ResearchPad - shrews Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Pathological and genetic aspects of spontaneous mammary gland tumor in <i>Tupaia belangeri</i> (tree shrew)]]> Mammary gland cancer is the most common cancer occurring in women globally. Incidences of this cancer in Japan are on the increase. Annually, more than 70,000 new cases are recorded in Japan and about 1.7 million in the world. Many cases are still difficult to cure completely, and animal models are required for the characterization of the biology, therapeutic strategy, and preventive measures for spontaneous mammary tumor. The mouse model used currently has some limitations owing to structural differences between mouse and human mammary glands. Tupaia belangeri (tree shrew), which belongs to the Tupaiidae family, shows relatively high genetic homology and structural similarity to human mammary glands. Here, we characterized the spontaneous mammary tumors in 61 female tree shrews of different ages. The incidence rate was 24.6% (15/61), and the rate of simultaneous or metachronous multiplex tumors was 60% (9/15). From the incidence pattern, some cases seemed to be of familial mammary gland tumor, as the offspring of female tree shrews No. 3 and 9 and male tree shrew No. 11 showed a high incidence rate, of 73.3% (11/15). Average incidence age for tumor development was 2 years and 3 months, and the earliest was 10 months. Histochemical analysis indicated that spontaneous mammary gland tumors in the tree shrew show the features of intraductal papillary adenomas (22 cases), except 2 tubulopapillary carcinoma cases (No. 75 and 131). All the cases were positive for the progesterone receptor, whereas 91.3% were positive for the estrogen receptor, and 4.3% were HER-2 positive. We have also confirmed the expression of nectin-4 in some mammary tumor cells. Additionally, we subjected tree shrews to cytodiagnosis or X-ray CT. Thus, the findings of this study highlight the potential of the tree shrew as a valuable new animal model for mammary gland tumor study.

<![CDATA[Influences of Host Community Characteristics on Borrelia burgdorferi Infection Prevalence in Blacklegged Ticks]]>

Lyme disease is a major vector-borne bacterial disease in the USA. The disease is caused by Borrelia burgdorferi, and transmitted among hosts and humans, primarily by blacklegged ticks (Ixodes scapularis). The ~25 B. burgdorferi genotypes, based on genotypic variation of their outer surface protein C (ospC), can be phenotypically separated as strains that primarily cause human diseases—human invasive strains (HIS)—or those that rarely do. Additionally, the genotypes are non-randomly associated with host species. The goal of this study was to examine the extent to which phenotypic outcomes of B. burgdorferi could be explained by the host communities fed upon by blacklegged ticks. In 2006 and 2009, we determined the host community composition based on abundance estimates of the vertebrate hosts, and collected host-seeking nymphal ticks in 2007 and 2010 to determine the ospC genotypes within infected ticks. We regressed instances of B. burgdorferi phenotypes on site-specific characteristics of host communities by constructing Bayesian hierarchical models that properly handled missing data. The models provided quantitative support for the relevance of host composition on Lyme disease risk pertaining to B. burgdorferi prevalence (i.e. overall nymphal infection prevalence, or NIPAll) and HIS prevalence among the infected ticks (NIPHIS). In each year, NIPAll and NIPHIS was found to be associated with host relative abundances and diversity. For mice and chipmunks, the association with NIPAll was positive, but tended to be negative with NIPHIS in both years. However, the direction of association between shrew relative abundance with NIPAll or NIPHIS differed across the two years. And, diversity (H') had a negative association with NIPAll, but positive association with NIPHIS in both years. Our analyses highlight that the relationships between the relative abundances of three primary hosts and the community diversity with NIPAll, and NIPHIS, are variable in time and space, and that disease risk inference, based on the role of host community, changes when we examine risk overall or at the phenotypic level. Our discussion focuses on the observed relationships between prevalence and host community characteristics and how they substantiate the ecological understanding of phenotypic Lyme disease risk.

<![CDATA[A Novel Organ Culture Model to Quantify Collagen Remodeling in Tree Shrew Sclera]]>

