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News Article | November 10, 2016
Site: www.eurekalert.org

It has been known for some time that the extracts of the Cannabis plant, just like synthetic cannabinoids and those produced by the brain itself, join up with type 1 (CB1) cannabinoid receptors located in the nerve endings of the neurons, and inhibit the release of chemical messengers (neurotransmitters) in the communication areas between the nerve cells. The knowledge about the way cannabinoids work has been expanded in recent years when it was shown that the CB1 receptor is also located in and functions in the mitochondria of the neurons; mitochondria are the organelles responsible for producing cell energy. A new piece of research, which has been published in the online version of the journal Nature, has now gone a step further on discovering that the amnesia caused by cannabinoids needs the activation of the CB1 cannabinoid receptors located in the mitochondria of the hippocampus, the brain structure involved in memory formation. To obtain the results of this research, led by Dr Giovanni Marsicano of the University of Bordeaux, the contribution of the following doctors was crucial: Nagore Puente, Leire Reguero, Izaskun Elezgarai and Pedro Grandes; they are neuroscientists in the Department of Neurosciences of the UPV/EHU's Faculty of Medicine and Nursing and of the Achucarro Basque Center for Neuroscience and they also participated in a previous discovery about the location and functioning of the CB1 receptor in the mitochondria. In this new piece of research, the researchers used a broad range of cutting-edge experimental techniques and saw that the genetic elimination of the CB1 receptor from the mitochondria of the hippocampus prevents memory loss, the reduction in mitochondrial movement and the decrease in neural communication induced by the cannabinoids. This research also revealed that the amnesia caused by cannabinoids and the related cell processes are linked to an acute alteration in bioenergetic mitochondrial activity owing to the direct activation of the CB1 receptors in the mitrochondria. This activation leads to the inhibiting of the cannabinoid signalling cascade inside the mitochondria and cell respiration diminishes as a result. This reduction in cell respiration through cannabinoids is not restricted to the brain as a similar phenomenon occurs in skeletal and cardiac muscle, as has recently been published in another piece of research by the group of Dr Grandes. "Mitochondrial malfunctioning could have serious consequences for the brain. For example, chronic mitochondrial dysfunction is involved in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases, strokes or disorders associated with ageing. However, the involvement of the acute variation in mitochondrial activity in higher brain functions, such as memory, was unknown," pointed out Dr Grandes. So this research has revealed that the CB1 cannabinoid receptors in the mitochondria regulate the memory processes by modulating mitochondrial energy metabolism. Furthermore, although cannabinoid by-products have a well-known therapeutic potential, their use is limited by the significant adverse effects that emerge when acting on CB1 receptors, including memory loss. The results of this research suggest that "a selective intervention on specific CB1 cannabinoid receptors located in the brain in certain specific neurone compartments could be of interest with a view to developing new therapeutic tools based on the most effective and safest cannabinoids in the treatment of certain brain diseases," explained Dr Grandes. "This research is the result of 6 years' work in which 28 researchers have participated. In our case it would not have been possible without the funding received from the UPV/EHU, the Basque Government and Spanish institutions, which have placed their trust in us even during these years of tremendous cutbacks for research; this is something I recognise and which I am grateful for," concluded Pedro Grandes. Pedro Grandes has recently been Visiting Professor at the University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, where he has been doing research work and teaching students of medicine and post-graduate students.


Aranburu A.,University of the Basque Country | Arriolabengoa M.,University of the Basque Country | Iriarte E.,ARANZADI Geo Q Zentroa | Iriarte E.,University of Burgos | And 6 more authors.
Quaternary International | Year: 2015

The western Pyrenean area contains extensive karst areas, however, their genesis and development are still mostly unknown. In this work, we make a general description of the karst landscape in different karst areas: 1) Rasa type; 2) Cone-type karst; and 3) Alpine-type karst. The first two types are present in the littoral area, where geomorphological evolution mostly depends on sea level and climatic changes. We focused our study in two karst areas of the littoral cone-type karst. We correlate different caves created from different stable water table levels. Three representative caves are studied in detail, studying their stratigraphic record based on allostratigraphy. Finally we dated the different phases of speleothem formation in the three caves. Using all this information, we defined four stable paleowater table levels, at 50, 150, 220 and 350masl, controlled by sea level changes and isostatic uplift events. The lowest level is the youngest, with an age of c. 1Ma. We discovered that the interior of the three caves display very similar endokarst allostratigraphic sequences, characterized firstly by an erosion phase, a fluvio-karst input, flowstone speleothem formation and finally dripping speleothem formation. The chronological data shows a correlation between these phases and Pleistocene climatic phases; the erosion phase is related to the falling sea level, fluviokarst detrital input is related to cold (glacial) stages and the formation of speleothems is related to the warmest (interglacial) moments and high sea level periods. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA.


