Recent Submissions

  • The effects of altered salivary viscosity on the incidence and extent of dental caries in rats

    Biesbrock, Aaron Reed; Department of Oral Pathology (Augusta University, 1989-05-02)
    The research was intended to determine whether alterations in salivary viscosity brought about by altering dietary components affected the incidence and extent of dental caries in rats.
  • The stability of an increased vertical dimension of occlusion in growing and non-growing golden hamsters

    Berman, Scott C.; Department of Oral Biology (Augusta University, 1993-03)
  • Psychosocial Factors as Predictors for Patient Outcomes in Rehabilitation of Upper Extremity Injury Caused by Trauma:

    Holley, Ashlyn; Saren, Madison; Wygle, Sarah; Deese, Abigail; Payne, Regan; Department of Occupational Therapy (Augusta University, 2020-08-26)
    At the conclusion of this presentation, attendees will be able to: 1) Explain three ways in which psychosocial factors have the ability to alter rehabilitation outcomes in individuals who have sustained a traumatic upper extremity injury, 2) Discuss two gaps in the literature regarding the impact of psychosocial factors on rehabilitation outcomes in individuals recovering from traumatic upper extremity injuries, 3) Identify two methods, strategies, or assessments to be implemented in practice in order to evaluate and address psychosocial factors as a component affecting functional outcomes of clients with traumatic UE injuries.
  • Telehealth Interventions to Address Chronic Disease Self-Management Interventions within the Scope of Occupational Therapy: A Scoping Review

    Albritton, Liz; Fish, joJo; Henkel, Jeff; Lee, Shelby; Luttrel, Rachel; Rackleff, Layne; Department of Occupational Therapy (Augusta University, 2020-09-02)
    At the conclusion of this presentation, attendees will: 1) Distinguish between the types of telehealth interventions for chronic disease self-management within the scope of occupational therapy and 2) Describe the outcomes of using telehealth for chronic disease self-management based on the presented results of a scoping review of the literature.
  • The Effects of Interprofessional Education on Occupational Therapy Student Practitioner Outcomes: A Systematic Review

    Adams, Emma; Carlto, Meg; Kali, Todd; Department of Occupational Therapy (Augusta University, 2020-09-01)
    Objectives of Presentation: 1) Understand and communicate the effects that various evidence based interprofessional education interventions have on occupational therapy student outcomes. and 2) Discuss the gaps in the literature, indicated by this systematic review, as they relate to interprofessional education and its effects.
  • Benefits of International Fieldwork for Occupational Therapy Students

    Vickman, Hannah; Carter, Krissy; Dittmer, Chandler; Nettles, Taylor; Wang, Caroline; McCarley, Trinity; Department of Occupational Therapy (Augusta University, 2020-09-01)
    At the conclusion of this presentation, attendees will: 1) Identify the perceived benefits for international fieldwork ascertained from the research and how that relates to professional and personal development, and 2) Identify the key clinical experience differences between OT students participating in international and domestic fieldwork, as established from the presented research.
  • Evidence supporting interventions within the scope of occupational therapy for addressing

    Arnold, Jackie; Cyr, Emily; Garner, Kathryn; Long, Tori; Robles, Alexis; Department of Occupational Therapy (Augusta University, 2020-08-26)
    At the conclusion of this presentation, attendees will: a) List three effective interventions to address cognitive and psychological factors in chronic pain based on the presented scoping review of the literature, and b) Articulate the importance of cognitive/psychosocial factors in relation to chronic pain.
  • Outcomes of Music, Dance, & Movement Interventions for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder Within the Scope of Occupational Therapy: Scoping Review

    Bankson, Baylee; Cox, Ashlyn; Fulmer, Haley; Hausman, Lydia; Longfellow, Danielle; Department of Occupational Therapy (Augusta University, 2020-08-31)
    At the conclusion of this, attendees will: 1) Identify frequently measured outcomes of using music, dance, and movement-based interventions with individuals with autism spectrum disorder, as identified through a scoping review of the literature and 2) List specific music, dance, or movement-based interventions that are available to OT practitioners working with individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), as identified through a scoping review of the literature.
  • Biomechanical behavior related to structure in normal and congenitally disordered elastic arteries

    Beall, Arthur C.; Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology (Augusta University, 1992-12)
  • The effects of retinoic acid-induced differentiation on neurotransmitter receptor content and signal transduction in a human neuroblastoma cell line

