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Find video protocols related to scientific articles indexed in Pubmed.
A relapsing fever group Borrelia sp. similar to Borrelia lonestari found among wild sika deer (Cervus nippon yesoensis) and Haemaphysalis spp. ticks in Hokkaido, Japan.
Ticks Tick Borne Dis
PUBLISHED: 08-06-2014
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A relapsing fever Borrelia sp. similar to Borrelia lonestari (herein referred to as B. lonestari-like) was detected from wild sika deer (Cervus nippon yesoensis) and Haemaphysalis ticks in the eastern part of Hokkaido, Japan. The total prevalence of this Borrelia sp. in tested deer blood samples was 10.6% using conventional PCR and real-time PCR. The prevalence was significantly higher in deer fawns compared to adults (21.9% and 9.4%, respectively). Additionally, there was significant regional difference between our two sampling areas, Shiretoko and Shibetsu with 17% and 2.8% prevalence, respectively. Regional differences were also found in tick species collected from field and on deer. In the Shiretoko region, Haemaphysalis spp. were more abundant than Ixodes spp., while in Shibetsu, Ixodes spp. were more abundant. Using real-time PCR analysis, B. lonestari-like was detected from 2 out of 290 adult Haemaphysalis spp. ticks and 4 out of 76 pools of nymphs. This is the first report of a B. lonestari-like organism in Haemaphysalis spp. ticks, and the first phylogenetic analysis of this B. lonestari-like organism in Asia. Based on our results, Haemaphysalis spp. are the most likely candidates to act as a vector for B. lonestari-like; furthermore, regional variation of B. lonestari-like prevalence in sika deer may be dependent on the population distribution of these ticks.
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Changes in the immunolocalization of steroidogenic enzymes and the androgen receptor in raccoon (Procyon lotor) testes in association with the seasons and spermatogenesis.
J. Reprod. Dev.
PUBLISHED: 02-15-2014
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The raccoon is a seasonal breeder with a mating season in the winter. In a previous study, adult male raccoons exhibited active spermatogenesis with high plasma testosterone concentrations, in the winter mating season. Maintenance of spermatogenesis generally requires high testosterone, which is produced by steroidogenic enzymes. However, even in the summer non-mating season, some males produce spermatozoa actively despite low plasma testosterone concentrations. To identify the factors that regulate testosterone production and contribute to differences in spermatogenetic activity in the summer non-mating season, morphological, histological and endocrinological changes in the testes of wild male raccoons should be known. In this study, to assess changes in the biosynthesis, metabolism and reactivity of testosterone, the localization and immunohistochemical staining intensity of four steroidogenic enzymes (P450scc, P450c17, 3?HSD, P450arom) and the androgen receptor (AR) were investigated using immunohistochemical methods. P450scc and P450c17 were detected in testicular tissue throughout the year. Seasonal changes in testosterone concentration were correlated with 3?HSD expression, suggesting that 3?HSD may be important in regulating the seasonality of testosterone production in raccoon testes. Immunostaining of P450arom and AR was detected in testicular tissues that exhibited active spermatogenesis in the summer, while staining was scarce in aspermatogenic testes. This suggests that spermatogenesis in the raccoon testis might be maintained by some mechanism that regulates P450arom expression in synthesizing estradiol and AR expression in controlling reactivity to testosterone.
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A genetic method for sex identification of raccoons (Procyon lotor) with using the ZFX and ZFY genes.
J. Vet. Med. Sci.
PUBLISHED: 01-23-2014
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A genetic method for sex determination in raccoons was developed based on nucleotide differences of the zinc finger protein genes ZFX and ZFY. Four novel internal primers specific for ZFX or ZFY were designed. PCR amplification using two primer sets followed by agarose gel electrophoresis enabled sex determination. 141-bp and 447-bp bands were in both sex, and 346-bp band was specific only in male with primer set I. 345-bp and 447-bp bands were in both sex, and 141-bp band was specific only in male with primer set II, which could distinguish raccoon's electrophoresis pattern from three native carnivores in Hokkaido. This method will be useful for conservation genetics studies or biological analyses of raccoons.
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Identification of interspecific differences in phase II reactions: determination of metabolites in the urine of 16 mammalian species exposed to environmental pyrene.
Environ. Toxicol. Chem.
PUBLISHED: 01-17-2014
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Interspecific differences in xenobiotic metabolism are a key to determining relative sensitivities of animals to xenobiotics. However, information on domesticated livestock, companion animals, and captive and free-ranging wildlife is incomplete. The present study evaluated interspecific differences in phase II conjugation using pyrene as a nondestructive biomarker of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) exposure. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and their metabolites have carcinogenic and endocrine-disrupting effects in humans and wildlife and can have serious consequences. The authors collected urine from 16 mammalian species and analyzed pyrene metabolites. Interspecific differences in urinary pyrene metabolites, especially in the concentration and composition of phase II conjugated metabolites, were apparent. Glucuronide conjugates are dominant metabolites in the urine of many species, including deer, cattle, pigs, horses, and humans. However, they could not be detected in ferret urine even though the gene for ferret Uridine 5'-diphospho-glucuronosyltransferase (UDP-glucuronosyltransferase, UGT) 1A6 is not a pseudogene. Sulfate conjugates were detected mainly in the urine of cats, ferrets, and rabbits. Interestingly, sulfate conjugates were detected in pig urine. Although pigs are known to have limited aryl sulfotransferase activity, the present study demonstrated that pig liver was active in 1-hydroxypyrene sulfation. The findings have some application for biomonitoring environmental pollution.
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Molecular characterization of Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates from elephants of Nepal.
