ResearchPad - reproductive-physiology https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Sexual norms and the intention to use healthcare services related to female genital cutting: A qualitative study among Somali and Sudanese women in Norway]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_15732 Female Genital Cutting (FGC) is a traditionally meaningful practice in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. It is associated with a high risk of long-term physical and psychosexual health problems. Girls and women with FGC-related health problems need specialized healthcare services such as psychosexual counseling, deinfibulation, and clitoral reconstruction. Moreover, the need for psychosexual counseling increases in countries of immigration where FGC is not accepted and possibly stigmatized. In these countries, the practice loses its cultural meaning and girls and women with FGC are more likely to report psychosexual problems. In Norway, a country of immigration, psychosexual counseling is lacking. To decide whether to provide this and/or other services, it is important to explore the intention of the target population to use FGC-related healthcare services. That is as deinfibulation, an already available service, is underutilized. In this article, we explore whether girls and women with FGC intend to use FGC-related healthcare services, regardless of their availability in Norway.MethodsWe conducted 61 in-depth interviews with 26 Somali and Sudanese participants with FGC in Norway. We then validated our findings in three focus group discussions with additional 17 participants.FindingsWe found that most of our participants were positive towards psychosexual counseling and would use it if available. We also identified four cultural scenarios with different sets of sexual norms that centered on getting and/or staying married, and which largely influenced the participants’ intention to use FGC-related services. These cultural scenarios are the virgin, the passive-, the conditioned active-, and the equal- sexual partner scenarios. Participants with negative attitudes towards the use of almost all of the FGC-related healthcare services were influenced by a set of norms pertaining to virginity and passive sexual behavior. In contrast, participants with positive attitudes towards the use of all of these same services were influenced by another set of norms pertaining to sexual and gender equality. On the other hand, participants with positive attitudes towards the use of services that can help to improve their marital sexual lives, yet negative towards the use of premarital services were influenced by a third set of norms that combined norms from the two aforementioned sets of norms.ConclusionThe intention to use FGC-related healthcare services varies between and within the different ethnic groups. Moreover, the same girl or woman can have different attitudes towards the use of the different FGC-related healthcare services or even towards the same services at the different stages of her life. These insights could prove valuable for Norwegian and other policy-makers and healthcare professionals during the planning and/or delivery of FGC-related healthcare services. ]]> <![CDATA[Deletion of inositol polyphosphate 4-phosphatase type-II B affects spermatogenesis in mice]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14722 Inositol polyphosphate-4-phosphatase type II (INPP4B) is a dual-specificity phosphatase that acts as a tumor suppressor in multiple cancers. INPP4B dephosphorylates phospholipids at the 4th position of the inositol ring and inhibits AKT and PKC signaling by hydrolyzing of PI(3,4)P2 and PI(4,5)P2, respectively. INPP4B protein phosphatase targets include phospho-tyrosines on Akt and phospho-serine and phospho-threonine on PTEN. INPP4B is highly expressed in testes, suggesting its role in testes development and physiology. The objective of this study was to determine whether Inpp4b deletion impacts testicular function in mice. In testis, Inpp4b expression was the highest in postmeiotic germ cells in both mice and men. The testes of Inpp4b knockout male mice were significantly smaller compared to the testes of wild-type (WT) males. Inpp4b-/- males produced fewer mature sperm cells compared to WT, and this difference increased with age and high fat diet (HFD). Reduction in early steroidogenic enzymes and luteinizing hormone (LH) receptor gene expression was detected, although androgen receptor (AR) protein level was similar in WT and Inpp4b-/- testes. Germ cell apoptosis was significantly increased in the knockout mice, while expression of meiotic marker γH2A.X was decreased. Our data demonstrate that INPP4B plays a role in maintenance of male germ cell differentiation and protects testis functions against deleterious effects of aging and high fat diet.

