• Regulation of renal medullary endothelin B receptor function by angiotensin II: evidence of sex differences

      Kittikulsuth, Wararat; Department of Medicine (2012-08)
      The renin angiotensin system and endothelin (ET) systems play critical roles in regulating kidney function and blood pressure. Angiotensin (Ang) II exerts its prohypertensive effects through AT1 receptor activation. ET-1 has similar effects mediated by ETA receptor stimulation. In contrast, ET-1, via ETB receptors, mediates vasodilation, anti-inflammation, and natriuresis. In the clinical setting, hypertension is more common in men than in premenopausal women of the same age. Moreover, in a number of animal models of genetic or experimental hypertension, females are somewhat protected from high blood pressure compared to males. We previously found that hypertensive male rats, induced by chronic Ang II infusion, have impaired ETB receptor function. Because ETB receptors are highly expressed in the renal medulla, the overall aim of this dissertation is to determine the role of Ang II in mediating renal medullary ETB receptor function, and to determine if differences in renal medullary ETB receptor function contribute to the sex differences observed in Ang II hypertension. The first aim was to test the hypothesis that renal medullary ETB receptor function is impaired in male Ang II hypertensive rats. However, ET-mediated natriuresis is preserved in female rats in response to chronic Ang II infusion. We compared the diuretic and natriuretic responses to intramedullary infusion of the ETB receptor agonist, sarafotoxin 6c (S6c), in male and female rats treated with Ang II (260 ng/kg/min s.c.) or vehicle for 14 days. Male Ang II hypertensive rats had impaired ETB-dependent sodium and water excretion. In contrast, renal medullary ETB receptor function was preserved in female Ang II-treated rats. Moreover, ETA-mediated diuretic and natriuretic responses were maintained in female Ang II hypertensive rats. These data demonstrate that, in contrast to male Ang II hypertensive rats, ET receptor-induced diuretic and natriuretic responses are preserved in female rats during chronic Ang II infusion. The second aim was to determine if ETB receptors limit the hypertensive response and renal injury induced by chronic Ang II infusion in female rats compared to males. Male and female rats received Ang II infusion (150 ng/kg/min; sc.) along with a high salt diet (4% Na) for 4 weeks; blood pressure was measured by telemetry. After one week of Ang II infusion with a high salt diet, subsets of both male and female rats received the ETB antagonist, A-192621, at three doses on consecutive weeks (1, 3, and 10 mg/kg/d in food). Male rats had significantly higher blood pressure compared to females after 4 weeks of Ang II. A-192621 resulted in a dose-dependent increase in blood pressure in female Ang II hypertensive rat while there was no significant change in males. After 4 weeks of Ang II infusion, the levels of proteinuria and nephrinuria were higher in male rats compared to female. A-192621 did not further increase urinary excretion of protein or nephrin in either male or female Ang II hypertensive rats. In conclusion, ETB receptors provide more protection against hypertension during chronic Ang II infusion in female rats compared to male. The third aim was to determine the physiological role of Ang II in regulating renal ETB receptor function during salt deprivation, a model with high levels of endogenous Ang II. After 2 weeks of normal (0.4% Na) or low (0.01-0.02% Na) salt feeding, the activation of ETB receptors in the renal medulla increased urine flow and sodium excretion of rats on normal salt diet. While urinary ET-1 excretion was comparable between a normal and low salt diet, ETB-dependent diuresis and natriuresis in response to acute intramedullary infusion of S6c was reduced in the low salt treated rats. Chronic treatment with the AT1 receptor antagonist, candesartan, restored ETB-induced water and sodium excretion in rats fed low salt diet. These findings support the hypothesis that AT1 receptors regulate renal medullary ETB receptor function in a low salt diet model to conserve sodium. From these studies, we conclude that Ang II via the AT1 receptor attenuates renal medullary ETB receptor function resulting in sodium and water retention. During pathological situations, Ang II has a greater inhibitory effect on ETB receptor function in male rats compared to females, leading to a greater increase in blood pressure in response to chronic Ang II infusion.
    • REGULATION OF SYNAPSE DEVELOPMENT BY GABA ACTIVITY OF ERBB4-POSITIVE INTERNEURONS

