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Concept: Guinea pig


Most rodents are small and short-lived, but several lineages have independently evolved long lifespans without a concomitant increase in body-mass. Most notable are the two subterranean species naked mole rat (NMR) and blind mole rat (BMR) which have maximum lifespans of 32 and 21 years, respectively. The longevity of these species has sparked interest in the tumor suppression strategies that may have also evolved, because for many rodent species (including mice, rats, guinea pigs, gerbils, and hamsters) tumors are a major source of late-life mortality. Here, we review the recent literature on anti-cancer mechanisms in long-lived rodents. Both NMR and BMR seem to have developed tumor defenses that rely on extra-cellular signals. However, while the NMR relies on a form of contact inhibition to suppress growth, the BMR evolved a mechanism mediated by the release of interferon, and rapid necrotic cell death. Although both organisms ultimately rely on canonical downstream tumor suppressors (pRB and p53) the studies reveal species can evolve different strategies to achieve tumor-resistance. Importantly, studies of these cancer-resistant rodents may benefit human health if such mechanisms can be activated in human cells.

Concepts: Cancer, Mammal, Rat, Rodent, Muridae, Hamster, Guinea pig, Muroidea


BACKGROUND: To investigate the effect of prostaglandin depletion by means of COX-inhibition on cholinergic enhanced spontaneous contractions. METHODS: The urethra and bladder of 9 male guinea pigs (weight 270–300 g) were removed and placed in an organ bath with Krebs' solution. A catheter was passed through the urethra through which the intravesical pressure was measured. The muscarinic agonist arecaidine, the non-selective COX inhibitor indomethacin, and PGE2 were subsequently added to the organ bath. The initial average frequency and amplitude of spontaneous contractions in the first 2 minutes after arecaidine application were labelled Fini and Pini, respectively. The steady state frequency (Fsteady) and amplitude (Psteady) were defined as the average frequency and amplitude during the 5 minutes before the next wash out. RESULTS: Application of 1 muM PGE2 increased the amplitude of spontaneous contractions without affecting frequency. 10 muM of indomethacin reduced amplitude but not frequency.The addition of indomethacin did not alter Fini after the first application (p = 0.7665). However, after the second wash, Fini was decreased (p = 0.0005). Fsteady, Psteady and Pini were not significantly different in any of the conditions. These effects of indomethacin were reversible by PGE2 addition.. CONCLUSIONS: Blocking PG synthesis decreased the cholinergically stimulated autonomous contractions in the isolated bladder. This suggests that PG could modify normal cholinergically evoked response. A combination of drugs inhibiting muscarinic receptors and PG function or production can then become an interesting focus of research on a treatment for overactive bladder syndrome.

Concepts: Urine, Urology, Urinary bladder, Urinary system, Urethra, Ureter, Urogenital sinus, Guinea pig


Domestication is an important factor driving changes in animal cognition and behaviour. In particular, the capacity of dogs to communicate in a referential and intentional way with humans is considered a key outcome of how domestication as a companion animal shaped the canid brain. However, the lack of comparison with other domestic animals makes general conclusions about how domestication has affected these important cognitive features difficult. We investigated human-directed behaviour in an ‘unsolvable problem’ task in a domestic, but non-companion species: goats. During the test, goats experienced a forward-facing or an away-facing person. They gazed towards the forward-facing person earlier and for longer and showed more gaze alternations and a lower latency until the first gaze alternation when the person was forward-facing. Our results provide strong evidence for audience-dependent human-directed visual orienting behaviour in a species that was domesticated primarily for production, and show similarities with the referential and intentional communicative behaviour exhibited by domestic companion animals such as dogs and horses. This indicates that domestication has a much broader impact on heterospecific communication than previously believed.

Concepts: Psychology, Cognitive psychology, Communication, Domestication, Dog, Goat, Pet, Guinea pig


While companion animals have been previously identified as a direct source of companionship and support to their owners, their role as a catalyst for friendship formation or social support networks among humans has received little attention. This study investigated the indirect role of pets as facilitators for three dimensions of social relatedness; getting to know people, friendship formation and social support networks.

Concepts: Chimpanzee, Pet, Guinea pig, Companion parrot, Cockatiel


Rabbits are commonly thought to have been domesticated in ∼AD600 by French monks. Using historical and archaeological records, and genetic methods, we demonstrate that this is a misconception and the general inability to date domestication stems from both methodological biases and the lack of appreciation of domestication as a continuum.

