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Alonso-Alvarez C.,Institute Investigacion en Recursos Cinegeticos | Galvan I.,CSIC - National Museum of Natural Sciences | Galvan I.,University Paris - Sud
PLoS ONE | Year: 2011

Oxidative stress could be a key selective force shaping the expression of colored traits produced by the primary animal pigments in integuments: carotenoids and melanins. However, the impact of oxidative stress on melanic ornaments has only recently been explored, whereas its role in the expression of carotenoid-based traits is not fully understood. An interesting study case is that of those animal species simultaneously expressing both kinds of ornaments, such as the red-legged partridge (Alectoris rufa). In this bird, individuals exposed to an exogenous source of free radicals (diquat) during their development produced larger eumelanin-based (black) plumage traits than controls. Here, we show that the same red-legged partridges exposed to diquat simultaneously developed paler carotenoid-based ornaments (red beak and eye rings), and carried lower circulating carotenoid levels as well as lower levels of some lipids involved in carotenoid transport in the bloodstream (i.e., cholesterol). Moreover, partridges treated with a hormone that stimulates eumelanin production (i.e., alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone) also increased blood carotenoid levels, but this effect was not mirrored in the expression of carotenoid-based traits. The redness of carotenoid-based ornaments and the size of a conspicuous eumelanic trait (the black bib) were negatively correlated in control birds, suggesting a physiological trade-off during development. These findings contradict recent studies questioning the sensitivity of carotenoids to oxidative stress. Nonetheless, the impact of free radicals on plasma carotenoids seems to be partially mediated by changes in cholesterol metabolism, and not by direct carotenoid destruction/consumption. The results highlight the capacity of oxidative stress to create multiple phenotypes during development through differential effects on carotenoids and melanins, raising questions about evolutionary constraints involved in the production of multiple ornaments by the same organism. © 2011 Alonso-Alvarez, Galván.


Estrada-Pena A.,University of Zaragoza | Ayllon N.,Institute Investigacion en Recursos Cinegeticos | de la Fuente J.,Institute Investigacion en Recursos Cinegeticos | de la Fuente J.,Oklahoma State University
Frontiers in Physiology | Year: 2012

Recent advances in climate research together with a better understanding of tick-pathogen interactions, the distribution of ticks and the diagnosis of tick-borne pathogens raise questions about the impact of environmental factors on tick abundance and spread and the prevalence and transmission of tick-borne pathogens. While undoubtedly climate plays a role in the changes in distribution and seasonal abundance of ticks, it is always difficult to disentangle factors impacting on the abundance of tick hosts from those exerted by human habits. All together, climate, host abundance, and social factors may explain the upsurge of epidemics transmitted by ticks to humans. Herein we focused on tick-borne pathogens that affect humans with epidemic potential. Borrelia burgdorferi s.l. (Lyme disease), Anaplasma phagocytophilum (human granulocytic anaplasmosis), and tick-borne encephalitis virus (tick-borne encephalitis) are transmitted by Ixodes spp. Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus (Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever) is transmitted by Hyalomma spp. In this review, we discussed how vector tick species occupy the habitat as a function of different climatic factors, and how these factors impact on tick survival and seasonality. How molecular events at the tick-pathogen interface impact on pathogen transmission is also discussed. Results from statistically and biologically derived models are compared to show that while statistical models are able to outline basic information about tick distributions, biologically derived models are necessary to evaluate pathogen transmission rates and understand the effect of climatic variables and host abundance patterns on pathogen transmission. The results of these studies could be used to build early alert systems able to identify the main factors driving the subtle changes in tick distribution and seasonality and the prevalence of tick-borne pathogens. © 2012 Estrada-Peña, Ayllón and de la Fuente.


Ruiz-Fons F.,Institute Investigacion en Recursos Cinegeticos | Ferroglio E.,University of Turin | Gortazar C.,Institute Investigacion en Recursos Cinegeticos
Eurosurveillance | Year: 2013

Iberian hares (Lepus granatensis) were recently deemed responsible for an outbreak of human leishmaniasis affecting metropolitan Madrid, Spain. However, the reservoir potential of hares in Europe is poorly known. We report a retrospective survey on Leishmania infantum, the causal agent of zoonotic endemic leishmaniasis in the Mediterranean basin, infection status of Iberian, European (Le. europaeus) and Broom (Le. castroviejoi) hares in Spain. Spleen samples from 94 hares were tested by polymerase chain reaction. Sequencing and restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) assays were performed on positive samples and RFLP patterns compared with those of strains reported in the scientific literature. DNA prevalence in hare spleen samples was 43.6% (95% confidence interval: 33.6-53.6). In all six regions studied at least one positive sample was found. RFLP revealed existence of specific hare strains of L. infantum differing from those reported in wild carnivores in Spain. The widespread presence of L. infantum in the most abundant Spanish hare species and the recent evidence of the ability of naturally infected hares to transmit the pathogen to Phlebotomus perniciosus, its main vector in the western Mediterranean, suggest that hares may have an unexpected role in the epidemiology of L. infantum in Spain.