Tuberculosis (Edinb)
PUBLISHED: 01-08-2014
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Mycobacterium tuberculosis was cultured from the lung tissues of 3 captive elephants in Nepal that died with extensive lung lesions. Spoligotyping, TbD1 detection and multi-locus variable number of tandem repeat analysis (MLVA) results suggested 3 isolates belonged to a specific lineage of Indo-Oceanic clade, EAI5 SIT 138. One of the elephant isolates had a new synonymous single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) T231C in the gyrA sequence, and the same SNP was also found in human isolates in Nepal. MLVA results and transfer history of the elephants suggested that 2 of them might be infected with M. tuberculosis from the same source. These findings indicated the source of M. tuberculosis infection of those elephants were local residents, presumably their handlers. Further investigation including detailed genotyping of elephant and human isolates is needed to clarify the infection route and eventually prevent the transmission of tuberculosis to susceptible hosts.
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Areolae of the Placenta in the Antarctic Minke Whale (Balaenoptera bonaerensis).
J. Reprod. Dev.
PUBLISHED: 12-19-2013
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In this study, we examined the existence and structure of areolae and the steroidogenesis of areolar trophoblast cells in the Antarctic minke whale placenta morphologically and immunohistochemically. Placentas were collected from the 15th, 16th and 18th Japanese Whale Research Program under Special Permit in the Antarctic (JARPA) and 1st JARPA II organized by the Institute of Cetacean Research in Tokyo, Japan. The opening and cavity of fetal areolae formed by taller columnar trophoblast cells (areolar trophoblast cells) with long microvilli and a bright cytoplasm, as compared with the trophoblast cells of the chorionic villi interdigitating with the endometrial crypts, were recognized in observations of serial sections. The opening of the areolar cavity was hidden by chorionic villi with areolar trophoblast cells. Furthermore, a closed pouch-like structure lined by tall columnar cells similar to areolar trophoblast cells within the stroma of chorionic villi was noticed and continued to the areolar cavity, with the opening seen on serial sections. In a surface investigation of the chorion and endometrium by SEM, maternal (endometrial) areolae irregularly surrounded by endometrial folds were obvious. Moreover, we distinguished areolar trophoblast cells with long microvilli attached with many blebs from trophoblast cells. In our immunohistochemical observations, a steroidogenic enzyme, cytochrome P450 side chain cleavage enzyme (P450scc), was detected with strong immunoreactivity in trophoblast cells. However, areolar trophoblast cells showed weak or no immunoreactivity for P450scc.
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Timing of puberty and its relationship with body growth and season in male raccoons (Procyon lotor) in Hokkaido.
J. Reprod. Dev.
PUBLISHED: 04-20-2013
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The raccoon (Procyon lotor), indigenous to North America, has naturalized in Japan as an invasive alien species, having been introduced into the country in the 1970s. In Hokkaido, the northernmost island of Japan, feral raccoons have been increasing in number and spreading throughout the island. The age at the onset of puberty for raccoons is important for estimating individual lifetime reproductive success and population growth. The present study investigated the timing of and potential factors affecting the onset of puberty in male raccoons in Hokkaido. External characteristics and histology of testes were studied in 151 male feral raccoons and in 1 captive juvenile. For the majority of feral yearling raccoons, prepubertal development began in May, and spermatozoa production began in October prior to their second mating season. However, some larger juveniles attained puberty during the juvenile period. The captive juvenile, which was fed throughout the winter, attained puberty only 11 months after birth. These results suggest that if male raccoons can achieve enough body growth before the first mating season, puberty can be attained early. In both juveniles and yearlings, spermatozoa production was only observed after autumn. This timing coincided with the recrudescence of seasonally active spermatogenesis in adult males. Therefore, attaining puberty in male raccoons appears to require both adequate body nutrient development and several environmental factors that control seasonal testicular changes.
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Differential tick burdens may explain differential Borrelia afzelii and Borrelia garinii infection rates among four, wild, rodent species in Hokkaido, Japan.
J. Vet. Med. Sci.
PUBLISHED: 02-08-2013
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The ecologies of Lyme disease Borrelia spp. are very specific to location, as they are dependent upon the spirochete species and genotypes, the vectors and the host vertebrates present. In Hokkaido, Japan, where two human pathogenic, Lyme disease Borrelia spp. are present, and human cases are reported annually, the ecologies have been poorly studied. Our goal was to determine whether variation in borrelial infection rates among rodent species sharing an environment, is due to immunological or ecological differences. To this end, we examined the relationships between tick burden and borrelial infection, by including examination of agreement between nested PCR, as a test for infection, and serology, as a test for exposure. We collected 868 rodents, comprised of four species commonly found in Hokkaido, and tested for infection rates with Borrelia spp. using PCR for the borrelial flaB gene, seroprevalence of Borrelia afzelii and Borrelia garinii using ELISA, and attachment of ticks by direct counts. We noted a correlation between differential nymph and larval burdens and the borrelial infection rates found among the four rodent species. Furthermore, there was significant correlation between infection and seroprevalence of B. afzelii and B. garinii (P<0.01), between infection and Ixodes persulcatus nymph burden (P<0.01), and between seroprevalence and I. persulcatus nymph burden (P<0.01). The close agreement among rodent species seroprevalences with infection rates and tick burdens suggest the differences in infection rates of Borrelia spp. may largely be a direct consequence of differential exposure to vectors.
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Estimating the success rate of ovulation and early litter loss rate in the Japanese black bear (Ursus thibetanus japonicus) by examining the ovaries and uteri.
Jpn. J. Vet. Res.
