Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research]]> vol. 48 num. 2 lang. pt <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[Classical and recent advances in the treatment of inflammatory bowel diseases]]> Crohn's disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC) are intestinal disorders that comprise the inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). These disorders have a significant effect on the quality of life of affected patients and the increasing number of IBD cases worldwide is a growing concern. Because of the overall burden of IBD and its multifactorial etiology, efforts have been made to improve the medical management of these inflammatory conditions. The classical therapeutic strategies aim to control the exacerbated host immune response with aminosalicylates, antibiotics, corticosteroids, thiopurines, methotrexate and anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF) biological agents. Although successful in the treatment of several CD or UC conditions, these drugs have limited effectiveness, and variable responses may culminate in unpredictable outcomes. The ideal therapy should reduce inflammation without inducing immunosuppression, and remains a challenge to health care personnel. Recently, a number of additional approaches to IBD therapy, such as new target molecules for biological agents and cellular therapy, have shown promising results. A deeper understanding of IBD pathogenesis and the availability of novel therapies are needed to improve therapeutic success. This review describes the overall key features of therapies currently employed in clinical practice as well as novel and future alternative IBD treatment methods. <![CDATA[Cancer research in Brazil - stuck in second gear?]]> This article describes the main issues regarding clinical cancer research in Brazil, including both the opportunities and the hurdles. Scientists and clinicians in this field had the opportunity to talk to regulatory agencies and to the Health Ministry representative at a meeting held in the State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in April 2014. Our conclusions are that we do indeed have opportunities; however, we need to move forward regarding partnerships between academia and industry, increase the availability of funding, and provide easier navigation through the regulatory processes. <![CDATA[Berberine induces apoptosis via ROS generation in PANC-1 and MIA-PaCa2 pancreatic cell lines]]> Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death. Gemcitabine is widely used as a chemotherapeutic agent for the treatment of pancreatic cancer, but the prognosis is still poor. Berberine, an isoquinoline alkaloid extracted from a variety of natural herbs, possesses a variety of pharmacological properties including anticancer effects. In this study, we investigated the anticancer effects of berberine and compared its use with that of gemcitabine in the pancreatic cancer cell lines PANC-1 and MIA-PaCa2. Berberine inhibited cell growth in a dose-dependent manner by inducing cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. After berberine treatment, the G1 phase of PANC-1 cells increased by 10% compared to control cells, and the G1 phase of MIA-PaCa2 cells was increased by 2%. Whereas gemcitabine exerts antiproliferation effects through S-phase arrest, our results showed that berberine inhibited proliferation by inducing G1-phase arrest. Berberine-induced apoptosis of PANC-1 and MIA-PaCa2 cells increased by 7 and 2% compared to control cells, respectively. Notably, berberine had a greater apoptotic effect in PANC-1 cells than gemcitabine. Upon treatment of PANC-1 and MIA-PaCa2 with berberine at a half-maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50), apoptosis was induced by a mechanism that involved the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) rather than caspase 3/7 activation. Our findings showed that berberine had anti-cancer effects and may be an effective drug for pancreatic cancer chemotherapy. <![CDATA[Disentangling the effects of insomnia and night work on cardiovascular diseases: a study in nursing professionals]]> Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are known to be associated with poor sleep quality in general populations, but they have not been consistently associated with specific work schedules. Studies of CVD generally do not simultaneously consider sleep and work schedules, but that approach could help to disentangle their effects. We investigated the association between insomnia and a self-reported physician diagnosis of CVD in day and night workers, considering all sleep episodes during nocturnal and diurnal sleep. A cross-sectional study was conducted in 1307 female nursing professionals from 3 public hospitals, using baseline data from the “Health and Work in Nursing - a Cohort Study.” Participants were divided into two groups: i) day workers with no previous experience in night shifts (n=281) and whose data on insomnia were related to nocturnal sleep and ii) those who worked exclusively at night (n=340) and