de la Lastra J.M.,Institute Investigacion en Recursos Cinegeticos
Recent patents on anti-infective drug discovery | Year: 2014

Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are key players in innate immunity. They are able to sense different microorganisms ranging from protozoa to bacteria, fungi or viruses. Innate immune responses can directly influence adaptive immune responses. Therefore, TLRs are considered as relevant targets for therapeutic applications in immune diseases: such as autoimmune disorders, allergy, sepsis, and cancer. We here review the recent patents based on the modulation of the toll-like receptors to develop anti-infective (prophylactic and/or therapeutic) agents.


Ortego J.,CSIC - National Museum of Natural Sciences | Aguirre M.P.,Institute Investigacion en Recursos Cinegeticos | Cordero P.J.,Institute Investigacion en Recursos Cinegeticos
Molecular Ecology | Year: 2010

The genetic consequences of population fragmentation and isolation are major issues in conservation biology. In this study we analyse the genetic variability and structure of the Iberian populations of Mioscirtus wagneri, a specialized grasshopper exclusively inhabiting highly fragmented hypersaline low grounds. For this purpose we have used seven species-specific microsatellite markers to type 478 individuals from 24 localities and obtain accurate estimates of their genetic variability. Genetic diversity was relatively low and we detected genetic signatures suggesting that certain populations of M. wagneri have probably passed through severe demographic bottlenecks. We have found that the populations of this grasshopper show a strong genetic structure even at small geographical scales, indicating that they mostly behave as isolated populations with low levels of gene flow among them. Thus, several populations can be regarded as independent and genetically differentiated units which require adequate conservation strategies to avoid eventual extinctions that in highly isolated localities are not likely to be compensated for with the arrival of immigrants from neighbouring populations. Overall, our results show that these populations probably represent the 'fragments' of a formerly more widespread population and highlight the importance of protecting Iberian hypersaline environments due to the high number of rare and endangered species they sustain. © 2009 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


Diaz-Fernandez S.,Institute Investigacion en Recursos Cinegeticos | Vinuela J.,Institute Investigacion en Recursos Cinegeticos | Arroyo B.,Institute Investigacion en Recursos Cinegeticos
Journal of Wildlife Management | Year: 2012

A basic rule to attain sustainable use of harvested resources is to adjust take to availability. Populations of red-legged partridges in Spain have decreased in recent decades, and releases of farm-bred partridges to improve short-term availability are increasingly common. We used questionnaires and bird surveys to assess whether harvest was related to availability of wild partridges or intensity of farm-bred partridge releases. We studied 50 hunting estates, including 6 administratively labeled as intensive (with few numerical and temporal restrictions to releases). In addition, we considered hunting pressure (number of huntersá - hunting days/km 2) and habitat as explanatory variables in the analyses. In intensive estates, annual harvest was exclusively related to release intensity, indicating that in these estates hunting is detached from natural resources and approaches an industrial activity based on external inputs. In non-intensive estates, harvest was affected by wild stock availability, walked-up shooting pressure, and habitat (greater harvest in estates with more Mediterranean shrubland). In these estates, releases did not increase annual harvest, and can be considered an inefficient practice. Additionally, the relationship between abundance estimates and harvest disappeared in estates with low partridge abundance estimates, suggesting possibilities for overharvesting in a large proportion of estates. Increasing the abundance of wild red-legged partridge through techniques like habitat management, and improving the adjustment of harvest to availability, may be a good strategy to increase long-term harvest in non-intensive estates. Additionally, Government and managers must create ways to segregate and label the estates where only wild red-legged partridges are managed from those where releases are used, to reduce ecological costs of management decisions. © 2012 The Wildlife Society. Copyright © The Wildlife Society, 2012.


Ortego J.,CSIC - National Museum of Natural Sciences | Bonal R.,Institute Investigacion en Recursos Cinegeticos
Plant Biology | Year: 2010

Hybridisation between species of the genus Quercus is a common phenomenon as a result of weak reproductive isolation mechanisms between phylogenetically close species that frequently co-occur in mixed stands. In this study, we use microsatellite markers to analyse introgression between kermes (. Quercus coccifera L.) and holm (. Q. ilex L.) oak, two closely related taxa that frequently dominate the landscape in extensive areas in the Mediterranean region. All tested microsatellites amplified and were polymorphic in both kermes and holm oaks. Bayesian admixture analyses showed a good correspondence between each species and one of the two inferred genetic clusters. Five sampled individuals were a priori tentatively identified as hybrids on the basis of intermediate morphological characteristics, and it was confirmed that they also presented mixed genotypes. However, we also detected different levels of genetic introgression among morphologically pure individuals, suggesting that successful backcrossing and/or reduced phenotypic expression of genetic variance in certain individuals may have resulted in strong convergence towards a single species phenotype. © 2009 German Botanical Society and The Royal Botanical Society of the Netherlands.


