Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research]]> vol. 37 num. 10 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<B>A strategy for obtaining social benefits from the gene revolution</B>]]> The strategy described in the present paper offers details about the possibility for Brazil to play a more substantial role in the gene revolution. If successfully applied, the powerful science-based technology currently available in Brazil can contribute to extend the benefits of the gene revolution to the poorest countries, very much like the Green Revolution did in the past, thereby reducing the hunger syndrome which claimed the lives of millions of people in some Asian countries, particularly Pakistan and India, decades ago. In his visit to Brazil in February 2004, Norman Borlaug had the opportunity to witness the success of Brazilian agriculture. At a Conference held at ESALQ - Superior School of Agriculture Luiz de Queiroz in Piracicaba, SP, Brazil, he stated that the 21st century revolution will come from Brazil in the area of agriculture. He also said that reducing hunger is essential for the world to achieve socioeconomic stability. A central question remains unanswered: who will fund this revolution? The FAO 2003-2004 Annual Report listed the barriers preventing the gene revolution from reaching the poorest countries: inadequate regulatory procedures - Intellectual Property Rights and Biosafety, poorly functioning seed delivering systems and weak domestic plant breeding capacity; all are discussed in this paper. <![CDATA[<B>Control of the rat angiotensin I converting enzyme gene by CRE-like sequences</B>]]> We characterized the role of potential cAMP-responsive elements (CRE) in basal and in induced angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) gene promoter activity in order to shed light on the regulation of somatic ACE expression. We identified stimulators and repressors of basal expression between 122 and 288 bp and between 415 and 1303 bp upstream from the transcription start site, respectively, using a rabbit endothelial cell (REC) line. These regions also contained elements associated with the response to 8BrcAMP. When screening for CRE motifs we found pCRE, a proximal sequence between 209 and 222 bp. dCRE, a distal tandem of two CRE-like sequences conserved between rats, mice and humans, was detected between 834 and 846 bp. Gel retardation analysis of nuclear extracts of REC indicated that pCRE and dCRE bind to the same protein complexes as bound by a canonical CRE. Mutation of pCRE and dCRE in REC established the former as a positive element and the latter as a negative element. In 293 cells, a renal cell line, pCRE and dCRE are negative regulators. Co-transfection of ATF-2 or ATF-2 plus c-Jun repressed ACE promoter activity, suggesting that the ACE gene is controlled by cellular stress. Although mapping of cAMP responsiveness was consistent with roles for pCRE and dCRE, mutation analysis indicated that they were not required for cAMP responsiveness. We conclude that the basal activity of the somatic ACE promoter is controlled by proximal and distal CREs that can act as enhancers or repressors depending on the cell context. <![CDATA[<B>Respiration, oxidative phosphorylation, and uncoupling protein in <I>Candida albicans</i></B>]]> The respiration, membrane potential (<FONT FACE=Symbol>Dy</FONT>), and oxidative phosphorylation of mitochondria in situ were determined in spheroplasts obtained from Candida albicans control strain ATCC 90028 by lyticase treatment. Mitochondria in situ were able to phosphorylate externally added ADP (200 µM) in the presence of 0.05% BSA. Mitochondria in situ generated and sustained stable mitochondrial <FONT FACE=Symbol>Dy</FONT> respiring on 5 mM NAD-linked substrates, 5 mM succinate, or 100 µM N,N,N',N'-tetramethyl-p-phenylenediamine dihydrochloride plus 1 mM ascorbate. Rotenone (4 µM) inhibited respiration by 30% and 2 µM antimycin A or myxothiazole and 1 mM cyanide inhibited it by 85%. Cyanide-insensitive respiration was partially blocked by 2 mM benzohydroxamic acid, suggesting the presence of an alternative oxidase. Candida albicans mitochondria in situ presented