PUBLISHED: 04-12-2011
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In order to develop a method for estimating the success/failure rates of reproductive processes, especially those of ovulation and neonate nurturing, in the Japanese black bear (Ursus thibetanus japonicus), we examined offspring status, corpora lutea (CLs), placental scars (PSs) and corpora albicantia (CAs) in 159 females (0-23 years old) killed as nuisances on Honshu Island of Japan during 2001-2009. PSs were found to remain in the uterus at least until November of the year of parturition. CA detectability began to decline after September of the year of parturition. Monthly and age-specific proportions of CL-present females revealed that the post-mating season starts in August, and that the age of first ovulation is 4 years. These results indicate that the success rate of ovulation (SRO: the probability that solitary/non-lactating mature females actually succeed in ovulation) can be estimated by calculating the proportion of CL-present females among > or = 4-year-old females without PSs captured from August to November; the early litter loss rate (ELLR: the probability that parenting females lose all of their cubs [0-year-old offspring] before mating season) can be estimated by calculating the proportion of CL-present females among those with PSs and CAs captured in August or later. The estimated values of SRO and ELLR were 0.93 (62/67) and 0.27 (6/22), respectively.
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Genetic characteristics and antimicrobial resistance of Escherichia coli from Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata) in rural Japan.
J. Wildl. Dis.
PUBLISHED: 03-29-2011
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Escherichia coli was isolated from wild and captive Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata) to investigate the risk of zoonotic infections and the prevalence of antimicrobial-resistant Escherichia coli in the wild macaque population in Shimokita Peninsula, a rural area of Japan. We collected 265 fresh fecal samples from wild macaques and 20 samples from captive macaques in 2005 and 2006 for E. coli isolation. The predominant isolates were characterized by serotyping, virulence gene profiling, plasmid profiling, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), and microbial sensitivity tests. In total, 248 E. coli strains were isolated from 159 fecal samples from wild macaques, and 42 E. coli were isolated from 17 samples from captive macaques. None of the virulence genes eae, stx, elt, and est were detected in any of the isolates. The relatedness between wild- and captive-derived isolates was low by serotyping, PFGE, and plasmid profiling. Serotypes O8:H6, O8:H34, O8:H42, O8:HUT, O103:H27, O103:HNM, and OUT:H27 were found in wild macaque feces; serotypes O157:H42 and O119:H21 were recovered from captive macaques. O-and H-serotypes of the 26 isolates were not typed by commercial typing antisera and were named OUT and HUT, respectively. Twenty-eight isolates had no flagellar antigen, and their H-serotypes were named HNM. Similarity of PFGE patterns between wild-derived isolates and captive-derived isolates was <70%. No plasmid profile was shared between wild-derived and captive-derived isolates. The prevalence of antimicrobial-resistant E. coli was 6.5% (n=62) in wild macaques, and these isolates were resistant to cephalothin. We conclude that wild Japanese macaques in Shimokita Peninsula were unlikely to act as a reservoir of pathogenic E. coli for humans and that antimicrobial-resistant E. coli in wild macaques may be derived from humans.
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Multilocus sequence typing implicates rodents as the main reservoir host of human-pathogenic Borrelia garinii in Japan.
J. Clin. Microbiol.
PUBLISHED: 03-16-2011
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Multilocus sequence typing of Borrelia garinii isolates from humans and comparison with rodent and tick isolates were performed. Fifty-nine isolates were divided into two phylogenetic groups, and an association was detected between clinical and rodent isolates, suggesting that, in Japan, human-pathogenic B. garinii comes from rodents via ticks.
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Evaluation of stored body fat in nuisance-killed Japanese black bears (Ursus thibetanus japonicus).
Zool. Sci.
PUBLISHED: 02-10-2011
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We evaluated the stored body fat of Japanese black bears (Ursus thibetanus japonicus) killed as nuisances in Gifu and Fukushima prefectures, Japan, during 2005-2007. We employed femur marrow fat (FMF), modified kidney fat index (mKFI), and abdominal subcutaneous fat (ASF) as indices for quantitative evaluation. We examined the basic characteristics of these indices, such as seasonality, age and sex dependency, and the quantitative relationship among them. mKFI and ASF increased towards the beginning of the denning period (December), while FMF was relatively stable throughout the sampling period (July-December). In cubs, all indices showed significantly lower values than in the older age classes. There seemed to be a catabolizing order between FMF and mKFI, but not between mKFI and ASF. We also evaluated the yearly change in the indices, and discussed its relevance to the incidence of bear intrusion into human residential areas. Bears nuisance-killed in summer (July-September) 2006 had a significantly larger amount of stored body fat than those killed in summer 2007, although the number of nuisance kills was larger in 2006 than in 2007. This suggests that poor nutritional condition is not a direct cause of bear intrusion.
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Changes in plasma gonadotropins, inhibin and testosterone concentrations and testicular gonadotropin receptor mRNA expression during testicular active, regressive and recrudescent phase in the captive Japanese black bear (Ursus thibetanus japonicus).
Jpn. J. Vet. Res.
PUBLISHED: 04-07-2010
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Male Japanese black bears (Ursus thibetanus japonicus) have an explicit reproductive cycle. The objective of this study was to clarify the variation of plasma testosterone, FSH, inhibin, LH levels and testicular gonadotropin receptor mRNA expression of male bears associated with their testicular activity. Notably, this study investigated peripheral FSH concentration and localization of gonadotropin receptor mRNAs for the first time in male bears. Blood and testicular tissue samples were taken from captive, mature, male Japanese black bears during testicular active, regressive and recrudescent phases. Plasma hormone concentrations were measured by immunoassays, and gonadotropin receptor mRNA expression in the testis was investigated by in situ hybridization technique and also by real-time PCR. There were significant variations in plasma testosterone and inhibin concentrations. Changes in FSH concentration preceded these hormones with a similar tendency. Hormones started to increase during denning, and achieved the highest values at the end of the recrudescent phase for FSH and in the active phase for testosterone and inhibin. These changes in hormone concentrations were accompanied by testicular growth. In situ hybridization analysis revealed that FSH and LH receptor mRNA was possibly expressed in Sertoli cells and Leydig cells, respectively, as they are in other mammals. However, neither plasma LH concentration nor testicular gonadotropin receptor mRNA expression level varied significantly among the sampling months. These results suggest that FSH, inhibin and testosterone have roles in testicular activity in male bears. This study provides important endocrine information for comprehending seasonal reproductivity in male Japanese black bears.
