Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research]]> vol. 39 num. 4 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<B>Cannabidiol, a <I>Cannabis sativa</I> constituent, as an antipsychotic drug</B>]]> A high dose of delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the main Cannabis sativa (cannabis) component, induces anxiety and psychotic-like symptoms in healthy volunteers. These effects of delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol are significantly reduced by cannabidiol (CBD), a cannabis constituent which is devoid of the typical effects of the plant. This observation led us to suspect that CBD could have anxiolytic and/or antipsychotic actions. Studies in animal models and in healthy volunteers clearly suggest an anxiolytic-like effect of CBD. The antipsychotic-like properties of CBD have been investigated in animal models using behavioral and neurochemical techniques which suggested that CBD has a pharmacological profile similar to that of atypical antipsychotic drugs. The results of two studies on healthy volunteers using perception of binocular depth inversion and ketamine-induced psychotic symptoms supported the proposal of the antipsychotic-like properties of CBD. In addition, open case reports of schizophrenic patients treated with CBD and a preliminary report of a controlled clinical trial comparing CBD with an atypical antipsychotic drug have confirmed that this cannabinoid can be a safe and well-tolerated alternative treatment for schizophrenia. Future studies of CBD in other psychotic conditions such as bipolar disorder and comparative studies of its antipsychotic effects with those produced by clozapine in schizophrenic patients are clearly indicated. <![CDATA[<B>Chemotherapy versus support cancer treatment in advanced gastric cancer</B>: <B>a meta-analysis</B>]]> The aim of the present study was to compare the efficacy of chemotherapy and support treatment in patients with advanced non-resectable gastric cancer in a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials that included a comparison of chemotherapy and support care treatment in patients diagnosed with gastric adenocarcinoma, regardless of their age, gender or place of treatment. The search strategy was based on the criteria of the Cochrane Base, using the following key words: 1) randomized clinical trials and antineoplastic combined therapy or gastrointestinal neoplasm, 2) stomach neoplasm and drug therapy, 3) clinical trial and multi-modality therapy, 4) stomach neoplasm and drug therapy or quality of life, 5) double-blind method or clinical trial. The search was carried out using the Cochrane, Medline and Lilacs databases. Five studies fulfilled the inclusion criteria, for a total of 390 participants, 208 (53%) receiving chemotherapy, 182 (47%) receiving support care treatment and 6 losses (1.6%). The 1-year survival rate was 8% for support care and 20% for chemotherapy (RR = 2.14, 95% CI = 1.00-4.57, P = 0.05); 30% of the patients in the chemotherapy group and 12% in the support care group attained a 6-month symptom-free period (RR = 2.33, 95% CI = 1.41-3.87, P < 0.01). Quality of life evaluated after 4 months was significantly better for the chemotherapy patients (34%; RR = 2.07, 95% CI = 1.31-3.28, P < 0.01) with tumor mass reduction (RR = 3.32, 95% CI = 0.77-14.24, P = 0.1). Chemotherapy increased the 1-year survival rate of the patients and provided a longer symptom-free period of 6 months and an improvement in quality of life. <![CDATA[<B>Chemokines in the cerebrospinal fluid of patients with active and stable relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis</B>]]> Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory demyelinating disease of the human central nervous system. Although its etiology is unknown, the accumulation and activation of mononuclear cells in the central nervous system are crucial to its pathogenesis. Chemokines have been proposed to play a major role in the recruitment and activation of leukocytes in inflammatory sites. They are divided into subfamilies on the basis of the location of conserved cysteine residues. We determined the levels of some CC and CXC chemokines in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of 23 relapsing-remitting MS patients under interferon-ß-1a therapy and 16 control subjects using ELISA. MS patients were categorized as having active or stable disease. CXCL10 was significantly increased in the CSF of active MS patients (mean ± SEM, 369.5 ± 69.3 pg/mL) when compared with controls (178.5 ± 29.1 pg/mL, P < 0.05). CSF levels of CCL2 were significantly lower in active MS (144.7 ± 14.4 pg/mL) than in controls (237.1 ± 16.4 pg/mL, P < 0.01). There was no difference in the concentration of CCL2 and CXCL10 between patients with stable MS and controls. CCL5 was not detectable in the CSF of most patients or controls. The qualitative and quantitative differences of chemokines in CSF during relapses of MS suggest that they may be useful as a marker