Publications by authors named "M S Akins"

67 Publications

Stress Regulation of Sustained Attention and the Cholinergic Attention System.

Biol Psychiatry 2020 10 28;88(7):566-575. Epub 2020 Apr 28.

Department of Psychology and Neuroscience Program, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Electronic address:

Background: Stress exacerbates symptoms of schizophrenia and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, which are characterized by impairments in sustained attention. Yet how stress regulates attention remains largely unexplored. We investigated whether a 6-day variable stressor altered sustained attention and the cholinergic attention system in male and female rats.

Methods: Sustained attention was tested with the sustained attention task. Successful performance on the sustained attention task relies on the release of acetylcholine (ACh) into the cortex from cholinergic neurons in the nucleus basalis of Meynert (NBM). Thus, we evaluated whether variable stress (VS) altered the morphology of these neurons with a novel approach using a Cre-dependent virus in genetically modified ChAT::Cre rats, a species used for this manipulation only. Next, electrochemical recordings measured cortical ACh following VS. Finally, we used RNA sequencing to identify VS-induced transcriptional changes in the NBM.

Results: VS impaired attentional performance in the sustained attention task and increased the dendritic complexity of NBM cholinergic neurons in both sexes. NBM cholinergic neurons are mainly under inhibitory control, so this morphological change could increase inhibition on these neurons, reducing downstream ACh release to impair attention. Indeed, VS decreased ACh release in the prefrontal cortex of male rats. Quantification of global transcriptional changes revealed that although VS induced many sex-specific changes in gene expression, it increased several signaling molecules in both sexes.

Conclusions: These studies suggest that VS impairs attention by inducing molecular and morphological changes in the NBM. Identifying mechanisms by which stress regulates attention may guide the development of novel treatments for psychiatric disorders with attention deficits.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsych.2020.04.013DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7487022PMC
October 2020

Effects of feedbunk restrictions and push-up frequency on the growth performance of Holstein dairy heifers offered a forage-based diet with a limit-feeding strategy.

J Dairy Sci 2020 Aug 3;103(8):7000-7008. Epub 2020 Jun 3.

University of Wisconsin Marshfield Agricultural Research Station, Marshfield 54449.

Conceptually, there are 2 feeding strategies for avoiding over-conditioning, which can be problematic for gravid dairy heifers that have reduced dietary energy density requirements relative to younger animals: (1) diluting the ad libitum-fed diet with low-energy forages; or (2) offering a diet of greater nutrient density but intentionally restricting the DM available for consumption (limit-feeding). Our objectives for this study were to evaluate the effects of feedbunk restriction and feed push-up frequency on the growth performance of gravid Holstein dairy heifers. A total of 128 Holstein heifers (434 ± 46.7 kg) were enrolled in the trial. Heifers were blocked by weight, and assigned to 1 of 16 identical research pens (4 pens/weight block; 8 heifers/pen), where the mean initial body weight (BW; ± SD) for the 4 blocks were 491 ± 19.0, 450 ± 16.5, 419 ± 10.6, 374 ± 23.0 kg. Within each block, a 2 × 2 factorial arrangement of treatments was assigned; treatments consisted of feedbunk access [full (FUL) or restricted (RES] and feed push-up frequency [1.5- or 3.0-h intervals]. The RES treatment was applied by covering 2 of the 8 head-locking feed gates in assigned pens with plywood partitions, thereby creating a feedbunk-stocking rate of 133%. A total mixed ration diet composed of alfalfa haylage (60.5%), corn silage (38.0%), and mineral (1.5%) was offered once daily for 91 d; daily feed allotments (overall mean = 9.11 kg dry matter (DM)/d) were generally consumed entirely within 9 h of feeding. Nutrient intakes were not affected by push-up frequency or the interaction of main effects, but all intakes were affected by feedbunk access, except for DM and neutral detergent fiber expressed as a percentage of BW (overall means = 1.93 and 0.80%, respectively). In each case, intakes for FUL were greater than those observed for RES; for DM intake, this amounted to a difference of 0.20 kg/d between those main-effect treatments. After 91 d, heifers without feedbunk restriction exhibited greater final BW, but total gain and average daily gain differed only numerically between FUL and RES. Under the conditions of this trial, heifers were blocked by weight, such that BW were relatively uniform within each pen, and head-locking feed gates were used, which also provided some protection from adjacent aggressive heifers. These results suggest heifers can exhibit acceptable growth performance on high-forage diets in a limit-feeding program that includes moderate feedbunk restriction provided other forms of stress are minimized.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.3168/jds.2020-18152DOI Listing
August 2020