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Genetic variation in the harbor seal (Phoca vitulina) and spotted seal (Phoca largha) around Hokkaido, Japan, based on mitochondrial cytochrome b sequences.
Zool. Sci.
PUBLISHED: 03-03-2010
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The harbor seal (Phoca vitulina) and spotted seal (Phoca largha) are the main seal species around Hokkaido, Japan. While some investigations have been conducted on the ecology and morphology of these two species, there is a lack of genetic information. We studied variation in mitochondrial cytochrome b sequences in the two species. Fifteen haplotypes were observed in 39 harbor seals from Erimo, Akkeshi, and Nosappu, and 23 were observed in 31 spotted seals from Erimo, Akkeshi, Nosappu, Rausu, Yagishiri Island, and Hamamasu. Phylogenetic trees showed two harbor seal lineages: Group I contained primarily haplotypes from Erimo, and Group II contained haplotypes from Akkeshi and Nosappu. Because the Erimo population had fewer haplotypes and less nucleotide diversity than the Akkeshi and Nosappu populations, we considered it to be Isolated from the others. In contrast, genetic variance within populations of spotted seals (97.3%) was far higher than that among populations (2.7%), determined by analysis of molecular variance. There were no significant difference among the spotted seal populations, indicating the absence of distinct lineages around Hokkaido. The differences in the genetic population structure between the two species could have been generated by their ecological differences. This study provides basic genetic information on these seal species and will contribute to the conservation and management of fisheries and seals throughout Hokkaido.
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Localization of five steroidogenic enzyme mRNAs in Japanese black bear (Ursus thibetanus japonicus) testes during the mating season by in situ hybridization.
J. Reprod. Dev.
PUBLISHED: 12-25-2009
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The Japanese black bear (Ursus thibetanus japonicus) is a typical seasonal breeder that has a mating season in early summer. Spermatogenesis and testicular steroidogenesis are known to develop and regress annually; however, its molecular mechanism has not yet been investigated. In the present study, we clarified the mRNA sequence of 5 steroidogenic enzymes (P450scc, 3betaHSD, P450c17, 17betaHSD3 and P450arom) using RT-PCR and RACE methods and the localization of these gene expressions in the bear testis using an in situ hybridization technique. The amino acid sequence deduced from each mRNA sequence had high homology with the corresponding sequences of other species and possessed a motif typical of the P450 family or short chain alcohol dehydrogenase family. Expression of P450scc, 3betaHSD and P450c17 mRNA in interstitial tissue indicated that conversion from cholesterol to androstenedione occurs in Leydig cells. On the other hand, the mRNA of 17betaHSD3, which plays a central role in synthesizing testosterone, was detected not only in the interstitium but also inside the seminiferous tubules, along the basement membrane. P450arom mRNAs were distributed in the seminiferous tubules. These results suggest the possibility of testosterone and estradiol-17beta synthesis inside the seminiferous tubules in the bear testis. We expect that the results of this study will be useful for further investigation of the molecular mechanism of steroidogenic seasonality in the bear testis.
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Growth variation in skull morphology of Kuril harbor seals (Phoca vitulina stejnegeri) and spotted seals (Phoca largha) in Hokkaido, Japan.
Jpn. J. Vet. Res.
PUBLISHED: 12-23-2009
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We examined morphological growth variations in skull features between the Kuril harbor seal and the spotted seal in Hokkaido, Japan. Skulls from 80 Kuril harbor seals and 41 spotted seals were collected, and we measured 29 metric and 6 non-metric cranial characteristics. Three growth classes were defined according to the postnatal developmental stage: pups (0 year), subadults (1-4 years old) and adults (more than 5 years old). We detected sexual dimorphism in Kuril harbor seal pups, subadults, and adults. Although interspecies differences were detected in each growth class, Kuril harbor seals were larger and more massive than spotted seals; this feature was already detectable in pups. We did not detect certain cranial characteristics with which to identify the two species, but it was possible to identify any unknown specimens to their species, sex, and growth class using the cranial data generated in this study. Using 6 non-metric cranial characteristics, we identified significant interspecies differences with regard to the shape of the temporozygomatic suture and the extent of the nasal-incisive suture; the shape of the temporozygomatic suture and the shape of the nares were indicators of growth class in Kuril harbor seals. Although non-metric cranial characteristics have a lower discriminating power than metric characteristics, they are easy to use in the field even by inexperienced researchers.
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Immunohistochemical localization of steroidogenic enzymes in the testis of the sika deer (Cervus nippon) during developmental and seasonal changes.
J. Reprod. Dev.
PUBLISHED: 11-19-2009
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Testicular steroidogenesis and spermatogenesis during developmental and seasonal changes were investigated in male sika deer (Cervus nippon), a short-day seasonal breeder, to clarify the physiological mechanisms for reproductive function. The immunohistochemical localization of steroidogenic enzymes (P450scc, P450c17, 3betaHSD and P450arom), spermatogenesis and cell proliferation were analyzed in the testes of fetal (164 to 218 days of fetal age), fawn (0 years old), yearling (1 year old) and adult (more than 2 years old) male sika deer. Three kinds of steroidogenic enzymes, P450scc, P450c17 and 3betaHSD, essential for the synthesis of testosterone were located only in the Leydig cells of the testes from the fetal period, and these localizations did not change during developmental or seasonal stages. Immunoreactivity for P450arom, a key enzyme converting testosterone to estradiol, was also localized only in the Leydig cells of testes but was also further limited to the testes of yearlings and adults. Seminiferous tubules had already formed in the fetal testes examined in the present study. Spermatogenesis started in yearlings and was more active in the breeding season. In the adult sika deer testes, the Leydig cells, which displayed immunoreactivities for steroidogenic enzymes, changed to have more cytoplasm in the breeding season than in the non-breeding season. Cell proliferation of Leydig cells was hardly observed in adult testes during seasonal changes. The present results suggested that sika deer testes start to synthesize testosterone from the fetal period, that seasonal changes in testosterone and estradiol syntheses are dependent on the quantitative variation of steroidogenic enzymes synchronized with the size of Leydig cells and that estradiol synthesized in yearling and adult testes makes a contribution to the initiation and recrudescence of spermatogenesis and spermiogenesis in the sika deer.