Rodriguez-Estival J.,Institute Investigacion en Recursos Cinegeticos | Barasona J.A.,Institute Investigacion en Recursos Cinegeticos | Mateo R.,Institute Investigacion en Recursos Cinegeticos
Environmental Pollution | Year: 2012

The effects of Pb pollution on cattle and sheep raised in an ancient mining area were studied through the use of blood Pb (PbB) levels and δ-aminolevulinic acid dehydratase (δ-ALAD) activity. Lead levels in livestock blood from the mining area (n = 110) were significantly elevated when compared to the controls (n = 79). In 91.4% of cattle (n = 58) and 13.5% of sheep (n = 52) sampled in the mining area, PbB levels corresponded to subclinical exposure (6-35 μg/dl). Two young cattle (<2 years) from the mining area (n = 5) had PbB levels indicative of clinical poisoning (>35 μg/dl). Elevated PbB was also accompanied by δ-ALAD activity inhibition in blood, which confirms that measurable effects of Pb poisoning were taking place. Observed PbB levels suggest that a potential risk to human consumers of beef from the Pb polluted areas may also exist, as has been shown previously for game meat from the same mining area. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Sanchez-Barbudo I.S.,Institute Investigacion en Recursos Cinegeticos | Camarero P.R.,Institute Investigacion en Recursos Cinegeticos | Mateo R.,Institute Investigacion en Recursos Cinegeticos
Science of the Total Environment | Year: 2012

Anticoagulant rodenticide (AR) levels were studied in liver of 401 wild and domestic animals found dead in Spain with evidences of AR poisoning, including 2 species of reptiles (n = 2), 42 species of birds (n = 271) and 18 species of mammals (n = 128). Baits (n = 32) were also analyzed to detect the potential use of ARs in their intentional preparation to kill predators. AR residues were detected in 155 (38.7%) of the studied animals and 140 (34.9%) may have died by AR poisoning according to the clinical information, necropsy findings, residue levels and results of other toxicological analysis. Animals considered with sublethal AR exposure had total AR residues (geometric mean with 95% CI) in liver of 0.005 (0.003-0.007) μg/g wet weight (w.w.) and animals diagnosed as dead by AR poisoning had 0.706 (0.473-1.054) μg/g w.w. ARs were detected in 19% of baits illegally prepared to kill predators. In terms of the total incidents studied in our laboratory between 2005 and 2010 (n = 1792 animals), confirmed poisonings represented 40.9% of the cases, and 21.1% of these were due to ARs (8.6% of the total sample). Nocturnal raptors (62%) and carnivorous mammals (38%) were amongst the secondary consumers with highest prevalence of AR exposure, especially to second generation ARs (SGARs). On the other hand, granivorous birds showed the highest prevalence of AR exposure (51%), especially to chlorophacinone in a region treated against a vole population peak in 2007. The presence of hemorrhages was significantly associated with AR levels in liver, but some animals (7.2%) with elevated residue levels (> 0.2 μg/g w.w.) showed no evidence of macroscopic bleeding. The use of accumulative SGARs and the application of baits on surface (i.e. treated grain by spreader machines) should be discontinued in future EU regulations on the use of rodenticides to prevent the poisoning of non-target wildlife species. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.


Ruiz-Fons F.,Institute Investigacion en Recursos Cinegeticos
Euro surveillance : bulletin Européen sur les maladies transmissibles = European communicable disease bulletin | Year: 2013

Iberian hares (Lepus granatensis) were recently deemed responsible for an outbreak of human leishmaniasis affecting metropolitan Madrid, Spain. However, the reservoir potential of hares in Europe is poorly known. We report a retrospective survey on Leishmania infantum, the causal agent of zoonotic endemic leishmaniasis in the Mediterranean basin, infection status of Iberian, European (Le. europaeus) and Broom (Le. castroviejoi) hares in Spain. Spleen samples from 94 hares were tested by polymerase chain reaction. Sequencing and restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) assays were performed on positive samples and RFLP patterns compared with those of strains reported in the scientific literature. DNA prevalence in hare spleen samples was 43.6% (95% confidence interval: 33.6-53.6). In all six regions studied at least one positive sample was found. RFLP revealed existence of specific hare strains of L. infantum differing from those reported in wild carnivores in Spain. The widespread presence of L. infantum in the most abundant Spanish hare species and the recent evidence of the ability of naturally infected hares to transmit the pathogen to Phlebotomus perniciosus, its main vector in the western Mediterranean, suggest that hares may have an unexpected role in the epidemiology of L. infantum in Spain.

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