News Article | December 14, 2016
Site: www.eurekalert.org

While most long-fingered bats eat only insects, they may all be instinctively able to also catch fish, according to a study published December 14, 2016 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Ostaizka Aizpurua and colleagues from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark and the University of the Basque Country, Spain. Many animals adapt their diets when their environment changes and new food sources become available. Long-fingered bats (Myotis capaccinii) are generally thought to consume only insects, but previous studies found some individuals that ate fish. To investigate the origins of fishing behavior in long-fingered bats, Aizpurua and colleagues conducted a field study in the Valencia, Western Spain, comparing a community of long-fingered bats known to eat fish at a golf course pond near Dénia, with a community of strictly insectivorous bats at a stream pool near Ròtova. The researchers compared the bats' reactions to insect-like (stationary) and fish-like (moving) prey targets between the two communities. Both fish-eating and insectivorous long-fingered bat communities could attack moving fish-like targets, and made deeper, longer dips when targets were submerged underwater compared to stationary fish-like targets. However, the difference in the two modes of attack was exaggerated in the bats used to eating fish, suggesting that these bats had previously honed their technique to improve their chances of catching a fish. The researchers' results suggest that the fishing technique developed when fish prey became available came from a primary hunting reaction shared by all long-fingered bats. All individuals seem adapted to be capable of detecting and capturing fish, although under appropriate environmental conditions, they may be able to improve their technique by experience and/or social learning. Further research could explore how long it takes for long-fingered bats to improve their fishing techniques, which may provide new insight into mammalian learning processes. In your coverage please use this URL to provide access to the freely available paper: http://journals. Citation: Aizpurua O, Alberdi A, Aihartza J, Garin I (2016) Fishing Technique of Long-Fingered Bats Was Developed from a Primary Reaction to Disappearing Target Stimuli. PLoS ONE 11(12): e0167164. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0167164 Funding: This study was part of the Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación (MICINN) project CGL2009-12393. The University of The Basque Country (UPV/EHU) (INF09/15) and the Basque Government (IT385-07 and IT301-10) funded this study and provided grant support to O.A. and A.A. (BFI-2009-252, BFI-2010-190, Doktore berriak eta Ikertzaile doktoreak espezializatzeko kontratatzeko laguntzak). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.


News Article | November 10, 2016
Site: www.eurekalert.org

The atmosphere of the planet Saturn, a gas giant ten times bigger than the Earth consisting mostly of hydrogen, has a wider, more intense jet stream than all the planets in the Solar System. Winds gusting at speeds of up to 1,650 km/h blow from West to East in the equatorial atmosphere, thirteen times the strength of the most destructive hurricane force winds that form on the Earth's equator. This huge jet stream also extends about 70,000 km from north to south, more than five times the size of our planet. There is as yet no theory capable of explaining the nature of this stream nor the sources of energy feeding it. Back in 2003 the same team warned in an article published in Nature of the drastic reduction in winds on the cloud level with respect to what had been observed when the Voyager space probes visited the planet. "In June last year, using a simple 28-cm telescope belonging to the Aula EspaZio Gela (Space Lecture Room), we discovered the presence of a white spot on Saturn's equator that was moving at speeds of 1,600 km/h, a speed that had not been observed on Saturn since 1980," said Agustín Sánchez-Lavega, lead author of the work and also director of the Aula EspaZio Gela and Planetary Sciences Group of the UPV/EHU-University of the Basque Country. Observations obtained a month later by members of the Planetary Sciences Group using the PlanetCam camera developed by this team and fitted to the 2.2-m telescope at the Calar Alto Observatory in Almería (Spain) enabled the speed of this atmospheric structure to be confirmed. Images obtained by observers in other countries using small telescopes were also used in the study. The researchers were able to study the phenomenon in detail after obtaining observation time of the Hubble Space Telescope granted by its director in order to capture images of Saturn at a time when the Cassini probe in orbit around it had poor vision of the planet. "It is very difficult to obtain observation time in Hubble because it is highly competitive, but its high quality images have been decisive in the research," explained Sánchez-Lavega. By studying the movement of the clouds that formed the white spot (an enormous storm of about 7,000 km) and of those present in its surrounding areas, the researchers were able to obtain new, valuable information about the structure of the planet's huge equatorial jet stream. Furthermore, the researchers established the heights reached by the different atmospheric structures and determined that the winds increase dramatically the lower they go. They reach speeds of 1,100 km/h in the upper atmosphere but achieve up to 1,650 km/h at a depth of about 150 km. Furthermore, while the deep wind is stable, in the upper atmosphere the speed and width of the equatorial stream are highly changeable, perhaps due to the seasonal insolation cycle on Saturn, and their intensity is increased by the changing shadowing of the rings above the equator. There is another significant meteorological phenomenon above the planet's equator and which could affect the winds: the Semi-annual Oscillation (SAO), which occurs about 50 km above the cloud deck and which causes the temperatures to oscillate and the winds to change direction and strength from East to West. And if the complexity of Saturn's equatorial meteorology were not enough, it is at these latitudes where the so-called Great White Spot developed three times, in 1876, 1933 and 1990; this is a gigantic storm that manages to go all the way round the planet and which has only been seen on six occasions during the last one hundred and fifty years. The study by the Planetary Sciences Group reports that this gigantic storm is another of the agents of change in the equatorial jet stream. "All these phenomena occur on a different scale to a certain extent on our own planet. So by studying them in this way in other worlds in totally different conditions we can make progress in understanding and modelling them," he concluded. The Aula EspaZio Gela and its Astronomical Observatory are located in the Faculty of Engineering in Bilbao and that is where the Master's in Space Science and Technology is run. The activities of the Aula EspaZio Gela are funded by the Chartered Provincial Council of Bizkaia and those of the Planetary Sciences Group and its research by the UPV/EHU (UFI), Basque Government, MINECO and the European Union (H2020). A. Sanchez-Lavega, E. García-Melendo, S. Perez-Hoyos, R. Hueso, M. H. Wong, A. Simon, J. F. Sanz-Requena, A. Antuñano, N. Barrado-Izagirre, I. Garate-Lopez, J. F. Rojas, T. del Rio Gaztelurrutia, J. M. Gómez-Forrellad, I. de Pater, L. Li, T. Barry "An Enduring rapidly moving storm as a guide to Saturn's equatorial jet complex structure", Nature Communications, 10.1038/NCOMMS13262.