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Muscular sarcocystosis in wild carnivores in Honshu, Japan.
Parasitol. Res.
PUBLISHED: 08-27-2009
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A total of 65 free-living carnivores collected on Honshu Island, Japan were examined for muscular Sarcocystis species infections. Among them, 12 Japanese raccoon dogs (Nyctereutes procyonoides viverrinus), one Japanese red fox (Vulpes vulpes japonica), three Japanese martens (Martes melampus melampus), and two Japanese badgers (Meles meles anakuma) were found to have sarcocysts in their muscles. No inflammatory reactions associated with sarcocysts were observed. Ultrastructurally, the sarcocysts detected in the Japanese raccoon dogs, Japanese red fox, and Japanese martens were similar to each other, with the sarcocyst wall being thin and exhibiting minute undulations. On the other hand, the sarcocysts detected in the Japanese badgers had a thick cyst wall with numerous finger-like protrusions which contained microtubules. The species of Sarcocystis in Japanese carnivores remain to be determined. This is the first published report on muscular sarcocystosis in Japanese carnivores.
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Leptin Receptor (Ob-R) expression in the ovary and uterus of the wild japanese black bear (Ursus thibetanus japonicus).
J. Reprod. Dev.
PUBLISHED: 07-31-2009
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To verify target organ(s) of leptin in the reproductive system of the Japanese black bear, we examined the expression of leptin receptor (Ob-R) protein in ovaries and uteri collected from July to December 2006 by immunohistochemical techniques. Eleven of 22 female Japanese black bears examined had corpora lutea (CLs) in their ovaries and were thought to have undergone or to have terminated delayed implantation in the early pregnancy stage. The CLs were classified into 3 types based on morphological features. The maximum diameters of Type 1 CLs ranged 3 to 7 mm, and the luteal cells contained numerous vacuoles in the cytoplasm, which suggests that this type of CL was functional. The maximum diameters of Type 2 CLs were approximately 7 mm, and the luteal cells contained fewer vacuoles in the cytoplasm, which suggests that this type of CL was in the early stage of regression. Finally, the maximum diameters of Type 3 CLs were approximately 1 mm, and these CLs contained collagen fibers among their luteal cells, which suggests that this type of CL had regressed. The 3 types of CLs showed different reactions to Ob-R, with positive staining in Type 1, much less positive staining in Type 2 and nearly negative staining in Type 3. In bears having CLs with functional and regressive features (Type 1 and 2 CLs), Ob-R was also immunolocalized in the developed glandular and ductal endometrial epithelium. In contrast, the Ob-R was absent in the undeveloped endometrial epithelium in bears with regressed (Type 3 CLs) or no CLs. These findings suggested that leptin directly targets CLs and the endometrium so as to develop and maintain them during the delayed implantation period in Japanese black bears.
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Fetal age estimation of Hokkaido sika deer (Cervus nippon yesoensis) using ultrasonography during early pregnancy.
J. Reprod. Dev.
PUBLISHED: 07-31-2009
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In sika deer, the normal method of estimating fetal age, based on fetal weight, is not applicable during the early pregnancy period. The objective of the present study was to describe the growth and development of sika deer fetuses and to establish a method for fetal age estimation during early pregnancy using ultrasonography. Five captive female Hokkaido sika deer (Cervus nippon yesoensis) were observed for estrus and mated (day 0) with an intact male. At two- or three-day intervals, fetuses were observed by rectal ultrasonographic scans until 59-61 days of gestation. The straight crown-rump length (SCRL), curved crown-rump length (CCRL), head length (HL), trunk depth (TD) and heart rate (HR) of the fetuses were measured. Linear regression equations were computed for each measurement together with fetal age. Analyses were conducted after transformation to a natural logarithm for SCRL and CCRL. All equations were significant (P<0.001), with SCRL becoming measurable earlier (day 20) than the others and yielding the best correlation (Days= -2.08+14.15 LnX: X=SCRL, Ln=natural logarithm). Therefore, we concluded that a precise estimation of fetal age in early gestation is best performed using SCRL measurements.
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Change in body weight of mothers and neonates and in milk composition during denning period in captive Japanese black bears (Ursus thibetanus japonicus).
Jpn. J. Vet. Res.
PUBLISHED: 07-15-2009
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Japanese black bears, Ursus thibetanus japonicus, have been classified as a vulnerable species so that data on reproduction are needed to maintain and/or extend their population. They are known to have a peculiar style of reproduction, giving birth to their neonates and raising them during denning, a period of complete fasting. In this study, we investigated the metabolic rate and milk composition of mother bears raising neonates, and the changes in body weight of the neonates under captive conditions. Seven female bears kept in dens were weighed once a month, and the amount of energy they used was calculated. From birth, cubs were also weighed and their growth rate was determined. In addition, the milk composition was analyzed to investigate its characteristics. As a result, it was found that mother bears used 34% more energy than did solitary females. There was no significant difference in the energy used for nursing whether they had single or twin cubs. On the other hand, the body weight gain of single cubs was significantly higher than that of twin cubs, suggesting that the growth of the cubs was highly affected by the suppression of mothers energy consumption during the fasting period. The milk had high fat and low sugar concentrations. This indicates that mother bears used the fat accumulated prior to denning for their main energy source when raising cubs. Considering all results together, Japanese black bears showed remarkable efficiency in the use of energy for reproduction during the fasting period.
