Sunday, March 26, 2017

week 8

After last week’s, or I guess next weeks, very interesting papers, I must admit I wasn’t as captivated and keen to discuss these papers as I was with the previous papers. Although I thought I would be very interested in cocaine usage/resistance in rodents, I’m still stuck on those gut microbiome papers. With that being said, I suppose that I was more drawn to the Vassoler et al. article on the role of paternal gene effects on offspring. Usually when we study epigenetics or inheritance, we tend to look at maternal genes beings inherited by the offspring just as we did in the paper by Buffington et al. I found it pretty entertaining that they mentioned effects of male rats exposed to high-fat diets on offspring. The part of this paper that I felt should have been expanded on was the effects of cocaine use on the spermatozoa. Since they made it clear that there was no paternal involvement in rearing the offspring, then the only way to transfer such a phenotype of cocaine-resistance would be a change in sperm. I feel as though they are more genes affected than just the AcH3 with Bdnf promoters. In the future, this would be something good to expand on seeing what other genes are affected by cocaine use that can therefore affect offspring. What I liked about the Holly et al. paper was that they studied sex differences in cocaine use. I think this is very important because males and females react differently to things because of hormones and I think they were on the right track in this article, although a couple of things can be improved upon. First, I am unsure if their episodic social defeat stress was the best stress model to use. They are a multitude of different stress-inducing situations, whether it be from social interactions or from external stimulus. So I would have liked to see at least one more stress model to see if there were sex differences in different stress situations. Secondly, I don’t quite believe that circulating gonadal hormones had no affect on “binge” administration of cocaine. Since the female estrous cycle is so rapid, they would have gone through multiple phases and I feel like they quickly dismissed this without proper explanation. I feel like both of these papers are good building blocks to continue to find results on sex differences on cocaine use and how our inherited genes affect that use.

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