News Article | November 10, 2016
Site: www.chromatographytechniques.com

It has been known for some time that the extracts of the Cannabis plant, just like synthetic cannabinoids and those produced by the brain itself, join up with type 1 (CB1) cannabinoid receptors located in the nerve endings of the neurons, and inhibit the release of chemical messengers (neurotransmitters) in the communication areas between the nerve cells. The knowledge about the way cannabinoids work has been expanded in recent years when it was shown that the CB1 receptor is also located in and functions in the mitochondria of the neurons. A new piece of research, which has been published in the online version of the journal Nature, has now gone a step further on discovering that the amnesia caused by cannabinoids needs the activation of the CB1 cannabinoid receptors located in the mitochondria of the hippocampus, the brain structure involved in memory formation. To obtain the results of this research, led by Giovanni Marsicano of the University of Bordeaux, the contribution of the following doctors was crucial--Nagore Puente, Leire Reguero, Izaskun Elezgarai and Pedro Grandes -- neuroscientists in the Department of Neurosciences of the UPV/EHU's Faculty of Medicine and Nursing and of the Achucarro Basque Center for Neuroscience. They also participated in a previous discovery about the location and functioning of the CB1 receptor in the mitochondria. In this new piece of research, the researchers used a broad range of cutting-edge experimental techniques and saw that the genetic elimination of the CB1 receptor from the mitochondria of the hippocampus prevents memory loss, the reduction in mitochondrial movement and the decrease in neural communication induced by the cannabinoids. This research also revealed that the amnesia caused by cannabinoids and the related cell processes are linked to an acute alteration in bioenergetic mitochondrial activity owing to the direct activation of the CB1 receptors in the mitrochondria. This activation leads to the inhibiting of the cannabinoid signaling cascade inside the mitochondria and cell respiration diminishes as a result. This reduction in cell respiration through cannabinoids is not restricted to the brain as a similar phenomenon occurs in skeletal and cardiac muscle, as has recently been published in another piece of research by the group of Grandes. "Mitochondrial malfunctioning could have serious consequences for the brain. For example, chronic mitochondrial dysfunction is involved in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases, strokes or disorders associated with ageing. However, the involvement of the acute variation in mitochondrial activity in higher brain functions, such as memory, was unknown," explained Grandes. So this research has revealed that the CB1 cannabinoid receptors in the mitochondria regulate the memory processes by modulating mitochondrial energy metabolism. Furthermore, although cannabinoid by-products have a well-known therapeutic potential, their use is limited by the significant adverse effects that emerge when acting on CB1 receptors, including memory loss. The results of this research suggest that "a selective intervention on specific CB1 cannabinoid receptors located in the brain in certain specific neurone compartments could be of interest with a view to developing new therapeutic tools based on the most effective and safest cannabinoids in the treatment of certain brain diseases," said Grandes. "This research is the result of six years' work, in which 28 researchers have participated. In our case it would not have been possible without the funding received from the UPV/EHU, the Basque Government and Spanish institutions, which have placed their trust in us even during these years of tremendous cutbacks for research; this is something I recognize and which I am grateful for," concluded Grandes.

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