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  • Journal Article

    Remotely releasable collar mechanism for medium-sized mammals: an affordable technology to avoid multiple captures 

    Buil, Jeroen M. M.; Peckre, Louise R.; Dörge, Matthias; Fichtel, Claudia; Kappeler, Peter M.; Scherberger, Hansjörg
    Wildlife Biology 2019; 2019(1)
    Collar-mounted monitoring devices for collecting behavioural or positional data (e.g. sound recorders, accelerometers, GPS, VHF) are increasingly used in wildlife research. Although these tools represent an improvement in terms of data quality, they require capturing animals. Using remotely releasable collars allows for reducing the number of captures by half; however, currently this technology is primarily available for large mammals. Here, we present a locking mechanism design that is remotely releasable and light enough (22 g) for medium-sized mammals (>1 kg), can run in low-power mode for years, is reusable directly after recharge, and has a material cost of less than €50. An Android application operates this mechanism over a Bluetooth connection. We developed custom-purpose software for both the locking mechanism and the Android application. We tested two collars equipped with this locking mechanism in field-like conditions on two ring-tailed lemurs Lemur catta. The release mechanism has an operational range of 10–50 m and can run in active mode (allowing remote release) for several hours. Implementation of the presented release mechanism for collars on medium-sized mammals provides a low-cost solution to reduce the number of captures. We demonstrate that some low-cost technical improvements of tools used for studying wildlife can have significant effects on reducing the stress experienced by animals during capture. Detailed description of this new mechanism design provides a starting-block for potential adaptations for a broader range of species.
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  • Journal Article

    Emergence and suppression of cooperation by action visibility in transparent games 

    Unakafov, Anton M.; Schultze, Thomas; Gail, Alexander; Moeller, Sebastian; Kagan, Igor; Eule, Stephan; Wolf, Fred
    PLOS Computational Biology 2020; 16(1): Art. e1007588
    Real-world agents, humans as well as animals, observe each other during interactions and choose their own actions taking the partners' ongoing behaviour into account. Yet, classical game theory assumes that players act either strictly sequentially or strictly simultaneously without knowing each other's current choices. To account for action visibility and provide a more realistic model of interactions under time constraints, we introduce a new game-theoretic setting called transparent games, where each player has a certain probability of observing the partner's choice before deciding on its own action. By means of evolutionary simulations, we demonstrate that even a small probability of seeing the partner's choice before one's own decision substantially changes the evolutionary successful strategies. Action visibility enhances cooperation in an iterated coordination game, but reduces cooperation in a more competitive iterated Prisoner's Dilemma. In both games, "Win-stay, lose-shift" and "Tit-for-tat" strategies are predominant for moderate transparency, while a "Leader-Follower" strategy emerges for high transparency. Our results have implications for studies of human and animal social behaviour, especially for the analysis of dyadic and group interactions.
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  • Journal Article

    A framework for conceptualizing dimensions of social organization in mammals 

    Prox, Lea; Farine, Damien
    Ecology and Evolution p.1-17
    Mammalian societies represent many different types of social systems. While some aspects of social systems have been extensively studied, there is little consensus on how to conceptualize social organization across species. Here, we present a framework describing eight dimensions of social organization to capture its diversity across mammalian societies. The framework uses simple information that is clearly separated from the three other aspects of social systems: social structure, care system, and mating system. By applying our framework across 208 species of all mammalian taxa, we find a rich multidimensional landscape of social organization. Correlation analysis reveals that the dimensions have relatively high independence, suggesting that social systems are able to evolve different aspects of social behavior without being tied to particular traits. Applying a clustering algorithm allows us to identify the relative importance of key dimensions on patterns of social organization. Finally, mapping mating system onto these clusters shows that social organization represents a distinct aspect of social systems. In the future, this framework will aid reporting on important aspects of natural history in species and facilitate comparative analyses, which ultimately will provide the ability to generate new insights into the primary drivers of social patterns and evolution of sociality.
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  • Journal Article

    Mating avoidance in female olive baboons (Papio anubis) infected by Treponema pallidum 

