Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research]]> vol. 34 num. 8 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<B>Heparan sulfate and control of cell division</B>: <B>adhesion and proliferation of mutant CHO-745 cells lacking xylosyl transferase</B>]]> We have examined the role of cell surface glycosaminoglycans in cell division: adhesion and proliferation of Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells. We used both wild-type (CHO-K1) cells and a mutant (CHO-745) which is deficient in the synthesis of proteoglycans due to lack of activity of xylosyl transferase. Using different amounts of wild-type and mutant cells, little adhesion was observed in the presence of laminin and type I collagen. However, when fibronectin or vitronectin was used as substrate, there was an enhancement in the adhesion of wild-type and mutant cells. Only CHO-K1 cells showed a time-dependent adhesion on type IV collagen. These results suggest that the two cell lines present different adhesive profiles. Several lines of experimental evidence suggest that heparan sulfate proteoglycans play a role in cell adhesion as positive modulators of cell proliferation and as key participants in the process of cell division. Proliferation and cell cycle assays clearly demonstrate that a decrease in the amount of glycosaminoglycans does not inhibit the proliferation of mutant CHO-745 cells when compared to the wild type CHO-K1, in agreement with the findings that both CHO-K1 and CHO-745 cells take 8 h to enter the S phase. <![CDATA[<b>Isolation of bovine plasma albumin by liquid chromatography and its polymerization for use in immunohematology</b>]]> The aim of the method described here is to remove hemoglobin, the major contaminant in the bovine plasma obtained from slaughterhouses, by adding a mixture of 19% cold ethanol and 0.6% chloroform, followed by fibrinogen and globulin precipitation by the Cohn method and nonspecific hemagglutinin by thermocoagulation. The experimental volume of bovine plasma was 2,000 ml per batch. Final purification was performed by liquid chromatography using the ion-exchange gel DEAE-Sepharose FF. The bovine albumin thus obtained presented > or = 99% purity, a yield of 25.0 ± 1.2 g/l plasma and >71.5% recovery. N-acetyl-DL-tryptophan (0.04 mmol/g protein) and sodium caprylate (0.04 mmol/g protein) were used as stabilizers and the final concentration of albumin was adjusted to 22.0% (w/v), pH 7.2 to 7.3. Viral inactivation was performed by pasteurization for 10 h at 60°C. The bovine albumin for the hemagglutination tests used in immunohematology was submitted to chemical treatment with 0.06% (w/v) glutaraldehyde and 0.1% (w/v) formaldehyde at 37°C for 12 h to obtain polymerization. A change in molecular distribution was observed after this treatment, with average contents of 56.0% monomers, 23.6% dimers, 12.2% trimers and 8.2% polymers. The tests performed demonstrated that this polymerized albumin enhances the agglutination of Rho(D)-positive red cells by anti-Rho(D) serum, permitting and improving visualization of the results. <![CDATA[<B><FONT FACE=Symbol>a</FONT>-Smooth muscle actin and proliferating cell nuclear antigen expression in focal segmental glomerulosclerosis</B>: <B>functional and structural parameters of renal disease progression</B>]]> The aim of the present study was to investigate the expression of alpha-smooth muscle actin (alpha-SM-actin) and proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) in renal cortex from patients with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) and their correlations with parameters of renal disease progression. We analyzed renal biopsies from 41 patients with idiopathic FSGS and from 14 control individuals. The alpha-SM-actin immunoreaction was evaluated using a score that reflected the changes in the extent and intensity of staining in the glomerular or cortical area. The PCNA reaction was quantified by counting the labeled cells of the glomeruli or renal cortex. The results, reported as median ± percentile (25th; 75th), showed that the alpha-SM-actin scores in the glomeruli and tubulointerstitium from the renal cortex were 2.0 (2.0; 4.0) and 3.0 (3.0; 4.0), respectively, in patients with FSGS, and 0.5 (0.0; 1.0) and 0.0 (0.0; 0.5) in the controls. The number of PCNA-positive cells per glomerulus and graded field of tubulointerstitium