selected to systematically compile a list of papers relevant to the seasonality of P. falciparum transmission, and a questionnaire was developed to catalogue the manuscripts. Results and discussion 152 manuscripts were identified as relating to the seasonality of malaria transmission, deaths due to malaria or the population dynamics of mosquito vectors of malaria. Among these, there were 126 statistical analyses and 31 mechanistic analyses (some manuscripts did both). Discussion Identified relationships between temporal patterns in malaria and climatological drivers of malaria varied greatly across the globe, with different drivers appearing important in different locations. Although commonly studied drivers of malaria such as temperature and rainfall were often found to significantly influence transmission, the lags between a weather event and a resulting change in malaria transmission also varied greatly by location. Conclusions The contradicting results of studies using similar data and modelling approaches from similar locations as well as the confounding nature of climatological covariates underlines the importance of a multi-faceted modelling approach that attempts to capture seasonal patterns at both small and large spatial scales. Keywords: Plasmodium falciparum ; Seasonality; Climatic drivers
    • Total hip and knee replacement surgery results in changes in leukocyte and endothelial markers

      Hughes, Stephen F.; Hendricks, Beverly D.; Edwards, David R.; Maclean, Kirsty M.; Bastawrous, Salah S.; Middleton, Jim F.; University of Chester; North Wales (Central) NHS Trust; Keele University (BioMed Central, 2010-01-19)
      BACKGROUND: It is estimated that over 8 million people in the United Kingdom suffer from osteoarthritis. These patients may require orthopaedic surgical intervention to help alleviate their clinical condition. Investigations presented here was to test the hypothesis that total hip replacement (THR) and total knee replacement (TKR) orthopaedic surgery result in changes to leukocyte and endothelial markers thus increasing inflammatory reactions postoperatively. METHODS: During this 'pilot study', ten test subjects were all scheduled for THR or TKR elective surgery due to osteoarthritis. Leukocyte concentrations were measured using an automated full blood count analyser. Leukocyte CD11b (Mac-1) and CD62L cell surface expression, intracellular production of H(2)O(2 )and elastase were measured as markers of leukocyte function. Von Willebrand factor (vWF) and soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (sICAM-1) were measured as markers of endothelial activation. RESULTS: The results obtained during this study demonstrate that THR and TKR orthopaedic surgery result in similar changes of leukocyte and endothelial markers, suggestive of increased inflammatory reactions postoperatively. Specifically, THR and TKR surgery resulted in a leukocytosis, this being demonstrated by an increase in the total leukocyte concentration following surgery. Evidence of leukocyte activation was demonstrated by a decrease in CD62L expression and an increase in CD11b expression by neutrophils and monocytes respectively. An increase in the intracellular H(2)O(2 )production by neutrophils and monocytes and in the leukocyte elastase concentrations was also evident of leukocyte activation following orthopaedic surgery. With respect to endothelial activation, increases in vWF and sICAM-1 concentrations were demonstrated following surgery. CONCLUSION: In general it appeared that most of the leukocyte and endothelial markers measured during these studies peaked between days 1-3 postoperatively. It is proposed that by allowing orthopaedic surgeons access to alternative laboratory markers such as CD11b, H(2)O(2 )and elastase, CD62L, vWF and sICAM-1, an accurate assessment of the extent of inflammation due to surgery per se could be made. Ultimately, the leukocyte and endothelial markers assessed during this investigation may have a role in monitoring potential infectious complications that can occur during the postoperative period.