Increasing evidence suggests that unknown collagen remodeling mechanisms in the sclera underlie myopia development. We are proposing a novel organ culture system in combination with two-photon fluorescence imaging to quantify collagen remodeling at the tissue- and lamella-level. Tree shrew scleral shells were cultured up to 7 days in serum-free media and cellular viability was investigated under: (i) minimal tissue manipulations; (ii) removal of intraocular tissues; gluing the eye to a washer using (iii) 50 μL and (iv) 200 μL of cyanoacrylate adhesive; (v) supplementing media with Ham's F-12 Nutrient Mixture; and (vi) culturing eyes subjected to 15 mmHg intraocular pressure in our new bioreactor. Two scleral shells of normal juvenile tree shrews were fluorescently labeled using a collagen specific protein and cultured in our bioreactor. Using two-photon microscopy, grid patterns were photobleached into and across multiple scleral lamellae. These patterns were imaged daily for 3 days, and tissue-/lamella-level strains were calculated from the deformed patterns. No significant reduction in cell viability was observed under conditions (i) and (v). Compared to condition (i), cell viability was significantly reduced starting at day 0 (condition (ii)) and day 3 (conditions (iii, iv, vi)). Tissue-level strain and intralamellar shear angel increased significantly during the culture period. Some scleral lamellae elongated while others shortened. Findings suggest that tree shrew sclera can be cultured in serum-free media for 7 days with no significant reduction in cell viability. Scleral fibroblasts are sensitive to tissue manipulations and tissue gluing. However, Ham's F-12 Nutrient Mixture has a protective effect on cell viability and can offset the cytotoxic effect of cyanoacrylate adhesive. This is the first study to quantify collagen micro-deformations over a prolonged period in organ culture providing a new methodology to study scleral remodeling in myopia.

<![CDATA[Assessment of sequence homology and immunologic cross-reactivity between tree shrew (Tupaia belangeri) and human IL-21]]>

Many studies have indicated that the expression of interleukin-21 (IL-21) is associated with the pathogenesis of certain liver diseases. However, in alternative animal models of liver diseases, it remains unknown whether the tree shrew could be utilized to analyze the relationship between IL-21 and liver diseases. Here, the phylogenetic tree, sequence alignment and protein structure model of tree shrew and human IL-21 were analyzed using bioinformatics software. A pEGFP-N3/tsIL-21 eukaryotic expression vector of tree shrew IL-21 (tsIL-21) was constructed, and IL-21 expression by the vector-transfected Huh7 cells was evaluated using the newly established quantitative real-time PCR and immunologic protocols for assessing human IL-21. The cytokine profiles were also evaluated in tree shrew spleen lymphocytes induced by recombinant human IL-21 or concanavalin A. It was found that the coding sequence (CDS) of tsIL-21 amplified from spleen lymphocytes belonged to the predicted sequence. The tsIL-21 was closely clustered with primate IL-21 rather than rodent IL-21, and it had an alignment of 83.33% with the human IL-21 nucleotide sequence and 69.93% with the amino acid sequence. The profiles of secondary structure, hydrophobicity and surface charge of tsIL-21 were also similar with those of human IL-21. The tsIL-21 expressed by the vector-transfected Huh7 cells could be identified by their different sources of antibodies against human IL-21, which were all dose-dependent. Recombinant human IL-21 could induce the change of the cytokine profiles of tree shrew spleen lymphocytes, which showed a higher expression of IL-10 and IFN-γ rather than IL-2, IL-4, IL-17, TNF-a and IL-21 during the five-day stimulation. These results indicate that tsIL-21 has a high degree of homology, structural similarity and immunological cross-reactivity with human IL-21 and also confirm the accuracy of this predicted tsIL-21CDS. The protocols utilized in this study will lead to the experimental feasibility of further IL-21-related studies in vivo.

<![CDATA[Imposed Optical Defocus Induces Isoform-Specific Up-Regulation of TGFβ Gene Expression in Chick Retinal Pigment Epithelium and Choroid but Not Neural Retina]]>


This study investigated the gene expression of TGFβ isoforms and their receptors in chick retina, retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), and choroid and the effects of short-term imposed optical defocus.


The expression of TGFβ isoforms (TGF-β1, 2, 3) and TGFβ receptors (TGFBR1, 2, 3) was examined in the retina, RPE, and choroid of young White-Leghorn untreated chicks (19 days-old). The effects on the expression of the same genes of monocular +10 and -10 D defocusing lenses, worn for either 2 or 48 h by age-matched chicks, were also examined by comparing expression in treated and untreated fellow eyes. RNA was purified, characterized and then reverse transcribed to cDNA. Differential gene expression was quantified using real-time PCR.


All 3 isoforms of TGFβ and all 3 receptor subtypes were found to be expressed in all 3 ocular tissues, with apparent tissue-dependent differences in expression profiles. Data are reported as mean normalized expression relative to GAPDH. Sign-dependent optical defocus effects were also observed. Optical defocus did not affect retinal gene expression but in the RPE, TGF-β2 expression was significantly up-regulated with +10 D lenses, worn for either 2 h (349% increase ± 88%, p < 0.01) or 48 h (752% increase ± 166%, p < 0.001), and in the choroid, the expression of TGF-β3 was up-regulated with -10 D lenses, worn for 48 h (147% increase ± 9%, p < 0.01).