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Normal sperm morphology and changes of semen characteristics and abnormal morphological spermatozoa among peri-mating seasons in captive japanese black bears (Ursus thibetanus japonicus).
J. Reprod. Dev.
PUBLISHED: 02-05-2009
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The objectives of this study were to obtain morphological data for normal spermatozoa and to investigate seasonal changes (the early, mid- and post-mating seasons) in abnormal morphology of spermatozoa and the characteristics of semen in Japanese black bears. Semen was collected by electroejaculation from 34 captive male Japanese black bears a total of 74 times. Length of head, width of head, length of midpiece and total length of the spermatozoa were 6.3 +/- 0.4, 4.5 +/- 0.3, 10.4 +/- 0.7 and 69.6 +/- 3.1 mum (mean +/- SD; 20 semen, 200 spermatozoa), respectively. In the semen collected during the mid-mating season, ejaculate volume, ejaculate pH, sperm concentration, total sperm count, motility, viability and intact acrosomes were 0.46 +/- 0.36 ml, 7.3 +/- 0.4, 659 +/- 644 x 10(6)/ml, 214 +/- 208 x 10(6), 82.9 +/- 9.6%, 89.3 +/- 9.5% and 97.0 +/- 3.2% (mean +/- SD; n=21, in ejaculate pH n=8), respectively. Sperm motility and viability in the early (n=7) and mid-mating (n=21) seasons were significantly higher than in the post-mating (n=8) season. The rates of detached heads in the early and mid-mating season were significantly lower than in the post-mating season. The main abnormal morphologies observed (mean +/- SD%; n=23) were simply bent tail (19.9 +/- 22.6), distal droplets (13.5 +/- 11.7), proximal droplets (9.6 +/- 7.8), teratoid spermatozoa (6.7 +/- 10.7), knobbed acrosome (4.9 +/- 8.6), acrosome damage (3.7 +/- 2.8) and bent midpiece (3.7 +/- 5.1). The data will be useful for artificial breeding and further research on male reproductive physiology in this species.
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Structure and steroidogenesis of the placenta in the Antarctic minke whale (Balaenoptera bonaerensis).
J. Reprod. Dev.
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There are few reports describing the structure and function of the whale placenta with the advance of pregnancy. In this study, therefore, the placenta and nonpregnant uterus of the Antarctic minke whale were observed morphologically and immunohistochemically. Placentas and nonpregnant uteri were collected from the 15th, 16th and 18th Japanese Whale Research Programme with Special Permit in the Antarctic (JARPA) and 1st JARPA II organized by the Institute of Cetacean Research in Tokyo, Japan. In the macro- and microscopic observations, the placenta of the Antarctic minke whale was a diffuse and epitheliochorial placenta. The chorion was interdigitated to the endometrium by primary, secondary and tertiary villi, which contained no specialized trophoblast cells such as binucleate cells, and the interdigitation became complicated with the progress of gestation. Furthermore, fetal and maternal blood vessels indented deeply into the trophoblast cells and endometrial epithelium respectively with fetal growth. The minke whale placenta showed a fold-like shape as opposed to a finger-like shape. In both nonpregnant and pregnant uteri, many uterine glands were distributed. The uterine glands in the superficial layer of the pregnant endometrium had a wide lumen and large epithelial cells as compared with those in the deep layer. On the other hand, in the nonpregnant endometrium, the uterine glands had a narrower lumen and smaller epithelial cells than in the pregnant endometrium. In immunohistochemical detection, immunoreactivity for P450scc was detected in most trophoblast cells, but not in nonpregnant uteri, suggesting that trophoblast epithelial cells synthesized and secreted the sex steroid hormones and/or their precursors to maintain the pregnancy in the Antarctic minke whale.
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Borrelia miyamotoi infections among wild rodents show age and month independence and correlation with Ixodes persulcatus larval attachment in Hokkaido, Japan.
Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis.
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To clarify how Borrelia miyamotoi is maintained in the environment in Hokkaido, we examined Ixodes persulcatus for its prevalence among wild rodents and its tick vector by detecting a portion of the borrelial flaB gene in rodent urinary bladder and blood samples, and from whole ticks. We compared B. miyamotoi infection rates to Borrelia garinii and Borrelia afzelii, which are human Lyme disease pathogens also carried by wild rodents, and which are transmitted by the same vector tick. Whereas B. garinii and B. afzelii showed age dependence of infection rates among wild rodents (18.4% and 9.9% among adults and 6.0% and 3.4% among sub-adults, respectively) when looking at urinary bladder samples, B. miyamotoi infection rates were not age dependent for either blood (4.2% among adults, and 7.9% among sub-adults) or urinary bladder samples (1.0% among adults, and 1.7% among sub-adults). Moreover, while B. garinii and B. afzelii infection rates showed increases across months (June, July [p<0.05] and August [p<0.01] had higher rates than in May for adult rodents with B. garinii, and July and August had higher rates than in May [p<0.01] for adult rodents with B. afzelii), B. miyamotoi infection rates did not show significant month dependence. These differences in month and age dependence led us to suspect that B. miyamotoi may not develop persistent infections in wild rodents, as B. garinii and B. afzelii are thought to. Furthermore, we examined the extent of rodent exposure to I. persulcatus nymphs and larvae throughout most of the ticks active season (May through September), and determined that B. miyamotoi infection rates in sub-adult rodents were correlated with larval burden (p<0.01), suggesting that larvae may be very important in transmission of B. miyamotoi to wild rodents.
