This study was registered at the German Clinical Trial Register (DRKS-Study-ID: DRKS00013570; https://www.drks.de/drks_web/).
A method has been developed for culturing cardiac myocytes in a collagen matrix to produce a coherently contracting 3-dimensional model heart tissue that allows direct measurement of isometric contractile force. Embryonic chick cardiomyocytes were mixed with collagen solution and allowed to gel between two Velcro-coated glass tubes. During culture, the cardiomyocytes formed spontaneously beating cardiac myocyte-populated matrices (CMPMs) anchored at opposite ends to the Velcro-covered tubes through which they could be attached to a force measuring system. Immunohistochemistry and electron microscopy revealed a highly organized tissue-like structure of alpha-actin and alpha-tropomyosin-positive cardiac myocytes exhibiting typical cross-striation, sarcomeric myofilaments, intercalated discs, desmosomes, and tight junctions. Force measurements of paced or unpaced CMPMs were performed in organ baths after 6-11 days of cultivation and were stable for up to 24 h. Force increased with frequency between 0.8 and 2.0 Hz (positive "staircase"), increasing rest length (Starling mechanism), and increasing extracellular calcium. The utility of this system as a test bed for genetic manipulation was demonstrated by infecting the CMPMs with a recombinant beta-galactosidase-carrying adenovirus. Transduction efficiency increased from about 5% (MOI 0.1) to about 50% (MOI 100). CMPMs display more physiological characteristics of intact heart tissue than monolayer cultures. This approach, simpler and faster than generation of transgenic animals, should allow functional consequences of genetic or pharmacological manipulation of cardiomyocytes in vitro to be studied under highly controlled conditions.
To examine the influence of chronic mechanical stretch on functional behavior of cardiac myocytes, we reconstituted embryonic chick or neonatal rat cardiac myocytes to a 3-dimensional engineered heart tissue (EHT) by mixing freshly isolated cells with neutralized collagen I and culturing them between two Velcro-coated silicone tubes, held at a fixed distance with a metal spacer. After 4 days, EHTs were subjected to a phasic unidirectional stretch for 6 days in serum-containing medium. Compared to unstretched controls, RNA/DNA and protein/cell ratios increased by 100% and 50%, respectively. ANF mRNA and alpha-sarcomeric actin increased by 98% and 40%, respectively. Morphologically, stretched EHTs exhibited improved organization of cardiac myocytes into parallel arrays of rod-shaped cells, increased cell length and width, longer myofilaments, and increased mitochondrial density. Thus, stretch induced phenotypic changes, generally referred to as hypertrophy. Concomitantly, force of contraction was two- to fourfold higher both under basal conditions and after stimulation with calcium or the beta-adrenergic agonist isoprenaline. Contraction kinetics were accelerated with a 14-44% decrease in twitch duration under all those conditions. In summary, we have developed a new in vitro model that allows morphological, molecular, and functional consequences of stretch to be studied under defined conditions. The main finding was that stretch of EHTs induced cardiac myocyte hypertrophy, which was accompanied by marked improvement of contractile function.