    Paciência, F. M. D.; Rushmore, J.; Chuma, I. S.; Lipende, I. F.; Caillaud, D.; Knauf, S.; Zinner, D.
    Science Advances 2019; 5(12): Art. eaaw9724
    Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are ubiquitous within wild animal populations, yet it remains largely unknown whether animals evolved behavioral avoidance mechanisms in response to STI acquisition. We investigated the mating behavior of a wild population of olive baboons (Papio anubis) infected by the bacterium Treponema pallidum. This pathogen causes highly conspicuous genital ulcerations in males and females, which signal infectious individuals. We analyzed data on 876 mating attempts and associated acceptance or rejection responses in a group of about 170 baboons. Our findings indicate that females are more likely to avoid copulation if either the mating partner or females themselves have ulcerated genitals. We suggest that this outcome is linked to the overall higher choosiness and infection-risk susceptibility typically exhibited by females. Our results show that selection pressures imposed by pathogens induce individual behavioral modifications, leading to altered mate choice and could reduce promiscuity in a wild nonhuman primate population.
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  • Journal Article

    A Fosmid-Based System for the Generation of Recombinant Cercopithecine Alphaherpesvirus 2 Encoding Reporter Genes 

    Chukhno, Ekaterina; Gärtner, Sabine; Rahman Siregar, Abdul; Mehr, Alexander; Wende, Marie; Petkov, Stoyan; Götting, Jasper; Dhingra, Akshay; Schulz, Thomas; Pöhlmann, Stefan; et al.
    Winkler, Michael
    Viruses 2019; 11(11): Art. 1026
    The transmission of Macacine alphaherpesvirus 1 (McHV-1) from macaques, the natural host, to humans causes encephalitis. In contrast, human infection with Cercopithecine alphaherpesvirus 2 (CeHV-2), a closely related alphaherpesvirus from African vervet monkeys and baboons, has not been reported and it is believed that CeHV-2 is apathogenic in humans. The reasons for the differential neurovirulence of McHV-1 and CeHV-2 have not been explored on a molecular level, in part due to the absence of systems for the production of recombinant viruses. Here, we report the generation of a fosmid-based system for rescue of recombinant CeHV-2. Moreover, we show that, in this system, recombineering can be used to equip CeHV-2 with reporter genes. The recombinant CeHV-2 viruses replicated with the same efficiency as uncloned, wt virus and allowed the identification of cell lines that are highly susceptible to CeHV-2 infection. Collectively, we report a system that allows rescue and genetic modification of CeHV-2 and likely other alphaherpesviruses. This system should aid future analysis of CeHV-2 biology.
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  • Journal Article

    Parasite burden in a short-lived chameleon, Furcifer labordi 

    Eckhardt, Falk; Strube, Christina; Mathes, Karina A.; Mutschmann, Frank; Thiesler, Hauke; Kraus, Cornelia; Kappeler, Peter M.
    International Journal for Parasitology: Parasites and Wildlife 2019; 10 p.231-240
    Life history theory predicts that species with shorter lifespan should show higher investments into growth and reproduction at the expense of immune defenses. Labord's chameleon (Furcifer labordi) is the tetrapod with the shortest known life span. To investigate to which extent immunosenescence influences the die-off of these chameleons when they are only about 6 months old, we examined the gastrointestinal-, blood- and ectoparasite burden in F. labordi in Kirindy Forest (western Madagascar) and compared them with sympatric and longer living F. cf. nicosiai. Moreover, we included data from wild F. labordi that were singly housed under ambient conditions with daily food and water supply. Gastrointestinal parasite prevalence of wild F. labordi increased dramatically during the last 3 months of their lives, which include the reproductive period. Furcifer cf. nicosiai was found to have a belated increase in gastrointestinal parasites compared to F. labordi. In F. cf. nicosiai higher prevalence of blood parasites were found, which probably result from the longer exposure to the arthropod intermediate host. Both species showed infestations with ectoparasites, which peaked in the rainy season but disappeared towards the dry season. Male F. labordi showed a significantly higher prevalence of gastrointestinal - and ectoparasites and higher intensities of coccidians and ectoparasites than females. Males of F. cf. nicosiai exhibited higher prevalence of blood- and ectoparasites, as well as higher intensities in ectoparasites. Caged individuals of both sexes showed delayed senescence, reduced parasite burden and lived longer than their wild conspecifics. Overall, the increase in the prevalence in gastrointestinal - and blood parasites towards the disappearance of the wild population of F. labordi indicates that this species invests comparatively less energy in efficient immune system function, supporting the prediction of life history theory.
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  • Journal Article