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<![CDATA[Corticosterone and testosterone treatment influence expression of gene pathways linked to meiotic segregation in preovulatory follicles of the domestic hen]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14547 Decades of work indicate that female birds can control their offspring sex ratios in response to environmental and social cues. In laying hens, hormones administered immediately prior to sex chromosome segregation can exert sex ratio skews, indicating that these hormones may act directly on the germinal disc to influence which sex chromosome is retained in the oocyte and which is discarded into an unfertilizable polar body. We aimed to uncover the gene pathways involved in this process by testing whether treatments with testosterone or corticosterone that were previously shown to influence sex ratios elicit changes in the expression of genes and/or gene pathways involved in the process of meiotic segregation. We injected laying hens with testosterone, corticosterone, or control oil 5h prior to ovulation and collected germinal discs from the F1 preovulatory follicle in each hen 1.5h after injection. We used RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq) followed by DESeq2 and gene set enrichment analyses to identify genes and gene pathways that were differentially expressed between germinal discs of control and hormone-treated hens. Corticosterone treatment triggered downregulation of 13 individual genes, as well as enrichment of gene sets related to meiotic spindle organization and chromosome segregation, and additional gene sets that function in ion transport. Testosterone treatment triggered upregulation of one gene, and enrichment of one gene set that functions in nuclear chromosome segregation. This work indicates that corticosterone can be a potent regulator of meiotic processes and provides potential gene targets on which corticosterone and/or testosterone may act to influence offspring sex ratios in birds.

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<![CDATA[Sublethal and transgenerational effects of sulfoxaflor on the demography and feeding behaviour of the mirid bug <i>Apolygus lucorum</i>]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14540 Sulfoxaflor, the first commercially available sulfoximine insecticide, has been used for the control of sap-feeding insect pests such as plant bugs and aphids on a variety of crops. However, its sublethal effects on the mirid bug Apolygus lucorum, one of the key insect pests of Bt cotton and fruit trees in China, have not been fully examined. Here, we evaluated the demography and feeding behaviour of A. lucorum exposed to sulfoxaflor. The leaf-dipping bioassay showed that the LC10 and LC30 of sulfoxaflor against 3rd-instar nymphs of this insect were 1.23 and 8.37 mg L-1, respectively. The LC10 significantly extended the nymphal duration and decreased the oviposition period by 5.29 days and female fecundity by 56.99% in the parent generation (F0). The longer duration of egg, 5th-instar nymphs, preadult, and male adult longevity were observed in the F1 generation (F1) at LC10. At the LC30, the duration of egg and 1st-instar nymph, female adult longevity, and oviposition period of the F1 were significantly shorter, while the nymphal duration in the F0 and duration of 5th-instar nymphs, preadult survival rate, and male adult longevity in the F1 significantly increased. The net reproductive rate (R0), intrinsic rate of increase (r), and finite rate of increase (λ) in the F1 were not significantly affected by these two concentrations, whereas the mean generation time (T) was lower at the LC30. Additionally, the probe counts and cells mixture feeding time were markedly lengthened by the LC10 and LC30, respectively, when A. lucorum nymphs exposed to sulfoxaflor fed on Bt cotton plants without insecticides. These results clearly indicate that sulfoxaflor causes sublethal effects on A. lucorum and the transgenerational effects depend on the tested concentrations.

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<![CDATA[Determinants of HIV testing among Filipino women: Results from the 2013 Philippine National Demographic and Health Survey]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13810 The prevalence of having ever tested for HIV in the Philippines is very low and is far from the 90% target of the Philippine Department of Health (DOH) and UNAIDS, thus the need to identify the factors associated with ever testing for HIV among Filipino women.MethodsWe analysed the 2013 Philippine National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS). The NDHS is a nationally representative survey which utilized a two-stage stratified design to sample Filipino women aged 15–49. We considered the following exposures in our study: socio-demographic characteristics of respondent and her partner (i.e., age of respondent, age of partner, wealth index, etc.), sexual practices and contraception (i.e., age at first intercourse, condom use, etc.), media access, tobacco use, HIV knowledge, tolerance to domestic violence, and women’s empowerment. The outcome variable is HIV testing. We used logistic regression for survey data to study the said associations.ResultsOut of 16,155 respondents, only 372 (2.4%) have ever tested for HIV. After adjusting for confounders, having tertiary education (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) = 2.15; 95% Confidence Interval (CI): 1.15–4.04), living with partner (aOR = 1.72; 95% CI: 1.19–2.48), tobacco use (aOR = 1.87; 95% CI: 1.13–3.11); belonging to the middle class (aOR = 2.72; 95% CI: 1.30–5.67), richer (aOR = 3.00; 95% CI: 1.37–5.68), and richest (aOR = 4.14; 95% CI: 1.80–5.91) populations, having weekly television access (aOR = 1.75; 95% CI: 1.04–2.94) or internet access (aOR = 2.01; 95% CI: 1.35–3.00), living in a rural area (aOR = 1.87; 95% CI: 1.34–2.61); and being a Muslim (aOR = 2.30; 95% CI: 1.15–4.57) were associated with ever testing for HIV.ConclusionsThe low percentage of respondents who test for HIV is a call to further strengthen efforts to promote HIV testing among Filipino women. Information on its determinants can be used to guide the crafting and implementation of interventions to promote HIV testing to meet DOH and UNAIDS targets. ]]> <![CDATA[Expression of genes for Kisspeptin (KISS1), Neurokinin B (TAC3), Prodynorphin (PDYN), and gonadotropin inhibitory hormone (RFRP) across natural puberty in ewes]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Na8ed0eef-e84e-490d-a407-6f2702b89b5f