    Baumgartner, Melissa K.; Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology (Augusta University, 01/23/1993)
    The purpose of the present study was to establish the effects of retinoic acidindttced differentiation on muscarinic receptor populations and signal transduction pathways in the human neurroblastoma Sk-N-SH cells. The human neuroblastoma cell line Sk-N-SH was induced to differentiate by treatment with 1 uM retinoic acid for 7 days. Differentiation was characterized by profuse neurite outgrowth, a decrease in cell growth, and a 2~3 fold increase in the protein content of each cell. Muscarinic receptors were labelled-using [3H]N-methyl scopolamine. Muscarinic receptor density increased by approximately 36% after treatment for 7 days with retinoic acid (Bmax, control = 126 ± 13 fmol/mgprotein; Bmax, retinoic acid-treated= 170 ± 17 fmol/mg protein; p<0.05), corresponding to a 170% increase in receptor content per cell. The affinity of [3H]NMS for the receptors was somewhat lower in the differentiated cells (KD, control = 0.14 ± 0.04 nM; KD, retinoic acid-treated = 0.25 ± 0.0.4 nM; p<0.05). The guanine nucleotide sensitivity of agonist (carbamylcholine) binding to Sk-N-SH muscarinic receptors Was slightly decreased by differentiation. Reverse transcriptase/polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis using muscarinic receptor subtype specific primers revealed that the undifferentiatied Sk-N-SH cells transcribed mRNA for all 5 receptor subtypes; this pattern was not affected by differentiation. [3H]NMS displacement curves with subtype- selective receptor ligands (pirenzepine, m1; AFDX-116, m2; 4-DAMP, m3) indicated the predominant expression of m1 and m3 receptor subtypes, and differentiation did not affect the pharmacological profile of the expressed muscarinic receptor populations. Differentiation did not affect basal G protein GTPase activity. However, acetylcholine (100 uM) stimulation of G protein GTPase activity was decreased in differentiated cells (18 ± 1.8 pmol/min/mgprotein) compared to the undifferentiatied cells (23 ± 1 .0 pmol/ min/ mg protein) (p<0.05). Inhibition of acetylcholine--stimulated GTPase activity with selective muscarinic receptor antagonists indicated that the m3 antagonist (4-DAMP) was as effective as atropine in inhibiting activity by 80-100%. Selective m1 and m2 antagonists were less effective (30-40%) at inhibiting stimulated GTPase activity. There were no differences in inhibition of stimulated GTPase activity after differentiation. Immunoblots of control and retinoic acid-treated cells revealed no change in Goa, Gsa or Gp content after differentiation; however, 0.1% ethanol and retinoic acid-treated cells displayed a 30% decrease in expression of Gia3, and Gqa. Muscarine (0.1-100 uM) stimulated 45Ca influx into Sk-N-SH cells, and this uptake was inhibited by preincubation with atropine. The magnitude of the muscarinic receptor-mediated uptake was 50-60% lower in the differentiatied cells. Basal adenylate cyclase activity was depressed in the differentiated cells (2.5 pmol / min / mg protein) compared to the undifferentiated cells (8.4 pmol / min / mg protein) (p< 0.05). Forskolin (5 - 50 uM)-stimulated adenylate cyclase activity was not altered, however fractional stimulation was significantly (p<0.0001) increased in the differentiated cells. Differentiated cells displayed a slightly greater receptor-mediated inhibition of the adenylate cyclase activity by carbamylcholine (1 uM- 1 mM). It is demonstrated that in Sk-N-SH cells, retinoic acid-induced differentiation: 1) increases the size of the muscarinic receptor population (Bmax) while decreasing [3H]NMS binding affinity, 2) does not alter muscarinic receptor pharmacology, or the expression of. muscarinic receptor subtypes, 3) decreases muscarinic receptor-stimulated 45Ca flux 50-60% compared to undifferentiated cells, 4) depresses basal adenylate cyclase activity, increases fractional stimulation of forskolin-stimulated activity of adenylate cyclase, and may increase muscarinic receptor-mediated inhibition of adenylate cyclase activity, 5) does not alter basal G protein GTPase activity but depresses muscarinic receptor-stimulated high affinity GTPase activity suggesting muscarinic receptor-G protein coupling is altered, and 6) does not alter expression of Goa, Gsa and Gp content while Gia3 and Gqa are depressed in differentiated as well as in 0.1% e.thanol treated cells.
  • Toxicity of visible light-cured denture resins

