This dedicated issue of Chronobiology International is devoted to the selected proceedings of the 20th International Symposium on Shift Work and Working Time held in Stockholm, Sweden, 28 June to 1 July 2011. It constitutes the fifth such issue of the journal since 2004 dedicated to the selected proceedings to the meetings of the Working Time Society. The key theme of the 20th Symposium was "Biological Mechanisms, Recovery, and Risk Management in the 24-h Society." The collection of papers of this dedicated issue represents the best of contemporary research on the effects of night and rotating shift schedules on worker health and safety. The contents cover such topics as sleep restriction, injuries, health, and performance of night work and rotating shiftwork, plus light treatment as a countermeasure against the circadian disruption of shiftwork. The majority of the papers are observational field studies, including some of large sample size, and three studies are well-designed laboratory experiments.
This study addressed whether ecotypes of Arabidopsis thaliana from Sweden and Italy exhibited differences in foliar acclimation to high versus low growth light intensity, and compared CO2 uptake under growth conditions with light- and CO2-saturated intrinsic photosynthetic capacity and leaf morphological and vascular features. Differential responses between ecotypes occurred mainly at the scale of leaf architecture, with thicker leaves with higher intrinsic photosynthetic capacities and chlorophyll contents per leaf area, but no difference in photosynthetic capacity on a chlorophyll basis, in high light-grown leaves of the Swedish versus the Italian ecotype. Greater intrinsic photosynthetic capacity per leaf area in the Swedish ecotype was accompanied by a greater capacity of vascular infrastructure for sugar and water transport, but this was not associated with greater CO2 uptake rates under growth conditions. The Swedish ecotype with its thick leaves is thus constructed for high intrinsic photosynthetic and vascular flux capacity even under growth chamber conditions that may not permit full utilization of this potential. Conversely, the Swedish ecotype was less tolerant of low growth light intensity than the Italian ecotype, with smaller rosette areas and lesser aboveground biomass accumulation in low light-grown plants. Foliar vein density and stomatal density were both enhanced by high growth light intensity with no significant difference between ecotypes, and the ratio of water to sugar conduits was also similar between the two ecotypes during light acclimation. These findings add to the understanding of the foliar vasculature's role in plant photosynthetic acclimation and adaptation.
We report on a novel arctic strain BM1 of a carotenogenic chlorophyte from a coastal habitat with harsh environmental conditions (wide variations in solar irradiance, temperature, salinity and nutrient availability) identified as Haematococcus pluvialis Flotow. Increased (25‰) salinity exerted no adverse effect on the growth of the green BM1 cells. Under stressful conditions (high light, nitrogen and phosphorus deprivation), green vegetative cells of H. pluvialis BM1 grown in BG11 medium formed non-motile palmelloid cells and, eventually, hematocysts capable of a massive accumulation of the keto-carotenoid astaxanthin with a high nutraceutical and therapeutic potential. Routinely, astaxanthin was accumulated at the level of 4% of the cell dry weight (DW), reaching, under prolonged stress, 5.5% DW. Astaxanthin was predominantly accumulated in the form of mono- and diesters of fatty acids from C16 and C18 families. The palmelloids and hematocysts were characterized by the formation of red-colored cytoplasmic lipid droplets, increasingly large in size and number. The lipid droplets tended to merge and occupied almost the entire volume of the cell at the advanced stages of stress-induced carotenogenesis. The potential application of the new strain for the production of astaxanthin is discussed in comparison with the H. pluvialis strains currently employed in microalgal biotechnology.
The developmental dynamics of pathologic changes in the lenses and activity of glutathione-S-transferase in the blood plasma, liver and lens tissues of rabbits under chronic influence (2 months) of small doses of X-ray radiation (total dose 2 Gy) and polychromatic light have been researched. It was shown, that polychromatic light and X-ray irradiation of rabbits significantly affected the lens nativity and increased the developmental frequency and the intensity of lens opacities. It was determined, that activity of glutathione-S-transferase in blood plasma increased for 1 month after the beginning of X-ray effects. The same effect on the enzymatic activity was shown by the summary influence of polychromatic light and X-ray irradiation. Glutathione-S-transferase activity decreased during 2 months as compared with the initial values, before irradiation of the animals. The enzymatic activity was increased in rabbit-liver cytoplasm by X-ray irradiation in 2 months. A decrease of glutathione-S-transferase activity in the liver, cortex and lens nucleus was determined under the influence of both X-ray radiation and polychromatic light.
The goal of these experiments was to test the hypothesis that day length influences anxious- and depressive-like behaviors in reproductively photoperiodic rodents. Male and female Siberian hamsters (Phodopus sungorus) were exposed to long (16 h light/day; LD) or short (8 h light/day; SD) photoperiods beginning at the time of weaning (day 18). Two weeks later hamsters were subjected to a series of behavioral tests to quantify anxiety-and depressive-like behaviors. In an elevated plus maze, SD males exhibited longer latencies to enter an open arm, entered fewer open arms, and spent less time exploring open arms relative to LD hamsters. SD males were likewise slower to enter either of the distal arms of a completely enclosed T-maze, and in a hunger-motivated exploratory paradigm SD males were slower to enter an open arena for food as compared to LD males. In a forced-swimming model of behavioral despair, SD males exhibited immobility sooner, more often, and for a greater total amount of time relative to LD males. Total activity levels, aversiveness to light, olfactory function, and limb strength were unaffected by SD, suggesting that the behavioral changes consequent to SD are not attributable to sensory or motor deficits, but rather may arise from changes in general affective state. The anxiogenic and depressive effects of SD were largely absent in female hamsters. Together the results indicate that adaptation to short photoperiods is associated with increased expression of anxiety- and depressive-like behaviors relative to those observed under LD photoperiod conditions.
