Effects of hypergravity environments on amphibian development, gene expression and apoptosis
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This study investigates how rearing under conditions of hypergravity affects amphibian development, Xotx2 and Xag1 gene expression and apoptosis. Uncleaved Xenopus laevis eggs 20 min after insemination, 2 cell stage embryos, and gastrula stage embryos were raised at 2G and 5G, while controls were raised in normal gravity. Apoptosis in brain and eye inner structures of hatching embryos was scored using the TUNEL staining method, and gene expression in tail-bud embryos was analyzed by whole-mount in situ hybridization. Results showed that: (1) 5G retarded the development of eggs and embryos and induced microcephaly and microphthalmia. (2) 5G suppressed the expression of the two genes, Xotx2 (involved in fore- and midbrain and eye development) and Xag1 (regulating cement gland formation). (3) Eggs and 2 cell stage embryos raised at 5G showed a greater extent of brain and eye apoptosis compared with controls, while those raised at 2G showed no significant difference. These findings suggest that high gravity suppresses certain gene functions and induces abnormal apoptosis in brain and eyes, resulting in developmental retardation and various morphological abnormalities.
Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology - A Molecular and Integrative Physiology
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