Symposium review: Strategies to improve the efficiency and profitability of heifer raising.

J Dairy Sci 2020 Jun 5;103(6):5700-5708. Epub 2020 Mar 5.

Department of Animal Science, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park 16802.

Regional Research Project NC-2042 has a main objective to study calf and heifer nutrition. Within this objective, feeding the postweaned heifer is considered a major priority to improve the profitability and sustainability of US dairy farms. Through optimizing nutrient utilization by precision feeding, using alternative feeds, high-fiber diets, and feed additives, this research group has worked to enhance dairy heifer nutrition. Research has focused on precision feeding heifers and incorporating high- and low-fiber diets into this system of feeding. This is accomplished by meeting the nutrient needs of the heifer for a desired rate of growth while enhancing total-tract nutrient digestibility, reducing waste and improving profitability. High-fiber forages have been studied as a means of controlling ad libitum dry matter intakes and thus weight gain in heifers. These results provide producers with a means of feeding heifers while reducing costs. Similarly, utilizing alternative feedstuffs in heifer diets has also been a major research area for this group including comprehensive research on distillers co-products, and new protein sources such as camelina and carinata meals. Results indicated that these products can be satisfactorily incorporated into heifer diets. Studying feed additives has also been a function of the research group. Research with Ascophyllum nodosum and cinnamaldehyde indicated that calves find these additives unpalatable and that supplementing cinnamaldehyde to postweaned heifers showed no benefit. However, sodium butyrate and yeast supplementation proved to be beneficial in the growth and feed efficiency of heifers. Research from this group has an effect on heifer feeding, resulting in new information that can aid in the sustainability of dairy farms. This review will focus on the area of postweaned heifer nutrition.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.3168/jds.2019-17419DOI Listing
June 2020

Fermentation characteristics and nutritive value of baled grass silages made from meadow fescue, tall fescue, or an orchardgrass cultivar exhibiting a unique nonflowering growth response.

J Dairy Sci 2020 Apr 31;103(4):3219-3233. Epub 2020 Jan 31.

Marshfield Agricultural Research Station, University of Wisconsin, Stratford 54484.