a carboxyatractyloside-insensitive increase of <FONT FACE=Symbol>Dy</FONT> induced by 5 mM ATP and 0.5% BSA, and <FONT FACE=Symbol>Dy</FONT> decrease induced by 10 µM linoleic acid, both suggesting the existence of an uncoupling protein. The presence of this protein was subsequently confirmed by immunodetection and respiration experiments with isolated mitochondria. In conclusion, Candida albicans ATCC 90028 possesses an alternative electron transfer chain and alternative oxidase, both absent in animal cells. These pathways can be exceptional targets for the design of new chemotherapeutic agents. Blockage of these respiratory pathways together with inhibition of the uncoupling protein (another potential target for drug design) could lead to increased production of reactive oxygen species, dysfunction of Candida mitochondria, and possibly to oxidative cell death. <![CDATA[<B>Low variation in ribosomal DNA and internal transcribed spacers of the symbiotic fungi of leaf-cutting ants (Attini: Formicidae)</B>]]> Leaf-cutting ants of the genera Atta and Acromyrmex (tribe Attini) are symbiotic with basidiomycete fungi of the genus Leucoagaricus (tribe Leucocoprineae), which they cultivate on vegetable matter inside their nests. We determined the variation of the 28S, 18S, and 5.8S ribosomal DNA (rDNA) gene loci and the rapidly evolving internal transcribed spacers 1 and 2 (ITS1 and ITS2) of 15 sympatric and allopatric fungi associated with colonies of 11 species of leafcutter ants living up to 2,600 km apart in Brazil. We found that the fungal rDNA and ITS sequences from different species of ants were identical (or nearly identical) to each other, whereas 10 GenBank Leucoagaricus species showed higher ITS variation. Our findings suggest that Atta and Acromyrmex leafcutters living in geographic sites that are very distant from each other cultivate a single fungal species made up of closely related lineages of Leucoagaricus gongylophorus. We discuss the strikingly high similarity in the ITS1 and ITS2 regions of the Atta and Acromyrmex symbiotic L. gongylophorus studied by us, in contrast to the lower similarity displayed by their non-symbiotic counterparts. We suggest that the similarity of our L. gongylophorus isolates is an indication of the recent association of the fungus with these ants, and propose that both the intense lateral transmission of fungal material within leafcutter nests and the selection of more adapted fungal strains are involved in the homogenization of the symbiotic fungal stock. <![CDATA[<B>Effect of one stretch a week applied to the immobilized soleus muscle on rat muscle fiber morphology</B>]]> We determined the effect of stretching applied once a week to the soleus muscle immobilized in the shortened position on muscle fiber morphology. Twenty-six male Wistar rats weighing 269 ± 26 g were divided into three groups. Group I, the left soleus was immobilized in the shortened position for 3 weeks; group II, the soleus was immobilized in the shortened position and stretched once a week for 3 weeks; group III, the soleus was submitted only to stretching once a week for 3 weeks. The medial part of the soleus muscle was frozen for histology and muscle fiber area evaluation and the lateral part was used for the determination of number and length of serial sarcomeres. Soleus muscle submitted only to immobilization showed a reduction in weight (44 ± 6%, P = 0.002), in serial sarcomere number (23 ± 15%) and in cross-sectional area of the fibers (37 ± 31%, P < 0.001) compared to the contralateral muscles. The muscle that was immobilized and stretched showed less muscle fiber atrophy than the muscles only immobilized (P < 0.05). Surprisingly, in the muscles submitted only to stretching, fiber area was decreased compared to the contralateral muscle (2548 ± 659 vs 2961 ± 806 µm², respectively, P < 0.05). In conclusion, stretching applied once a week for 40 min to the soleus muscle immobilized in the shortened position was not sufficient to prevent the reduction of muscle weight and of serial sarcomere number, but provided significant protection against muscle fiber atrophy. In contrast, stretching normal muscles once a week