The effects of short term exposure to optical defocus on TGFβ gene expression in the RPE and choroid, which were sign-dependent and isoform specific, provide further supporting evidence for important roles of members of the TGFβ family and these two tissues in local signal cascades regulating ocular growth.

<![CDATA[Emerging Infectious Disease Implications of Invasive Mammalian Species: The Greater White-Toothed Shrew (Crocidura russula) Is Associated With a Novel Serovar of Pathogenic Leptospira in Ireland]]>

The greater white-toothed shrew (Crocidura russula) is an invasive mammalian species that was first recorded in Ireland in 2007. It currently occupies an area of approximately 7,600 km2 on the island. C. russula is normally distributed in Northern Africa and Western Europe, and was previously absent from the British Isles. Whilst invasive species can have dramatic and rapid impacts on faunal and floral communities, they may also be carriers of pathogens facilitating disease transmission in potentially naive populations. Pathogenic leptospires are endemic in Ireland and a significant cause of human and animal disease. From 18 trapped C. russula, 3 isolates of Leptospira were cultured. However, typing of these isolates by standard serological reference methods was negative, and suggested an, as yet, unidentified serovar. Sequence analysis of 16S ribosomal RNA and secY indicated that these novel isolates belong to Leptospira alstonii, a unique pathogenic species of which only 7 isolates have been described to date. Earlier isolations were limited geographically to China, Japan and Malaysia, and this leptospiral species had not previously been cultured from mammals. Restriction enzyme analysis (REA) further confirms the novelty of these strains since no similar patterns were observed with a reference database of leptospires. As with other pathogenic Leptospira species, these isolates contain lipL32 and do not grow in the presence of 8-azagunaine; however no evidence of disease was apparent after experimental infection of hamsters. These isolates are genetically related to L. alstonii but have a novel REA pattern; they represent a new serovar which we designate as serovar Room22. This study demonstrates that invasive mammalian species act as bridge vectors of novel zoonotic pathogens such as Leptospira.

<![CDATA[Elevational Distribution and Ecology of Small Mammals on Tanzania's Second Highest Mountain]]>

Mt. Meru is Tanzania’s second highest mountain and the ninth highest in Africa. The distribution and abundance of small mammals on this massif are poorly known. Here we document the distribution of shrews and rodents along an elevational gradient on the southeastern versant of Mt. Meru. Five sites were sampled with elevational center points of 1950, 2300, 2650, 3000, and 3600 m, using a systematic methodology of standard traps and pitfall lines, to inventory the shrews and rodents of the slope. Ten species of mammal were recorded, comprising 2 shrew and 8 rodent species with the greatest diversity for each group at 2300 m. No species previously unrecorded on Mt. Meru was observed. Two rodent genera that occur in nearby Eastern Arc Mountains (Hylomyscus and Beamys) were not recorded. The rodent Lophuromys verhageni and a recently described species of shrew, Crocidura newmarki, are the only endemic mammals on Mt. Meru, and were widespread across the elevational gradient. As in similar small mammal surveys on other mountains of Tanzania, rainfall positively influenced trap success rates for shrews, but not for rodents. This study provides new information on the local small mammal fauna of the massif, but numerous other questions remain to be explored. Comparisons are made to similar surveys of other mountains in Tanzania.

<![CDATA[Elevational Distribution and Ecology of Small Mammals on Africa’s Highest Mountain]]>

Mt Kilimanjaro is Africa’s highest mountain, and an icon for a country famous for its mammalian fauna. The distribution and abundance of small mammals on the mountain are poorly known. Here we document the distribution of shrews and rodents along an elevational gradient on the southeastern versant of Kilimanjaro. Five sites were sampled with elevational center points of 2000, 2500, 3000, 3500 and 4000 m, using a systematic methodology of standard traps and pitfall lines, to inventory the shrews and rodents of the slope. Sixteen species of mammal were recorded, including 6 shrew and 10 rodent species, and the greatest diversity of both was found at 3000 m, the elevational midpoint of the transect. No species previously unrecorded on Kilimanjaro were observed. Two genera of rodents that occur in nearby mountains (Hylomyscus and Beamys) were not recorded. Myosorex zinki, the only mammal endemic to Mt. Kilimanjaro, which previously was known by only a few specimens collected in the ericaceous or moorland habitat, was found in all but one (the lowest) of the sites sampled, and was one of the most widespread species of small mammal along the gradient. Two shrews (Crocidura allex and Sylvisorex granti) and one rodent (Dendromus insignis) were found throughout the entire transect, with Dendromus being observed at our highest trap point (4240 m). As in similar faunal surveys on other mountains of Tanzania, rainfall influenced the sample success of shrews, but not rodents. Trap success for rodents at 3500 m was notably low. This study contributes further justification for the conservation of the forest habitat of Mt. Kilimanjaro.