      Lin, Thiri W.; Department of Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine (11/2/2017)
      GABA activity has been implicated in neural development; however, in vivo genetic evidence is missing because mutant mice lacking GABA activity die prematurely. Here, we studied postnatal synapse development in ErbB4-Vgat-/- mice where Vgat was deleted in ErbB4+ interneurons. We show that the number of inhibitory axo-somatic synapses onto pyramidal neurons is layer-specific; however, inhibitory synapses on axon initial segments (AISs) were similar from layer to layer. On the other hand, PV+ErbB4+ interneurons and PV-only interneurons receive higher number of inhibitory synapses from PV+ErbB4+ interneurons, compared with ErbB4-only interneurons. Erbb4-Vgat-/- mice exhibited fewer inhibitory synapses from PV+ErbB4+ interneurons onto excitatory neurons (either axo-somatic or axo-axonic), compared with control mice. The Vgat mutation seemed to have little effect on inhibitory synapses onto PV+ and/or ErbB4+ interneurons. These morphological alterations were associated with concomitant changes in neurotransmission. Finally, perineuronal nets were increased in the cortex of ErbB4-Vgat-/- mice. These results demonstrate that GABA activity from ErbB4+ interneurons specifically regulates the development of inhibitory synapses onto excitatory neurons and provides in vivo evidence for a critical role of GABA activity in circuit assembly.
    • Regulation of the Caudal Ventrolateral Medulla by Glutamatergic and Respiratory-Related Inputs

      Mandel, Daniel A.; Department of Physiology (2008-10)
      Many prevalent human conditions, including chronic pulmonary disease, sleep apnea, and obesity, are characterized by concomitant changes in respiratory and cardiovascular function. Mounting evidence suggests the hypertension that presents in many of these patients is attributable to a chronic elevation in sympathetic nerve activity to the vasculature that may be related to changes in central respiratory drive. The neural network that regulates central respiratory drive provides a significant input to the neural network that promotes sympathetic vasomotor tone, as evident by respiratory-related activity in peripheral sympathetic nerves. Changes in central respiratory drive are known to cause changes in arterial pressure via changes in sympathetic nerve activity, but the neural circuitry that connects these systems is not known. We hypothesized that neurons within the caudal ventrolateral medulla (CVLM), in addition to their well established role conferring homeostatic changes in sympathetic nerve activity during acute changes in arterial pressure, have an underappreciated role in the promotion of respiratory-related activity in the sympathetic nerves that control cardiovascular function. The principal findings from specific aims designed to investigate this hypothesis are: 1) glutamatergic inputs to the CVLM are enhanced under conditions of elevated central respiratory drive, 2) CVLM neurons have distinct patterns of respiratory modulated activity that are not dependent upon cardiovascular-related inputs, 3) CVLM neurons respond to hypoxia in a way that may support hypoxia-induced, respiratory-related changes in sympathetic nerve activity, and 4) glutamatergic and GABAergic inputs to the CVLM, most likely of respiratory origin, modulate the magnitude of the sympathetic response to hypoxia. These data are the first to implicate the CVLM as a primary site for cardio-respiratory integration and further suggest these neurons participate in the complex physiological responses to acute hypoxia.
    • Regulation of Virulence in the Human Pathogen Campylobacter jejuni by the RNA Binding Protein CsrA