caused a reduction in muscle fiber area. <![CDATA[<B>Effect of chronic fish oil supplementation on renal function of normal and cachectic rats</B>]]> In the present study we determined the effect of chronic diet supplementation with n-3 PUFA on renal function of healthy and cachectic subjects by providing fish oil (1 g/kg body weight) to female rats throughout pregnancy and lactation and then to their offspring post-weaning and examined its effect on renal function parameters during their adulthood. The animals were divided into four groups of 5-10 rats in each group: control, control supplemented with fish oil (P), cachectic Walker 256 tumor-bearing (W), and W supplemented with fish oil (WP). Food intake was significantly lower in the W group compared to control (12.66 ± 4.24 vs 25.30 ± 1.07 g/day). Treatment with fish oil significantly reversed this reduction (22.70 ± 2.94 g/day). Tumor growth rate was markedly reduced in the P group (16.41 ± 2.09 for WP vs 24.06 ± 2.64 g for W). WP group showed a significant increase in mean glomerular filtration rate compared to P and control (1.520 ± 0.214 ml min-1 kg body weight-1; P < 0.05). Tumor-bearing groups had low urine osmolality compared to control rats. The fractional sodium excretion decreased in the W group compared to control (0.43 ± 0.16 vs 2.99 ± 0.87%; P < 0.05), and partially recovered in the WP group (0.90 ± 0.20%). In summary, the chronic supplementation with fish oil used in this study increased the amount of fat in the diet by only 0.1%, but caused remarkable changes in tumor growth rate and cachexia, also showing a renoprotective function. <![CDATA[<B>Effect of bullfrog (<I>Rana catesbeiana</I>)<I> </I>oil administered by gavage on the fatty acid composition and oxidative stress of mouse liver</B>]]> The aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of daily intragastric administration of bullfrog oil (oleic, linoleic and palmitoleic acid-rich oil), corresponding to 0.4% of body weight for four weeks, on fatty acid composition and oxidative stress (lipid peroxidation and catalase activity) in mouse liver. The activities of aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), and gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT), biomarkers of tissue injury, were determined in liver homogenates and serum. The proportions of 18:2n-6, 20:4n-6, 20:5n-3, and 22:6n-3 (polyunsaturated fatty acids, from 37 to 60%) in the total fatty acid content were increased in the liver of the bullfrog oil-treated group (P < 0.05) compared to control. At the same time, a significant decrease in the relative abundance of 14:0, 16:0, and 18:0 (saturated fatty acids, from 49 to 25%) was observed. The hepatic content of thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) was increased from 2.3 ± 0.2 to 12.3 ± 0.3 nmol TBA-MDA/mg protein and catalase activity was increased from 840 ± 32 to 1110 ± 45 µmol reduced H2O2 min-1 mg protein-1 in the treated group. Bullfrog oil administration increased AST and ALP activities in the liver (from 234.10 ± 0.12 to 342.84 ± 0.13 and 9.38 ± 0.60 to 20.06 ± 0.27 U/g, respectively) and in serum (from 95.41 ± 6.13 to 120.32 ± 3.15 and 234.75 ± 11.5 to 254.41 ± 2.73 U/l, respectively), suggesting that this treatment induced tissue damage. ALT activity was increased from 287.28 ± 0.29 to 315.98 ± 0.34 U/g in the liver but remained unchanged in serum, whereas the GGT activity was not affected by bullfrog oil treatment. Therefore, despite the interesting modulation of fatty acids by bullfrog oil, a possible therapeutic use requires care since some adverse effects were observed in liver. <![CDATA[<B>Immunoglobulin E and systemic lupus erythematosus</B>]]> Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease characterized by intense polyclonal production of autoantibodies and circulating immune complexes. Some reports have associated SLE with a Th2 immune response and allergy. In the present study 21 female patients with SLE were investigated for total IgE and IgE antibodies to dust house aeroallergens by an automated enzyme-linked fluorescent assay, and were also evaluated for antinuclear IgE autoantibodies by a modified indirect immunofluorescence