Significant proportion of crop lands have been abandoned as management strategies have changed in Central and Eastern Europe in the past decades. The study of insect versus plant communities in such areas could help us understand how these processes take place, and whether these communities return to a semi-natural state maintained by human activities. Amongst insects ants, as ecosystem engineers, are a perfect target group in this respect. We studied epigaeic ant and plant communities of abandoned old-fields in Romania. Contrary to our expectations, the total number of ant species did not increase with time during succession on old-fields contrary to plants, where an increase was registered in the total number. Disturbancetolerant ant species dominated the ant communities throughout the successional gradient, while in the case of plants a transition was found from weed-dominated to semi-natural communities. The diversity of both ant and plant communities increased after the 1-year stage, but the patterns were different. While a return to semi-natural state could be observed in plants during old-field succession, such a definite change did not occur in ants. This might be caused by the landscape context: the lack of connectivity of old-fields to larger natural areas. While plant propagules of semi-natural and natural habitat species can still successfully colonize the old fields even under such conditions, ant colonizers are mainly disturbance-tolerant species typical for agricultural areas, which can be hardly replaced by typical grassland species. Our findings underline the existence of important discrepancies between plant and ant community succession, mostly treated as paralleling each other. This is the first study to handle the effect of abandonment on ant and plant communities simultaneously in Eastern Europe.
Glycine is a mandatory positive allosteric modulator of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA)-type ionotropic glutamate receptors in the central nervous system. Elevation of glycine concentrations by inhibition of its reuptake in the vicinity of NMDA receptors may positively influence receptor functions as glycine B binding site on NR1 receptor subunit is not saturated in physiological conditions. Synaptic and extrasynaptic concentrations of glycine are regulated by its type-1 glycine transporter, which is primarily expressed in astroglial and glutamatergic cell membranes. Alteration of synaptic glycine levels may have importance in the treatment of various forms of endogenous psychosis characterized by hypofunctional NMDA receptors. Several lines of evidence indicate that impaired NMDA receptor-mediated glutamatergic neurotransmission is involved in development of the negative (and partly the positive) symptoms and the cognitive deficit in schizophrenia. Inhibitors of glycine transporter type-1 may represent a newly developed therapeutic intervention in treatment of this mental illness. We have synthesized a novel series of N-substituted sarcosines, analogues of the glycine transporter-1 inhibitor NFPS (N-[3-(4′-fluorophenyl)-3-(4′-phenylphenoxy)-propyl]sarcosine). Of the pyridazinone-containing compounds, SzV-1997 was found to be a potent glycine transporter-1 inhibitor in rat brain synaptosomes and it markedly increased extracellular glycine concentrations in conscious rat striatum. SzV-1997 did not exhibit toxic symptoms such as hyperlocomotion, restless movements, respiratory depression, and lethality, characteristic for NFPS. Besides pyridazinone-based, sarcosine-containing glycine transporter-1 inhibitors, a series of substrate-type amino acid inhibitors was investigated in order to obtain better insight into the ligand-binding characteristics of the substrate binding cavity of the transporter.
Hungarian cattle herds were surveyed for bovine herpesvirus 1 (BHV-1) infection by ELISA of milk and serum samples. In 1993, 75% of the large cattle herds (consisting of more than 50 cattle) and all small herds (small-scale producers' stocks), while in 1997 90% of the small herds were included in the survey. In the case of large herds, 79.3% of the herds and 64.1% of the samples tested were found to be positive. Of the small herds, 13.5% and 15.7% tested positive in 1993 and 1997, respectively. The majority of large herds were Holstein-Friesian dairy stocks. Small herds with an infection rate markedly exceeding the average were found in those counties where the small herds had been in close contact with the large-scale farms, or where new herds were established by using animals of uncontrolled infectious bovine rhinotracheitis (IBR) status originating from large farms. Attention is called to the importance of maintaining the IBR-free status of small herds that constitute one-third of the Hungarian cattle population.
Epidemiological, pathological, serological and virological investigations are reported on turkey haemorrhagic enteritis virus (THEV) infection in Hungarian turkey flocks. The pathogenesis of infection in experimentally infected turkeys and chickens, as well as the usefulness of polymerase chain reaction (PCR)/sequencing method for epidemiological investigation and for the differentiation of vaccine and field strains of THEV was also studied. Since the first recognition of the disease in Hungary in the late 1970s, until recently the disease has been diagnosed sporadically in its mild form. In the last few years (2000–2005), however, the number of outbreaks and the severity of the disease increased (9–23 affected flocks/year). Most of the outbreaks occurred at the age of 6 to 8 weeks and was complicated with
infection. The antibody levels to THEV in turkey flocks gradually declined till 5–7 weeks of age, and then they increased sharply due to natural infection with THEV. The immune response to vaccination (at 5 weeks of age) showed no significant antibody level increase one week postvaccination, but four weeks later the antibody level reached high values and then remained at this high level. The agar gel immunodiffusion (AGID) test to detect turkey adenovirus A (TAdV-A) antigen and PCR methods for THEV-specific DNA gave similarly positive results if spleens with pathognomonic lesions were tested; however, PCR proved to be more sensitive in cases with less characteristic pathological lesions. Nucleotide sequence alignment of PCR products amplified from Hungarian field strains and the Domermuth vaccine strain and that of the published THEV hexon sequences in GenBank database revealed slight differences between the sequences.