from the renal cortex was 0.2 (0.0; 0.4) and 1.1 (0.3; 2.2), respectively, for patients with FSGS, and 0.0 (0.0; 0.5) and 0.0 (0.0; 0.0) for controls. The present data showed an increase of alpha-SM-actin and PCNA expression in glomeruli and renal cortex from FSGS patients. The extent of immunoreaction for alpha-SM-actin in the tubulointerstitial area was correlated with the intensity of proteinuria. However, there was no correlation between the kidney expression of these proteins and the reciprocal of plasma creatinine level or renal fibrosis. These findings suggest that the immunohistochemical alterations may be reversible. <![CDATA[<B>Diagnostic investigation of ventilator-associated pneumonia using bronchoalveolar lavage</B>: <B>comparative study with a postmortem lung biopsy</B>]]> The purpose of the present study was to validate the quantitative culture and cellularity of bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) for the diagnosis of ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP). A prospective validation test trial was carried out between 1992 and 1997 in a general adult intensive care unit of a teaching hospital. Thirty-seven patients on mechanical ventilation with suspected VAP who died at most three days after a BAL diagnostic procedure were submitted to a postmortem lung biopsy. BAL effluent was submitted to Gram staining, quantitative culture and cellularity count. Postmortem lung tissue quantitative culture and histopathological findings were considered to be the gold standard exams for VAP diagnosis. According to these criteria, 20 patients (54%) were diagnosed as having VAP and 17 (46%) as not having the condition. Quantitative culture of BAL effluent showed 90% sensitivity (18/20), 94.1% specificity (16/17), 94.7% positive predictive value and 88.8% negative predictive value. Fever and leukocytosis were useless for VAP diagnosis. Gram staining of BAL effluent was negative in 94.1% of the patients without VAP (16/17). Regarding the total cellularity of BAL, a cut-off point of 400,000 cells/ml showed a specificity of 94.1% (16/17), and a cut-off point of 50% of BAL neutrophils showed a sensitivity of 90% (19/20). In conclusion, BAL quantitative culture, Gram staining and cellularity might be useful in the diagnostic investigation of VAP. <![CDATA[<B>Cytogenetic description of breast fibroadenomas</B>: <B>alterations related solely to proliferation?</B>]]> Twelve breast fibroadenomas were analyzed cytogenetically and only four were found to have clonal alterations. The presence of chromosomal alterations in fibroadenomas must be the consequence of the proliferating process and must not be related to the etiology of this type of lesion. In contrast, the few fibroadenomas that exhibit chromosomal alterations are likely to be those presenting a risk of neoplastic transformation. Clonal numerical alterations involved chromosomes 8, 18, 19, and 21. Of the chromosomal alterations found in the present study, only monosomy of chromosomes 19 and 21 has been reported in breast fibroadenomas. The loss of chromosome 21 was the most frequent alteration found in our sample. The study of benign proliferations and their comparison with chromosome alterations in their malignant counterparts ought to result in a better understanding of the genes acting on cell proliferation alone, and of the genes that cause these cells to exhibit varied behaviors such as recurrences, spontaneous regression and fast growth. <![CDATA[<B>Intercellular contact-dependent survival of human A549, NCI-H596 and NCI-H520 non-small cell lung carcinoma cell lines</B>]]> In the present study, we examined the relationship between cell phenotype and cell survival of three human non-small cell lung carcinoma cell lines (A549, NCI-H596 and NCI-H520). Cells in exponential growth at various densities were incubated for 24 h at 37ºC in a 5% CO2 humidified atmosphere and then exposed to UV radiation for 1 min (256 nm, 40 W, source-to-target distance 100 cm). After two days the surviving cells were quantified by sulforhodamine ß staining and DNA fragmentation assay. The differences in UV sensitivity at 60 x 10³ cells/cm² among the cell lines were not related to the proliferative state of the cells but to the extent of intercellular contact. In contrast to A549 and NCI-H596, irradiated NCI-H520 cells presented lower DNA fragmentation and