Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research]]> http://www.scielo.br/rss.php?pid=0100-879X20080005&lang=en vol. 41 num. 5 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> http://www.scielo.br/img/en/fbpelogp.gif http://www.scielo.br <![CDATA[<b>Aberrant signaling in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia</b>: <b>biological and therapeutic implications</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0100-879X2008000500001&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) is a biologically heterogeneous disease with respect to phenotype, gene expression profile and activation of particular intracellular signaling pathways. Despite very significant improvements, current therapeutic regimens still fail to cure a portion of the patients and frequently implicate the use of aggressive protocols with long-term side effects. In this review, we focused on how deregulation of critical signaling pathways, in particular Notch, PI3K/Akt, MAPK, Jak/STAT and TGF-ß, may contribute to T-ALL. Identifying the alterations that affect intracellular pathways that regulate cell cycle and apoptosis is essential to understanding the biology of this malignancy, to define more effective markers for the correct stratification of patients into appropriate therapeutic regimens and to identify novel targets for the development of specific, less detrimental therapies for T-ALL. <![CDATA[<b>Association of urinary 90 kDa angiotensin- converting enzyme with family history of hypertension and endothelial function in normotensive individuals</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0100-879X2008000500002&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en We described angiotensin-I-converting enzyme (ACE) isoforms with molecular masses of 190, 90, and 65 kDa in the urine of normotensive offspring of hypertensive subjects. Since they did not appear in equal amounts, we suggested that 90 kDa ACE might be a marker for hypertension. We evaluated the endothelial response in normotensive offspring with or without family history of hypertension and its association with the 90 kDa ACE in urine. Thirty-five normotensive subjects with a known family history of hypertension and 20 subjects without a family history of hypertension, matched for age, sex, body weight, and blood pressure, were included in the study. Endothelial function was assessed by ultrasound and a sample of urine was collected for determination of ACE isoforms. In the presence of a family history of hypertension and detection of 90 kDa ACE, we noted a maximal flow mediated dilation of 12.1 ± 5.0 vs 16.1 ± 6.0% in those without a previous history of hypertension and lacking urinary 90 kDa ACE (P < 0.05). In subjects with a family history of hypertension and presenting 90 kDa ACE, there were lower levels of HDL-cholesterol (P < 0.05) and higher levels of triglycerides (P < 0.05). Subjects with 90 kDa ACE irrespective of hypertensive history presented a trend for higher levels of triglycerides and HDL-cholesterol (P = 0.06) compared to subjects without 90 kDa ACE. Our data suggest that the 90 kDa ACE may be a marker for hypertension which may be related to the development of early atherosclerotic changes. <![CDATA[<b>Correlates of C-reactive protein levels in young adults</b>: <b>a population-based cohort study of 3827 subjects in Brazil</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0100-879X2008000500003&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The socio-demographic, behavioral and anthropometric correlates of C-reactive protein levels were examined in a representative young adult Brazilian population. The 1982 Pelotas Birth Cohort Study (Brazil) recruited over 99% of births in the city of Pelotas that year (N = 5914). Individuals belonging to the cohort have been prospectively followed up. In 2004-2005, 77.4% of the cohort was traced, members were interviewed and 3827 individuals donated blood. Analyses of the outcome were based on a conceptual model that differentiated confounders from potential mediators. The following independent variables were studied in relation to levels of C-reactive protein in sex-stratified analyses: skin color, age, family income, education, parity, body mass index, waist circumference, smoking, fat/fiber/alcohol intake, physical activity, and minor psychiatric disorder. Geometric mean (95% confidence interval) C-reactive protein levels for the 1919 males and 1908 females were 0.89 (0.84-0.94) and 1.96 mg/L (1.85-2.09), respectively. Pregnant women and those using oral contraceptive therapies presented the highest C-reactive protein levels and all sub-groups of women had higher levels than men (P < 0.001). Significant associations between C-reactive protein levels were observed with age, socioeconomic indicators, obesity status, smoking, fat and alcohol intake, and minor psychiatric disorder. Associations were stronger at higher levels of C-reactive protein and some associations were sex-specific. We conclude that both distal (socio-demographic) and proximal (anthropometric and behavioral) factors exert strong effects on C-reactive protein levels and that the former are mediated to some degree by the latter. <![CDATA[Cryptic mosaicism involving a second chromosome