of disease activity and of the mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of the disease. <![CDATA[<B>Estrogen receptor 1 gene polymorphisms and coronary artery disease in the Brazilian population</B>]]> We examined the association of three established single nucleotide polymorphisms, IVS1-397T>C, IVS1-351A>G, and +261G>C, in the ESR1 gene with the prevalence and severity of coronary atherosclerosis in a southern Brazilian population of European ancestry. Three hundred and forty-one subjects (127 women and 214 men) with coronary artery disease (CAD) were classified as having significant disease (CAD+ patient group) when they showed 60% or more luminal stenosis in at least one coronary artery or major branch segment at angiography; patients with 10% or less luminal stenosis were considered to have minimal CAD (CAD- patient group). The control sample consisted of 142 subjects (79 women and 63 men) without significant disease, in whom coronary angiography to rule out the presence of asymptomatic CAD was not performed. The polymorphisms were investigated by polymerase chain reaction followed by restriction analyses. In the male sample, the +261G>C*C allele was more frequent in CAD+ than CAD- subjects (8 versus 1%, P = 0.024). Homozygosity for the C allele of the IVS1-397T>C polymorphism was also significantly associated with increased CAD severity (OR: 2.99; 95% CI = 1.35-6.63; P = 0.007). In agreement with previous findings, these results suggest that the IVS1-397T>C*C allele was associated with CAD severity independent of gender, whereas the association of the +261G>C variant with CAD was observed in males only. The relation between ESR1 variation and CAD may influence clinical decisions such as the use of hormone therapy, and additionally will be helpful to identify the genetic susceptibility determinants of cardiovascular disease development. <![CDATA[<B>Hyperhomocystinemia in patients with coronary artery disease</B>]]> Hyperhomocystinemia has been related to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease in several studies. The C677T polymorphism for the gene that encodes the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase enzyme (MTHFR) and low plasma folate levels are common causes of hyperhomocystinemia. Due to differences in nutritional patterns and genetic background among different countries, we evaluated the role of hyperhomocystinemia as a coronary artery disease (CAD) risk factor in a Brazilian population. The relation between homocysteine (Hcy) and the extent of CAD, measured by an angiographic score, was determined. A total of 236 patients referred for coronary angiography for clinical reasons were included. CAD was found in 148 (62.7%) patients and 88 subjects had normal or near normal arteries. Patients with CAD had higher Hcy levels [mean (SD)] than those without disease (14 (6.8) vs 12.5 (4.0) µM; P = 0.04). Hyperhomocystinemia (Hcy >17.8 µM) prevalence was higher in the CAD group: 31.1 vs 12.2% (P = 0.01). After adjustment for major risk factors, we found an independent association between hyperhomocystinemia and CAD (OR = 2.48; 95% CI = 1.02-6.14). Patients with a more advanced coronary score had a higher frequency of hyperhomocystinemia and tended to have higher mean Hcy levels. An inverse relation between plasma folate and Hcy levels was found (r = -0.14; P = 0.04). Individuals with the MTHFR C677T polymorphism had a higher prevalence of hyperhomocystinemia than those without the mutated allele. We conclude that hyperhomocystinemia is independently associated with CAD, with a positive association between Hcy level and disease severity. <![CDATA[<B>L-carnitine as an ergogenic aid for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease submitted to whole-body and respiratory muscle training programs</B>]]> The effects of adding L-carnitine to a whole-body and respiratory training program were determined in moderate-to-severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients. Sixteen COPD patients (66 ± 7 years) were randomly assigned to L-carnitine (CG) or placebo group (PG) that received either L-carnitine or saline solution (2 g/day, orally) for 6 weeks (forced expiratory volume on first second was 38 ± 16 and 36 ± 12%, respectively). Both groups participated in three weekly 30-min treadmill and threshold inspiratory muscle training sessions, with 3 sets of 10 loaded inspirations (40%) at maximal inspiratory pressure. Nutritional status, exercise tolerance on a treadmill and six-minute walking test, blood lactate, heart rate, blood pressure, and respiratory muscle strength were determined as baseline and on day 42. Maximal capacity in the incremental exercise test was significantly improved in both groups (P < 0.05). Blood lactate, blood pressure, oxygen saturation, and heart rate at identical exercise levels were lower in CG after training (P < 0.05). Inspiratory muscle strength and walking test tolerance were significantly improved in both groups, but the gains of CG were