IMPORTANCE Deep learning convolutional neural networks (CNNs) have shown a performance at the level of dermatologists in the diagnosis of melanoma. Accordingly, further exploring the potential limitations of CNN technology before broadly applying it is of special interest. OBJECTIVE To investigate the association between gentian violet surgical skin markings in dermoscopic images and the diagnostic performance of a CNN approved for use as a medical device in the European market. DESIGN AND SETTING A cross-sectional analysis was conducted from August 1, 2018, to November 30, 2018, using a CNN architecture trained with more than 120 000 dermoscopic images of skin neoplasms and corresponding diagnoses. The association of gentian violet skin markings in dermoscopic images with the performance of the CNN was investigated in 3 image sets of 130 melanocytic lesions each (107 benign nevi, 23 melanomas). EXPOSURES The same lesions were sequentially imaged with and without the application of a gentian violet surgical skin marker and then evaluated by the CNN for their probability of being a melanoma. In addition, the markings were removed by manually cropping the dermoscopic images to focus on the melanocytic lesion. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES Sensitivity, specificity, and area under the curve (AUC) of the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve for the CNN's diagnostic classification in unmarked, marked, and cropped images. RESULTS In all, 130 melanocytic lesions (107 benign nevi and 23 melanomas) were imaged. In unmarked lesions, the CNN achieved a sensitivity of 95.7% (95% CI, 79%-99.2%) and a specificity of 84.1% (95% CI, 76.0%-89.8%). The ROC AUC was 0.969. In marked lesions, an increase in melanoma probability scores was observed that resulted in a sensitivity of 100% (95% CI, 85.7%-100%) and a significantly reduced specificity of 45.8% (95% CI, 36.7%-55.2%, P < .001). The ROC AUC was 0.922. Cropping images led to the highest sensitivity of 100% (95% CI, 85.7%-100%), specificity of 97.2% (95% CI, 92.1%-99.0%), and ROC AUC of 0.993. Heat maps created by vanilla gradient descent backpropagation indicated that the blue markings were associated with the increased false-positive rate. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE This study's findings suggest that skin markings significantly interfered with the CNN's correct diagnosis of nevi by increasing the melanoma probability scores and consequently the false-positive rate. A predominance of skin markings in melanoma training images may have induced the CNN's association of markings with a melanoma diagnosis. Accordingly, these findings suggest that skin markings should be avoided in dermoscopic images intended for analysis by a CNN. TRIAL REGISTRATION German Clinical Trial Register (DRKS) Identifier: DRKS00013570
The monoamines octopamine and tyramine, which are the invertebrate counterparts of epinephrine and norepinephrine, transmit their action through sets of G protein-coupled receptors. Four different octopamine receptors (Oamb, Octß1R, Octß2R, Octß3R) and 3 different tyramine receptors (TyrR, TyrRII, TyrRIII) are present in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. Utilizing the presumptive promoter regions of all 7 octopamine and tyramine receptors, the Gal4/UAS system is utilized to elucidate their complete expression pattern in larvae as well as in adult flies. All these receptors show strong expression in the nervous system but their exact expression patterns vary substantially. Common to all octopamine and tyramine receptors is their expression in mushroom bodies, centers for learning and memory in insects. Outside the central nervous system, the differences in the expression patterns are more conspicuous. However, four of them are present in the tracheal system, where they show different regional preferences within this organ. On the other hand, TyrR appears to be the only receptor present in the heart muscles and TyrRII the only one expressed in oenocytes. Skeletal muscles express octß2R, Oamb and TyrRIII, with octß2R being present in almost all larval muscles. Taken together, this study provides comprehensive information about the sites of expression of all octopamine and tyramine receptors in the fruit fly, thus facilitating future research in the field.
The biogenic monoamine octopamine is essential for ovulation and fertilization in insects. Release of this hormone from neurons in the thoracoabdominal ganglion triggers ovulation and sperm release from the spermathecae. Here we show that the effects of octopamine on ovulation are mediated by at least two different octopamine receptors. In addition to the Oamb receptor that is present in the epithelium of the oviduct, the octß2R receptor is essential for ovulation and fertilization. Octß2R is widely expressed in the female reproductive tract. Most prominent is expression in the oviduct muscle and the spermathecae. Animals deficient in expression of the receptor show a severe egg-laying defect. The corresponding females have a much larger ovary that is caused by egg retention in the ovary. Moreover, the very few laid eggs are not fertilized, indicating problems in the process of sperm delivery. We assume that octß2R acts in a similar way as ß2-adrenoreceptors in smooth muscles, were activation of this receptor induces an increase in cAMP levels that lead to relaxation of the muscle. Taken together, our findings show that octopaminergic control of ovulation and fertilization is more complex than anticipated and that various receptors located in different cells act together to enable a well-orchestrated activity of the female reproductive system in response to copulation.
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