Abstract

Expression of particular genes in hypothami of ewes was measured across the natural pubertal transition by in situ hybridization. The ewes were allocated to three groups (n = 4); prepubertal, postpubertal and postpubertally gonadectomized (GDX). Prepubertal sheep were euthanized at 20 weeks of age and postpubertal animals at 32 weeks. GDX sheep were also euthanized at 32 weeks, 1 week after surgery. Expression of KISS1, TAC3, PDYN in the arcuate nucleus (ARC), RFRP in the dorsomedial hypothalamus and GNRH1 in the preoptic area was quantified on a cellular basis. KISS1R expression by GNRH1 cells was quantified by double‐label in situ hybridization. Across puberty, detectable KISS1 cell number increased in the caudal ARC and whilst PDYN cell numbers were low, numbers increased in the rostral ARC. TAC3 expression did not change but RFRP expression/cell was reduced across puberty. There was no change across puberty in the number of GNRH1 cells that expressed the kisspeptin receptor (KISS1R). GDX shortly after puberty did not increase expression of any of the genes of interest. We conclude that KISS1 expression in the ARC increases during puberty in ewes and this may be a causative factor in the pubertal activation of the reproductive axis. A reduction in expression of RFRP may be a factor in the onset of puberty, removing negative tone on GNRH1 cells. The lack of changes in expression of genes following GDX suggest that the effects of gonadal hormones may differ in young and mature animals.

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<![CDATA[A paracrine interaction between granulosa cells and leukocytes in the preovulatory follicle causes the increase in follicular G-CSF levels]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Ne824119b-38c5-48ab-8b26-d48cd118881a

Objective

Follicular granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) is a new biomarker of oocyte quality and embryo implantation in in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycles. Its role in reproduction is poorly understood. Our study aimed to investigate the mechanisms and cells responsible for G-CSF production in the preovulatory follicle.

Design

Laboratory research study.

Setting

Single-center study.

Interventions

Granulosa cells and leukocytes were isolated from the follicular fluids (FF) or the blood of women undergoing IVF and from the blood of a control group of women with spontaneous ovulatory cycles to perform cocultures.

Main outcome measure

G-CSF-secreted protein was quantified in the conditioned media of cocultures.

Results

G-CSF secretion was considerably increased in cocultures of granulosa cells and leukocytes. This effect was maximal when leukocytes were isolated from the blood of women in the late follicular phase of the menstrual cycle or from the FF of women undergoing IVF. The leukocyte population isolated from the FF samples of women undergoing IVF had a higher proportion of granulocytes than that isolated from the corresponding blood samples. Leukocytes induced the synthesis and secretion of G-CSF by granulosa cells. Among a range of other FF cytokines/chemokines, only growth-regulated oncogene alpha (GROα) was also increased.

Conclusion

The notable rise in G-CSF at the time of ovulation coincides with the accumulation of follicular granulocytes, which stimulate G-CSF production by granulosa cells via paracrine interactions. High follicular G-CSF concentrations may occur in follicles with optimal granulosa–leukocyte interactions, which could explain the increased implantation rate of embryos arising from these follicles.

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (10.1007/s10815-020-01692-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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<![CDATA[Psychological factors and premenstrual syndrome: A Spanish case-control study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c89777bd5eed0c4847d2df4

Objective

To assess whether the psychological variables perceived stress, neuroticism and coping strategies, are associated with Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) and Premenstrual Dysphoric Syndrome (PMDD).

Design

Case-control study with incident cases using the Spanish public healthcare system.

Setting

3 major public hospitals and one family counseling and planning center.

Population

Women consulting for troubles related to menstruation and for other motives such as screening for uterine cancer, contraception counselling or desire for pregnancy.

Methods

Logistic regression.

Main outcome measures

Odds of PMS and PMDD.

