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The role fo gender in basic cough research – characteristics of cough response of female guinea pigs
Slovakia (SloMSA) - Comenius University Martin, Bratislava
Department of Pathophysiology
Tomas Buday, MD, PhD
prof. Jana Plevkova, MD, PhD
Type of Research Project
- Basic science
What is the background of the project?
Chronic cough affects mainly postmenopausal women, in fact the worldwide homogeneity of this population is so remarkable that leading experts on cough suggest a distinct clinical entity, however nobody knows what the entity is. Contrary to epidemiological evidence, the basic cough research utilizes mainly male sex of laboratory animals in experimental procedures. Upon closer investigation in relevant bibliographic databases we weren’t able to find any reason why the female guinea pigs are excluded from the studies. Our hypothesis is that detailed charaterization of cough response in female guinea pigs can provide valuable information of cough regulation in both physiologic and pathologic conditions and eventually lead to improvement translation of the research into clinical practice.
What is the aim of the project?
The aim is detailed characteristics of cough response of female guinea pigs to various tussigenic stimuli, compare the response to male guinea pigs, determine its reproducibility, and to compare efficacy of well-known and established antitussive drugs in female guinea pigs with modelled pathology of the airways.
What techniques and methods are used?
Conscious guinea pigs (Dunkin-Hartley) are individually placed into whole-body double chamber plethysmograph and are exposed to aerosol of tussigenic substance (for example- citric acid or capsaicin) for 5 minutes. The head chamber is connected to recording device which records changes in the airflow (pneumotachograph) and sounds – both airflow changes and sounds are recorded for further analysis. Offline analysis is performed by two trained independent observers – number of coughs and cough latency (time from exposure begining to occurence of 1st cough) are evaluated. This basic experimental setup is used on healthy animals or in animals with modelled airway pathology (for example- airway hypersensitivity); either with or without any pretreatment – depending on the partial experiment of the project. Analysis of data acquired during the experiment is performed in Audacity/Sonic Visualizer (sound recording) and ACQ Knowledge (pneumotachographic recording). Statistical analysis is performed in GraphPad Prism software. However, the knowledge of this software is not a neccesity to participate in the project whatsoever.
What is the role of the student?
- The student will mainly observe
What are the tasks expected to be accomplished by the student?
Students are expected to observe experimental work and understand the sequence of day-to-day laboratory work. Students will also walked through the analysis of results and basic statistical methods used in the experiment: -Plethysmograph which is an instrument for measuring changes in volume within an organ or whole body (usually resulting from fluctuations in the amount of blood or air it contains). -Pneumotachograph which is an established technology, It makes an accurate, linear and reliable type of flow measurement spirometer as the linear signal is simple to process and the device is extremely robust. In addition, the large diameter and effective cross sectional area gives extremely low flow impedance, so that even with a Bacterial/Viral Filter (BVF) essential for effective hygiene between the patient and the measuring system. Data analysis is usually performed at the end of partial experiment – for details see above. Student does not need any knowledge of statistics or software involved
Will there be any theoretical teaching provided (preliminary readings, lectures, courses, seminars etc)
An hour long explanation of basic methods and background of the research project will be provided by the tutor at the beginning of the research stay. The student will also be familiarized with current state of the project and results obtained so far
What is expected from the student at the end of the research exchange? What will be the general outcome of the student?
- No specific outcome is expected
What skills are required of the student? Is there any special knowledge or a certain level of studies needed?
No specific skills are required
Are there any legal limitations in the student’s involvement
Type of students accepted
This project accepts: - Medical students - Pre-Medical students from the American-British system
- Plevkova; J.; Buday; T.; Kavalcikova − Bogdanova; N.; Kovacikova; L. & Ruzinak; R. Role of gender in basic cough research. Respir. Physiol. Neurobiol. 245; 53–56 (2017).
- Plevkova; J.; Buday; T.; Kavalcikova-Bogdanova; N.; Ioan; I. & Demoulin-Alexikova; S. Sex differences in cough reflex. Respir. Physiol. Neurobiol. 245; 122–129 (2017).
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