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Probetacellulin precursor [Contains: Betacellulin (BTC)]


Behavioral tagging and capture: long-term memory decline in middle-aged rats.

Decline in cognitive functions, including hippocampus-dependent spatial memory, is commonly observed at a later stage of aging (e.g., >20 months old in rodents) and typically studied after a discrete learning event. How normal aging, particularly at an early stage, affects the modulatory aspect of memory persistence is underinvestigated. Previous studies in young animals show that weak, fading memories can last longer if a modulating event, such as spatial novelty, is introduced around memory encoding. This is known as behavioral tagging and capture (BTC). Here, we investigated how early aging (10-13 months old) affects BTC in an appetitive delayed-matching-to-place task. We trained rats when they were young and middle aged and found that novelty facilitated long-term memory persistence in young but not in middle-aged rats. However, re-exposure to the encoded environment after learning improved memory persistence in middle-aged rats. BTC, combined with memory reactivation, facilitated memory persistence through reconsolidation. Our results point toward a weakened tagging and capture mechanism before reduction of plasticity-related proteins at an early stage of aging.

MeSH Terms

  • Animals
  • Appetite
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Cognitive Aging
  • Hippocampus
  • Male
  • Maze Learning
  • Memory, Long-Term
  • Neuronal Plasticity
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Spatial Memory


  • Memory consolidation
  • Memory modulation
  • Normal aging
  • Reconsolidation
  • Reward learning

Estimates of genetic parameters for content of boar taint compounds in adipose tissue of intact males at 160 and 220 days of age.

The aims of this study were to investigate variation in content of androstenone (AND), skatole (SKA), and indole (IND), quantified in adipose tissue of intact male pigs at 160 d of age (105 kg BW) and 220 d of age (155 kg BW), to estimate genetic parameters and to investigate the genetic relationships for AND, SKA, IND, and growth traits. A sample of adipose tissue was collected in vivo, using a biopsy device, from the neck of 500 intact males at the 2 ages and at slaughter from the ham of 100 of the investigated animals. Backfat depth was measured at 220 d of age, whereas BW was recorded at each sampling. Quantification of AND, SKA, and IND was performed by HPLC with fluorescence detection. Estimates of genetic parameters were obtained through Bayesian analyses after logarithmic transformations of original measures. Contents of boar taint compounds (BTC) measured at 220 d were higher than those at 160 d of age. Correlations between contents of BTC in backfat and ham fat ranged from 0.7 (IND) to 0.88 (SKA). Medium-high h were estimated for BTC at both ages, but estimates at 220 d (0.58, 0.60, and 0.69 for AND, SKA, and IND, respectively) were greater than those at 160 d. The genetic correlation between contents at 160 and 220 d of each BTC was positive, but the probability that such estimates were greater than 0.8 was very low, indicating that contents at 160 and 220 d were traits controlled by different genetic backgrounds. Different rankings were observed when breeding values for the content at 160 and 220 d of age were used to rank animals. As a consequence, performance testing programs for BTC should be based preferably on phenotypes measured at 220 d of age. Weak genetic correlations were observed between content of BT compounds and growth traits (BW, backfat depth, and daily gain from 160 to 220 d of age), indicating that selective breeding to reduce the risk of tainted pork is expected to exert trivial effects on growth performance and fat deposition. Results indicate that prevalence of BTC is high in mature and heavy pigs relative to young and light pigs. High heritability; positive genetic correlations between AND, SKA, and IND; and trivial effects on growth traits suggest that reduction of BTC through selective breeding is feasible and exploitable as an alternative to surgical castration also for pigs slaughtered at heavy BW.

MeSH Terms

  • Adipose Tissue
  • Aging
  • Animals
  • Bayes Theorem
  • Breeding
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Indoles
  • Male
  • Skatole
  • Swine