      Fields, Joshua A; Department of Medicine (2011-10)
      Campylobacter jejuni is a leading bacterial cause of gastroenteritis in both the industrialized and developing world and has been associated with the onset of long term, debilitating sequelae such as Guillain-Barre Syndrome and reactive arthritis. The RNA binding protein CsrA (carbon storage regulator A), one of the relatively few regulatory elements in the C. jejuni genome, has been shown to regulate a number of processes in several other bacterial species including metabolism and virulence characteristics. We proposed the hypothesis that CsrA globally regulates C. jejuni pathogenesis via post-transcriptional repression or activation of virulence associated proteins. We created a csrA mutant in the C. jejuni strain 81-176 to investigate the role of CsrA in the virulence and physiology of the organism. In the absence of CsrA, we found that C. jejuni was no longer able to resist oxidative stresses, form biofilms, or adhere to intestinal epithelial cells in vitro in comparison to the wild type. We also found that C. jejuni was less motile than its parent strain and was defective in autoagglutination and fibronectin binding in vitro and mouse colonization in vivo. When we compared the proteome of the mutant strain to that of the wild type, we found that CsrA acted mostly upon the expression of proteins in stationary phase. In the absence of CsrA proteins responsible for various steps in C. jejuni metabolism, motility, oxidative stress responses, and epithelial cell adherence were differentially expressed. Finally, to further understand the molecular mechanisms of C. jejuni CsrA, we expressed it in a csrA mutant strain of E. coli. By heterologously expressing the C. jejuni protein in strain in which CsrA had been thoroughly characterized, we were able to show by complementation that C. jejuni CsrA was capable of both activating and repressing known targets of E. coli CsrA indicating that the molecular mechanisms of the two proteins are inherently the same.
    • The Regulation of y-globin by microRNA

      Ward, Christina Marie Torres; Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (2016)
      High fetal hemoglobin (HbF) attenuates the severity of sickle cell disease (SCD) by interfering with hemoglobin S polymerization; therefore increasing yglobin expression is an effective therapeutic approach for SCD. Variations in HbF levels in sickle cell patients are associated with inherited genetic differences found in genes encoding regulatory factors throughout the genome involved in yglobin gene regulation. Molecular targets such as microRNAs (miRNAs) that modulate gene expression through post-transcriptional mechanisms are under investigation as novel y-globin regulators. The goal of this project is to identify miRNA genes which regulate HbF. First, computational in silico analysis was performed which identified miR-34a as a predicted target in the y-globin gene 3'untranslated region (UTR). Transient and stable expression of miR-34a in K562 cells, demonstrated increased y-globin transcription and HbF synthesis. We observed increased expression ofGATAl, KLFI , CD235a, and the erythropoietin receptor supporting the promotion of erythroid differentiation by miR-34a. The fact that miR-34a activated HbF suggest it targets a negative regulator of y-globin gene expression rather than targeted the 3 'UTR to promote degradation. The levels of total and phosphorylated STA T3 were decreased in the miR-34a stable clones suggesting a role of the y-globin repressor ST A T3, in the mechanism of HbF activation by miR-34a. For the second approach, we analyzed miRNA profiles using reticulocytes isolated from individuals with SCD with low and high HbF levels and identified miR-144 as highly expressed in the low HbF group. miR-144 targets NRF2, a transcription factor that mediates the cellular oxidative stress response and is involved in drug-mediated HbF induction. Primary erythroid progenitors in culture treated with miR-144 mimic had a decrease in the number of HbF positive cells and the levels of NRF2 and HbF protein. Pretreatment with miR-144 inhibitor reversed its negative effect on HbF expression. Further evidence for this novel mechanism of y-globin regulation was collected using KU812 cells treated with hemin to generate a tissue culture model of oxidative stress. The robust activation of NRF2 and HbF induction by hemin was abolished after pretreatment with miR-144 inhibitor. These data support miR- 34a and miR-144, as positive and negative regulators respectively of HbF expression.
    • Regulators of G Protein Signaling (RGS Proteins) Regulate Presynaptic Inhibition at Rat Hippocampal Synapses