    Reconstructing the phylogeny of new world monkeys (platyrrhini): evidence from multiple non-coding loci 

    Wang, Xiaoping; Lim, Burton K; Ting, Nelson; Hu, Jingyang; Liang, Yunpeng; Roos, Christian; Yu, Li
    Current Zoology 2018; 65(5) p.579-588
    Among mammalian phylogenies, those characterized by rapid radiations are particularly problematic. The New World monkeys (NWMs, Platyrrhini) comprise 3 families and 7 subfamilies, which radiated within a relatively short time period. Accordingly, their phylogenetic relationships are still largely disputed. In the present study, 56 nuclear non-coding loci, including 33 introns (INs) and 23 intergenic regions (IGs), from 20 NWM individuals representing 18 species were used to investigate phylogenetic relationships among families and subfamilies. Of the 56 loci, 43 have not been used in previous NWM phylogenetics. We applied concatenation and coalescence tree-inference methods, and a recently proposed question-specific approach to address NWM phylogeny. Our results indicate incongruence between concatenation and coalescence methods for the IN and IG datasets. However, a consensus was reached with a single tree topology from all analyses of combined INs and IGs as well as all analyses of question-specific loci using both concatenation and coalescence methods, albeit with varying degrees of statistical support. In detail, our results indicated the sister-group relationships between the families Atelidae and Pitheciidae, and between the subfamilies Aotinae and Callithrichinae among Cebidae. Our study provides insights into the disputed phylogenetic relationships among NWM families and subfamilies from the perspective of multiple non-coding loci and various tree-inference approaches. However, the present phylogenetic framework needs further evaluation by adding more independent sequence data and a deeper taxonomic sampling. Overall, our work has important implications for phylogenetic studies dealing with rapid radiations.
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  • Journal Article

    Insights into the evolution of social systems and species from baboon studies 

    Fischer, Julia; Higham, James P.; Alberts, Susan C.; Barrett, Louise; Beehner, Jacinta C.; Bergman, Thore J.; Carter, Alecia J.; Collins, Anthony; Elton, Sarah; Fagot, Joël; et al.
    Ferreira da Silva, Maria JoanaHammerschmidt, KurtHenzi, PeterJolly, Clifford J.Knauf, SaschaKopp, Gisela H.Rogers, JeffreyRoos, ChristianRoss, CarolineSeyfarth, Robert M.Silk, JoanSnyder-Mackler, NoahStaedele, VeronikaSwedell, LarissaWilson, Michael L.Zinner, Dietmar
    eLife 2019; 8: Art. e50989
    Baboons, members of the genus Papio, comprise six closely related species distributed throughout sub-Saharan Africa and southwest Arabia. The species exhibit more ecological flexibility and a wider range of social systems than many other primates. This article summarizes our current knowledge of the natural history of baboons and highlights directions for future research. We suggest that baboons can serve as a valuable model for complex evolutionary processes, such as speciation and hybridization. The evolution of baboons has been heavily shaped by climatic changes and population expansion and fragmentation in the African savanna environment, similar to the processes that acted during human evolution. With accumulating long-term data, and new data from previously understudied species, baboons are ideally suited for investigating the links between sociality, health, longevity and reproductive success. To achieve these aims, we propose a closer integration of studies at the proximate level, including functional genomics, with behavioral and ecological studies.
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  • Journal Article

    Corrigendum: A Metataxonomic Tool to Investigate the Diversity of Treponema 

    Hallmaier-Wacker, Luisa K.; Lüert, Simone; Gronow, Sabine; Spröer, Cathrin; Overmann, Jörg; Buller, Nicky; Vaughan-Higgins, Rebecca J.; Knauf, Sascha
    Frontiers in Microbiology 2019; 10: Art. 2581
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  • Journal Article

    Lactation and menstruation shift the vaginal microbiota in captive rhesus monkeys to be more similar to the male urethral microbiota 