Results

285 PMS and 285 age-matched controls, as well as 88 PMDD cases and 176 controls participated in the study. Medium and high levels of perceived stress were associated with an increase in the odds of PMS (Odds Ratio (OR) = 2.49; 95%CI: 1.41–4.39 and OR = 4.90; 95%CI: 2.70–8.89, respectively). For PMDD the results were: OR = 2.61; 95%CI: 1.35–5.05 and OR = 5.79; 95%CI: 2.63–12.76, respectively.

Subjects with medium and high levels of neuroticism were also at higher odds of suffering from PMS (OR = 2.53; 95%CI: 1.06–6.06 and OR = 8.05; 95%CI: 3.07–2.12, respectively). For PMDD, the results were OR = 3.70; 95%CI: 1.27–10.77 and 5.73: 95%CI: 1.96–16.77, respectively.

High levels in the large majority of coping strategies were also associated with increased odds of PMS and PMDD.

Conclusions

Psychological factors including perceived stress, neuroticism and coping strategies are strongly related to PMS/PMDD. This association is unlikely to be due to confounding or misclassification bias. A reverse causation process cannot be ruled out although its likelihood is remote.

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<![CDATA[Voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) for prevention of heterosexual transmission of HIV and risk compensation in adult males in Soweto: Findings from a programmatic setting]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c8acc83d5eed0c48498f8f2

Background

Clinical trials have clearly shown a reduction in HIV acquisition through voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC). However, data assessing risk compensation under programmatic conditions is limited.

Methods

This was a prospective cohort of HIV seronegative males aged 18–40 years receiving VMMC between November 2012 and July 2014. HIV serostatus was determined pre and post VMMC. Risk compensation was defined as a decrease in condom use at last sex act and/or an increase in concurrent sexual relationships, both measured twelve months post-circumcision.

Results

A total of 233 males were enrolled and underwent voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) for prevention against HIV. There was no evidence of risk compensation post-circumcision as defined in this study. Significant increases in proportion of participants in the 18–24 years age group who knew the HIV status of their sexual partner (39% to 56%, p = 0.0019), self-reported condom use at last sex act (21% to 34%, p = 0.0106) and those reporting vaginal sexual intercourse in the past 12 months (67% to 79%, p-value = <0.0001) were found. In both 18–24 and 25–40 years age groups, there was a significant increase in perception of being at risk of contracting HIV (70% to 84%, p-value = <0.0001).

Conclusion

No significant risk compensation was observed in this study on comparing pre-and post-circumcision behaviour. An increase in proportion of participants in the 18–24 years age group who had vaginal intercourse in the first 12 months post-circumcision as a possibility of risk compensation was minimal and negated by an increase in proportion of those reporting using a condom at the last sex act, increase in knowledge of partner’s HIV status and lack of increase in alcohol post-circumcision.

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<![CDATA[Food insecurity and violence in a prospective cohort of women at risk for or living with HIV in the U.S.]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c89779fd5eed0c4847d31be

Background

Food insecurity and violence are two major public health issues facing U.S. women. The link between food insecurity and violence has received little attention, particularly regarding the temporal ordering of events. The present study used data from the Women’s Interagency Human Immunodeficiency Virus Study to investigate the longitudinal association of food insecurity and violence in a cohort of women at risk for or living with HIV.

Methods

Study participants completed six assessments from 2013–16 on food insecurity (operationalized as marginal, low, and very low food security) and violence (sexual or physical, and psychological). We used multi-level logistic regression, controlling for visits (level 1) nested within individuals (level 2), to estimate the association of experiencing violence.

Results

Among 2,343 women (8,528 visits), we found that victims of sexual or physical violence (odds ratio = 3.10; 95% confidence interval: 1.88, 5.19) and psychological violence (odds ratio = 3.00; 95% confidence interval: 1.67, 5.50) were more likely to report very low food security. The odds of experiencing violence were higher for women with very low food security at both the current and previous visit as compared to only the current visit. HIV status did not modify these associations.

Conclusions

Food insecurity was strongly associated with violence, and women exposed to persistent food insecurity were even more likely to experience violence. Food programs and policy must consider persistent exposure to food insecurity, and interpersonal harms faced by food insecure women, such as violence.

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<![CDATA[HIV self-testing in Spain: A valuable testing option for men-who-have-sex-with-men who have never tested for HIV]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6dc9f4d5eed0c48452a5cf

Background

We assessed the capacity of HIV self-testing to promote testing among untested men who have sex with men (MSM) and determined the most benefited subpopulations.