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Prevalence of Lyme borrelia in Ixodes persulcatus ticks from an area with a confirmed case of Lyme disease.
J. Vet. Med. Sci.
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In this study, the prevalence of Borrelia infections in Ixodes ticks from a site in Hokkaido, Japan, with confirmed cases of Lyme disease was determined by a PCR method capable of detecting and differentiating between strains of pathogenic Borrelia, with particular emphasis on Borrelia garinii (B. garinii) and Borrelia afzelli (B. afzelli), using tick-derived DNA extracts as template. A total of 338 ticks, inclusive of 284 Ixodes persulcatus (I. persulcatus), were collected by flagging vegetation in mid-spring. Ninety-eight (34.5%) of I. persulcatus tested positive for Borrelia species DNA, whereas the overall prevalence of Borrelia species in Ixodes ovatus and Haemaphysalis longicornis ticks was 19.5 and 7.7%, respectively. PCR-RFLP and sequence analysis of Borrelia rrf(5S)-rrl(23S) intergenic spacer DNA amplicons indicated that they originated from three different Borrelia species namely, B. garinii, B. afzelii and B. japonica. Among the I. persulcatus species, which is a known vector of human borreliosis, 86 were mono-infected with B. garinii, 2 ticks were mono-infected with B. afzelii and whereas 12 ticks had dual infections. Most significant, 11 of the I. persulcatus ticks were coinfected with Anaplasma phagocytophilum and B. garinii. The difference between the number of obtained and expected co-infections was significant (?(2)=4.32, P=0.038).
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A novel relapsing fever Borrelia sp. infects the salivary glands of the molted hard tick, Amblyomma geoemydae.
Ticks Tick Borne Dis
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A novel relapsing fever Borrelia sp. was found in Amblyomma geoemydae in Japan. The novel Borrelia sp. was phylogenetically related to the hard (ixodid) tick-borne relapsing fever Borrelia spp. Borrelia miyamotoi and B. lonestari. The novel relapsing fever Borrelia sp. was detected in 39 A. geoemydae (39/274: 14.2%), of which 14 (14/274: 5.1%) were co-infected with the novel relapsing fever Borrelia sp. and Borrelia sp. tAG, one of the reptile-associated borreliae. Transstadial transmission of the novel relapsing fever Borrelia sp. occurred in the tick midgut and the salivary glands, although Borrelia sp. tAG was only detected in the tick midgut. The difference of the borrelial niche in molted ticks might be associated with borrelial characterization.
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Epidemiological study of zoonoses derived from humans in captive chimpanzees.
Primates
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Emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) in wildlife are major threats both to human health and to biodiversity conservation. An estimated 71.8 % of zoonotic EID events are caused by pathogens in wildlife and the incidence of such diseases is increasing significantly in humans. In addition, human diseases are starting to infect wildlife, especially non-human primates. The chimpanzee is an endangered species that is threatened by human activity such as deforestation, poaching, and human disease transmission. Recently, several respiratory disease outbreaks that are suspected of having been transmitted by humans have been reported in wild chimpanzees. Therefore, we need to study zoonotic pathogens that can threaten captive chimpanzees in primate research institutes. Serological surveillance is one of several methods used to reveal infection history. We examined serum from 14 captive chimpanzees in Japanese primate research institutes for antibodies against 62 human pathogens and 1 chimpanzee-borne infectious disease. Antibodies tested positive against 29 pathogens at high or low prevalence in the chimpanzees. These results suggest that the proportions of human-borne infections may reflect the chimpanzees history, management system in the institute, or regional epidemics. Furthermore, captive chimpanzees are highly susceptible to human pathogens, and their induced antibodies reveal not only their history of infection, but also the possibility of protection against human pathogens.
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Effects of intramuscular administration of tiletamine-zolazepam with and without sedative pretreatment on plasma and serum biochemical values and glucose tolerance test results in Japanese black bears (Ursus thibetanus japonicus).
Am. J. Vet. Res.
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To establish a safe anesthetic protocol with little effect on blood biochemical values and IV glucose tolerance test (IVGTT) results in Japanese black bears (Ursus thibetanus japonicus).
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Immunolocalization of steroidogenic enzymes and their expression during the breeding season in the testes of wild raccoon dogs (Nyctereutes procyonoides).
Anim. Sci. J.
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The objective of this study was to investigate immunolocalization of steroidogenic enzymes 3?HSD, P450c17 and P450arom and their expression during the breeding season in wild male raccoon dogs. The testicular weight, size and seminiferous tubule diameters were measured, and histological and immunohistochemical observations of testes were performed. The messenger RNA expression (mRNA) of 3?HSD, P450c17 and P450arom was measured in the testes during the breeding season. 3?HSD was found in Leydig cells during the breeding and non-breeding seasons with more intense staining in the breeding season. P450c17 was identified in Leydig cells and spermatids in the breeding season, whereas it was present only in Leydig cells in the non-breeding season. The localization of P450arom changed seasonally: no immunostaining in the non-breeding season; more extensive immunostaining in Leydig cells, Sertoli cells and elongating spermatids in the breeding season. In addition, 3?HSD, P450c17 and P450arom mRNA were also expressed in the testes during the breeding season. These results suggested that seasonal changes in testicular weight, size and seminiferous tubule diameter in the wild raccoon dog were correlated with spermatogenesis and immunoreactivity of steroidogenic enzymes and that steroidogenic enzymes may play an important role in the spermatogenesis and testicular recrudescence and regression process.
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Changes in expression of hepatic genes involved in energy metabolism during hibernation in captive, adult, female Japanese black bears (Ursus thibetanus japonicus).
Comp. Biochem. Physiol. B, Biochem. Mol. Biol.