    Hallmaier-Wacker, L. K.; Lüert, S.; Roos, C.; Knauf, S.
    Scientific Reports 2019; 9(1)
    The vaginal microbiota of nonhuman primates differs substantially from humans in terms of Lactobacillus abundance, overall taxonomic diversity, and vaginal pH. Given these differences, it remains unclear in what way the nonhuman primate genital microbiota protects against pathogens, in particular sexually transmitted infections. Considering the effect that microbiota variations can have on disease acquisition and outcome, we examined endogenous and exogenous factors that influence the urogenital microbiota of male and female captive rhesus monkeys. The male urethral (n = 37) and vaginal (n = 194) microbiota of 11 breeding groups were examined in a cross-sectional study. During lactation and menstruation, the vaginal microbiota becomes significantly more diverse and more similar to the microbes observed in the male urethra. Group association and cage-mate (sexual partners) relationships were additionally associated with significant differences in the urogenital microbiota. Our results demonstrate that microbiota considerations are necessary in order to make informed selection of nonhuman primates as translational animal models.
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  • Journal Article

    Temporal stability of fMRI in medetomidine-anesthetized rats 

    Sirmpilatze, Nikoloz; Baudewig, Jürgen; Boretius, Susann
    Scientific Reports 2019; 9(1)
    Medetomidine has become a popular choice for anesthetizing rats during long-lasting sessions of blood-oxygen-level dependent (BOLD) functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Despite this, it has not yet been thoroughly established how commonly reported fMRI readouts evolve over several hours of medetomidine anesthesia and how they are affected by the precise timing, dose, and route of administration. We used four different protocols of medetomidine administration to anesthetize rats for up to six hours and repeatedly evaluated somatosensory stimulus-evoked BOLD responses and resting state functional connectivity. We found that the temporal evolution of fMRI readouts strongly depended on the method of administration. Intravenous administration of a medetomidine bolus (0.05 mg/kg), combined with a subsequent continuous infusion (0.1 mg/kg/h), led to temporally stable measures of stimulus-evoked activity and functional connectivity throughout the anesthesia. Deviating from the above protocol-by omitting the bolus, lowering the medetomidine dose, or using the subcutaneous route-compromised the stability of these measures in the initial two-hour period. We conclude that both an appropriate protocol of medetomidine administration and a suitable timing of fMRI experiments are crucial for obtaining consistent results. These factors should be considered for the design and interpretation of future rat fMRI studies.
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  • Journal Article

    An Exploration of the Relationships Among Facial Dimensions, Age, Sex, Dominance Status, and Personality in Rhesus Macaques (Macaca mulatta) 

    Altschul, D. M.; Robinson, L. M.; Coleman, K.; Capitanio, J. P.; Wilson, V. A. D.
    International Journal of Primatology 2019; 40(4-5) p.532-552
    Aspects of personality in nonhuman primates have been linked to health, social relationships, and life history outcomes. In humans as well as nonhuman primates, facial morphology is associated with assertiveness, aggression, and measures of dominance status. In this study we aimed to examine the relationship among facial morphology, age, sex, dominance status, and ratings on the personality dimensions Confidence, Openness, Assertiveness, Friendliness, Activity, and Anxiety in rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta). We measured facial width-to-height ratio (fWHR) and lower-height/full-height ratio (fLHFH) using photographs from 109 captive rhesus macaques, which observers also assessed for dominance status and personality, and explored the associations among facial morphology, age, sex, dominance status, and personality. fWHR and fLHFH personality associations depended on age category: Assertiveness was associated with higher fWHR and fLHFH, and Confidence was associated with lower fWHR and fLHFH, but all these associations were consistent only in individuals <8 yr. of age. We found fWHR and fLHFH to not be consistently associated with sex or dominance status; compared to younger individuals, we found few associations with fWHR and fLHFH for individuals older than 8 yr., which may be due to limited sample size. Our results indicate that in macaques <8 yr. old, facial morphology is associated with the Assertiveness and Confidence personality dimensions, which is consistent with results suggesting a relationship between fWHR and trait aggression in humans and assertiveness in brown capuchins, all of which implies that fWHR might be a cue to assertive and aggressive traits.
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  • Journal Article

    Comparing mitogenomic timetrees for two African savannah primate genera (Chlorocebus and Papio) 