Throughout central Wisconsin, many soils are poorly drained, and perennial cool-season grasses are often planted as monocultures or in mixed stands with alfalfa because of the poor persistence of alfalfa under these growing conditions. Our objectives were to compare the fermentation characteristics and nutritive value of perennial cool-season grasses {meadow fescue [Schedonorus pratensis (Huds.) P. Beauv.], orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata L.), and endophyte-free tall fescue [Schedonorus phoenix (Scop.) Holub]} conserved as baled silages with or without particle-size reduction, and at 2 moisture concentrations. Twenty-four plots (0.23 ha) were arranged in a randomized complete block design with 6 plots/block. Within each of the 4 field blocks, one of the 6 plots was assigned randomly to each of the (3 × 2) factorial combinations of forage type and bale cutting engagement (cut or uncut). The baler cutting mechanism consisted of 15 cutting knives, thereby creating a theoretical length of cut of about 8.1 cm. Generally, sufficient forage was available to produce 2 bales/plot; therefore, one bale was packaged at relatively high moisture (58.3%), whereas the other bale was made at an ideal moisture (44.9%) for this silage preservation method. Theoretically, bale cutting can increase bale weights and densities by reducing particle size, thereby allowing inclusion of additional forage within the same-sized bale. In this experiment, bale-cutting within 1.2 × 1.2 m silage bales (n = 47) increased initial wet and dry bale weights by 4.1 and 4.7%, respectively, but had no practical effect on measures of nutritive value, either on a pre- or postensiled basis. Cutter engagement tended to increase total volatile fatty acids in silages, thereby resulting in a pH reduction of 0.07 pH units (5.54 vs. 5.61). A unique nonflowering growth response by the first-cutting orchardgrass forage resulted in yields of dry matter for orchardgrass (2,977 kg of dry matter/ha) that were only 52 to 53% of those observed for meadow (5,580 kg of dry matter/ha) or tall fescue (5,763 kg of dry matter/ha), which did not differ. Despite the unique vegetative nature of orchardgrass, concentrations of neutral detergent fiber, acid detergent fiber, and acid detergent lignin determined before ensiling exhibited limited variability across forages (60.9 to 62.7%, 35.2 to 36.4%, and 2.75 to 2.99%, respectively). However, a 30-h in vitro incubation determined that orchardgrass exhibited greater neutral detergent fiber digestibility (56.2%) compared with meadow (44.9%) or tall fescue (40.8%), which were also statistically distinct.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.3168/jds.2019-17387DOI Listing
April 2020

Physiological effects of starter-induced ruminal acidosis in calves before, during, and after weaning.

J Dairy Sci 2020 Mar 25;103(3):2762-2772. Epub 2019 Dec 25.

Department of Dairy Science, University of Wisconsin, Madison 53706.

The objectives were to nutritionally induce or blunt ruminal acidosis in young calves and to compare indicators of rumen and systemic health. Ten bull calves (n = 5/diet) were ruminally cannulated at 3 wk of age and received milk replacer and 1 of 2 calf starter diets that were designed to cause (AC; pelleted, 42.7% starch, 15.1% neutral detergent fiber, 57.8% nonfiber carbohydrates) or blunt (BL; texturized, 35.3% starch, 25.3% neutral detergent fiber, 48.1% nonfiber carbohydrates) ruminal acidosis. Mean birth weight was 38.7 ± 1.3 kg. Body weight and calf starter intake were measured weekly. Rumen contents were sampled at -8, -4, 0, 2, 4, 8, 12, and 24 h relative to starter feeding during wk 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, and 16 of age. Blood was collected from the jugular vein during the same weeks for complete blood cell count, blood pH, and partial pressures of oxygen and carbon dioxide. Rate of starter consumption was assessed during wk 16. Marker systems were used to estimate liquid passage and volatile fatty acid absorption rates. Calves were slaughtered at 17 wk, and rumen tissue was collected and assessed for papillae length, width, and degree of tissue degradation. Mean ruminal pH ± standard error was 5.37 ± 0.24 and 5.63 ± 0.24 for AC and BL calves, respectively. Lowest pH values were observed the week after weaning. Total ruminal volatile fatty acid concentrations were 131.5 and 124.8 ± 2.4 mM in AC and BL calves, respectively, and increased with age and time after feeding. Dry matter intake was lower in AC calves at wk 4 and remained lower through wk 16. Rate of starter consumption was also lower in AC calves at wk 16. Body weight also was also lower for AC calves from wk 5 through 16. Blood hemoglobin and hematocrit were lower in AC calves, but other blood characteristics were not different. Rumen volume increased with age and tended to be greater in BL calves. Passage rate and papillae length and width were not different between diets, but AC calves experienced a greater degree of tissue degradation. Ruminal acidosis symptoms in calves appear similar to those in adult cattle, and the etiology of the disease seems to follow similar mechanisms. It is clear from this study that symptoms can be moderated by diet, but further research is needed to determine whether symptoms can be nutritionally prevented or whether calves that experience ruminal acidosis are more susceptible to the disease as adults.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.3168/jds.2019-17494DOI Listing
March 2020
-->