Concepts: Greek loanwords, Meat, Cat, Domestication, European Rabbit, Guinea pig


To compare the biological effects of riboflavin-ultraviolet A (UVA) corneal cross-linking (CXL) performed with a traditional epithelium-off method to several transepithelial methods in a rabbit model. Preliminary experiments on biomechanical rigidity were also performed.

Concepts: Rabbit, Guinea pig


Efinaconazole 10 % solution is a new triazole antifungal agent developed for the topical treatment of fungal infections of the nails. The current study examined the effect of intratympanic application of efinaconazole 10 % solution in the guinea pig ear. Sixteen male Hartley guinea pigs (weight 501-620 g) were divided into 3 groups to be treated with efinaconazole 10 % solution, gentamicin (50 mg/mL), or saline solution. Topical solutions of 0.2 mL were applied through a small hole made at the tympanic bulla once daily for 7 consecutive days. Post-intervention auditory brainstem responses were obtained 7 days after the last treatment. The extent of middle ear damage and hair cell loss was investigated. The efinaconazole- and gentamicin-treated groups showed severe deterioration in auditory brainstem response threshold. Middle ear examination revealed extensive changes in the efinaconazole-treated group and medium changes in the gentamicin-treated group. Hair cells were preserved in the efinaconazole- and saline-treated groups, but severe damage was seen in the gentamicin group. In conclusion, efinaconazole 10 % solution applied intratympanically to the guinea pig middle ear caused significant middle ear inflammation and hearing impairment.

Concepts: Auditory system, Cochlea, Auditory brainstem response, Ear, Guinea pigs, Hearing, Griseofulvin, Guinea pig


Rabbits, guinea pigs, and chinchillas are some of the more common exotic pets seen in emergency clinics. They frequently present with acute illnesses that are the result of several chronic conditions, most related to inadequate diet and husbandry. This article reviews the diagnosis and treatment of some of the more common acute illnesses. It also discusses the predisposing factors that culminate in acute presentations, so that emergency providers can recognize and be mindful of underlying causes of disease before treatment of acute illnesses.

Concepts: Medicine, Medical terms, Rodent, French language, Pet, Exotic pet, Pets, Guinea pig


In the past decade, biobanking has fuelled great scientific advances in the human medical sector. Well-established domesticated animal biobanks and integrated networks likewise harbour immense potential for great scientific advances with broad societal impacts, which are currently not being fully realised. Political and scientific leaders as well as journals and ethics committees should help to ensure that we are well equipped to meet future demands in livestock production, animal models, and veterinary care of companion animals.

Concepts: Science, Veterinary medicine, Religion, Domestication, Political philosophy, Livestock, Pet, Guinea pig


Epigenetic modifications, of which DNA methylation is the best studied one, can convey environmental information through generations via parental germ lines. Past studies have focused on the maternal transmission of epigenetic information to the offspring of isogenic mice and rats in response to external changes, whereas heterogeneous wild mammals as well as paternal epigenetic effects have been widely neglected. In most wild mammal species, males are the dispersing sex and have to cope with differing habitats and thermal changes. As temperature is a major environmental factor we investigated if genetically heterogeneous Wild guinea pig (Cavia aperea) males can adapt epigenetically to an increase in temperature and if that response will be transmitted to the next generation(s). Five adult male guinea pigs (F0) were exposed to an increased ambient temperature for 2 months, i.e. the duration of spermatogenesis. We studied the liver (as the main thermoregulatory organ) of F0 fathers and F1 sons, and testes of F1 sons for paternal transmission of epigenetic modifications across generation(s). Reduced representation bisulphite sequencing revealed shared differentially methylated regions in annotated areas between F0 livers before and after heat treatment, and their sons' livers and testes, which indicated a general response with ecological relevance. Thus, paternal exposure to a temporally limited increased ambient temperature led to an ‘immediate’ and ‘heritable’ epigenetic response that may even be transmitted to the F2 generation. In the context of globally rising temperatures epigenetic mechanisms may become increasingly relevant for the survival of species.

Concepts: DNA, Epigenetics, DNA methylation, Methylation, Mammal, Rodent, Guinea pigs, Guinea pig