PURPOSE: To characterize age-related changes in the transmission of light through noncataractous human lenses. SETTING: Department of Ophthalmology, Glostrup Hospital, Glostrup, Denmark. METHODS: The spectral transmission of white light was measured along the visual axis in the most central part of the lens in vitro in intact human donor lenses over a wide range of ages. RESULTS: The study evaluated 28 intact human donor lenses of 15 donors aged 18 to 76 years. Increasing age was associated with gradually decreasing transmission at all visible wavelengths, most prominently at shorter wavelengths. Empirical formulas describing the age-related loss of transmission were created for each spectral color. At 480 nm, the absorption peak for melanopsin, transmission decreased by 72% from the age of 10 years to the age of 80 years. CONCLUSION: The age-related decrease in spectral transmission through the human lens could be modeled by a simple algorithm that may be useful in the design of intraocular lenses that mimic the characteristics of the human lens and in studies of color vision, psychophysics, and melanopsin activation.
In this study we have constructed a number of plants (cybrids), in which the nuclear genome of Nicotiana plumbaginifolia is combined with the plastome of Atropa belladonna, or the nuclear genome of N. tabacum with plastomes of Lycium barbarum, Scopolia carniolica, Physochlaine officinalis or Nolana paradoxa. Our biochemical and immunological analyses prove that in these cybrids the biogenesis of the chlorophyll a/b binding proteins (CAB) of the light harvesting complex II (LHCII) is altered. Besides normal sized CAB polypeptides of 27, 25.5 and 25 kDa, which become less abundant, the cybrids analyzed have additional polypeptides of 26, 24.5 and 24 kDa. Direct protein micro-sequencing showed that at least two truncated 26 kDa CAB polypeptides in plant cells containing a nucleus of N. plumbaginifolia and plastids of A. belladonna are encoded by the type 1 Lhcb genes. These polypeptides are 11-12 amino acids shorter at the N-terminus than the expected size. Based on the available data we conclude that the biogenesis of the LHCII in vivo may depend on plastome-encoded factor(s). These results suggest that plastome-encoded factors that cause specific protein degradation and/or abnormal processing might determine compartmental genetic incompatibility in plants.
Geomagnetic variations of partly interplanetary origin, with cyclic signatures in human affairs and pathology include the incidence of various diseases, regarding which this study of healthy subjects attempted to determine an underlying mechanism by worldwide archival and physiological monitoring, notably of heart rate variability (HRV). In the past half-century, the possible health and other hazards of natural, solar variability-driven temporal variations in the earth's magnetic field have become a controversial subject in view of the inconsistent results. Some well-documented claims of associations between geomagnetic storms and myocardial infarction or stroke have been rejected by a study based on more comprehensive data analyzed by rigorous methods - covering, however, only part of a solar cycle in only part of a hemisphere. It seems possible that inter-solar cycle and geographic variability, if not geographic differences, may account for discrepancies. Herein, we examine the start of a planetary study on any influence of geomagnetic disturbances that are most pronounced in the auroral oval, on human HRV. The magnetic field variations exhibit complex spectra and include the frequency band between 0.001-10 Hz, which is regarded as ultra-low frequency by physicists. Since the 'ultra-low-frequency' range, like other endpoints used in cardiology, refers to much higher frequencies than the about-yearly changes that are here shown to play a role in environmental-organismic interactions revealed by HRV, the current designations used in cardiology are all placed in quotation marks to indicate the need for possible revision. Whether or not this suggestion has an immediate response, we have pointed to a need for the development of instrumentation and software that renders the assessment of circadian, infradian and even infra-annual (truly low frequency) modulations routinely feasible. HRV was examined on the basis of nearly continuous 7-day records by ECG between December 10, 1998, and November 2, 2000, on 19 clinically healthy subjects, 21 to 54 years of age, in Alta, Norway. A geomagnetic record was obtained from the Auroral Observatory of the University of Tromsø. First, frequency-domain measures of HRV were compared for each person in 24-hour spans of high geomagnetic disturbance versus quiet conditions. Second, cross-spectra between geomagnetic activity and HRV measures were quantified via the squared coherence spectrum using 7-day time series. A 7.5% increase in the 24-hour average of heart rate, HR (P = 0.00020) and a decrease in HRV were documented on days of high geomagnetic disturbance. The decrease in HRV was validated statistically for the 'total frequency', 'TF' endpoint (18.6% decrease, P= 0.00009). The decrease in spectral power was found primarily in the 'circaminutan frequency', 'VLF' (21.9% decrease, P
The present study determines how populations of Great Tits (Parus major) breeding in southern, mid and northern European latitudes have adjusted their reproductive endocrinology to differences in the ambient temperature during the gonadal cycle. A study based on long-term breeding data, using the Colwell predictability model, showed that the start of the breeding season has a high predictability ( approximately 0.8-0.9) at all latitudes, and that the environmental information factor (I(e)) progressively decreased from mid Italy (I(e)>4) to northern Finland (I(e)