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Ibanez-Alamo J.D.,Campus Universitario Of Fuentenueva | Ibanez-Alamo J.D.,University of Granada | Soler M.,Campus Universitario Of Fuentenueva | Soler M.,University of Granada | Soler M.,Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters
Biological Journal of the Linnean Society | Year: 2010

Urbanization, one of the most extreme land-use alterations, is currently spreading, and the number of species confronting these changes is increasing. However, contradictory results of previous studies impede a clear interpretation of which selective pressure (nest predation or food limitation) is more important in urban habitats compared with natural situations, and whether birds can confront them by adjusting their life-history strategies. We investigated life-history syndromes of three common blackbird (Turdus merula) populations differing in their human influence (urban, rural, and woodland). We analysed daily nest predation and nestling starvation rates to assess the relative importance of these selection pressures in each habitat. Simultaneously, several life-history traits were investigated to determine if T. merula seem adapted to their main source of selection. Food limitation was more important in the city, whereas nest predation was the most important selective force in the forest. The rural habitat was characterized by an intermediate influence of these two factors. Life-history syndromes, as the covariation of a suite of traits, confirmed these results because T. merula seem well adapted to the main cause of selection in each habitat. Our results are consistent with urbanization imposing new challenges on birds, and that they adaptively respond to them. © 2010 The Linnean Society of London.

Gil-Martin L.M.,Campus Universitario Of Fuentenueva | Hernandez-Montes E.,Campus Universitario Of Fuentenueva | Aschheim M.,Santa Clara University
Materials and Structures/Materiaux et Constructions | Year: 2010

The Reinforcement Sizing Diagram (RSD) approach to determining optimal reinforcement for reinforced concrete beam and column sections subjected to uniaxial bending is extended to the case of biaxial bending. Conventional constraints on the distribution of longitudinal reinforcement are relaxed, leading to an infinite number of reinforcement solutions, from which the optimal solution and a corresponding quasi-optimal pragmatic is determined. First, all possibilities of reinforcement arrangements are considered for a biaxial loading, including symmetric and non-symmetric configurations, subject to the constraint that the reinforcement is located in a single layer near the circumference of the section. This theoretical approach establishes the context for obtaining pragmatic distributions of reinforcement that are more suitable for construction, in which distributions having double symmetry are considered. This contrasts with conventional approaches for the design of column reinforcement, in which a predetermined distribution of longitudinal reinforcement is assumed, even though such a distribution generally is non-optimal in any given design. Column and wall sections that are subjected to uniaxial or biaxial loading may be designed using this method. The solutions are displayed using a biaxial RSD and can be obtained with relatively simple algorithms implemented in widely accessible software programs such as Mathematica® and Excel®. Several examples illustrate the method and the savings in reinforcement that can be obtained relative to conventional solutions. © 2009 RILEM.

Perales S.,Campus Universitario Of Fuentenueva | Alejandre M.J.,Campus Universitario Of Fuentenueva | Morales R.P.,Campus Universitario Of Fuentenueva | Torres C.,Campus Universitario Of Fuentenueva | Linares A.,Campus Universitario Of Fuentenueva
Lipids in Health and Disease | Year: 2010

Background: Nutritional control of gene regulation guides the transformation of smooth muscle cells (SMC) into foam cells in atherosclerosis. Oxidative stress has been reported in areas of lipid accumulation, activating proliferation genes. Suppression of oxidative stress by antioxidant administration reduces this activation and the progression of lesions. We hypothesized that fish oil consumption may protect against atherosclerotic vascular disease. The study objective was to determine the effects of dietary cholesterol and fish-oil intake on the apoptotic pathways induced by 25-hydroxycholesterol (25-HC) in SMC cultures. Methods: An in vivo/in vitro cell model was used, culturing SMC isolated from chicks exposed to an atherogenic cholesterol-rich diet with 5% of cholesterol (SMC-Ch) alone or followed by an anti-atherogenic fish oil-rich diet with 10% of menhaden oil (SMC-Ch-FO) and from chicks on standard diet (SMC-C). Cells were exposed to 25-HC, studying apoptosis levels by flow cytometry (Annexin V) and expressions of caspase-3, c-myc, and p53 genes by quantitative real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction. Results: Exposure to 25-HC produced apoptosis in all three SMC cultures, which was mediated by increases in caspase-3, c-myc, and p53 gene expression. Changes were more marked in SMC-Ch than in SMC-C, indicating that dietary cholesterol makes SMC more susceptible to 25-HC-mediated apoptosis. Expression of p53 gene was elevated in SMC-Ch-FO. This supports the proposition that endogenous levels of p53 protect SMC against apoptosis and possibly against the development of atherosclerosis. Fish oil attenuated the increase in c-myc levels observed in SMC-C and SMC-Ch, possibly through its influence on the expression of antioxidant genes. Conclusion: Replacement of a cholesterol-rich diet with a fish oil-rich diet produces some reversal of the cholesterol-induced changes, increasing the resistance of SMC to apoptosis. © 2010 Perales et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

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