Methods

An online questionnaire was disseminated on several gay websites in Spain from September 2012 to April 2013. We used Poisson regression to estimate factors associated with the intention to use self-testing if already available. Among those who reported intention of use, we assessed several aspects related to the testing and linkage to care process by type of barrier reported: low perceived risk (LR), structural barriers (SB) and fear of testing positive (FTP).

Results

Of 2589 never-tested MSM, 83% would have used self-testing if already available. Intention of use was associated with age ≥30 (adj.PR, 95%CI: 1.05, 1.01–1.10), having had protected (adj.PR, 95%CI: 1.15, 1.02–1.30) or unprotected (adj.PR, 95%CI: 1.21, 1.07–1.37) anal intercourse and reporting FTP (adj.PR, 95%CI: 1.12, 1.05–1.20) or SB to access HIV testing (adj.PR, 95%CI: 1.23, 1.19–1.28). Among those who reported intention of using a self-testi, 78.3% declared it their preferred option (83.8% in the SB group; p<0.001), and 56.8% would always use this testing option (60.9% among the SB group; p = 0.001). In the case of obtaining a positive self-test, 69.3% would seek confirmatory testing, 15.3% would self-test again before taking any decision and 13.0% reported not being sure of what they would do.

Conclusion

HIV self-testing in Spain has the potential of becoming a highly used testing methodology for untested MSM and could represent the gateway to testing especially among older, at risk MSM who report SB or FTP as main barriers to testing.

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<![CDATA[Epigenetic inheritance of telomere length in wild birds]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6f14b0d5eed0c48467a620

Telomere length (TL) predicts health and survival across taxa. Variation in TL between individuals is thought to be largely of genetic origin, but telomere inheritance is unusual, because zygotes already express a TL phenotype, the TL of the parental gametes. Offspring TL changes with paternal age in many species including humans, presumably through age-related TL changes in sperm, suggesting an epigenetic inheritance mechanism. However, present evidence is based on cross-sectional analyses, and age at reproduction is confounded with between-father variation in TL. Furthermore, the quantitative importance of epigenetic TL inheritance is unknown. Using longitudinal data of free-living jackdaws Corvus monedula, we show that erythrocyte TL of subsequent offspring decreases with parental age within individual fathers, but not mothers. By cross-fostering eggs, we confirmed the paternal age effect to be independent of paternal age dependent care. Epigenetic inheritance accounted for a minimum of 34% of the variance in offspring TL that was explained by paternal TL. This is a minimum estimate, because it ignores the epigenetic component in paternal TL variation and sperm TL heterogeneity within ejaculates. Our results indicate an important epigenetic component in the heritability of TL with potential consequences for offspring fitness prospects.

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<![CDATA[Toxicity and oviposition deterrence of essential oils of Clinopodium nubigenum and Lavandula angustifolia against the myiasis-inducing blowfly Lucilia sericata]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c76fe5ad5eed0c484e5b930

Cutaneous myiasis is a severe worldwide medical and veterinary issue. In this trial the essential oil (EO) of the Andean medicinal plant species Clinopodium nubigenum (Kunth) Kuntze was evaluated for its bioactivity against the myiasis-inducing blowfly Lucilia sericata (Meigen) (Diptera Calliphoridae) and compared with that of the well-known medicinal plant species Lavandula angustifolia Mill. The EOs were analysed and tested in laboratory for their oviposition deterrence and toxicity against L. sericata adults. The physiology of EO toxicity was evaluated by enzymatic inhibition tests. The antibacterial and antifungal properties of the EOs were tested as well. At 0.8 μL cm-2, both EOs completely deterred L. sericata oviposition up to 3 hours. After 24 h, the oviposition deterrence was still 82.7% for L. angustifolia and the 89.5% for C. nubigenum. The two EOs were also toxic to eggs and adults of L. sericata. By contact/fumigation, the EOs, the LC50 values against the eggs were 0.07 and 0.48 μL cm-2 while, by topical application on the adults, LD50 values were 0.278 and 0.393 μL per individual for C. nubigenum and L. angustifolia EOs, respectively. Inhibition of acetylcholine esterase of L. sericata by EOs (IC50 = 67.450 and 79.495 mg L-1 for C. nubigenum and L. angustifolia, respectively) suggested that the neural sites are targets of the EO toxicity. Finally, the observed antibacterial and antifungal properties of C. nubigenum and L. angustifolia EOs suggest that they could also help prevent secondary infections.