X in patients with Turner syndrome]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0100-879X2008000500004&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The high abortion rate of 45,X embryos indicates that patients with Turner syndrome and 45,X karyotype could be mosaics, in at least one phase of embryo development or cellular lineage, due to the need for the other sex chromosome presence for conceptus to be compatible with life. In cases of structural chromosomal aberrations or hidden mosaicism, conventional cytogenetic techniques can be ineffective and molecular investigation is indicated. Two hundred and fifty patients with Turner syndrome stigmata were studied and 36 who had female genitalia and had been cytogenetically diagnosed as having "pure" 45,X karyotype were selected after 100 metaphases were analyzed in order to exclude mosaicism and the presence of genomic Y-specific sequences (SRY, TSPY, and DAZ) was excluded by PCR. Genomic DNA was extracted from peripheral blood and screened by the human androgen receptor (HUMARA) assay. The HUMARA gene has a polymorphic CAG repeat and, in the presence of a second chromosome with a different HUMARA allele, a second band will be amplified by PCR. Additionally, the CAG repeats contain two methylation-sensitive HpaII enzyme restriction sites, which can be used to verify skewed inactivation. Twenty-five percent (9/36) of the cases showed a cryptic mosaicism involving a second X and approximately 14% (5/36), or 55% (5/9) of the patients with cryptic mosaicism, also presented skewed inactivation. The laboratory identification of the second X chromosome and its inactivation pattern are important for the clinical management (hormone replacement therapy, and inclusion in an oocyte donation program) and prognostic counseling of patients with Turner syndrome. <![CDATA[<b>Alloxan-induced diabetes delays repair in a rat model of closed tibial fracture</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0100-879X2008000500005&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en A closed fracture was performed on the left tibia of 3-month-old Wistar rats weighing 250 to 350 g that were either healthy (N = 24) or made diabetic with alloxan (N = 24) to investigate the effect of alloxan-induced diabetes on the course of bone fracture healing. Histomorphometric analysis of the fracture site was performed at 7, 14, 25, and 35 days. After 7 days, diabetic rats had significantly less cartilage (P = 0.045) and greater fibrous connective (P = 0.006) tissue formation at the fracture site compared to controls. In contrast, marked callus formation was seen in diabetic rats with significant osteogenesis (P = 0.011, P = 0.010, P = 0.010, respectively, for 14, 25, and 35 days) and chondrogenesis (P = 0.028, P = 0.033, P = 0.019) compared to controls. Radiographic analysis revealed a displaced fracture with poor bone fragment alignment and delayed consolidation at these times in the diabetic group. The levels of alkaline phosphatase were significantly higher in diabetic rats at 25 days (P = 0.009). These results suggest that the initial excessive formation of fibrous connective tissue associated with delay in chondrogenesis and osteogenesis may not provide suitable stability of the fractured site, contributing to the inappropriate alignment of fragments and an increase in the volume of callus in later stages of repair. The resulting displaced fracture in diabetic rats requires long periods for remodeling and complete bone consolidation. <![CDATA[<b>Cloning, sequence analysis, and expression of cDNA coding for the major house dust mite allergen, Der f 1, in <i>Escherichia coli</i></b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0100-879X2008000500006&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Our objective was to clone, express and characterize adult Dermatophagoides farinae group 1 (Der f 1) allergens to further produce recombinant allergens for future clinical applications in order to eliminate side reactions from crude extracts of mites. Based on GenBank data, we designed primers and amplified the cDNA fragment coding for Der f 1 by nested-PCR. After purification and recovery, the cDNA fragment was cloned into the pMD19-T vector. The fragment was then sequenced, subcloned into the plasmid pET28a(+), expressed in Escherichia coli BL21 and identified by Western blotting. The cDNA coding for Der f 1 was cloned, sequenced and expressed successfully. Sequence analysis showed the presence of an open reading frame containing 966 bp that encodes a protein of 321 amino acids. Interestingly, homology analysis showed that the Der p 1 shared more than 87% identity in amino acid sequence with Eur m 1 but only 80% with Der f 1. Furthermore, phylogenetic analyses suggested that D. pteronyssinus was evolutionarily closer to Euroglyphus maynei than to D. farinae, even though D. pteronyssinus and D. farinae belong to the same Dermatophagoides genus. A total of three cysteine peptidase active sites were found in the predicted amino acid sequence, including 127-138 (QGGCGSCWAFSG), 267-277 (NYHAVNIVGYG) and 284-303 (YWIVRNSWDTTWGDSGYGYF). Moreover, secondary structure analysis revealed that Der f 1 contained an a helix (33.96%), an extended strand (17.13%), a