significantly higher than those of PG (40 ± 14 vs 14 ± 5 cmH2O, and 87 ± 30 vs 34 ± 29 m, respectively; P < 0.05). Blood lactate concentration was significantly lower in CG than in PG (1.6 ± 0.7 vs 2.3 ± 0.7 mM, P < 0.05). The present data suggest that carnitine can improve exercise tolerance and inspiratory muscle strength in COPD patients, as well as reduce lactate production. <![CDATA[<B>Exercise stress testing before and after successful multivessel percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty</B>]]> Controversy exists regarding the diagnostic accuracy, optimal technique, and timing of exercise testing after percutaneous coronary intervention. The objectives of the present study were to analyze variables and the power of exercise testing to predict restenosis or a new lesion, 6 months after the procedure. Eight-four coronary multi-artery diseased patients with preserved ventricular function were studied (66 males, mean age of all patients: 59 ± 10 years). All underwent coronary angiography and exercise testing with the Bruce protocol, before and 6 months after percutaneous coronary intervention. The following parameters were measured: heart rate, blood pressure, rate-pressure product (heart rate x systolic blood pressure), presence of angina, maximal ST-segment depression, and exercise duration. On average, 2.33 lesions/patient were treated and restenosis or progression of disease occurred in 46 (55%) patients. Significant increases in systolic blood pressure (P = 0.022), rate-pressure product (P = 0.045) and exercise duration (P = 0.003) were detected after the procedure. Twenty-seven (32%) patients presented angina during the exercise test before the procedure and 16 (19%) after the procedure. The exercise test for the detection of restenosis or new lesion presented 61% sensitivity, 63% specificity, 62% accuracy, and 67 and 57% positive and negative predictive values, respectively. In patients without restenosis, the exercise duration after percutaneous coronary intervention was significantly longer (460 ± 154 vs 381 ± 145 s, P = 0.008). Only the exercise duration permitted us to identify patients with and without restenosis or a new lesion. <![CDATA[<B>Minor segmental wall motion abnormalities detected in patients with Chagas' disease have adverse prognostic implications</B>]]> Recent data from our laboratory have shown that patients with the indeterminate form of Chagas' disease can have impairment of left ventricular contractility, as evaluated by the slope of the left ventricle end-systolic pressure-dimension relationship. We also showed that Chagas' disease patients with minimal baseline wall motion abnormalities detected by two-dimensional echocardiography have more intense contractility impairment when compared to patients with the indeterminate form of the disease without this abnormality. The prognostic implications of these findings have not been established. We evaluated 59 patients (37-76 years, mean = 55 years) with different clinical forms of Chagas' disease, who had normal left ventricular global systolic function at baseline (57.6 ± 6.9%) and who had at least one additional echo during clinical follow-up (0.4-17.6; mean 4.6 years). Group 1 consisted of 14 patients with minor baseline left ventricle wall motion abnormalities and group 2 consisted of 45 patients without these abnormalities. During follow-up, global left ventricle systolic function deterioration was observed in 10 group 1 patients (71.4%) and in only 10 group 2 patients (22.2%; P < 0.005). Age and duration of follow-up were not independent determinants of left ventricular function deterioration in these patients. The present data indicate that mild segmental left ventricular wall motion abnormalities are associated with worsening of systolic function in Chagas' disease patients who have normal baseline global systolic performance. <![CDATA[<B>Effects of metformin on the glycemic control, lipid profile, and arterial blood pressure of type 2 diabetic patients with metabolic syndrome already on insulin</B>]]> Fifty-seven type 2 diabetic patients with metabolic syndrome and on insulin were assessed by a paired analysis before and 6 months after addition of metformin as combination therapy to evaluate the impact of the association on glycemic control, blood pressure, and lipid profile. This was a historical cohort study in which the files of type 2 diabetic patients with metabolic syndrome on insulin were reviewed. The body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, lipid profile, A1C level, fasting blood glucose level, daily dose of NPH insulin, systolic blood pressure, and diastolic blood pressure were assessed in each patient before the start of metformin and 6 months after the initiation of combination therapy. Glycemic control significantly improved (P < 0.001) after the addition of metformin (1404.4 ± 565.5 mg/day), with 14% of the 57 patients reaching A1C levels up to 7%, and 53% reaching values up to 8%. There was a statistically