an aggregated cell culture phenotype even prior to confluence, suggesting that a contact-effect mechanism provides further protection against UV radiation. <![CDATA[<B>Effect of 17ß-estradiol or alendronate on the bone densitometry, bone histomorphometry and bone metabolism of ovariectomized rats</B>]]> The objective of the present study was to evaluate the effect of 17ß-estradiol or alendronate in preventing bone loss in 3-month-old ovariectomized Wistar rats. One group underwent sham ovariectomy (control, N = 10), and the remaining three underwent double ovariectomy. One ovariectomized group did not receive any treatment (OVX, N = 12). A second received subcutaneous 17ß-estradiol at a dose of 30 µg/kg for 6 weeks (OVX-E, N = 11) and a third, subcutaneous alendronate at a dose of 0.1 mg/kg for 6 weeks (OVX-A, N = 8). Histomorphometry, densitometry, osteocalcin and deoxypyridinoline measurements were applied to all groups. After 6 weeks there was a significant decrease in bone mineral density (BMD) at the trabecular site (distal femur) in OVX rats. Both alendronate and 17ß-estradiol increased the BMD of ovariectomized rats, with the BMD of the OVX-A group being higher than that of the OVX-E group. Histomorphometry of the distal femur showed a decrease in trabecular volume in the untreated group (OVX), and an increase in the two treated groups, principally in the alendronate group. In OVX-A there was a greater increase in trabecular number. An increase in trabecular thickness, however, was seen only in the OVX-E group. There was also a decrease in bone turnover in both OVX-E and OVX-A. The osteocalcin and deoxypyridinoline levels were decreased in both treated groups, mainly in OVX-A. Although both drugs were effective in inhibiting bone loss, alendronate proved to be more effective than estradiol at the doses used in increasing bone mass. <![CDATA[<b>Lack of evidence for superantigen activity of <i>Toxoplasma gondii </i>towards human T cells</b>]]> Toxoplasma gondii is an obligatory intracellular parasite whose life cycle may include man as an intermediate host. More than 500 million people are infected with this parasite worldwide. It has been previously reported that T. gondii contains a superantigen activity. The purpose of the present study was to determine if the putative superantigen activity of T. gondii would manifest towards human T cells. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from individuals with no previous contact with the parasite were evaluated for proliferation as well as specific Vß expansion after exposure to Toxoplasma antigens. Likewise, PBMC from individuals with the congenital infection were evaluated for putative Vß family deletions in their T cell repertoire. We also evaluated, over a period of one year, the PBMC proliferation pattern in response to Toxoplasma antigens in patients with recently acquired infection. Some degree of proliferation in response to T. gondii was observed in the PBMC from individuals never exposed to the parasite, accompanied by specific Vß expansion, suggesting a superantigen effect. However, we found no specific deletion of Vß (or Valpha) families in the blood of congenitally infected individuals. Furthermore, PBMC from recently infected individuals followed up over a period of one year did not present a reduction of the Vß families that were originally expanded in response to the parasite antigens. Taken together, our data suggest that T. gondii does not have a strong superantigen activity on human T cells. <![CDATA[<B>Production and characterization of a monoclonal antibody against an <I>Ascaris suum</I> allergenic component</B>]]> Ascaris suum allergenic components (PIII) separated by gel filtration chromatography of an adult worm extract were used to immunize BALB/c mice. Popliteal lymph node cells taken from the immunized animals were fused with SP2/O myeloma cells using polyethylene glycol (MW 1450) as fusogen. The hybridomas were cultured in HAT-containing medium and cloned at limiting dilutions. Supernatants from the growing hybrids were screened by ELISA using plates coated with PIII or the A. suum crude extract. The monoclonal antibody obtained, named MAC-3 (mouse anti-A. suum allergenic component), is an IgG1 kappa mouse immunoglobulin that specifically recognizes a 29,000 molecular weight protein (called allergenic protein) with an affinity constant