ß turn (5.61%), and a random coil (43.30%). A simple three-dimensional model of this protein was constructed using a Swiss-model server. The cDNA coding for Der f 1 was cloned, sequenced and expressed successfully. Alignment and phylogenetic analysis suggests that D. pteronyssinus is evolutionarily more similar to E. maynei than to D. farinae. <![CDATA[<b>Synergistic control of forearm based on accelerometer data and artificial neural networks</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0100-879X2008000500007&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en In the present study, we modeled a reaching task as a two-link mechanism. The upper arm and forearm motion trajectories during vertical arm movements were estimated from the measured angular accelerations with dual-axis accelerometers. A data set of reaching synergies from able-bodied individuals was used to train a radial basis function artificial neural network with upper arm/forearm tangential angular accelerations. The trained radial basis function artificial neural network for the specific movements predicted forearm motion from new upper arm trajectories with high correlation (mean, 0.9149-0.941). For all other movements, prediction was low (range, 0.0316-0.8302). Results suggest that the proposed algorithm is successful in generalization over similar motions and subjects. Such networks may be used as a high-level controller that could predict forearm kinematics from voluntary movements of the upper arm. This methodology is suitable for restoring the upper limb functions of individuals with motor disabilities of the forearm, but not of the upper arm. The developed control paradigm is applicable to upper-limb orthotic systems employing functional electrical stimulation. The proposed approach is of great significance particularly for humans with spinal cord injuries in a free-living environment. The implication of a measurement system with dual-axis accelerometers, developed for this study, is further seen in the evaluation of movement during the course of rehabilitation. For this purpose, training-related changes in synergies apparent from movement kinematics during rehabilitation would characterize the extent and the course of recovery. As such, a simple system using this methodology is of particular importance for stroke patients. The results underlie the important issue of upper-limb coordination. <![CDATA[<b>Chlorpheniramine facilitates inhibitory avoidance in teleosts submitted to telencephalic ablation</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0100-879X2008000500008&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The present study investigated the involvement of H(1) histaminegic receptor on the acquisition of inhibitory avoidance in Carassius auratus submitted to telencephalic ablation. The fish were submitted to telencephalic ablation 5 days before the experiment. The inhibitory avoidance procedure included 1 day for habituation, 3 days for training composed of 3 trials each (1st day: T1, T2, T3; 2nd day: 2T1, 2T2, 2T3; 3rd day: 3T1, 3T2, 3T3) and 1 day for test. On training days, the fish were placed in a white compartment, after 30 s the door was opened. When the fish crossed to a black compartment, a weight was dropped (aversive stimuli). Immediately after the third trial, on training days, the fish received, intraperitoneally, one of the pharmacological treatments (saline (N = 20), 8 (N = 12) or 16 (N = 13) µg/g chlorpheniramine, CPA). On the test day, the time to cross to the black compartment was determined. The latency of the saline group increased significantly only on the 3rd trial of the 2nd training day (mean ± SEM, T1 (50.40 ± 11.69), 2T3 (226.05 ± 25.01); ANOVA: P = 0.0249, Dunn test: P < 0.05). The group that received 8 µg/g CPA showed increased latencies from the 2nd training day until the test day (T1 (53.08 ± 17.17), 2T2 (197.75 ± 35.02), test (220.08 ± 30.98); ANOVA: P = 0.0022, Dunn test: P < 0.05)). These results indicate that CPA had a facilitating effect on memory. We suggest that the fish submitted to telencephalic ablation were able to learn due to the local circuits of the mesencephalon and/or diencephalon and that CPA interferes in these circuits, probably due an anxiolytic-like effect. <![CDATA[<b>Protein tyrosine kinase inhibitors modify kainic acid-induced epileptiform activity and mossy fiber sprouting but do not protect against</b> <b>limbic cell death</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0100-879X2008000500009&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Intrahippocampal administration of kainic acid (KA) induces synaptic release of neurotrophins, mainly brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which contributes to the acute neuronal excitation produced by the toxin. Two protein tyrosine kinase inhibitors, herbimycin A and K252a, were administered intracerebroventricularly, in a single dose, to attenuate neurotrophin signaling during the acute effects of KA, and their role in epileptogenesis was evaluated in adult, male Wistar rats weighing 250-300 g. The latency for the first Racine stage V seizure was 90 ± 8 min in saline controls (N = 4) which increased to 369 ± 71 and 322 ± 63 min in animals receiving herbimycin