      Chen, Huanmian; Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology (2000-11)
      Presynaptic inhibition o f elicited neurotransmitter release mediated by G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) can develop and decay in a few seconds. This time course is too rapid to be accounted for by the intrinsic GTPase activity o f Ga subunits alone. Here we test the hypothesis that endogenous regulators o f G protein signaling (RGS proteins), which are GTPase activating proteins (GAPs) for Ga, are required for rapid, brief presynaptic inhibition. Endogenous G protein a subunits were uncoupled from GPCRs by treating hippocampal microisland cultures with pertussis toxin (PTX). Adenovirusmediated expression o f mutant PTX-insensitive (PTX-i) Gau.3 or Ga0 subunits rescued adenosine-induced presynaptic inhibition in neurons. Expression o f double mutant Gan or Ga0 subunits that were both PTX-insensitive and unable to bind RGS proteins (PTX/RGS-i) also rescued presynaptic inhibition. Presynaptic inhibition mediated by PTX/RGS-i subunits decayed much more slowly after agonist removal than that mediated by PTX-i subunits or native G proteins. The onset o f presynaptic inhibition mediated by PTX/RGS-i Ga0 was also slower than that mediated by PTX-i Ga0. In contrast, the onset o f presynaptic inhibition mediated by PTX/RGS-i Gan was similar to that mediated by PTX-i Gan. These results suggest that endogenous RGS proteins are present in presynaptic terminals and essential for fast recovery o f presynaptic inhibition. The effect o f endogenous RGS proteins on the onset o f presynaptic inhibition appears dependent on the particular Ga subunits involved. We also performed experiments to test whether the functions o f RGS proteins are sensitive to upregulation. Over-expression o f RGS8 in neurons without pretreatment o f PTX not only accelerated the time course o f the onset but also increased the steady state level o f presynaptic inhibition. Overexpression o f RGS4 also enhanced the steady state. These results suggest that RGS8 and probably RGS4 as well can be transported to presynaptic terminals and upregulate the activation o f Gy0 protein signaling. Interestingly, overexpression o f these RGS proteins failed to accelerate the recovery o f presynaptic inhibition, although it is well established that both RGS8 and RGS4 are strong GAPs for GcCj/0. This result suggests GAP activity for Gai/0 in presynaptic terminals is physiologically “ saturated” by endogenous RGS proteins.
    • Rehabilitation of a 38 year old male following an Arthroscopic Repair of a Type II Superior Labral Anterior Posterior (SLAP) Lesion

      Gonsalves, Vincent; Keskula, Douglas R; Department of Physical Therapy (Shenandoah University, 2013-06-25)
      Postoperative rehabilitation following arthroscopic repair of the Type II superior labral anterior posterior (SLAP) biceps lesions presents a challenge to the physical therapist due to limited evidence-based reviews available within the literature. This case report describes the postoperative rehabilitation of an arthroscopic Type II SLAP repair utilizing suture anchors. The interventions and the postoperative precautions are outlined and related to the emerging evidence. The patient described was a 38 year old male electrician who sustained a work-related SLAP lesion and was referred to physical therapy for postoperative rehabilitation. Following participation in a supervised structured plan of care, the patient developed adequate strength and range of motion required for job functions and ADLs. He achieved a score of 95% on the American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons (ASES) functional test. Patient goals were met and he was released to full duty without restrictions at 5 months post-surgery.
    • The Relationship Among Nursing Unit Structure, Autonomy, Professional Job Satisfaction, and Nurse-Patient Interaction in Ambulatory Care Clinics

      Colgrove, Susan R.; Department of Physiological and Technological Nursing (1992-06)
      In this study the relationships among nursing unit structure, autonomy, professional job satisfaction, and nurse-patient interaction in ambulatory care clinics were investigated. A conceptual framework was derived from the Structure Interaction model for Health Care Behavior, a model developed by the researcher that combined and synthesized concepts from quality of care, organization theory, and client-centered care. The hypothesized relationships were investigated using LISREL VI analysis. A sample of 134 registered nurses and 375 patients from 5 ambulatory care settings was used in this study. Nurses’ perceptions of nursing unit structure, autonomy, and professional job satisfaction and patients’ perceptions of the nurse-patient interaction were measured using five instruments. Testing of the proposed casual model resulted in beginning support for the casual chain between the theoretical constructs of nursing unit structure, autonomy, professional job satisfaction, and nurse-patient interaction. These relationships pointed to the impact of structural factor on professional factors and professional factors on the process of care, namely the nurse-patient interaction. The findings were that positive perceptions of unit nursing structure had a direct positive effect on perceptions of nursing autonomy and indirectly affected perceptions of professional satisfaction when mediated by autonomy; positive perceptions of autonomy by the nurses had a direct positive effect on nurses’ perceptions of professional job satisfaction; and finally, positive perceptions of professional job satisfaction had a direct positive effect on patient perceptions of the nurse-patient interaction.
    • The Relationship Among Structure, Technology, Autonomy, Decision Making, Nurse Characteristics and the Decision to Call a Resuscitation Code on the Patient Who Needs Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation

      Russell, Katherine S.; Department of Physiological and Technological Nursing (1997-08)
      In this study, the relationship among nursing unit structure, technology, autonomy, decision making, nurse characteristics and the timeliness of calling a resuscitation code was explored. The conceptual framework of the study was The Structural Interaction Model for Health Care Behavior (Colgrove, 1992), a model that combined and synthesized concepts from organizational theory, quality care, and patient-centered care.The hypothesized relationships were investigated using multivariate logistic regression and multiple regression analysis. A sample of 127 registered nurses and 127 patient resuscitation events from one hospital was used in the study. Nurses' perception of nursing unit structure, technology, autonomy and decision making were measured using four instruments. Nurse characteristics were obtained from the nurse demographic tool. Data required to stage the timeliness of calling a resuscitation code (early versus not early) was obtained from the patient's hospital record. Testing of the analytical model resulted in beginning support for elements that may contribute to the timeliness of calling a resuscitation code for the patient who may need cardiopulmonary resuscitation. These relationships pointed to the impact of structural factors and professional factors on the timeliness of calling a code. The findings were nurses with a baccalaureate degree or higher were more likely to call an early code as were nurses with less than a baccalaureate degree. Moreover, nurses that practiced on a unite with a more flexible nursing unit structure
    • The Relationship Between Christianity and PTSD Shown Through 19th- and 20th-Century Literature

      Smith, Allyson; Department of English and Foreign Languages; Dr. Lee Anna Maynard; Department of English and Foreign Languages; Augusta University (2018-02-12)
      This project explores the validity of faith, specifically Christianity, as a coping mechanism for those suffering from PTSD. Rather than solely looking at the scientific side of this topic, I will use two works of fiction to represent the cultural attitudes toward Christianity as it relates to PTSD.The selected works are Les Misérables by Victor Hugo and The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien.I chose to approach the topic this way because works of art, including fictional writings, tend to reflect the state of society in which the author lived. By incorporating context from the cultural and medical knowledge of PTSD at the time the books were written, events in the author's lives, and events in the world at the time the authors were writing their books, I will explorewhether a return to faith as a coping mechanism can be an effective strategy for the modernindividual struggling with PTSD.
    • The Relationship of A Body Shape Index and Body Mass Index with Health-related Quality of Life among African Americans: A Study from Fit Body and Soul

      Garvin, Jane; Williams, Lovoria B.; Joshua, Thomas V. (2013-11)
      Aims: This study aimed to determine if these two measures of obesity (ABSI and BMI) were associated with health-related quality of life in this sample of overweight and obese African-American congregants seeking weight reduction.; Specifically, this study aimed to determine if health-related quality of life explained the variation in ABSI or BMI.
    • Relationships among Health Literacy, Self-Care, and Hospital Readmission Status in African American Adults with Heart Failure