of 1.7 x 10(9) M-1. The A. suum components recognized by MAC-3 induce specific IgE antibody production in immunized BALB/c mice. Ascitic fluid induced in Swiss mice by injecting ip the hybridoma cells and incomplete Freund's adjuvant was purified by affinity chromatography using a protein A-Sepharose column. The purified monoclonal antibody was then coupled to activated Sepharose beads in order to isolate the A. suum allergenic component from the whole extract by affinity chromatography. <![CDATA[<B>Pupil size following dark adaptation in patients with retinitis pigmentosa</B>]]> According to the equivalent light hypothesis, molecular defects in the photoreceptor lead to a continuous activation of the photoreceptor cascade in a manner equivalent to real light. The consequences in diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa (RP) are as disruptive to the cells as real light. Two forms of the equivalent light hypothesis can be distinguished: strong - mutations in rhodopsin or other cascade proteins in some forms of RP continuously excite the visual phototransduction cascade; weak - disruption of outer segments in all patients with RP eliminates circulating dark current and blocks neurotransmitter release in a manner similar to real light. Both forms of the equivalent light hypothesis predict that pupils of patients with RP will be constricted like those of normal subjects in the light. The purpose of this study was to test the equivalent light hypothesis by determining whether steady-state pupil diameter following full dark adaptation is abnormally small in any of a sample of patients with RP. Thirty-five patients with RP and 15 normal subjects were tested. Direct steady-state pupillometric measures were obtained from one eye in a full-field dome after 45 min of dark adaptation by videotaping the pupil with an infrared camera. Mean pupil diameter in the dark was comparable (t = -0.15, P = 0.88) between patients with RP (6.85 ± 0.58 mm) and normal subjects (6.82 ± 0.76 mm). The results of the present study are clearly counter to the prediction of the second (weaker) form of the equivalent light hypothesis. <![CDATA[<B>Environmental blue light prevents stress in the fish Nile tilapia</B>]]> The present study aimed to test the effects of blue, green or white light on the stress response of the Nile tilapia, Oreochromis niloticus (L.). Each color was tested on two groups of isolated adult Nile tilapia (8 replicates each): one being subjected to confinement stress, and the other not (control). A different environmental color was imposed on each compartment by covering the light source with cellophane of the respective color (green or blue; no cellophane was used for white light). The intensity of green, white and blue lights was 250, 590 and 250 lux, respectively. Basal plasma cortisol levels were determined for each fish prior to the experimental procedures. The fish were confined by being displaced toward one side of the aquarium using an opaque partition for 1 h both in the morning and the afternoon of the two consecutive days of the test. At the end of this 48-h period, plasma cortisol levels were measured again. Basal cortisol levels (ng/ml) were similar for each group (ANOVA, F(2;42) = 0.77, P = 0.47). Thus, plasma cortisol levels were analyzed in terms of variation from their respective basal level. After confinement, plasma cortisol levels were not increased in fish submitted to a blue light environment. Thus, blue light prevents the confinement-induced cortisol response, an effect not necessarily related to light intensity. <![CDATA[<b>A time-dependent, two-step binding mode of the nitro dye flavianic acid to trypsin in acid media</b>]]> Synthetic dyes bind to proteins causing selective coprecipitation of the complexes in acid aqueous solution by a process of reversible denaturation that can be used as an alternative method for protein fractionation. The events that occur before precipitation were investigated by equilibrium dialysis using bovine trypsin and flavianic acid as a model able to cause coprecipitation. A two-step mode of interaction was found to be dependent on the incubation periods allowed for binding, with pronounced binding occurring after 42 h of incubation. The first step seems to involve hydration effects and conformational changes induced by binding of the first dye molecule, following