    Barron, Dara Jewell; Department of Oral Biology (1992-04)
    In this study three commercial formulations of visible light-cured (VLC) denture resins have been analyzed. The products used are those suggested for the reline, repair and fabrication of dentures to improve their fit. The biocompatibility of these resins was investigated by measuring RNA and DNA synthesis of oral epithelial cells in vitro. The extent to which oral cells recover from toxic resin exposure, the conversion of monomer into polymer, the presence of inorganic filler, and resin leacha~ility have also been studied. It was shown that VLC denture resins inhibit the synthesis of RNA and· DNA relative to a heat-cured resin control (p~0.05). Although epithelial cells appeared to recover from toxic resin exposure, this recovery was inconsistent among experiments. Infrared spectroscopy illustrated chemical group differences that occurred before and after photo-polymerization. Using these differences, the conversion of monomer into polymer ranged from 77% to 97%. This conversion was significantly affected (p< .003) by the type of curing unit, duration of photo-polymerization, and surface exposed to visible light. Soluble substances in cured and uncured resin products were analogous using HPLC. The range of inorganic filler present was 0-15%. These investigations suggest that visible light-cured denture resins may impair the replication of oral epithelial cells. This effect may be related to the leachability of unpolymerized resin constituents, the presence or absence of filler particles, or polymerization by-products.
  • Statistical Methods for reaction Networks

    Odubote, Oluseyi Samuel; Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology
    Stochastic reaction networks are important tools for modeling many biological phenomena, and understanding these networks is important in a wide variety of applied research, such as in disease treatment and in drug development. Statistical inference about the structure and parameters of reaction networks, sometimes referred to in this setting as model calibration, is often challenging due to intractable likelihoods. Here we utilize an idea similar to that of generalized estimating equations (GEE), which in this context are the so-called martingale estimating equations, for estimation of reaction rates of the network. The variance component is estimated using the approximate variance under the linear noise approximation, which is based on partial dierential equation, or Fokker-Planck equations, which provides an approximation to the exact chemical master equation. The method is applied to data from the plague outbreak at Eyam, England from 1665-1666 and the COVID-19 pandemic data. We show empirically that the proposed method gives good estimates of the parameters in a large volume setting and works well in small volume settings.

    Goldman, Chandler; Biomedical Sciences
    The establishment of cell polarity is critical for performing complex functions including division and migration. As such, the loss of polarity is implicated in many diseases including cancers. To establish polarity, many cell types rely on the asymmetric sorting of messenger RNAs or mRNAs. These mRNAs are held in a translationally-repressed state until reaching their destinations. Upon arrival, translation is allowed to commence, giving rise to spatially restricted proteins. Often, mRNAs are transported to their destinations along microtubules via linkage to one of the sub families of microtubule motors, Dynein or Kinesins. The mechanism by which mRNAs are linked to these motors is unknown for the vast majority of localizing mRNAs. Drosophila oocytes and embryos display a great number of mRNAs that are localized to specific regions. The protein Egalitarian (Egl) has been shown to directly bind several mRNAs and participates in their microtubule-based transport by promoting linkage to cytoplasmic Dynein. In Aim 1 of this thesis, we aim to determine the mechanism by which Egl and its interacting partners, Dynein light chain (Dlc/LC8), and Bicaudal D (BicD), tether mRNAs to the Dyenin motor for transport. Dlc is required for Egl homodimerization, which promotes binding to mRNAs. BicD then preferentially associates with mRNA-bound Egl and links the complex to the Dynein motor. In Aim 2, we further investigate Egl’s role in mRNA transport by determining the critical amino acid residues within its RNA binding domain required for mRNA association.
  • The Effect of Instructor Mindset on Student Motivation and Self-Efficacy

    Restrepo, Leigha; Department of Psychological Sciences (Augusta University, 2020-07)
    Dweck’s theory of mindset proposes two different mindsets a person may have: fixed or growth (Dweck, 2007). A person with a fixed mindset believes intelligence is fixed and a person with a growth mindset believes that they can improve their intelligence with effort (Dweck, 2007; Murphy & Dweck, 2016). The present study was designed to examine the effect of an instructors’ apparent mindset on the expectations of success and persistence in STEM disciplines among students. Students were presented with sample syllabi that portrayed an instructor with either a fixed or growth mindset and completed questionnaires and a short, written reflection to measure their perception of mindset, self-efficacy, and motivation. Results of this study revealed that students expected a higher grade, reported more academic self-efficacy, and had a positive perception of the instructor after reading the growth syllabus. Overall, Black students reported more academic self-efficacy than White students and reported more academic self-handicapping after reading the growth syllabus. Students reported that the attributions (gender, minority, status, effort/ hard work, luck, difficulty of the course, intelligence/ ability) contributed more to their grade in the class after reading the growth mindset syllabus than the fixed syllabus, with difficulty of the course and intelligence/ ability significantly contributing to their perceived grade in the class after reading the fixed syllabus. The mindset portrayed by an instructor can have an impact on the student through a decrease in their overall academic performance. Examining the different ways in which a change in the mindset that is portrayed can help to increase student motivation and expectations.