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Hibernating bears survive up to 6 months without feeding by utilizing stored body fat as fuel. To investigate how bears maintain energy homeostasis during hibernation, we analyzed changes in mRNA expression of hepatic genes involved in energy metabolism throughout the hibernation period in captive, adult, female Japanese black bears (Ursus thibetanus japonicus). Real-time PCR analysis revealed down-regulation of glycolysis- (e.g., glucokinase), amino acid catabolism- (e.g., alanine aminotransferase) and de novo lipogenesis-related genes (e.g., acetyl-CoA carboxylase 1), and up-regulation of gluconeogensis- (e.g., pyruvate carboxylase), ?-oxidation- (i.e., uncoupling protein 2) and ketogenesis-related genes (i.e., 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutary-CoA synthase 2), during hibernation, compared to the active period (June). In addition, we found that glycolysis-related genes (i.e., glucokinase and pyruvate kinase) were more suppressed in the early phase of hibernation (January) compared to the late phase (March). One week after the commencement of feeding in April, expression levels of most genes returned to levels comparable to those seen in June, but ?-oxidation-related genes were still up-regulated during this period. These results suggest that the modulation of gene expression is not static, but changes throughout the hibernation period. The transcriptional modulation during hibernation represents a unique physiological adaptation to prolonged fasting in bears.
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Parasitology of five primates in Mahale Mountains National Park, Tanzania.
Primates
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Parasitological surveillance in primates has been performed using coprological observation and identification of specimens from chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) in Mahale Mountains National Park, Tanzania (Mahale). In this study, we conducted coprological surveillance to identify the fauna of parasite infection in five primate species in Mahale: red colobus (Procolobus badius tephrosceles), red-tailed monkeys (Cercopithecus ascanius schmidti), vervet monkeys (Cercopithecus aethiops pygerythrus), yellow baboons (Papio cynocephalus), and chimpanzees. Fecal samples were examined microscopically, and parasite identification was based on the morphology of cysts, eggs, larvae, and adult worms. Three nematodes (Oesophagostomum spp., Strongyloides sp., and Trichuris sp.), Entamoeba coli, and Entamoeba spp. were found in all five primate species. The following infections were identified: Bertiella studeri was found in chimpanzees and yellow baboons; Balantidium coli was found in yellow baboons; three nematodes (Streptopharagus, Primasubulura, an undetermined genus of Spirurina) and Dicrocoeliidae gen. sp. were found in red-tailed monkeys, vervet monkeys, and yellow baboons; Chitwoodspirura sp. was newly identified in red colobus and red-tailed monkeys; Probstmayria gombensis and Troglocorys cava were newly identified in chimpanzees, together with Troglodytella abrassarti; and Enterobius sp. was newly identified in red colobus. The parasitological data reported for red colobus, vervet monkeys, and yellow baboons in Mahale are the first reports for these species.
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Changes in blood glucose and insulin responses to intravenous glucose tolerance tests and blood biochemical values in adult female Japanese black bears (Ursus thibetanus japonicus).
Jpn. J. Vet. Res.
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The metabolic mechanisms to circannual changes in body mass of bears have yet to be elucidated. We hypothesized that the Japanese black bear (Ursus thibetanus japonicus) has a metabolic mechanism that efficiently converts carbohydrates into body fat by altering insulin sensitivity during the hyperphagic stage before hibernation. To test this hypothesis, we investigated the changes in blood biochemical values and glucose and insulin responses to intravenous glucose tolerance tests (IVGTT) during the active season (August, early and late November). Four, adult, female bears (5-17 years old) were anesthetized with 6 mg/kg TZ (tiletamine HCl and zolazepam HCl) in combination with 0.1 mg/kg acepromazine maleate. The bears were injected intravenously with glucose (0.5 g/kg of body mass), and blood samples were obtained before, at, and intermittently after glucose injection. The basal triglycerides concentration decreased significantly with increase in body mass from August to November. Basal levels of plasma glucose and serum insulin concentrations were not significantly different among groups. The results of IVGTT demonstrated the increased peripheral insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance in early November. In contrast, peripheral insulin resistance was indicated by the exaggerated insulin response in late November. Our findings suggest that bears shift their glucose and lipid metabolism from the stage of normal activity to the hyperphagic stage in which they show lipogenic-predominant metabolism and accelerate glucose uptake by increasing the peripheral insulin sensitivity.
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Seasonal changes in spermatogenesis and peripheral testosterone concentration in raccoons (Procyon lotor) in Hokkaido.
J. Vet. Med. Sci.
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Feral raccoons (Procyon lotor) have been increasing in number since 1979 and are currently subject to pest control in Hokkaido. One of the reasons for the increase in numbers is thought to be the high reproductive potential of raccoons, but little is known about their reproduction. The main aim of this study was to clarify seasonal changes in spermatogenesis and peripheral testosterone concentration of raccoons in Hokkaido. In the present study, external characteristics and histology of the testis and epididymis and the plasma testosterone concentration were investigated in 68 feral, male raccoons culled for pest control and once a month in one live, captive male. The feral males exhibited seasonal changes in spermatogenesis, showing active spermatogenesis in autumn, winter and spring (October-June) with noted spermatogenesis and inactive spermatogenesis in summer (July-September) with lower mean levels of spermatozoa in the cauda epididymis. Even in the inactive period, spermatozoa were observed in about half of the individuals (14/26); therefore, individuals producing spermatozoa existed every month throughout the year. Testosterone concentrations were significantly high in the winter mating season. In the captive male, the testosterone concentrations were low from June to August, and spermatozoa could not be observed from July to September. These results suggest that raccoons exhibit seasonality of reproduction, but the time and duration of spermatogenetic decline varies widely among individuals. This individual variation in the inactive period is a feature of male raccoon reproduction and is unique among seasonally breeding mammals.
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