    Dolotovskaya, Sofya; Torroba Bordallo, Juan; Haus, Tanja; Noll, Angela; Hofreiter, Michael; Zinner, Dietmar; Roos, Christian
    Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society(181) p.471-483
    Complete mitochondrial (mtDNA) genomes have proved to be useful in reconstructing primate phylogenies with higher resolution and confidence compared to reconstructions based on partial mtDNA sequences. Here, we analyse complete mtDNA genomes of African green monkeys (genus Chlorocebus), a widely distributed primate genus in Africa representing an interesting phylogeographical model for the evolution of savannah species. Previous studies on partial mtDNA sequences revealed nine major clades, suggesting several cases of para- and polyphyly among Chlorocebus species. However, in these studies, phylogenetic relationships among several clades were not resolved, and divergence times were not estimated. We analysed complete mtDNA genomes for ten Chlorocebus samples representing major mtDNA clades to find stronger statistical support in the phylogenetic reconstruction than in the previous studies and to estimate divergence times. Our results confirmed para- and polyphyletic relationships of most Chlorocebus species, while the support for the phylogenetic relationships between the mtDNA clades increased compared to the previous studies. Our results indicate an initial west–east division in the northern part of the Chlorocebus range with subsequent divergence into north-eastern and southern clades. This phylogeographic scenario contrasts with that for another widespread African savannah primate genus, the baboons (Papio), for which a dispersal from southern Africa into East and West Africa was suggested.
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  • Journal Article

    Trunk rotation and handedness modulate cortical activation in neglect-associated regions during temporal order judgments 

    Paschke, Kerstin; Bähr, Mathias; Wüstenberg, Torsten; Wilke, Melanie
    NeuroImage: Clinical 2019; 23: Art. 101898
    The rotation of the trunk around its vertical midline could be shown to bias visuospatial temporal judgments towards targets in the hemifield ipsilateral to the trunk orientation and to improve visuospatial performance in patients with visual neglect. However, the underlying brain mechanisms are not well understood. Therefore, the goal of the present study was to investigate the neural effects associated with egocentric midplane shifts under consideration of individual handedness. We employed a visuospatial temporal order judgment (TOJ) task in healthy right- and left-handed subjects while their trunk rotation was varied. Participants responded by a saccade towards the stimulus perceived first out of two stimuli presented with different stimulus onset asynchronies (SOA). Apart from gaze behavior, BOLD-fMRI responses were measured using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Based on findings from spatial neglect research, analyses of fMRI-BOLD responses were focused on a bilateral fronto-temporo-parietal network comprising Brodmann areas 22, 39, 40, and 44, as well as the basal ganglia core nuclei (caudate, putamen, pallidum). We observed an acceleration of saccadic speed towards stimuli ipsilateral to the trunk orientation modulated by individual handedness. Left-handed participants showed the strongest behavioral and neural effects, suggesting greater susceptibility to manipulations of trunk orientation. With respect to the dominant hand, a rotation around the vertical trunk midline modulated the activation of an ipsilateral network comprising fronto-temporo-parietal regions and the putamen with the strongest effects for saccades towards the hemifield opposite to the dominant hand. Within the investigated network, the temporo-parietal junction (TPJ) appears to serve as a region integrating sensory, motor, and trunk position information. Our results are discussed in the context of gain modulatory and laterality effects.
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  • Journal Article

    Analysis of IFITM-IFITM Interactions by a Flow Cytometry-Based FRET Assay 

    Winkler, Michael; Wrensch, Florian; Bosch, Pascale; Knoth, Maike; Schindler, Michael; Gärtner, Sabine; Pöhlmann, Stefan
    International Journal of Molecular Sciences 2019; 20(16): Art. 3859
    The interferon-induced transmembrane proteins 1-3 (IFITM1-3) inhibit host cell entry of several viruses. However, it is incompletely understood how IFITM1-3 exert antiviral activity. Two phenylalanine residues, F75 and F78, within the intramembrane domain 1 (IM1) were previously shown to be required for IFITM3/IFITM3 interactions and for inhibition of viral entry, suggesting that IFITM/IFITM interactions might be pivotal to antiviral activity. Here, we employed a fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) assay to analyze IFITM/IFITM interactions. For assay calibration, we equipped two cytosolic, non-interacting proteins, super yellow fluorescent protein (SYFP) and super cyan fluorescent protein (SCFP), with signals that target proteins to membrane rafts and also analyzed a SCFP-SYFP fusion protein. This strategy allowed us to discriminate background signals resulting from colocalization of proteins at membrane subdomains from signals elicited by protein-protein interactions. Coexpression of IFITM1-3 and IFITM5 fused to fluorescent proteins elicited strong FRET signals, and mutation of F75 and F78 in IFITM3 (mutant IFITM3-FF) abrogated antiviral activity, as expected, but did not alter cellular localization and FRET signals. Moreover, IFITM3-FF co-immunoprecipitated efficiently with wild type (wt) IFITM3, lending further support to the finding that lack of antiviral activity of IFITM3-FF was not due to altered membrane targeting or abrogated IFITM3-IFITM3 interactions. Collectively, we report an assay that allows quantifying IFITM/IFITM interactions. Moreover, we confirm residues F75 and F78 as critical for antiviral activity but also show that these residues are dispensable for IFITM3 membrane localization and IFITM3/IFITM3 interactions.
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  • Journal Article