significant reduction (P < 0.05) of total cholesterol (229.0 ± 29.5 to 214.2 ± 25.0 mg/dL), BMI (30.7 ± 5.4 to 29.0 ± 4.0 kg/m²), waist circumference (124.6 ± 11.7 to 117.3 ± 9.3 cm), and daily necessity of insulin. The reduction of total cholesterol occurred independently of the reductions of A1C (9.65 ± 1.03 to 8.18 ± 1.01%) and BMI and the reduction of BMI and WC did not interfere with the improvement of A1C. In conclusion, our study showed the efficacy of the administration of metformin and insulin simultaneously without negative effects. No changes were detected in HDL-cholesterol or blood pressure. <![CDATA[<B>High incidence of adverse reactions to initial antiretroviral therapy in Brazil</B>]]> A concurrent prospective study was conducted from 2001 to 2003 to assess factors associated with adverse reactions among individuals initiating antiretroviral therapy at two public referral HIV/AIDS centers in Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil. Adverse reactions were obtained from medical charts reviewed up to 12 months after the first antiretroviral prescription. Cox proportional hazard model was used to perform univariate and multivariate analyses. Relative hazards (RH) were estimated with 95% confidence intervals (CI). Among 397 charts reviewed, 377 (95.0%) had precise information on adverse reactions and initial antiretroviral treatment. Most patients received triple combination regimens including nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors, non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors and protease inhibitors. At least one adverse reaction was recorded on 34.5% (N = 130) of the medical charts (0.17 adverse reactions/100 person-day), while nausea (14.5%) and vomiting (13.1%) were the most common ones. Variables independently associated with adverse reactions were: regimens with nevirapine (RH = 1.78; 95% CI = 1.07-2.96), indinavir or indinavir/ritonavir combinations (RH = 2.05; 95% CI = 1.15-3.64), female patients (RH = 1.93; 95% CI = 1.31-2.83), 5 or more outpatient visits (RH = 1.94; 95% CI = 1.25-3.01), non-adherence to antiretroviral therapy (RH = 2.38; 95% CI = 1.62-3.51), and a CD4+ count of 200 to 500 cells/mm³ (RH = 2.66; 95% CI = 1.19-5.90). An independent and negative association was also found for alcohol use (RH = 0.55; 95% CI = 0.33-0.90). Adverse reactions were substantial among participants initiating antiretroviral therapy. Specially elaborated protocols in HIV/AIDS referral centers may improve the diagnosis, management and prevention of adverse reactions, thus contributing to improving adherence to antiretroviral therapy among HIV-infected patients. <![CDATA[<B>Etiology of diarrheal infections in children of Porto Velho (Rondonia, Western Amazon region, Brazil)</B>]]> In the present study, 470 children less than 72 months of age and presenting acute diarrhea were examined to identify associated enteropathogenic agents. Viruses were the pathogens most frequently found in stools of infants with diarrhea, including 111 cases of rotavirus (23.6% of the total diarrhea cases) and 30 cases of adenovirus (6.3%). The second group was diarrheogenic Escherichia coli (86 cases, 18.2%), followed by Salmonella sp (44 cases, 9.3%) and Shigella sp (24 cases, 5.1%). Using the PCR technique to differentiate the pathogenic categories of E. coli, it was possible to identify 29 cases (6.1%) of enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC). Of these, 10 (2.1%) were typical EPEC and 19 (4.0%) atypical EPEC. In addition, there were 26 cases (5.5%) of enteroaggregative E. coli, 21 cases (4.4%) of enterotoxigenic E. coli, 7 cases (1.4%) of enteroinvasive E. coli (EIEC), and 3 cases (0.6%) of enterohemorrhagic E. coli. When comparing the frequencies of diarrheogenic E. coli, EPEC was the only category for which significant differences were found between diarrhea and control groups. A low frequency of EIEC was found, thus EIEC cannot be considered to be a potential etiology agent of diarrhea. Simultaneous infections with two pathogens were found in 39 diarrhea cases but not in controls, suggesting associations among potential enteropathogens in the etiology of diarrhea. The frequent association of diarrheogenic E. coli strains was significantly higher than the probability of their random association, suggesting the presence of facilitating factor(s). <![CDATA[<B>Effect of a single tetanus-diphtheria vaccine dose on the immunity of elderly people in São Paulo, Brazil</B>]]> Epidemiological data regarding tetanus and diphtheria immunity in elderly people in Brazil are scarce. During the First National Immunization Campaign for the Elderly in Brazil in April 1999, 98 individuals (median age: 84 years) received one tetanus-dyphtheria (Td) vaccine dose (Butantan Institute, lot number 9808079/G). Inclusion criteria were elderly individuals without a history of severe immunosuppressive disease, acute infectious disease or use of immunomodulators. Blood samples were collected immediately before