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<![CDATA[Reproductive characteristics modify the association between global DNA methylation and breast cancer risk in a population-based sample of women]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6f1484d5eed0c48467a21a

DNA methylation has been implicated in breast cancer aetiology, but little is known about whether reproductive history and DNA methylation interact to influence carcinogenesis. This study examined modification of the association between global DNA methylation and breast cancer risk by reproductive characteristics. A population-based case-control study assessed reproductive history in an interviewer-administered questionnaire. Global DNA methylation was measured from white blood cell DNA using luminometric methylation assay (LUMA) and pyrosequencing assay (long interspersed elements-1 (LINE-1). We estimated adjusted odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) among 1 070 breast cancer cases and 1 110 population-based controls. Effect modification was assessed on additive and multiplicative scales. LUMA methylation was associated with elevated breast cancer risk across all strata (comparing the highest to the lowest quartile), but estimates were higher among women with age at menarche ≤12 years (OR = 2.87, 95%CI = 1.96–4.21) compared to >12 years (OR = 1.66, 95%CI = 1.20–2.29). We observed a 2-fold increase in the LUMA methylation-breast cancer association among women with age at first birth >23 years (OR = 2.62, 95%CI = 1.90–3.62) versus ≤23 years (OR = 1.32, 95% CI = 0.84–2.05). No modification was evident for parity or lactation. Age at menarche and age at first birth may be modifiers of the association between global DNA methylation and breast cancer risk.

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<![CDATA[Systematic review of menstrual hygiene management requirements, its barriers and strategies for disabled people]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c648ccbd5eed0c484c817c7

Background

One quarter of the global population is of menstruating age, yet menstruation is shrouded in discrimination and taboos. Disability also carries stigma, so disabled people may face layers of discrimination when they are menstruating. The objective of the review is to assess the menstrual hygiene requirements of disabled people, the barriers they face, and the available interventions to help them manage their menstruation hygienically and with dignity.

Methods

Eligible studies, gathered across all countries, were identified by conducting searches across four databases (MEDLINE, PubMed, EMBASE, Global Health) in May 2017, with alerts set on each database to highlight new titles added until April 2018. Eligible studies incorporated analyses relevant to menstruating disabled people and/or how their carers provide support during their menstrual cycle.

Results

The 22 studies included were published since 1976; the majority after 2010 (n = 12; 55%). One study was a quasi-experiment; all others were observational. Most studies (n = 15; 68%) were from high income countries and most (n = 17; 77%) focused on people with intellectual impairments, so the review findings focus on this group and their carers. Outcomes investigated include choice and preference of menstrual product, ability to manage menstrual hygiene and coping strategies applied. Barriers faced included a lack of standardised guidance for professional carers; a lack of menstruation training, information and support provided to people with intellectual impairments and their carers; a lack of understanding of severity of symptoms experienced by people with intellectual impairments, the high cost of menstrual products and lack of appropriate options for people with physical impairments. Few interventions were found, and strategies for menstrual hygiene management applied by carers of persons with intellectual impairments include limiting the disabled person’s movements when menstruating and suppressing their menstruation.

Conclusions

Little evidence was identified on the requirements of disabled people and their carers in managing their menstruation, and only one intervention, but a range of barriers were identified. This gap in evidence is important, as the consequences of failing to meet menstrual hygiene needs of disabled people includes shame, social isolation, and even sterilisation.

Systematic review registration

PROSPERO CRD42018095497.

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<![CDATA[Comparative transcriptome analysis of mammary epithelial cells at different stages of lactation reveals wide differences in gene expression and pathways regulating milk synthesis between Jersey and Kashmiri cattle]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c633941d5eed0c484ae633a