test using HEp-2 cells as antigen substrate. Additionally, immunocapture ELISA was used to investigate serum anti-IgE IgG autoantibodies. Serum IgE above 150 IU/ml, ranging from 152 to 609 IU/ml (median = 394 IU IgE/ml), was observed in 7 of 21 SLE patients (33%), 5 of them presenting proteinuria, urinary cellular casts and augmented production of anti-dsDNA antibodies. While only 2 of 21 SLE patients (9.5%) were positive for IgE antibodies to aeroallergens, all 10 patients with respiratory allergy (100%) from the atopic control group (3 males and 7 females), had these immunoglobulins. SLE patients and healthy controls presented similar anti-IgE IgG autoantibody titers (X = 0.37 ± 0.20 and 0.34 ± 0.18, respectively), differing from atopic controls (0.94 ± 0.26). Antinuclear IgE autoantibodies were detected in 17 of 21 (81%) sera from SLE patients, predominating the fine speckled pattern of fluorescence, that was also observed in IgG-ANA. Concluding, SLE patients can present increased IgE levels and antinuclear IgE autoantibodies without specific clinical signs of allergy or production of antiallergen IgE antibodies, excluding a possible association between SLE and allergy. <![CDATA[<B>Neonatal administration of citalopram delays somatic maturation in rats</B>]]> We investigated the somatic maturation of neonate rats treated during the suckling period with citalopram, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. Groups with 6 male neonates were randomly assigned to different treatments 24 h after birth. Each litter was suckled by one of the dams until the 21st postnatal day. Body weight, head axis and tail length were measured daily from the 1st to the 21st postnatal day. Time of ear unfolding, auditory conduit opening, incisor eruption, and eye opening was determined. Pups received 5 mg (Cit5), 10 mg (Cit10) or 20 mg/kg (Cit20) citalopram sc, or saline (0.9% NaCl, w/v, sc). Compared to saline, body weight was lower (24.04%, P < 0.01) for Cit10 from the 10th to the 21st day and for Cit20 from the 6th to the 21st day (38.19%, P < 0.01). Tail length was reduced in the Cit20 group (15.48%, P < 0.001) from the 8th to the 21st day. A reduction in mediolateral head axis (10.53%, P < 0.05) was observed from the 11th to the 21st day in Cit10 and from the 6th to the 21st day in Cit20 (13.16%, P < 0.001). A reduction in anteroposterior head axis was also observed in the Cit20 group (5.28%, P < 0.05) from the 13th to the 21stday. Conversely, this axis showed accelerated growth from the 12th to the 21stday in the Cit5 group (13.05%, P < 0.05). Auditory conduit opening was delayed in the Cit5 and Cit20 groups and incisor eruption was delayed in all citalopram groups. These findings show that citalopram injected during suckling to rats induces body alterations and suggest that the activity of the serotoninergic system participates in growth mechanisms. <![CDATA[<B>Comparison of voluntary ethanol intake by two pairs of rat lines used as genetic models of anxiety</B>]]> The relationship between anxiety-related behaviors and voluntary ethanol intake was examined in two pairs of rat lines by the oral ethanol self-administration procedure. Floripa high (H) and low (L) rats selectively bred for contrasting anxiety responses in the open-field test, and two inbred strains, spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) and Lewis rats which are known to differ significantly when submitted to several behavioral tests of anxiety/emotionality, were used (9-10 animals/line/sex). No differences in the choice of ethanol solutions (2%, days 1-4, and 4%, days 5-8, respectively) in a 2-bottle paradigm were detected between Floripa H and L rats (1.94 ± 0.37 vs 1.61 ± 0.37 g/kg for ethanol intake on day 8 by the Floripa H and L rat lines, respectively). Contrary to expectations, the less anxious SHR rats consumed significantly more ethanol than Lewis rats (respective intake of 2.30 ± 0.45 and 0.72 ± 0.33 g/kg on day 8) which are known to be both addiction-prone and highly anxious. Regardless of strain, female rats consumed more ethanol than males (approximately 46%). The results showed no relationship between high anxiety and voluntary