    A Metataxonomic Tool to Investigate the Diversity of Treponema 

    Hallmaier-Wacker, Luisa K.; Lüert, Simone; Gronow, Sabine; Spröer, Cathrin; Overmann, Jörg; Buller, Nicky; Vaughan-Higgins, Rebecca J.; Knauf, Sascha
    Frontiers in Microbiology 2019; 10: Art. 2094
    The genus Treponema contains a number of human and animal pathogenic as well as symbiotic bacteria that are found in vastly different anatomical and environmental habitats. Our understanding of the species range, evolution, and biology of these important bacteria is still limited. To explore the diversity of treponemes, we established, validated, and tested a novel metataxonomic approach. As the informative nature of the hypervariable regions of the 16S rRNA gene differ, we first analyzed each variable region independently. Considering the in silico results obtained, we established and validated the sequencing of the V4-region of the 16S rRNA gene using known mixtures of Treponema species as well as a selected number of clinical samples. The metataxonomic approach was able to identify Treponema to a near-species level. We demonstrate that using a spirochete-specific enrichment, our method is applicable to complex microbial communities and large variety of biological samples. The metataxonomic approach described provides a useful method to unravel the full diversity and range of Treponema in various ecosystems.
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  • Journal Article

    6-Sulfo LacNAc (Slan) as a Marker for Non-classical Monocytes 

    Hofer, Thomas P.; van de Loosdrecht, Arjan A.; Stahl-Hennig, Christiane; Cassatella, Marco A.; Ziegler-Heitbrock, Loems
    Frontiers in Immunology 2019; 10: Art. 2052
    Monocytes are subdivided into three subsets, which have different phenotypic and functional characteristics and different roles in inflammation and malignancy. When in man CD14 and CD16 monoclonal antibodies are used to define these subsets, then the distinction of non-classical CD14low and intermediate CD14high monocytes requires setting a gate in what is a gradually changing level of CD14 expression. In the search for an additional marker to better dissect the two subsets we have explored the marker 6-sulfo LacNAc (slan). Slan is a carbohydrate residue originally described to be expressed on the cell surface of a type of dendritic cell in human blood. We elaborate herein that the features of slan+ cells are congruent with the features of CD16+ non-classical monocytes and that slan is a candidate marker for definition of non-classical monocytes. The use of this marker may help in studying the role of non-classical monocytes in health and in diagnosis and monitoring of disease.
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  • Journal Article

    Fluctuating asymmetry and feather growth bars as biomarkers to assess the habitat quality of shade coffee farming for avian diversity conservation 

    Gebremichael, Gelaye; Tsegaye, Diress; Bunnefeld, Nils; Zinner, Dietmar; Atickem, Anagaw
    Royal Society Open Science 2019; 6(8): Art. 190013
    Shade coffee farming has been promoted as a means of combining sustainable coffee production and biodiversity conservation. Supporting this idea, similar levels of diversity and abundance of birds have been found in shade coffee and natural forests. However, diversity and abundance are not always good indicators of habitat quality because there may be a lag before population effects are observed following habitat conversion. Therefore, other indicators of habitat quality should be tested. In this paper, we investigate the use of two biomarkers: fluctuating asymmetry (FA) of tarsus length and rectrix mass, and feather growth bars (average growth bar width) to characterize the habitat quality of shade coffee and natural forests. We predicted higher FA and narrower feather growth bars in shade coffee forest versus natural forest, indicating higher quality in the latter. We measured and compared FA in tarsus length and rectrix mass and average growth bar width in more than 200 individuals of five bird species. The extent of FA in both tarsus length and rectrix mass was not different between the two forest types in any of the five species. Similarly, we found no difference in feather growth between shade coffee and natural forests for any species. Therefore, we conclude our comparison of biomarkers suggests that shade coffee farms and natural forests provide similar habitat quality for the five species we examined.
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  • Journal Article