had data on both nocturnal and diurnal sleep episodes, as they often sleep at daytime. Multiple logistic regression analysis was performed. Among day workers, insomnia complaints increased the odds of CVD 2.79-fold (95% CI=1.01-6.71) compared with workers who had no complaints. Among night workers, reports of insomnia during both nocturnal and diurnal sleep increased the odds of reported CVD 3.07-fold (95% CI=1.30-7.24). Workers with insomnia had similar probabilities of reporting CVD regardless of their work schedule, suggesting a relationship to insomnia and not to night work per se. The results also highlighted the importance of including evaluation of all sleep episodes (diurnal plus nocturnal sleep) for night workers. <![CDATA[Neuropeptides in the posterodorsal medial amygdala modulate central cardiovascular reflex responses in awake male rats]]> The rat posterodorsal medial amygdala (MePD) links emotionally charged sensory stimuli to social behavior, and is part of the supramedullary control of the cardiovascular system. We studied the effects of microinjections of neuroactive peptides markedly found in the MePD, namely oxytocin (OT, 10 ng and 25 pg; n=6/group), somatostatin (SST, 1 and 0.05 μM; n=8 and 5, respectively), and angiotensin II (Ang II, 50 pmol and 50 fmol; n=7/group), on basal cardiovascular activity and on baroreflex- and chemoreflex-mediated responses in awake adult male rats. Power spectral and symbolic analyses were applied to pulse interval and systolic arterial pressure series to identify centrally mediated sympathetic/parasympathetic components in the heart rate variability (HRV) and arterial pressure variability (APV). No microinjected substance affected basal parameters. On the other hand, compared with the control data (saline, 0.3 µL; n=7), OT (10 ng) decreased mean AP (MAP50) after baroreflex stimulation and increased both the mean AP response after chemoreflex activation and the high-frequency component of the HRV. OT (25 pg) increased overall HRV but did not affect any parameter of the symbolic analysis. SST (1 μM) decreased MAP50, and SST (0.05 μM) enhanced the sympathovagal cardiac index. Both doses of SST increased HRV and its low-frequency component. Ang II (50 pmol) increased HRV and reduced the two unlike variations pattern of the symbolic analysis (P&lt;0.05 in all cases). These results demonstrate neuropeptidergic actions in the MePD for both the increase in the range of the cardiovascular reflex responses and the involvement of the central sympathetic and parasympathetic systems on HRV and APV. <![CDATA[Epilepsy-induced electrocardiographic alterations following cardiac ischemia and reperfusion in rats]]> The present study evaluated electrocardiographic alterations in rats with epilepsy submitted to an acute myocardial infarction (AMI) model induced by cardiac ischemia and reperfusion. Rats were randomly divided into two groups: control (n=12) and epilepsy (n=14). It was found that rats with epilepsy presented a significant reduction in atrioventricular block incidence following the ischemia and reperfusion procedure. In addition, significant alterations were observed in electrocardiogram intervals during the stabilization, ischemia, and reperfusion periods of rats with epilepsy compared to control rats. It was noted that rats with epilepsy presented a significant increase in the QRS interval during the stabilization period in relation to control rats (P&lt;0.01). During the ischemia period, there was an increase in the QRS interval (P&lt;0.05) and a reduction in the P wave and QT intervals (P&lt;0.05 for both) in rats with epilepsy compared to control rats. During the reperfusion period, a significant reduction in the QT interval (P&lt;0.01) was verified in the epilepsy group in relation to the control group. Our results indicate that rats submitted to an epilepsy model induced by pilocarpine presented electrical conductivity alterations of cardiac tissue, mainly during an AMI episode. <![CDATA[Measurement of serum estrogen and estrogen metabolites in pre- and postmenopausal women with osteoarthritis using high-performance liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization-tandem mass spectrometry]]> Although 17β-estradiol (E2) deficiency has been linked to the development of osteoarthritis (OA) in middle-aged women, there are few studies relating other estrogens and estrogen metabolites (EMs) to this condition. We developed a high-performance liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization-tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC-ESI-MS/MS) method to measure the levels of six EMs (i.e., estrone, E2, estriol, 2-hydroxyestrone, 2-hydroxyestradiol, and 16a-hydroxyestrone) in healthy pre- and postmenopausal women and women with OA. This method had a precision ranging from 1.1 to 3.1% and a detection limit ranging from 10 to 15 pg. Compared to healthy women, serum-free E2 was lower in the luteal and postmenopausal phases in women with OA, and total serum E2 was lower in postmenopausal women with OA. Moreover, compared to healthy women, total serum 