intake of ethanol for Floripa H and L rats. A negative association between these two variables, however, was found for SHR and Lewis rat strains. Data from the literature regarding the association between anxiety and alcohol intake in animal models are not conclusive, but the present results indicate that factors other than increased inborn anxiety probably lead to the individual differences in ethanol drinking behavior. <![CDATA[<B>The mental health of graduate students at the Federal University of São Paulo</B>: <B>a preliminary report</B>]]> We present data regarding the care provided to graduate level health professionals at the mental health center of the Federal University of São Paulo. From September 1996 to September 2003, 146 graduate students (99 in the Master's degree program and 47 in the Doctoral program) were attended. This population was predominantly female (68.5%), with a mean (± SD) age of 28.6 ± 4.42 years, not married (71.9%). Most of the subjects were professionals who had not graduated from the Federal University (78.1%). The students who sought help for psychological and/or psychiatric problems were classified into two categories: situational-adaptive crises and psychopathological crises. The main diagnoses were depression and anxiety disorders (44%) causing 4.5% of the subjects to be temporarily suspended from their graduate studies; 19.2% reported that they had used psychotropic drugs within the previous month, and 47.9% referred to sleep disturbances. Suicidal tendencies were mentioned by 18% of those interviewed. Students with emotional disturbances and academic dysfunctions should be recognized at an early stage, and it is fundamental for them to have access to mental health programs that provide formal, structured and confidential care. Thus, it is important that professors and advisors in graduate programs build a warm and affective learning environment. If we consider the expressive growth in Brazilian scientific production resulting from the implementation of an extensive national system of graduate education, it is important to focus efforts on enhancing and upgrading the mental health care system. <![CDATA[<B>Thalidomide and pentoxifylline block</B> <B>the renal effects of supernatants of macrophages activated with <I>Crotalus durissus cascavella </I>venom</B>]]> Because thalidomide and pentoxifylline inhibit the synthesis and release of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), we determined the effect of these drugs on the renal damage induced by supernatants of macrophages activated with Crotalus durissus cascavella venom in order to identify the role of TNF-alpha in the process. Rat peritoneal macrophages were collected with RPMI medium and stimulated in vitro with C.d. cascavella venom (10 µg/ml) in the absence and presence of thalidomide (15 µM) or pentoxifylline (500 µM) for 1 h and washed and kept in culture for 2 h. Supernatant (1 ml) was tested on an isolated perfused rat kidney (N = 6 for each group). The first 30 min of each experiment were used as control. The supernatant was added to the perfusion system. All experiments lasted 120 min. The toxic effect of the preparation of venom-stimulated macrophages on renal parameters was determined. At 120 min, thalidomide (Thalid) and pentoxifylline (Ptx) inhibited (P < 0.05) the increase in perfusion pressure caused by the venom (control = 114.0 ± 1.3; venom = 137.1 ± 1.5; Thalid = 121.0 ± 2.5; Ptx = 121.4 ± 4.0 mmHg), renal vascular resistance (control = 4.5 ± 0.2; venom = 7.3 ± 0.6; Thalid = 4.5 ± 0.9; Ptx = 4.8 ± 0.6 mmHg/ml g-1 min-1), urinary flow (control = 0.23 ± 0.001; venom = 0.44 ± 0.01; Thalid = 0.22 ± 0.007; Ptx = 0.21 ± 0.009 ml g-1 min-1), glomerular filtration rate (control = 0.72 ± 0.06; venom = 1.91 ± 0.11; Thalid = 0.75 ± 0.04; Ptx = 0.77 ± 0.05 ml g-1 min-1) and the decrease in percent tubular sodium transport (control = 77.0 ± 0.9; venom = 73.9 ± 0.66; Thalid = 76.6 ± 1.1; Ptx = 81.8 ± 2.0%), percent tubular chloride transport (control = 77.1 ± 1.2; venom = 71.4 ± 1.1; Thalid = 77.6 ± 1.7; Ptx = 76.8 ± 1.2%), and percent tubular potassium transport (control = 72.7 ± 1.1; venom = 63.0 ± 1.1; Thalid = 72.6 ± 1.0; Ptx = 74.8 ± 1.0%), 30 min before and during the stimulation of macrophages with C.d. cascavella venom. These data suggest the participation of TNF-alpha in the renal effects induced by supernatant of macrophages activated with C.d. cascavella venom. <![CDATA[<B>Antinociceptive effect of novel pyrazolines in mice</B>]]> The antinociceptive effect of six novel synthetic pyrazolines (3-ethoxymethyl-5-ethoxycarbonyl-1H-pyrazole (Pz 1) and its corresponding 1-substituted methyl (Pz 2) and phenyl (Pz 3) analogues, and 3-(1-ethoxyethyl)-5-ethoxycarbonyl-1H-pyrazole (Pz 4) and its corresponding 1-substituted methyl (Pz 5) and phenyl (Pz 6) analogues) was evaluated by the tail immersion test in adult male albino mice. The animals (N = 11-12 in each group) received vehicle (5% Tween 80, 10 ml/kg, sc) or 1.5 mmol/kg of each of the pyrazolines (Pz 1-Pz 6), sc. Fifteen, thirty and sixty minutes after drug administration, the mice were subjected to the tail immersion test. Thirty minutes after drug administration Pz 2 and Pz 3 increased tail withdrawal latency (vehicle = 3.4 ± 0.2; Pz 2 = 5.2 ± 0.4; Pz 3 = 5.9 ± 0.4 s; mean ± SEM), whereas the other pyrazolines did not present antinociceptive activity. Dose-effect curves (0.15 to 1.5 mmol/kg) were constructed for the bioactive pyrazolines. Pz 2 (1.5 mmol/kg, sc) impaired motor coordination in the rotarod and increased immobility in the open-field test. Pz 3 did not alter rotarod performance and spontaneous locomotion, but increased immobility in the open field at the dose of 1.5 mmol/kg. The involvement of opioid mechanisms in the pyrazoline-induced antinociception was investigated by pretreating the animals with naloxone (2.75 µmol/kg, sc). Naloxone prevented Pz 3- but not Pz 2-induced antinociception. Moreover, naloxone pretreatment did not alter Pz 3-induced immobility. We conclude that Pz 3-induced antinociception involves opioid mechanisms but this is not the case for Pz 2. <![CDATA[<B>Effects of centrally acting antihypertensive drugs on the microcirculation of spontaneously hypertensive rats</B>]]> We investigated the acute effects of centrally acting antihypertensive drugs on the microcirculation of pentobarbital-anesthetized spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR). The effects of the sympatho-inhibitory agents clonidine and rilmenidine, known to activate both alpha2-adrenoceptors and nonadrenergic I1-imidazoline binding sites (I1BS) in the central nervous system, were compared to those of dicyclopropylmethyl-(4,5-dimethyl-4,5-dihydro-3H -pyrrol-2-yl)-amine hydrochloride (LNP 509), which selectively binds to the I1BS. Terminal mesenteric arterioles were observed by intravital microscopy. Activation of the central sympathetic system with L-glutamate (125 µg, ic) induced marked vasoconstriction of the mesenteric microcirculation (27 ± 3%; N = 6, P < 0.05). In contrast, the marked hypotensive and bradycardic effects elicited by intracisternal injection of clonidine (1 µg), rilmenidine (7 µg) and LNP 509 (60 µg) were accompanied by significant increases in arteriolar diameter (12 ± 1, 25 ± 10 and 21 ± 4%, respectively; N = 6, P < 0.05). The vasodilating effects of rilmenidine and LNP 509 were two-fold higher than those of clonidine, although they induced an identical hypotensive effect. Central sympathetic inhibition elicited by baclofen (1 µg, ic), a GABA B receptor agonist, also resulted in vasodilation of the SHR microvessels. The acute administration of clonidine, rilmenidine and LNP 509 also induced a significant decrease of cardiac output, whereas a decrease in systemic vascular resistance was observed only after rilmenidine and LNP 509. We conclude that the normalization of blood pressure in SHR induced by centrally acting antihypertensive agents is paralleled by important vasodilation of the mesenteric microcirculation. This effect is more pronounced with substances acting preferentially (rilmenidine) or exclusively (LNP 509) upon I1BS than with those presenting important alpha2-adrenergic activity (clonidine). <![CDATA[<B>Effect of the aerobic capacity on the validity of the anaerobic threshold for determination of the maximal lactate steady state in cycling</B>]]> The