the vaccine and 30 days later. Serum was separated and stored at -20ºC until analysis. Tetanus and diphtheria antibodies were measured by the double-antigen ELISA test. Tetanus and diphtheria antibody concentrations lower than 0.01 IU/mL were considered to indicate the absence of protection, between 0.01 and 0.09 IU/mL were considered to indicate basic immunity, and values of 0.1 IU/mL or higher were considered to indicate full protection. Before vaccination, 18% of the individuals were susceptible to diphtheria and 94% were susceptible to tetanus. After one Td dose, 78% became fully immune to diphtheria, 13% attained basic immunity, and 9% were still susceptible to the disease. In contrast, 79% remained susceptible to tetanus, 4% had basic immunity and 17% were fully immune. Although one Td dose increases immunity to diphtheria in many elderly people who live in Brazil, a complete vaccination series appears to be necessary for the prevention of tetanus. <![CDATA[<B>HBV vaccination of HCV-infected patients with occult HBV infection and anti-HBc-positive blood donors</B>]]> Anti-HBc positivity is a frequent cause of donation rejection at blood banks. Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection may also occur in HBsAg-negative patients, a situation denoted occult infection. Similarly, very low levels of HBV-DNA have also been found in the sera of patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, even in the absence of serum HBsAg. Initially we searched for HBV-DNA in serum of 100 blood donors and 50 HCV-infected patients who were HBsAg negative/anti-HBc positive by nested-PCR and by an HBV monitor commercial test for HBV-DNA. Anti-HBs seroconversion rates were measured in 100 blood donors and in 22 patients with chronic HCV infection after HBV vaccination to determine if the HBV vaccination could eliminate an occult HBV infection in these individuals. Occult HBV infection was detected in proportionally fewer blood donors (6/100 = 6%) than chronic hepatitis C patients (12/50 = 24%) (P < 0.05). We noted seroconversion in 6/6 (100%) HBV-DNA(+) and in 84/94 (89.4%) HBV-DNA(-) blood donors (P > 0.05). All subjects who were HBV-DNA(+) before the first dose of HBV vaccine (D1), became HBV-DNA(-) after D1, D2, and D3. Among 22 HCV-positive patients, 10 HBV-DNA(+) and 12 HBV-DNA(-), seroconversion was observed in 9/10 (90%) HBV-DNA(+) and in 9/12 (75%) HBV-DNA(-) subjects (P > 0.05). The disappearance of HBV-DNA in the majority of vaccinated patients suggests that residual HBV can be eliminated in patients with occult infection. <![CDATA[<B>Renal and extrarenal manifestations of autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease</B>]]> The objective of the present study was to determine the frequency of the most common clinical features in patients with autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease in a sample of the Brazilian population. The medical records of 92 patients with autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease attended during the period from 1985 to 2003 were reviewed. The following data were recorded: age at diagnosis, gender, associated clinical manifestations, occurrence of stroke, age at loss of renal function (beginning of dialysis), and presence of a family history. The involvement of abdominal viscera was investigated by ultrasonography. Intracranial alterations were prospectively investigated by magnetic resonance angiography in 42 asymptomatic patients, and complemented with digital subtraction arteriography when indicated. Mean age at diagnosis was 35.1 ± 14.9 years, and mean serum creatinine at referral was 2.4 ± 2.8 mg/dL. The most frequent clinical manifestations during the disease were arterial hypertension (63.3%), lumbar pain (55.4%), an abdominal mass (47.8%), and urinary infection (35.8%). Loss of renal function occurred in 27 patients (mean age: 45.4 ± 9.5 years). The liver was the second organ most frequently affected (39.1%). Stroke occurred in 7.6% of the patients. Asymptomatic intracranial aneurysm was detected in 3 patients and arachnoid cysts in 3 other patients. In conclusion, the most common clinical features were lumbar pain, arterial hypertension, abdominal mass, and urinary infection, and the most serious complications were chronic renal failure and stroke. Both intracranial aneurysms and arachnoid cysts occurred in asymptomatic patients at a frequency of 7.14%. <![CDATA[<B>Risk factors for excess weight loss and hypernatremia in exclusively breast-fed infants</B>]]> Data were prospectively obtained from exclusively breast-fed healthy term neonates at birth and from healthy mothers with no obstetric complication to determine risk factors for excess weight loss and hypernatremia in exclusively breast-fed infants. Thirty-four neonates with a weight loss > or = 10% were diagnosed between April 2001 and January 2005. Six of 18 infants who were eligible for the study had hypernatremia. Breast conditions associated with breast-feeding difficulties (P < 0.05), primiparity (P < 0.005), less than four stools (P < 0.001), pink diaper (P < 0.001), delay at initiation of first breast giving (P < 0.01), birth by cesarean section (P < 0.05), extra heater usage (P < 0.005), extra heater usage among mothers who had appropriate conditions associated with breast-feeding (P < 0.001), mean weight loss in neonates with pink diaper (P < 0.05), mean uric acid concentration in neonates with pink diaper (P < 0.0001), fever in hypernatremic neonates (P < 0.02), and the correlation of weight loss with both serum sodium and uric acid concentrations (P < 0.02) were determined. Excessive weight loss occurs in exclusively breast-fed infants and can be complicated by hypernatremia and other morbidities. Prompt initiation of breast-feeding after delivery and prompt intervention if problems occur with breast-feeding, in particular poor breast attachment, breast engorgement, delayed breast milk "coming in", and nipple problems will help promote successful breast-feeding. Careful follow-up of breast-feeding dyads after discharge from hospital, especially regarding infant weight, is important to help detect inadequate breast-feeding. Environmental factors such as heaters may exacerbate infant dehydration. <![CDATA[<B>Epidemiological studies in the information and genomics era</B>: <B>experience of the Clinical Genome of Cancer Project in São Paulo, Brazil</B>]]> Genomics is expanding the horizons of epidemiology, providing a new dimension for classical epidemiological studies and inspiring the development of large-scale multicenter studies with the statistical power necessary for the assessment of gene-gene and gene-environment interactions in cancer etiology and prognosis. This paper describes the methodology of the Clinical Genome of Cancer Project in São Paulo, Brazil (CGCP), which includes patients with nine types of tumors and controls. Three major epidemiological designs were used to reach specific objectives: cross-sectional studies to examine gene expression, case-control studies to evaluate etiological factors, and follow-up studies to analyze genetic profiles in prognosis. The clinical groups included patients' data in the electronic database through the Internet. Two approaches were used for data quality control: continuous data evaluation and data entry consistency. A total of 1749 cases and 1509 controls were entered into the CGCP database from the first trimester of 2002 to the end of 2004. Continuous evaluation showed that, for all tumors taken together, only 0.5% of the general form fields still included potential inconsistencies by the end of 2004. Regarding data entry consistency, the highest percentage of errors (11.8%) was observed for the follow-up form, followed by 6.7% for the clinical form, 4.0% for the general form, and only 1.1% for the pathology form. Good data quality is required for their transformation into useful information for clinical application and for preventive measures. The use of the Internet for communication among researchers and for data entry is perhaps the most innovative feature of the CGCP. The monitoring of patients' data guaranteed their quality. <![CDATA[<B>Somatic cytogenetic and azoospermia factor gene microdeletion studies in infertile men</B>]]> The objective of the present study was to determine the frequency of somatic chromosomal anomalies and Y chromosomal microdeletions (azoospermia factor genes, AZF) in infertile males who seek assisted reproduction. These studies are very important because the assisted reproduction techniques (mainly intracytoplasmic sperm injection) bypass the natural selection process and some classical chromosomal abnormalities, microdeletions of AZF genes or some deleterious genic mutations could pass through generations. These genetic abnormalities can cause in the offspring of these patients male infertility, ambiguous external genitalia, mental retardation, and other birth defects. We studied 165 infertile men whose infertility was attributable to testicular problems (60 were azoospermic, 100 were oligospermic and 5 were asthenospermic). We studied 100 metaphases per patient with GTG banding obtained from temporary lymphocyte culture for chromosomal abnormality detection and performed a genomic DNA analysis using 28 Y chromosome-specific sequence-tagged sites for Y AZF microdeletion detection. Karyotyping revealed somatic anomalies in 16 subjects (16/165 = 9.6%). Of these 16, 12 were in the azoospermic group (12/60 = 20%) and 4 were in the oligospermic group (4/100 = 4%). The most common chromosomal anomaly was Klinefelter syndrome (10/165 = 6%). Microdeletions of AZF genes were detected in 12 subjects (12/160 = 7.5%). The frequencies detected are similar to those described previously. These results show the importance of genetic evaluation of infertile males prior to assisted reproduction. Such evaluation can lead to genetic counseling and, consequently, to primary and secondary prevention of mental retardation and birth defects.