    Aberrant functional connectivity of resting state networks related to misperceptions and intra-individual variability in Parkinson‘s disease 

    Miloserdov, Kristina; Schmidt-Samoa, Carsten; Williams, Kathleen; Weinrich, Christiane Anne; Kagan, Igor; Bürk, Katrin; Trenkwalder, Claudia; Bähr, Mathias; Wilke, Melanie
    NeuroImage: Clinical: Art. 102076
    Patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) frequently suffer from visual misperceptions and hallucinations, which are difficult to objectify and quantify. We aimed to develop an image recognition task to objectify misperceptions and to assess performance fluctuations in PD patients with and without self-reported hallucinations. Thirty-two non-demented patients with Parkinson's disease (16 with and 16 without self-reported visual hallucinations) and 25 age-matched healthy controls (HC) were tested. Participants performed a dynamic image recognition task with real and scrambled images. We assessed misperception scores and intra-individual variability in recognition times. To gain insight into possible neural mechanisms related to misperceptions and performance fluctuations we correlated resting state network connectivity to the behavioral outcomes in a subsample of Parkinson's disease patients (N = 16). We found that PD patients with self-reported hallucinations (PD-VH) exhibited higher perceptual error rates, due to decreased perceptual sensitivity and not due to changed decision criteria. In addition, PD-VH patients exhibited higher intra-individual variability in recognition times than HC or PD-nonVH patients. Both, misperceptions and intra-individual variability were negatively correlated with resting state functional connectivity involving frontal and parietal brain regions, albeit in partly different subregions. Consistent with previous research suggesting that hallucinations arise from dysfunction in attentional networks, misperception scores correlated with reduced functional connectivity between the dorsal attention and salience network. Intra-individual variability correlated with decreased connectivity between somatomotor and right fronto-parietal networks. We conclude that our task can detect visual misperceptions that are more prevalent in PD-VH patients. In addition, fluctuating visual performance appear to be a signature of PD-VH patients, which might assist further studies of the underlying pathophysiological mechanisms and cognitive processes.
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  • Journal Article

    Dynamic Quantitative Iodine Myocardial Perfusion Imaging with Dual-Layer CT using a Porcine Model 

    Scherer, Kai; Hammel, Johannes; Sellerer, Thorsten; Mechlem, Korbinian; Renger, Bernhard; Bähr, Andrea; Kupatt, Christian; Hinkel, Rabea; Herzen, Julia; Pfeiffer, Franz; et al.
    Rummeny, ErnstPfeiffer, Daniela
    Scientific Reports 2019; 9(1)
    Ischemic heart disease is the globally leading cause of death. When using coronary CT angiography, the functional hemodynamics within the myocardium remain uncertain. In this study myocardial CT perfusion imaging using iodine contrast agent demonstrated to strongly improve the assessment of myocardial disorders. However, a retrieval of such dynamics using Hounsfield units from conventional CT poses concerns with respect to beam-hardening effects and low contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR). Dual-energy CT offers novel approaches to overcome aforementioned limitations. Quantitative peak enhancement, perfusion, time to peak and iodine volume measurements inside the myocardium were determined resulting in 0.92 mg/ml, 0.085 mg/ml/s 17.12 s and 29.89 mg/ml*s, respectively. We report on the first extensive quantitative and iodine-based analysis of myocardial dynamics in a healthy porcine model using a dual-layer spectral CT. We further elucidate on the potential of reducing the radiation dose from 135 to 18 mGy and the contrast agent volume from 60 to 30 mL by presenting a two-shot acquisition approach and measuring iodine concentrations in the myocardium in-vivo down to 1 mg/ml, respectively. We believe that dynamic quantitative iodine perfusion imaging may
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