rapid denaturation due to the binding of six additional flavianate anions to the macromolecule. <![CDATA[<b>Influence of exercise on the activity and the distribution between free and bound forms of glycolytic and associated enzymes in tissues of horse mackerel</b>]]> The effects of short-term burst (5 min at 1.8 m/s) swimming and long-term cruiser (60 min at 1.2 m/s) swimming on maximal enzyme activities and enzyme distribution between free and bound states were assessed for nine glycolytic and associated enzymes in tissues of horse mackerel, Trachurus mediterraneus ponticus. The effects of exercise were greatest in white muscle. The activities of phosphofructokinase (PFK), pyruvate kinase (PK), fructose-1,6-bisphosphatase (FBPase), and phosphoglucomutase (PGM) all decreased to 47, 37, 37 and 67%, respectively, during 60-min exercise and all enzymes except phosphoglucoisomerase (PGI) and PGM showed a change in the extent of binding to subcellular particulate fractions during exercise. In red muscle, exercise affected the activities of PGI, FBPase, PFK, and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) and altered percent binding of only PK and LDH. In liver, exercise increased the PK activity 2.3-fold and reduced PGI 1.7-fold only after 5 min of exercise but altered the percent binding of seven enzymes. Fewer effects were seen in brain, with changes in the activities of aldolase and PGM and in percent binding of hexokinase, PFK and PK. Changes in enzyme activities and in binding interactions with subcellular particulate matter appear to support the altered demands of tissue energy metabolism during exercise. <![CDATA[<b>Effects of small doses of ouabain on the arterial blood pressure of anesthetized hypertensive and normotensive rats</b>]]> Ouabain increases vascular resistance and may induce hypertension by inhibiting the Na+ pump. The effects of 0.18 and 18 µg/kg, and 1.8 mg/kg ouabain pretreatment on the phenylephrine (PHE; 0.1, 0.25 and 0.5 µg, in bolus)-evoked pressor responses were investigated using anesthetized normotensive (control and uninephrectomized) and hypertensive (1K1C and DOCA-salt treated) rats. Treatment with 18 µg/kg ouabain increased systolic and diastolic blood pressure in all groups studied. However, the magnitude of this increase was larger for the hypertensive 1K1C and DOCA-salt rats than for normotensive animals, while the pressor effect of 0.18 µg/kg ouabain was greater only in DOCA-salt rats. A very large dose (1.8 mg/kg) produced toxic effects on the normotensive control but not on uninephrectomized or 1K1C rats. Rat tail vascular beds were perfused to analyze the effects of 10 nM ouabain on the pressor response to PHE. In all animals, 10 nM ouabain increased the PHE pressor response, but this increase was larger in hypertensive DOCA-salt rats than in normotensive and 1K1C rats. Results suggested that a) increases in diastolic blood pressure induced by 18 µg/kg ouabain were larger in hypertensive than normotensive rats; b) in DOCA-salt rats, smaller ouabain doses had a stronger effect than in other groups; c) hypertensive and uninephrectomized rats were less sensitive to toxic doses of ouabain, and d) after treatment with 10 nM ouabain isolated tail vascular beds from DOCA-salt rats were more sensitive to the pressor effect of PHE than those from normotensive and 1K1C hypertensive rats. These data suggest that very small doses of ouabain, which might produce nanomolar plasma concentrations, enhance pressor reactivity in DOCA-salt hypertensive rats, supporting the idea that endogenous ouabain may contribute to the increase and maintenance of vascular tone in hypertension. <![CDATA[<b>Regulation of the renal proximal tubule second sodium pump by angiotensins</b>]]> For several years it was believed that angiotensin II (Ang II) alone mediated the effects of the renin-angiotensin system. However, it has been observed that other peptides of this system, such as angiotensin-(1-7) (Ang-(1-7)), present biological activity. The effect of Ang II and Ang-(1-7) on renal sodium excretion has been associated, at least in part, with modulation of proximal tubule sodium reabsorption. In the present review, we discuss the evidence for the involvement of Na+-ATPase, called the second sodium pump, as a target for the actions of these compounds in the regulation of proximal tubule sodium reabsorption.