      Sarfo, Robert; Department of Physiological and Technological Nursing (5/22/2018)
      Approximately six million adults are diagnosed with heart failure (HF) yearly in the U.S., with one million subsequent hospitalizations. Of these, 25%-30% are readmitted within 30 to 90 days of initial discharge. Little is known about relationships among health literacy (HL), self-care and 30-day hospital readmission status in adult African Americans (AAs) with HF. The primary purpose of this study was to explore relationships among HL, baseline self-care maintenance (BSCM), and 30-day hospital readmission status in adult AAs with HF. Two secondary purposes were to determine whether BSCM mediated the relationship between HL and readmission status and whether there was a moderating effect of age, gender, education, insurance status and perceived social support (PSS), on the relationships of HL with BSCM and readmission status. Using a one-month prospective cohort design, HL, BSCM, PSS, basic conditioning factors, and 30-day readmission status were measured in participants from two large hospitals in the Central Savannah River Area in Georgia. Statistical analyses included logistic regression, Pearson product-moment correlation, chi-square tests of independence, and mediation and moderation analyses. Eighty-nine participants were enrolled in this study. Most participants (71.9%) were male, and their mean age was 53.25 years (Standard Deviation, SD = 12.74; range 25-88 years). Of the 89 participants, 28.1% experienced at least one readmission within 30 days of discharge. The following findings have p values < .05. BSCM varied significantly with HL (X2 = 6.97 (degrees of freedom, df = 2, sample size (N) = 89)). Higher PSS was significantly associated with higher BSCM (r = .29). HL was significantly correlated with age (r = -.62). The influence of age on the relationship between HL and readmission status was significant (b = .005). Elderly patients (> 65 years) scoring high on HL had a higher probability of readmission, and younger patients (< 40 years) scoring low on HL had a higher probability of readmission. Post hoc analysis showed that lower ejection fraction predicted readmissions (odds ratio = 3.1, 95% confidence interval = 1.03 - 9.05) after controlling for the other predictors. The findings provide a basis for further research to better understand the impact of HL, self-care maintenance, and other patient characteristics on readmission of AAs with HF.
    • Relationships of Selected Physiological, Psychosocial, and Spiritual Variables Associated with Survivorship in Socioeconomically Disadvantaged African American Women with Breast Cancer

      Guillory, Joyce A; Department of Physiological and Technological Nursing (1992-10)
      The purpose of this study was to test a theoretical model that postulates cancer survivorship as a function of selected age, marital status, life satisfaction (quality of life, social support, self concept and spirituality), and physiological status (immune status, stage of disease and treatment modality) in a population of socioeconomically disadvantaged African American women who had previously been diagnosed with breast cancer. The study was guided by a causal model that was composed of concepts derived from the body of literature related to breast cancer, survivorship, psychoneuroimmunology, and psychosocial oncology. A purposive sample of 135 women between the ages of 28 and 96 years of age diagnosed with Stage I, II, III and IV breast cancer were evaluated. The women were minimally six months post diagnosis and maximally 25 years post diagnosis. Valid and reliable instruments utilized for this study were Ferran’s Quality of Life-CV, Brandt and Wenert’s PRQ-85, Rosenberg’s Self-Esteem Scale, Reed’s Spiritual Perspective Scale and Dow’s Adaptation After Cancer Profile. Immune Status was measured by the laboratory value of Immunoglobulin M. A nonexperimental research design with structural equation modeling and latent variables was utilized in conduct of the study. Analysis of the findings revealed that further study is needed in order to construct and test the theoretical model underlying the phenomenom of survivorship. Life satisfaction was the only latent variable to merge; it was surprising to find that social support and not quality of life provided the majority of variance in the life satisfaction score. It was also found that survivorship was not a global phenomenon for this population, but is rather a combination of uncertainty over the future, mastery over cancer, transcendence and self- disclosure. Uncertainty over the future was found to be a major factor of survivorship, and social support was an enhancer of mastery over cancer. Spirituality was found to be positively associated with immunoglobulin levels but the magnitude of the relationship did not reach the accepted significance level of .05. Nor were significant differences found between the IgM levels of those women diagnosed less than five year versus those diagnosed post five years. The instruments used in this study were found to be somewhat culturally insensitive. In view of the probably sample bias, the findings from this study cannot be generalized to other populations of women surviving breast cancer without further investigation.
    • A resampling method of time course gene expression data for gene network inference