    Packer, Jonathan; Department of Psychological Sciences (Augusta University, 2020-07)
    This study set out to determine the effectiveness of using tianeptine as a treatment for traumatic brain injury (TBI). A controlled cortical impact model was utilized to induce a bilateral moderate TBI in the frontal cortex of the rat. Sham surgeries were performed to ensure an accurate control group. Rats received 30mg/kg tianeptine, or an equal volume of saline one hour following injury and once a day for nineteen days following surgery. Rats were tested for behavioral, motor, and cognitive deficits using the following tasks: Morris water maze (reference and working memory), foot fault task, forelimb use asymmetry task, open field task, and the passive avoidance task. As well, the brains were analyzed for differences in remaining cortical tissue following injury. Significant improvement was found in the Morris water maze reference memory task, the foot fault task, and the open field task for injured rats receiving tianeptine. Similarly, significant improvement was found in the remaining cortical tissue following injury in rats receiving tianeptine. Taken together, these results indicate tianeptine may be a viable treatment for improving recovery following TBI in rats.

    Littlejohn, Rodney; Department of Cellular Biology and Anatomy (Augusta University, 2020-07)
    Background. Early cardiac development is a tightly regulated process, involving spatiotemporal coordination of multiple signaling pathways and heterogenous cell populations, both generated de novo and externally sourced. While the roles of transcription, environmental, and epigenetic factors have all been studied extensively in the context of heart development, the roles of post-translational protein modification in regulating this process remain to be elucidated. NEDD8 (neural precursor cell expressed developmentally downregulated 8) is a novel ubiquitin-like protein modifier. Conjugation of NEDD8 to protein targets, a process termed neddylation, has been shown to regulate cell proliferation, cell signaling, and protein homeostasis, and play important roles in multiple physiological and pathological events. We have previously shown that neddylation is developmentally downregulated in the developing heart and is essential for mid-to-late gestational ventricular chamber maturation. However, whether and how neddylation regulates early cardiogenic events remains unknown. Methods and results. Mice with constitutive, cardiac progenitor cell-specific, cardiomyocyte- and vascular smooth muscle cell-specific deletion of NAE1, a regulatory subunit of the NEDD8-specific E1 activating enzyme, were created. Constitutive deletion of NAE1 led to early embryonic lethality before E9.5. Nkx2.5Cre-mediated deletion of NAE1 decreased neddylated proteins in the heart, disrupted normal cardiogenesis and resulted in embryonic lethality by embryonic day (E) 12.5 due to heart failure. Similarly, SM22αCre-driven deletion of NAE1 also caused cardiac failure and embryonic lethality by E13.5. The striking cardiac phenotypes were associated with myocardial hypoplasia, ventricular hypo-trabeculation, and pronounced endocardial and/or epicardial defects in both models. Unbiased transcriptomic analysis revealed dysregulated expression of genes associated with cardiomyocyte differentiation, proliferation, and maturation in NAE1-deficient hearts. Indeed, inhibition of neddylation disturbed cardiomyocyte proliferation, and myofibril assembly in vitro and in vivo. Moreover, defects in cardiomyocyte differentiation and maturation were linked to downregulation of Nkx2.5 and Mef2c, two key transcription factors regulating early cardiogenesis. Conclusion. Collectively, our findings demonstrate that neddylation in cardiac progenitor cells and cardiomyocytes is essential in the regulation of cardiogenesis in transgenic mouse models. Our results uncover a previously unknown role of post-translational modification in the regulation of cardiac development via potential roles in mediating cardiomyocyte proliferation, differentiation, and maturation.
  • Characterization of a Cyclic Peptide (ADO5) as a Novel Inhibitor of the Hsp90 Chaperoning Machine