Jersey and Kashmiri cattle are important dairy breeds that contribute significantly to the total milk production of the Indian northern state of Jammu and Kashmir. The Kashmiri cattle germplasm has been extensively diluted through crossbreeding with Jersey cattle with the goal of enhancing its milk production ability. However, crossbred animals are prone to diseases resulting to unsustainable milk production. This study aimed to provide a comprehensive transcriptome profile of mammary gland epithelial cells at different stages of lactation and to find key differences in genes and pathways regulating milk traits between Jersey and Kashmiri cattle. Mammary epithelial cells (MEC) isolated from milk obtained from six lactating cows (three Jersey and three Kashmiri cattle) on day 15 (D15), D90 and D250 in milk, representing early, mid and late lactation, respectively were used. RNA isolated from MEC was subjected to next-generation RNA sequencing and bioinformatics processing. Casein and whey protein genes were found to be highly expressed throughout the lactation stages in both breeds. Largest differences in differentially expressed genes (DEG) were between D15 vs D90 (1,805 genes) in Kashmiri cattle and, D15 vs D250 (3,392 genes) in Jersey cattle. A total of 1,103, 1,356 and 1,397 genes were differentially expressed between Kashmiri and Jersey cattle on D15, D90 and D250, respectively. Antioxidant genes like RPLPO and RPS28 were highly expressed in Kashmiri cattle. Differentially expressed genes in both Kashmiri and Jersey were enriched for multicellular organismal process, receptor activity, catalytic activity, signal transducer activity, macromolecular complex and developmental process gene ontology terms. Whereas, biological regulation, endopeptidase activity and response to stimulus were enriched in Kashmiri cattle and, reproduction and immune system process were enriched in Jersey cattle. Most of the pathways responsible for regulation of milk production like JAK-STAT, p38 MAPK pathway, PI3 kinase pathway were enriched by DEG in Jersey cattle only. Although Kashmiri has poor milk production efficiency, the present study suggests possible physicochemical and antioxidant properties of Kashmiri cattle milk that needs to be further explored.

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<![CDATA[Cash transfers and HIV/HSV-2 prevalence: A replication of a cluster randomized trial in Malawi]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5ca315d5eed0c48441f0e5

Introduction

In this paper we perform a replication analysis of “Effect of a cash transfer programme for schooling on prevalence of HIV and herpes simplex type 2 in Malawi: a cluster randomised trial” by Sarah Baird and others published in “The Lancet” in 2012. The original study was a two-year cluster randomized intervention trial of never married girls aged 13–22 in Malawi. Enumeration areas were randomized to either an intervention involving cash transfer (conditional or unconditional of school enrollment) or control. The study included 1708 Malawian girls, who were enrolled at baseline and had biological testing for HIV and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) at 18 months. The original findings showed that in the cohort of girls enrolled in school at baseline, the intervention had an effect on school enrollment, sexual outcomes, and HIV and HSV-2 prevalence. However, in the baseline school dropout cohort, the original study showed no intervention effect on HIV and HSV-2 prevalence.

Methods

We performed a replication of the study to investigate the consistency and robustness of key results reported. A pre-specified replication plan was approved and published online. Cleaned data was obtained from the original authors. A pure replication was conducted by reading the methods section and reproducing the results and tables found in the original paper. Robustness of the results were examined with alternative analysis methods in a measurement and estimation analysis (MEA) approach. A theory of change analysis was performed testing a causal pathway, the effect of intervention on HIV awareness, and whether the intervention effect depended on the wealth of the individual.

Results

The pure replication found that other than a few minor discrepancies, the original study was well replicated. However, the randomization and sampling weights could not be verified due to the lack of access to raw data and a detailed sample selection plan. Therefore, we are unable to determine how sampling influenced the results, which could be highly dependent on the sample. In MEA it was found that the intervention effect on HIV prevalence in the baseline schoolgirls cohort was somewhat sensitive to model choice, with a non-significant intervention effect for HIV depending on the statistical model used. The intervention effect on HSV-2 prevalence was more robust in terms of statistical significance, however, the odds ratios and confidence intervals differed from the original result by more than 10%. A theory of change analysis showed no effect of intervention on HIV awareness. In a causal pathway analysis, several variables were partial mediators, or potential mediators, indicating that the intervention could be working through its effect on school enrollment or selected sexual behaviors.

Conclusions

The effect of intervention on HIV prevalence in the baseline schoolgirls was sensitive to the model choice; however, HSV-2 prevalence results were confirmed. We recommend that the results from the original published analysis indicating the impact of cash transfers on HIV prevalence be treated with caution.

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<![CDATA[Identification of the X-linked germ cell specific miRNAs (XmiRs) and their functions]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5df340d5eed0c484580ff5