2-hydroxyestradiol was higher in postmenopausal women with OA and total serum 2-hydroxyestrone was lower in both the luteal and follicular phases in women with OA. In conclusion, our HPLC-ESI-MS/MS method allowed the measurement of multiple biochemical targets in a single assay, and, given its increased cost-effectiveness, simplicity, and speed relative to previous methods, this method is suitable for clinical studies. <![CDATA[Hormone therapy with tamoxifen reduces plasma levels of NT-B-type natriuretic peptide but does not change ventricular ejection fraction after chemotherapy in women with breast cancer]]> The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of tamoxifen on the plasma concentration of NT-pro-B-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) in women undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer and to correlate changes in NT-proBNP with the left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF). Over a period of 12 months, we followed 60 women with a diagnosis of breast cancer. The patients were separated into a group that received only chemotherapy (n=23), a group that received chemotherapy + tamoxifen (n=21), and a group that received only tamoxifen (n=16). Plasma levels of NT-proBNP were assessed at 0 (T0), 6 (T6), and 12 (T12) months of treatment, and echocardiography data were assessed at T0 and T12. Plasma NT-proBNP levels were increased in the chemotherapy-only group at T6 and T12, whereas elevated NT-proBNP levels were only found at T6 in the chemotherapy + tamoxifen group. At T12, the chemotherapy + tamoxifen group exhibited a significant reduction in the peptide to levels similar to the group that received tamoxifen alone. The chemotherapy-only group exhibited a significant decrease in LVEF at T12, whereas the chemotherapy + tamoxifen and tamoxifen-only groups maintained levels similar to those at the beginning of treatment. Treatment with tamoxifen for 6 months after chemotherapy significantly reduced the plasma levels of NT-proBNP and did not change LVEF in women with breast cancer. <![CDATA[Role of chemokines in promoting instability of coronary atherosclerotic plaques and the underlying molecular mechanism]]> Our aim was to investigate the role of chemokines in promoting instability of coronary atherosclerotic plaques and the underlying molecular mechanism. Coronary angiography and intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) were performed in 60 stable angina pectoris (SAP) patients and 60 unstable angina pectoris (UAP) patients. The chemotactic activity of monocytes in the 2 groups of patients was examined in Transwell chambers. High-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), regulated on activation in normal T-cell expressed and secreted (RANTES), and fractalkine in serum were examined with ELISA kits, and expression of MCP-1, RANTES, and fractalkine mRNA was examined with real-time PCR. In the SAP group, 92 plaques were detected with IVUS. In the UAP group, 96 plaques were detected with IVUS. The plaques in the UAP group were mainly lipid 51.04% (49/96) and the plaques in the SAP group were mainly fibrous 52.17% (48/92). Compared with the SAP group, the plaque burden and vascular remodeling index in the UAP group were significantly greater than in the SAP group (P&lt;0.01). Chemotactic activity and the number of mobile monocytes in the UAP group were significantly greater than in the SAP group (P&lt;0.01). Concentrations of hs-CRP, MCP-1, RANTES, and fractalkine in the serum of the UAP group were significantly higher than in the serum of the SAP group (P&lt;0.05 or P&lt;0.01), and expression of MCP-1, RANTES, and fractalkine mRNA was significantly higher than in the SAP group (P&lt;0.05). MCP-1, RANTES, and fractalkine probably promote instability of coronary atherosclerotic plaque. <![CDATA[High levels of LDL-C combined with low levels of HDL-C further increase platelet activation in hypercholesterolemic patients]]> High levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) enhance platelet activation, whereas high levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) exert a cardioprotective effect. However, the effects on platelet activation of high levels of LDL-C combined with low levels of HDL-C (HLC) have not yet been reported. We aimed to evaluate the platelet activation marker of HLC patients and investigate the antiplatelet effect of atorvastatin on this population. Forty-eight patients with high levels of LDL-C were enrolled. Among these, 23 had HLC and the other 25 had high levels of LDL-C combined with normal levels of HDL-C (HNC). A total of 35 normocholesterolemic (NOMC) volunteers were included as controls. Whole blood flow cytometry and platelet aggregation measurements were performed on all participants to detect the following platelet activation markers: CD62p (P-selectin), PAC-1 (GPIIb/IIIa), and maximal platelet aggregation (MPAG). A daily dose of 20 mg atorvastatin was administered to patients with high levels of LDL-C, and the above assessments were obtained at baseline and after 1 and 2 months of treatment. The