    Fang, Wayne; Department of Biological Sciences (Augusta University, 2020-05)
    Protection of oncogenic proteins is the foundation of many hallmarks of cancer. Based on this, hsp90 inhibitors have emerged as a potentially potent strategy for cancer treatment. The clinical efficacy of the earlier Hsp90 inhibitors remains unsatisfactory, in part due to their induction of heat shock response and anti-apoptotic mechanisms in cancer cells. To identify alternative therapeutic agents without these effects, we have developed a cell-free high-throughput screen (HTS) platform based on the folding of progesterone receptor (PR) by the core components of the Hsp90 chaperoning machine. During our initial screening of 175 natural products from North African medicinal plants, we discovered the cyclic peptide AD05 as a novel Hsp90 inhibitor. AD05 has shown a powerful antitumor activity against various cancer cell lines including HeLa, Hs578T, MDA-MB231, MDA-MB453, E0771, THP1, and U937. Western blot analysis revealed that AD05 destabilizes Hsp90 client proteins without inducing heat shock response as indicated by lack of upregulation of Hsp70, Hsp40 and Hsp27. Remarkably, AD05 does not induce apoptosis but rather triggers autophagy in various cell lines.
  • The Effect of PFOA on ERα+ and ERα- Human Breast Cancer Cell Lines

    Gaw, Victoria; Department of Biological Sciences (Augusta University, 2020-05)
    Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) is a man-made chemical that belongs to a large group of fluorotelomers. PFOA is used to manufacture both industrial and consumer products and individuals can be exposed to PFOA through ingesting PFOA-contaminated water or food. While the long-term effects of perfluorooctanoic acid are largely unknown, there is increased evidence suggesting it to be an endocrine disruptor. Studies have shown that PFOA binds to and activates the peroxisomeproliferator-activated receptor α (PPARα), which can regulate the expression of other genes and receptors such as the other PPAR isoforms as well as estrogen receptor α (ERα). Previous experiments in our lab demonstrated that PFOA treatment of MCF-7 breast cancer cells (an ERα positive cell line) decreased ERα mRNA and protein levels, and decreased cell viability by ~20% within 48h of treatment. However, these cells were treated in the absence of fetal bovine serum (FBS), a cell culture additive that contains important growth factors. When we repeated these experiments without serum withdrawal, we initially noted a tendency towards increased proliferation in MCF-7 cells treated with 50µM and 100µM PFOA at both 24h and 48h compared to control. To further examine the role of ERα in PFOA-induced proliferation, we carried out additional experiments in another ERα positive cell line, T47-D, as well as an ERα negative cell line, MDA-MB-231. All three cell lines showed a tendency for increased viability. These data suggest that the PFOA-induced increase in cell viability in these cell lines is not dependent on ERα expression. In addition, the opposing effects of PFOA on proliferation in MCF-7 cells in the presence and absence of FBS demonstrates the importance of accurately and completely reporting cell culture and treatment conditions.
  • Development of Chemically Defined Culture Conditions for in vitro Expansion of Human Wharton’s Jelly Stem Cells

    Shaikh, Arika; Department of Biological Sciences (Augusta University, 2020-05)
    Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are multi-potent and capable of differentiating into a variety of cell lineages. While MSCs have commonly been isolated from bone marrow for treatment of various diseases, Wharton’s Jelly (WJ), an extra-embryonic umbilical cord tissue rich from hyaluronic acid (HA), represents an alternative source for a safer and less invasive isolation of MSCs. Typically, WJ-MSCs are isolated and cultured in undefined media containing fetal bovine serum (FBS), of which use has been associated with different complications, including reproducibility of studies, transmission of infectious agents, and induction of immunologic reactions. To overcome these complications, and thus to facilitate clinical applications of WJ-MSCs, this project aimed to develop chemically defined and safe culture conditions for human WJ-MSCs. We hypothesize that undifferentiated growth of WJ-MSCs will be supported by an HA-based extracellular matrix and fortified DMEM/F12 supplemented with defined macromolecules, antioxidants, lipids and growth factors found in platelet lysate. This hypothesis was tested by comparing the growth kinetics and morphology of WJ-MSCs cultured in defined and undefined media. WJ-MSCs were isolated via enzymatic digestion from discarded human umbilical cords. Following phenotyping and sorting by evaluating expression of relevant markers (i.e., CD105, CD73, and CD90) using flow cytometer, WJ-MSCs were randomly distributed and cultured in five different defined media plus an undefined control medium. The best alternative in terms of cell morphology and proliferation was the medium 3 consisting of DMEM/F12 supplemented with glutamine, ITS (define), antioxidant mixture, lipid mixture, and growth factor mixture. Medium 3 was further improved by adding increasing concentrations of ethanolamine. These results are of significance for therapeutic applications of MSCs. Further research is needed to optimize compositions of extracellular matrix and growth factors while examining the plasticity of MSCs.

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