      Garren, Jeonifer Margaret; Department of Biostatistics (2015)
      Manipulation of cellular functions may aid in treatment and/or cure of a disease. Thus, identifying the topology of a gene regulatory network (GRN) and the molecular role of each gene is essential. Discovering GRNs from gene expression data is hampered by intrinsic attributes of the data: small sample size n, large number of variables (genes) p, and unknown error structure. Numerous theoretical approaches for GRN inference attempt to overcome these difficulties; however, most solutions utilized in these methods are to provide either point estimators such as coefficient estimators or make numerous assumptions which are often incompatible with the data. Furthermore, the different solutions cause GRN inference methods to provide inconsistent results. This dissertation proposes a resampling method for time-course gene expression data which can provide interval estimators for existing GRN inference methods without any distributional assumptions via bootstrapping and a statistical model that considers the various components of the data structure such as trend of gene expressions, errors of time-course data, and correlation between genes, etc. This method will produce more precise GRNs that are consistent with observed gene expression data. Furthermore, by applying our method to multiple existing GRN inference methods, the resulting networks obtained from different inference methods could be combined using the joint confidence region for their parameters. Thus, this method can be used for the validation of identified networks and GRN inference methods.
    • RESTORATIVE JUSTICE PRACTICES AS PERCEIVED AND UNDERSTOOD BY TEACHERS IN TWO GEORGIA RURAL MIDDLE SCHOOLS

      Holt, Jason; Department of Advanced Studies and Innovation (Augusta University, 5/22/2018)
      The purpose of this mixed methods study was to examine how Restorative Justice was understood and perceived by teachers at two rural middle schools. The state previously mandated a portion of the district’s funding be designated to address disproportionality in discipline across all grade levels to include the middle schools. In Southern County School District, administrators chose to address the problems of disproportionality, zero tolerance, and the school-to-prison pipeline through the use of a Restorative Framework. The goal was to bring awareness to the district leadership of current Restorative Justice understandings and perceptions within the district and add to the academic body of literature. Using a concurrent triangulation mixed methods model, this study answered the overarching research question, How do teachers understand and perceive Restorative Justice practices in two rural Georgia middle schools? Teacher surveys (n = 25) were processed for possible differences and relationships using Mann-Whitney U and Spearman’s Rho analyses. Analyses revealed no significant difference between teachers’ perceptions and understandings separately. There was a significant positive relationship between teachers’ understandings and perceptions. The analysis of the qualitative interviews involving 12 participants uncovered themes from teachers related to Restorative Justice, both positive and negative. Some positive themes were building relationships, student ownership and community, and giving everyone a voice. Some undesirable themes were lack of teacher training, lack of community support, and lack of consequences. Recommendations based on findings were offered through a website built for the school district by the research team.
    • RESTORATIVE JUSTICE PRACTICES AS UNDERSTOOD AND PERCEIVED BY TEACHERS IN TWO RURAL GEORGIA MIDDLE SCHOOLS

      Boyd, Sandra Leann; Department of Advanced Studies and Innovation (Augusta University, 5/22/2018)
      The purpose of this mixed methods study was to examine how Restorative Justice was understood and perceived by teachers at two rural middle schools. The state previously mandated a portion of the district’s funding be designated to address disproportionality in discipline across all grade levels to include the middle schools. In Southern County School District, administrators chose to address the problems of disproportionality, zero tolerance, and the school-to-prison pipeline through the use of a Restorative Framework. The goal was to bring awareness to the district leadership of current Restorative Justice understandings and perceptions within the district and add to the academic body of literature. Using a concurrent triangulation mixed methods model, this study answered the overarching research question, How do teachers understand and perceive Restorative Justice practices in two rural Georgia middle schools? Teacher surveys (n = 25) were processed for possible differences and relationships using Mann Whitney U and Spearman’s Rho analyses. Analyses revealed no significant difference between teachers’ perceptions and understandings separately. There was a significant positive relationship between teachers’ understandings and perceptions. The analysis of the qualitative interviews involving 12 participants uncovered themes from teachers related to Restorative Justice, both positive and negative. Some positive themes were building relationships, student ownership and community, and giving everyone a voice. Some undesirable themes were lack of teacher training, lack of community support, and lack of consequences. Recommendations based on findings were offered through a website built for the school district by the research team.
    • RESTORATIVE JUSTICE PRACTICES AS UNDERSTOOD AND PERCEIVED BY TEACHERS IN TWO RURAL GEORGIA MIDDLE SCHOOLS