expression of platelets CD62p and PAC-1 was increased in HNC patients compared to NOMC volunteers (P&lt;0.01 and P&lt;0.05). Furthermore, the surface expression of platelets CD62p and PAC-1 was greater among HLC patients than among HNC patients (P&lt;0.01 and P&lt;0.05). Although the expression of CD62p and PAC-1 decreased significantly after atorvastatin treatment, it remained higher in the HLC group than in the HNC group (P&lt;0.05 and P=0.116). The reduction of HDL-C further increased platelet activation in patients with high levels of LDL-C. Platelet activation remained higher among HLC patients regardless of atorvastatin treatment. <![CDATA[Unusual association of NDM-1 with KPC-2 and <em>arm</em>A among Brazilian Enterobacteriaceae isolates]]> We report the microbiological characterization of four New Delhi metallo-β-lactamase-1 (blaNDM-1)-producing Enterobacteriaceae isolated in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. blaNDM-1 was located on a conjugative plasmid and was associated with Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase-2 (blaKPC-2) or aminoglycoside-resistance methylase (armA), a 16S rRNA methylase not previously reported in Brazil, in two distinct strains of Enterobacter cloacae. Our results suggested that the introduction of blaNDM-1 in Brazil has been accompanied by rapid spread, since our isolates showed no genetic relationship. <![CDATA[Possible benefit of consolidation therapy with high-dose cytarabine on overall survival of adults with non-promyelocytic acute myeloid leukemia]]> In adults with non-promyelocytic acute myeloid leukemia (AML), high-dose cytarabine consolidation therapy has been shown to influence survival in selected patients, although the appropriate doses and schemes have not been defined. We evaluated survival after calculating the actual dose of cytarabine that patients received for consolidation therapy and divided them into 3 groups according to dose. We conducted a single-center, retrospective study involving 311 non-promyelocytic AML patients with a median age of 36 years (16-79 years) who received curative treatment between 1978 and 2007. The 131 patients who received cytarabine consolidation were assigned to study groups by their cytarabine dose protocol. Group 1 (n=69) received &lt;1.5 g/m2 every 12 h on 3 alternate days for up to 4 cycles. The remaining patients received high-dose cytarabine (≥1.5 g/m2 every 12 h on 3 alternate days for up to 4 cycles). The actual dose received during the entire consolidation period in these patients was calculated, allowing us to divide these patients into 2 additional groups. Group 2 (n=27) received an intermediate-high-dose (&lt;27 g/m2), and group 3 (n=35) received a very-high-dose (≥27 g/m2). Among the 311 patients receiving curative treatment, the 5-year survival rate was 20.2% (63 patients). The cytarabine consolidation dose was an independent determinant of survival in multivariate analysis; age, karyotype, induction protocol, French-American-British classification, and de novo leukemia were not. Comparisons showed that the risk of death was higher in the intermediate-high-dose group 2 (hazard ratio [HR]=4.51; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.81-11.21) and the low-dose group 1 (HR=4.43; 95% CI: 1.97-9.96) than in the very-high-dose group 3, with no significant difference between those two groups. Our findings indicated that very-high-dose cytarabine during consolidation in adults with non-promyelocytic AML may improve survival. <![CDATA[Prevention of etomidate-induced myoclonus during anesthetic induction by pretreatment with dexmedetomidine]]> Myoclonus induced by etomidate during induction of general anesthesia is undesirable. This study evaluated the effect of dexmedetomidine (DEX) pretreatment on the incidence and severity of etomidate-induced myoclonus. Ninety patients undergoing elective surgical procedures were randomly allocated to three groups (n=30 each) for intravenous administration of 10 mL isotonic saline (group I), 0.5 µg/kg DEX in 10 mL isotonic saline (group II), or 1.0 µg/kg DEX in 10 mL isotonic saline (group III) over 10 min. All groups subsequently received 0.3 mg/kg etomidate by intravenous push injection. The incidence and severity of myoclonus were recorded for 1 min after etomidate administration and the incidence of cardiovascular adverse events that occurred between the administration of the DEX infusion and 1 min after tracheal intubation was recorded. The incidence of myoclonus was significantly reduced in groups II and III (30.0 and 36.7%), compared with group I (63.3%). The incidence of severe sinus bradycardia was significantly increased in group III compared with group I (P&lt;0.05), but there was no significant difference in heart rate in groups I and II. There were no significant differences in the incidence of low blood pressure among the 3 groups. Pretreatment with 0.5 and 1.0 µg/kg DEX significantly reduced the incidence of etomidate-induced myoclonus during anesthetic induction; however, 0.5 µg/kg DEX is recommended because it had fewer side effects.