maximal lactate steady state (MLSS) is the highest blood lactate concentration that can be identified as maintaining a steady state during a prolonged submaximal constant workload. The objective of the present study was to analyze the influence of the aerobic capacity on the validity of anaerobic threshold (AT) to estimate the exercise intensity at MLSS (MLSS intensity) during cycling. Ten untrained males (UC) and 9 male endurance cyclists (EC) matched for age, weight and height performed one incremental maximal load test to determine AT and two to four 30-min constant submaximal load tests on a mechanically braked cycle ergometer to determine MLSS and MLSS intensity. AT was determined as the intensity corresponding to 3.5 mM blood lactate. MLSS intensity was defined as the highest workload at which blood lactate concentration did not increase by more than 1 mM between minutes 10 and 30 of the constant workload. MLSS intensity (EC = 282.1 ± 23.8 W; UC = 180.2 ± 24.5 W) and AT (EC = 274.8 ± 24.9 W; UC = 187.2 ± 28.0 W) were significantly higher in trained group. However, there was no significant difference in MLSS between EC (5.0 ± 1.2 mM) and UC (4.9 ± 1.7 mM). The MLSS intensity and AT were not different and significantly correlated in both groups (EC: r = 0.77; UC: r = 0.81). We conclude that MLSS and the validity of AT to estimate MLSS intensity during cycling, analyzed in a cross-sectional design (trained x sedentary), do not depend on the aerobic capacity. <![CDATA[<B>Cardiovascular responses to locomotor activity and feeding in unrestrained three-toed sloths, <I>Bradypus variegatus</B></I>]]> Heart rate (HR) and systolic (SBP), diastolic (DBP) and mean (MBP) blood pressure were recorded by biotelemetry in nine conscious unrestrained sloths for 1 min every 15 min over a 24-h period. The animals were allowed to freely move in an acoustically isolated and temperature-controlled (24 ± 1ºC) experimental room with light-dark cycle (12/12 h). Behavior was closely monitored through a unidirectional visor and classified as resting (sitting or suspended), feeding (chewing and swallowing embauba leaves, Cecropia adenops), or locomotor activity around the tree trunk or on the room floor. Locomotor activity caused statistically significant increases in SBP (+8%, from 121 ± 22 to 131 ± 18 mmHg), DBP (+7%, from 86 ± 17 to 92 ± 10 mmHg), MBP (+8%, from 97 ± 19 to 105 ± 12 mmHg), and HR (+14%, from 84 ± 15 to 96 ± 15 bpm) compared to resting values, indicating a possible major influence of the autonomic nervous system on the modulation of cardiac function during this behavior. During feeding, the increase in blood pressure was even higher (SBP +27%, from 119 ± 21 to 151 ± 21 mmHg; DBP +21%, from 85 ± 16 to 103 ± 15 mmHg; MBP +24%, from 96 ± 17 to 119 ± 17 mmHg), while HR remained at 14% (from 84 ± 15 to 96 ± 10 bpm) above resting values. The proportionally greater increase in blood pressure than in HR during feeding suggests an increase in peripheral vascular resistance as part of the overall response to this behavior. <![CDATA[<B>Myocardial contractility of the isovolumetrically beating isolated rat heart</B>]]> Several indexes of myocardial contractility have been proposed to assess ventricular function in the isovolumetrically beating isolated heart. However, the conclusions reached on the basis of these indexes may be influenced by ventricular geometry rather than contractility itself. The objective of the present study was to assess the performance of widely used contractility indexes in the isovolumetrically beating isolated heart in two experimental models of hypertrophy, the spontaneously hypertensive rat (SHR) and infrarenal aortocava fistula. Compared to normotensive controls (N = 8), SHRs with concentric hypertrophy (N = 10) presented increased maximum rate of ventricular pressure rise (3875 ± 526 vs 2555 ± 359 mmHg/s, P < 0.05) and peak of isovolumetric pressure (187 ± 11 vs 152 ± 11 mmHg, P < 0.05), and decreased developed stress (123 ± 20 vs 152 ± 26 g/cm², P < 0.05) and slope of stress-strain relationship (4.9 ± 0.42 vs 6.6 ± 0.77 g/cm²/%). Compared with controls (N = 11), rats with volume overload-induced eccentric