      Warren, Karyn Elise; Department of Advanced Studies and Innovation (Augusta University, 5/22/2018)
      The purpose of this mixed methods study was to examine how Restorative Justice was understood and perceived by teachers at two rural middle schools. The state previously mandated a portion of the district’s funding be designated to address disproportionality in discipline across all grade levels to include the middle schools. In Southern County School District, administrators chose to address the problems of disproportionality, zero tolerance, and the school-to-prison pipeline through the use of a Restorative Framework. The goal was to bring awareness to the district leadership of current Restorative Justice understandings and perceptions within the district and add to the academic body of literature. Using a concurrent triangulation mixed methods model, this study answered the overarching research question, How do teachers understand and perceive Restorative Justice practices in two rural Georgia middle schools? Teacher surveys (n = 25) were processed for possible differences and relationships using Mann-Whitney U and Spearman’s Rho analyses. Analyses revealed no significant difference between teachers’ perceptions and understandings separately. There was a significant positive relationship between teachers’ understandings and perceptions. The analysis of the qualitative interviews involving 12 participants uncovered themes from teachers related to Restorative Justice, both positive and negative. Some positive themes were building relationships, student ownership and community, and giving everyone a voice. Some undesirable themes were lack of teacher training, lack of community support, and lack of consequences. Recommendations based on findings were offered through a website built for the school district by the research team.
    • Restricted Morphological and Behavioral Abnormalities following Ablation of β-Actin in the Brain

      Cheever, Thomas R.; Li, Bin; Ervasti, James M.; Mei, Lin; Department of Neurology; College of Graduate Studies (2012-03-5)
      The local translation of β-actin is one mechanism proposed to regulate spatially-restricted actin polymerization crucial for nearly all aspects of neuronal development and function. However, the physiological significance of localized β-actin translation in neurons has not yet been demonstrated in vivo. To investigate the role of β-actin in the mammalian central nervous system (CNS), we characterized brain structure and function in a CNS-specific β-actin knock-out mouse (CNS-ActbKO). β-actin was rapidly ablated in the embryonic mouse brain, but total actin levels were maintained through upregulation of other actin isoforms during development. CNS-ActbKO mice exhibited partial perinatal lethality while survivors presented with surprisingly restricted histological abnormalities localized to the hippocampus and cerebellum. These tissue morphology defects correlated with profound hyperactivity as well as cognitive and maternal behavior impairments. Finally, we also identified localized defects in axonal crossing of the corpus callosum in CNS-ActbKO mice. These restricted defects occurred despite the fact that primary neurons lacking β-actin in culture were morphologically normal. Altogether, we identified novel roles for β-actin in promoting complex CNS tissue architecture while also demonstrating that distinct functions for the ubiquitously expressed β-actin are surprisingly restricted in vivo.
    • Retinal Microglial Activation and Inflammation Induced by Amadori-Glycated Albumin in a Rat Model of Diabetes

      Ibrahim, Ahmed S.; El-Remessy, Azza B.; Matragoon, Suraporn; Zhang, Wenbo; Patel, Yogin; Khan, Sohail; Al-Gayyar, Mohammed M H; El-Shishtawy, Mamdouh M.; Liou, Gregory I.; Department of Ophthalmology; et al. (2011-03-22)
      OBJECTIVE: During diabetes, retinal microglial cells are activated to release inflammatory cytokines that initiate neuronal loss and bloodâ retinal barrier breakdown seen in diabetic retinopathy (DR). The mechanism by which diabetes activates microglia to release those inflammatory mediators is unclear and was therefore elucidated.