Endocrinology Laboratory

Hannover, Germany

Endocrinology Laboratory

Hannover, Germany
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News Article | January 6, 2016
Site: phys.org

PhD student in UQ's School of Agriculture and Food Science (SAFS) Alyce Swinbourne is tickling the rumps of sleepy female southern hairy-nosed wombats as a prelude to collecting their wombat wee into a tiny frypan. "People need to go when they wake up, and so do wombats," Alyce said. "This study uses knowledge of wombats' natural behaviour to collect urine samples in a non-invasive way with little stress to them. I simply pull out the frypan by the handle when they're finished." Alyce's classical conditioning methods have enabled her to collect close to 2500 urine samples —an approach believed to have never before attempted in a marsupial. The research has a serious purpose. Wombats have proved a notoriously difficult species for which to develop assisted breeding techniques (artificial insemination) in captive management. While she is working with the southern species, found widely in southern Australia, she hopes the work ultimately will assist in developing breeding programs to conserve their northern cousins—among the rarest land animals in the world. There are only 200 known northern hairy-nosed wombats in the wild, most at Epping Forest National Park near Clermont, Central Queensland. Floods in 2001 led to the translocation of a smaller "insurance" population in case of further natural disasters at the first site. "If we want to ensure their future, we need to develop assisted reproductive technologies to help in their recovery in reserve areas in the wild and this is where the scientific development of breeding programs comes in, based on better understanding of the animals' biology," she said. Alyce has worked with wombats over two breeding seasons at Safe Haven - AACE (Australian Animals Care and Education) sanctuary for Australian wildlife in Mt Larcom, Central Queensland. Associate Professor Steve Johnston and Dr Tamara Keeley of UQ's SAFS are supervising her research, and samples are being analysed at the Wildlife Endocrinology Laboratory at UQ's Gatton campus. Alyce is working with Dr Keeley and Associate Professor Johnston to develop new diagnostic techniques to analyse reproductive hormones. She is also observing wombat behaviour using infrared cameras, for six hours a day, for up to nine months, to gain a better understanding of the breeding behaviour. Professor Clive Phillips, Director of UQ's Centre for Welfare and Ethics is also providing expert advice. "I hope that the skills developed in this project will be transferable to other Australian marsupial species, such as koalas and gliders," Alyce said. Now living in Adelaide where her husband, Mike, is also undertaking a PhD, Alyce said she had had "a ball" during her studies, although it was financially quite challenging. During her studies she has been a finalist in UQ's Three Minute Thesis competition, attended a Reproduction conference in South Australia, a wildlife conference in Hobart and was awarded a SAFS Travel Scholarship to present her findings in Germany in August, 2016.


Molinari E.,Livet S.r.l. | Molinari E.,University of Turin | Mirabelli M.,Endocrinology Laboratory | Raimondo S.,University of Turin | And 5 more authors.
Reproductive BioMedicine Online | Year: 2013

This paper reports a case of recurrent miscarriage in a patient affected by a variant phenotype of sperm macrocephaly syndrome (SMS). SMS is usually related to specific sperm characteristics (large head, multiple tail) and homozygous mutations in the aurora kinase C gene (AURKC). However, the present case observed large-headed spermatozoa with no flagellar abnormalities and no mutations detectable by AURKC sequencing. Furthermore, the patient had repeatedly conceived by intracytoplasmic sperm injection, but pregnancy always aborted. This study performed morphological analysis (Papanicolau staining), annexin V/propidium iodide staining, sperm chromatin structure assay (SCSA), fluorescence in-situ hybridization (FISH) and transmission electron microscopy. This study observed large-headed, mono-tailed, mono-centriolar spermatozoa characterized by abnormal chromatin and swollen mitochondria. SCSA revealed a high ratio of late apoptotic cells with fairly intact amount of DNA. The FISH analysis showed 100% disomy rate. As far as is known, this is the first study to include gene sequencing, TEM, cytogenetic analysis and sperm DNA fragmentation in a case of SMS and also to report recurrent miscarriage related to this specific condition. SMS may be associated with important abnormalities of the sperm subcellular structure and with disomy even in the absence of mutations in the AURKC coding sequence. Sperm macrocephaly syndrome (SMS) is a rare condition that affects spermatozoa and is related to infertility. It is characterized by a specific phenotype of large-headed, multi-tailed spermatozoa with an abnormal chromosomal status. A very few pregnancies have been obtained so far in SMS patients by means of IVF procedures. We present a case of SMS that differs from the classical syndrome as we observed large-headed spermatozoa without tail abnormalities. The affected patient had achieved three pregnancies following IVF, but all aborted. We carried out a detailed examination of the patient's spermatozoa-morphological, cytogenetic, DNA fragmentation and ultrastructural analysis-and we observed that his spermatozoa are characterized by a large head whose texture appears apoptotic, a single tail and a midpiece whose mitochondria appear swollen. The DNA content within the spermatozoa was altered, as well as the chromosomal status, suggesting that some error must have occurred during spermatogenesis. Interestingly, the genetic sequencing of the specific gene usually related to SMS syndrome (AURKC) revealed no mutations in our patient, suggesting that other genes may be involved in determining this syndrome. As far as is known, this is the first study in which spermatozoa of a SMS patient have been observed using morphological analysis, ultrastructural analysis, cytogenetic analysis and sperm DNA fragmentation analysis together. Moreover, it is believed that this is first report of recurrent miscarriage due to this specific syndrome. © 2012, Reproductive Healthcare Ltd. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Schindewolffs L.,University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover | Dierks C.,Institute for Animal Breeding and Genetics | Heppelmann M.,Endocrinology Laboratory | Gahle M.,University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover | And 4 more authors.
Systems Biology in Reproductive Medicine | Year: 2015