hypertrophy (N = 16) presented increased developed stress (157 ± 38 vs 124 ± 22 g/cm², P < 0.05) and slope of stress-strain relationship (9 ± 2 vs 7 ± 1 g/cm²/%, P < 0.05), and decreased maximum rate of ventricular pressure rise(2746 ± 382 vs 3319 ± 352 mmHg, P < 0.05) and peak of isovolumetric pressure (115 ± 14 vs 165 ± 13 mmHg/s, P < 0.05). The results suggested that indexes of myocardial contractility used in experimental studies may present opposite results in the same heart and may be influenced by ventricular geometry. We concluded that several indexes should be taken into account for proper evaluation of contractile state, in the isovolumetrically beating isolated heart. <![CDATA[<B>Cholinergic-opioidergic interaction in the central amygdala induces antinociception in the guinea pig</B>]]> Several studies have demonstrated the involvement of the central nucleus of the amygdala (CEA) in the modulation of defensive behavior and in antinociceptive regulation. In a previous study, we demonstrated the existence of a cholinergic-opioidergic interaction in the CEA, modulating the defensive response of tonic immobility in guinea pigs. In the present study, we investigated a similar interaction in the CEA, but now involved in the regulation of the nociceptive response. Microinjection of carbachol (2.7 nmol) and morphine (2.2 nmol) into the CEA promoted antinociception up to 45 min after microinjection in guinea pigs as determined by a decrease in the vocalization index in the vocalization test. This test consists of the application of a peripheral noxious stimulus (electric shock into the subcutaneous region of the thigh) that provokes the emission of a vocalization response by the animal. Furthermore, the present results demonstrated that the antinociceptive effect of carbachol (2.7 nmol; N = 10) was blocked by previous administration of atropine (0.7 nmol; N = 7) or naloxone (1.3 nmol; N = 7) into the same site. In addition, the decrease in the vocalization index induced by the microinjection of morphine (2.2 nmol; N = 9) into the CEA was prevented by pretreatment with naloxone (1.3 nmol; N = 11). All sites of injection were confirmed by histology. These results indicate the involvement of the cholinergic and opioidergic systems of the CEA in the modulation of antinociception in guinea pigs. In addition, the present study suggests that cholinergic transmission may activate the release of endorphins/enkephalins from interneurons of the CEA, resulting in antinociception. <![CDATA[<B>Glutamatergic neurotransmission modulates hypoxia-induced hyperventilation but not anapyrexia</B>]]> The interaction between pulmonary ventilation (V E) and body temperature (Tb) is essential for O2 delivery to match metabolic rate under varying states of metabolic demand. Hypoxia causes hyperventilation and anapyrexia (a regulated drop in Tb), but the neurotransmitters responsible for this interaction are not well known. Since L-glutamate is released centrally in response to peripheral chemoreceptor stimulation and glutamatergic receptors are spread in the central nervous system we tested the hypothesis that central L-glutamate mediates the ventilatory and thermal responses to hypoxia. We measured V E and Tb in 40 adult male Wistar rats (270 to 300 g) before and after intracerebroventricular injection of kynurenic acid (KYN, an ionotropic glutamatergic receptor antagonist), alpha-methyl-4-carboxyphenylglycine (MCPG, a metabotropic glutamatergic receptor antagonist) or vehicle (saline), followed by a 1-h period of hypoxia (7% inspired O2) or normoxia (humidified room air). Under normoxia, KYN (N = 5) or MCPG (N = 8) treatment did not affect V E or Tb compared to saline (N = 6). KYN and MCPG injection caused a decrease in hypoxia-induced hyperventilation (595 ± 49 for KYN, N = 7 and 525 ± 84 ml kg-1 min-1 for MCPG, N = 6; P < 0.05) but did not affect anapyrexia (35.3 ± 0.2 for KYN and 34.7 ± 0.4ºC for MCPG) compared to saline (912 ± 110 ml kg-1 min-1 and 34.8 ± 0.2ºC, N = 8). We conclude that glutamatergic receptors are involved in hypoxic hyperventilation but do not affect anapyrexia, indicating that L-glutamate is not a common mediator of this interaction.