A (1.74 nmol, N = 4) and K252a (10 pmol, N = 4), respectively. Behavioral alterations were accompanied by diminished duration of EEG paroxysms in herbimycin A- and K252a-treated animals. Notwithstanding the reduction in seizure severity, cell death (60-90% of cell loss in KA-treated animals) in limbic regions was unchanged by herbimycin A and K252a. However, aberrant mossy fiber sprouting was significantly reduced in the ipsilateral dorsal hippocampus of K252a-treated animals. In this model of temporal lobe epilepsy, both protein kinase inhibitors diminished the acute epileptic activity triggered by KA and the ensuing morphological alterations in the dentate gyrus without diminishing cell loss. Our current data indicating that K252a, but not herbimycin, has an influence over KA-induced mossy fiber sprouting further suggest that protein tyrosine kinase receptors are not the only factors which control this plasticity. Further experiments are necessary to elucidate the exact signaling systems associated with this K252a effect. <![CDATA[<b>Cytotoxicity and antitumoral activity of dichloromethane extract and its fractions from <i>Pothomorphe umbellata</i></b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0100-879X2008000500010&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The cytotoxicity of the dichloromethane crude extract (DCE), obtained from the aerial parts of Pothomorphe umbellata (L.) Miq (Piperaceae), was evaluated against nine human cancer cell lines (MCF-7, NCI-ADR/RES, OVCAR-3, PC-3, HT-29, NCI-H460, 786-O, UACC-62, K-562). The DCE presented antiproliferative activity with good potency against all cell lines at low concentrations (between 4.0 and 9.5 µg/mL) and with selectivity (1.55 µg/mL) for the leukemia cell line (K-652). DCE (100, 200, 300 and 400 mg/kg, ip) was also evaluated in the Ehrlich ascites tumor model. Both the survival number and the life span of the animals that died increased by at least 45 and 50%, respectively (8 animals per group), demonstrating P. umbellata extract potential anticancer activity. The results of the in vivo antitumor activity prompted the fractionation of the crude extract. The crude extract was submitted to dry column chromatography with dichloromethane-methanol (99:1). The column effluent fractions were extracted with methanol, dried under vacuum yielding fractions FR1 (less polar), FR2 (medium polarity), and FR3 (polar), which were analyzed for their growth inhibition or cytotoxic properties by a 48-h sulforhodamine B cell viability assay by measuring the total protein content. FR1 demonstrated high potency and cytotoxicity, a result compatible with the high toxicity of oxalic acid; FR2, containing 4-nerolidylcathecol, presented the lowest cytotoxic activity compared to the other two fractions but with selectivity for prostate cancer cell line; FR3, containing a mixture of steroids described in the literature as possessing various biological activities, also presented potent anticancer in vitro activity. These results suggest that P. umbellata DCE in vivo antitumor activity may be a consequence of the activity of different active principles. <![CDATA[<b>Differences in functional and structural properties of segments of the rat tail artery</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0100-879X2008000500011&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The investigation of resistance vessels is generally costly and difficult to execute. The present study investigated the diameters and the vascular reactivity of different segments of the rat tail artery (base, middle, and tail end) of 30 male Wister rats (EPM strain) to characterize a conductance or resistance vessel, using a low-cost simple technique. The diameters (mean ± SEM) of the base and middle segments were 471 ± 4.97 and 540 ± 8.39 µm, respectively, the tail end was 253 ± 2.58 µm. To test reactivity, the whole tail arteries or segments were perfused under constant flow and the reactivity to phenylephrine (PHE; 0.01-300 µg) was evaluated before and after removal of the endothelium or drug administration. The maximal response (Emax) and sensitivity (pED50) to PHE of the whole tail and the base segment increased after endothelium removal or treatment with 100 µM L-NAME, which suggests modulation by nitric oxide. Indomethacin (10 µM) and tetraethylammonium (5 mM) did not change the Emax or pED50 of these segments. PHE and L-NAME increased the pED50 of the middle and the tail end only and indomethacin did not change pED50 or Emax. Tetraethylammonium increased the sensitivity only at the tail end, which suggests a blockade of vasodilator release. Results indicate that the proximal segment of the tail artery possesses a diameter compatible with a conductance vessel, while the tail end has the diameter of a resistance vessel. In addition, the vascular reactivity to PHE in the proximal segment is nitric oxide-dependent, while the tail end is dependent on endothelium-derived hyperpolarizing factor. <![CDATA[<b>Time course of training-induced microcirculatory changes and of vegf expression in skeletal muscles of spontaneously hypertensive female rats</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0100-879X2008000500012&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Exercise-induced vessel changes modulate arterial pressure (AP) in male spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR). Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is important for angiogenesis of skeletal muscle. The present study evaluated the time course of VEGF and angiogenesis after short- and long-term exercise training of female SHR and Wistar Kyoto (WKY) rats, 8-9 weeks (200-250 g). Rats were allocated to daily training or remained sedentary for 3 days (N = 23) or 13 weeks (N = 23). After training, the carotid artery was catheterized for AP measurements. Locomotor (tibialis anterior and gracilis) and non-locomotor skeletal muscles (temporalis) were harvested and prepared for histologic and protein expression analyses. Training increased treadmill performance by all groups (SHR = 28%, WKY = 64%, 3 days) and (SHR = 141%, WKY = 122%, 13 weeks). SHR had higher values of AP than WKY (174 ± 4 vs 111 ± 2 mmHg) that were not altered by training. Three days of running increased VEGF expression (SHR = 28%, WKY = 36%) simultaneously with an increase in capillary-to-fiber ratio in gracilis muscle (SHR = 19%, WKY = 15%). In contrast, 13 weeks of training increased gracilis capillary-to-fiber ratio (SHR = 18%, WKY = 19%), without simultaneous changes in VEGF expression. Training did not change VEGF expression and capillarity of temporalis muscle. We conclude that training stimulates time- and tissue-dependent VEGF protein expression, independent of pressure levels. VEGF triggers angiogenesis in locomotor skeletal muscle shortly after the exercise starts, but is not involved in the maintenance of capillarity after long-term exercise in female rats. <![CDATA[<b>Role of the cardiac nerve in the adaptive changes of heart rate in response to an aversive stimulus in <i>Megalobulimus mogianensis</i></b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0100-879X2008000500013&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The effect of an aversive stimulus represented by contact with a hot plate on the heart rate of Megalobulimus mogianensis was evaluated with electrocardiogram recording in intact snails (N = 8). All stimulated animals showed an increase in heart rate, with mean values ranging from 35.6 ± 1.2 (basal heart rate) to 43.8 ± 0.9 bpm (post-stimulation heart rate). The cardioacceleration was followed by gradual recovery of the basal heart rate, with mean recovery times varying from 4.3 ± 0.3 to 5.8 ± 0.6 min. Repetition of the stimulus did not affect the magnitude of variation nor did it influence the basal heart rate recovery time. To investigate the role of the cardiac nerve in mediating the heart rate alterations induced by the aversive stimulus, denervated (N = 8) and sham-operated (N = 8) animals were also tested. Although the aversive stimulus caused the heart rate to increase significantly in both experimental groups, the mean increase in heart rate in denervated animals (4.4 ± 0.4 bpm) was 57% of the value obtained in sham-operated animals (7.7 ± 1.3 bpm), indicating that the cardiac nerve is responsible for 43% of the cardioacceleration induced by the aversive stimulus. The cardioacceleration observed in denervated snails may be due to an increase in venous return promoted by the intense muscular activity associated with the withdrawal response. Humoral factors may also be involved. A probable delaying inhibitory effect of the cardiac nerve on the recuperation of the basal heart rate is suggested. <![CDATA[<b>Retraction of the paper</b>: <b>"Niemann-Pick type C1 protein influences the delivery of cholesterol to the SREBP:SCAP complex"</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0100-879X2008000500014&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The effect of an aversive stimulus represented by contact with a hot plate on the heart rate of Megalobulimus mogianensis was evaluated with electrocardiogram recording in intact snails (N = 8). All stimulated animals showed an increase in heart rate, with mean values ranging from 35.6 ± 1.2 (basal heart rate) to 43.8 ± 0.9 bpm (post-stimulation heart rate). The cardioacceleration was followed by gradual recovery of the basal heart rate, with mean recovery times varying from 4.3 ± 0.3 to 5.8 ± 0.6 min. Repetition of the stimulus did not affect the magnitude of variation nor did it influence the basal heart rate recovery time. To investigate the role of the cardiac nerve in mediating the heart rate alterations induced by the aversive stimulus, denervated (N = 8) and sham-operated (N = 8) animals were also tested. Although the aversive stimulus caused the heart rate to increase significantly in both experimental groups, the mean increase in heart rate in denervated animals (4.4 ± 0.4 bpm) was 57% of the value obtained in sham-operated animals (7.7 ± 1.3 bpm), indicating that the cardiac nerve is responsible for 43% of the cardioacceleration induced by the aversive stimulus. The cardioacceleration observed in denervated snails may be due to an increase in venous return promoted by the intense muscular activity associated with the withdrawal response. Humoral factors may also be involved. A probable delaying inhibitory effect of the cardiac nerve on the recuperation of the basal heart rate is suggested.