Yolk sac tumors are testicular germ-cell tumors of the non-seminoma type. In cattle, this neoplasm is very rare and to date has only been described three times. In human males, it usually occurs in infants and children. Immunohistochemistry provides solid criteria for diagnostics. Especially present pathognomonic Schiller-Duval bodies are helpful for identification. In this report, a 32-day-old Holstein Friesian calf presented with a highly enlarged right testis. Sonographic examination was performed and blood samples were taken to measure testosterone and estrogen levels. Furthermore, the testis was surgically removed and macroscopically, histologically, and immunohistochemically examined which lead to the diagnosis of testicular yolk sac tumor. The second testis was descended until the age of nine months and histology revealed impaired spermatogenesis. This report provides the first sonographic images of bovine testicular yolk sac tumor as well as the first information about hormone levels in calves with this neoplasm. It also shows the importance to combine anamnesis, histomorphological, and immunohistochemical findings in order to diagnose yolk sac tumors when pathognomonic structures are not present. © 2015 Taylor & Francis.


Martin S.,Carol Davila University of Medicine and Pharmacy | Martin S.,Gheorghe Mihoc Caius Iacob Institute of Mathematics Statistics and Applied Mathematics of the Romanian Academy | Sirbu A.,Carol Davila University of Medicine and Pharmacy | Sirbu A.,Gheorghe Mihoc Caius Iacob Institute of Mathematics Statistics and Applied Mathematics of the Romanian Academy | And 8 more authors.
Acta Endocrinologica | Year: 2013

Context. In medically treated Graves' disease (GD) patients, prolonged low serum TSH levels represent an independent risk factor for relapse. The predictors of this prolonged TSH suppression are still debatable. Objectives. The primary endpoint of this study was to identify predictors of the time to TSH recovery (TTR), in GD patients, at diagnosis and during ATDs treatment. The secondary endpoint was to compare the TTR between patients with GD and autonomous hyperthyroidism. Subjects and Methods. We retrospectively analyzed 109 newly diagnosed hyperthyroid patients (90 with GD and 19 with autonomous hyperthyroidism), consecutively evaluated in a tertiary center. The main features recorded were: TSH and thyroid hormone levels at diagnosis and follow-up visits, the TTR and the mean dose of ATDs/day. Results. There was no significant difference regarding the TTR between patients with GD and autonomous hyperthyroidism. In GD patients, age at diagnosis, gender, goiter size, smoking status, thyroid antibody titers and ophtalmopathy presence did not seem to influence the TTR. GD patients with higher FT3, TT3 at diagnosis and higher TT3 at the first visit after ATDs administration (V1) needed longer TTR, after adjusting for the mean dose of ATDs/day. FT3 at diagnosis and TT3 at V1 are significant predictors for the TTR in GD patients. Conclusions. The time to TSH recovery was not significantly different between patients with GD and autonomous hyperthyroidism. In GD patients, the time to TSH recovery is longer in patients with more severe T3 hyperthyroidism at diagnosis and at the first visit after ATDs administration.

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