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) play a critical role in multiple aspects of biology. Dicer, an RNase III endonuclease, is essential for the biogenesis of miRNAs, and the germ cell-specific Dicer1 knockout mouse shows severe defects in gametogenesis. How miRNAs regulate germ cell development is still not fully understood. In this study, we identified germ cell-specific miRNAs (miR-741-3p, miR-871-3p, miR-880-3p) by analyzing published RNA-seq data of mouse. These miRNA genes are contiguously located on the X chromosome near other miRNA genes. We named them X chromosome-linked miRNAs (XmiRs). To elucidate the functions of XmiRs, we generated knockout mice of these miRNA genes using the CRISPR/Cas9-mediated genome editing system. Although no histological abnormalities were observed in testes of F0 mice in which each miRNA gene was disrupted, a deletion covering miR-871 and miR-880 or covering all XmiRs (ΔXmiRs) resulted in arrested spermatogenesis in meiosis in a few seminiferous tubules, indicating their redundant functions in spermatogenesis. Among candidate targets of XmiRs, we found increased expression of a gene encoding a WNT receptor, FZD4, in ΔXmiRs testis compared with that in wildtype testis. miR-871-3p and miR-880-3p repressed the expression of Fzd4 via the 3′-untranslated region of its mRNA. In addition, downstream genes of the WNT/β-catenin pathway were upregulated in ΔXmiRs testis. We also found that miR-871, miR-880, and Fzd4 were expressed in spermatogonia, spermatocytes and spermatids, and overexpression of miR-871 and miR-880 in germ stem cells in culture repressed their increase in number and Fzd4 expression. Previous studies indicated that the WNT/β-catenin pathway enhances and represses proliferation and differentiation of spermatogonia, respectively, and our results consistently showed that stable β-catenin enhanced GSC number. In addition, stable β-catenin partially rescued reduced GSC number by overexpression of miR-871 and miR-880. The results together suggest that miR-871 and miR-880 cooperatively regulate the WNT/β-catenin pathway during testicular germ cell development.

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<![CDATA[Does hard mast production affect patterns of cementum annuli formation in premolar teeth of Asian black bears (Ursus thibetanus)?]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c61e8cdd5eed0c48496f1b0

Cementum annuli widths in mammals are is influenced by the nutrition of mammals. Reproductive stress has been is suggested to reduce the width of lead to narrower cementum annuli widths in female Asian black bears (Ursus thibetanus); however, food availability in autumn strongly impacts bear nutrition and likely impacts cementum widths as well. This study aimed to test how cementum annuli widths and the formation of false annuli were influenced by hard mast production. We established two hypotheses: (1) cementum annuli widths become narrower in poor mast years owing to inadequate nutritional conditions and (2) false annuli occur more frequently in poor mast years. We used teeth samples from male bears to avoid reproductive influences and separated width data into “adult” and “subadult” groups. We calculated the proportional width index (PWI) and used linear mixed models to estimate the masting effects on PWI. Generalized linear mixed models estimated the masting effects on false annuli frequency. True annuli widths and false annuli formation showed no significant relationship with mast production in adults. In subadults, poor mast production weak negative influence on false annuli formation. These new data resolve previous questions, allowing us to deduce that cementum annuli widths are a reliable index of reproductive success in female bears.

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<![CDATA[Leafflower–leafflower moth mutualism in the Neotropics: Successful transoceanic dispersal from the Old World to the New World by actively-pollinating leafflower moths]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5b529ed5eed0c4842bccc2

In the Old World tropics, several hundred species of leafflowers (Phyllanthus sensu lato; Phyllanthaceae) are engaged in obligate mutualisms with species-specific leafflower moths (Epicephala; Gracillariidae) whose adults actively pollinate flowers and larvae consume the resulting seeds. Considerable diversity of Phyllanthus also exists in the New World, but whether any New World Phyllanthus is pollinated by Epicephala is unknown. We studied the pollination biology of four woody Phyllanthus species occurring in Peru over a period of four years, and found that each species is associated with a species-specific, seed-eating Epicephala moth, here described as new species. Another Epicephala species found associated with herbaceous Phyllanthus is also described. This is the first description of Epicephala from the New World. Field-collected female moths of the four Epicephala species associated with woody Phyllanthus all carried pollen on the proboscises, and active pollination behavior was observed in at least two species. Thus, Epicephala moths also pollinate New World Phyllanthus. However, not all of these Epicephala species may be mutualistic with their hosts, because we occasionally observed females laying eggs in developing fruits without pollinating. Also, the flowers of some Phyllanthus species were visited by pollen-bearing thrips or gall midges, which potentially acted as co-pollinators or primary pollinators. Phylogenetic analysis showed that the New World Epicephala associated with woody Phyllanthus are nested within lineages of Old World active pollinators. Thus, actively-pollinating Epicephala moths, which originated in the Old World, successfully colonized the New World probably across the Pacific and established mutualisms with resident Phyllanthus species, although whether any of the relationships are obligate requires further study. There is likely a major radiation of Epicephala still to be found in the New World.

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