Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research]]> vol. 45 num. 11 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>RNAi-mediated knockdown of pituitary tumor- transforming gene-1 (PTTG1) suppresses the proliferation and invasive potential of PC3 human prostate cancer cells</b>]]> Pituitary tumor-transforming gene-1 (PTTG1) is a proto-oncogene that promotes tumorigenesis and metastasis in numerous cell types and is overexpressed in a variety of human tumors. We have demonstrated that PTTG1 expression was up-regulated in both human prostate cancer specimens and prostate cancer cell lines. For a more direct assessment of the function of PTTG1 in prostate tumorigenesis, RNAi-mediated knockdown was used to selectively decrease PTTG1 expression in PC3 human prostate tumor cells. After three weeks of selection, colonies stably transfected with PTTG1-targeted RNAi (the knockdown PC3 cell line) or empty vector (the control PC3 cell line) were selected and expanded to investigate the role of PTTG1 expression in PC3 cell growth and invasion. Cell proliferation rate was significantly slower (28%) in the PTTG1 knockdown line after 6 days of growth as indicated by an MTT cell viability assay (P < 0.05). Similarly, a soft agar colony formation assay revealed significantly fewer (66.7%) PTTG1 knockdown PC3 cell colonies than control colonies after three weeks of growth. In addition, PTTG1 knockdown resulted in cell cycle arrest at G1 as indicated by fluorescence-activated cell sorting. The PTTG1 knockdown PC3 cell line also exhibited significantly reduced migration through Matrigel in a transwell assay of invasive potential, and down-regulation of PTTG1 could lead to increased sensitivity of these prostate cancer cells to a commonly used anticancer drug, taxol. Thus, PTTG1 expression is crucial for PC3 cell proliferation and invasion, and could be a promising new target for prostate cancer therapy. <![CDATA[<b>Simultaneous allergen inactivation and detoxification of castor bean cake by treatment with calcium compounds</b>]]> Ricinus communis L. is of great economic importance due to the oil extracted from its seeds. Castor oil has been used for pharmaceutical and industrial applications, as a lubricant or coating agent, as a component of plastic products, as a fungicide or in the synthesis of biodiesel fuels. After oil extraction, a castor cake with a large amount of protein is obtained. However, this by-product cannot be used as animal feed due to the presence of toxic (ricin) and allergenic (2S albumin) proteins. Here, we propose two processes for detoxification and allergen inactivation of the castor cake. In addition, we establish a biological test to detect ricin and validate these detoxification processes. In this test, Vero cells were treated with ricin, and cell death was assessed by cell counting and measurement of lactate dehydrogenase activity. The limit of detection of the Vero cell assay was 10 ng/mL using a concentration of 1.6 x 10(5) cells/well. Solid-state fermentation (SSF) and treatment with calcium compounds were used as cake detoxification processes. For SSF, Aspergillus niger was grown using a castor cake as a substrate, and this cake was analyzed after 24, 48, 72, and 96 h of SSF. Ricin was eliminated after 24 h of SSF treatment. The cake was treated with 4 or 8% Ca(OH)2 or CaO, and both the toxicity and the allergenic properties were entirely abolished. A by-product free of toxicity and allergens was obtained. <![CDATA[<b>Role of p53 codon 72 polymorphism in chromosomal aberrations and mitotic index in patients with chronic hepatitis B</b>]]> Polymorphisms of the p53 gene, which participates in DNA repair, can affect the functioning of the p53 protein. The Arg and Pro variants in p53 codon 72 were shown to have different regulation properties of p53-dependent DNA repair target genes that can affect various levels of cytogenetic aberrations in chronic hepatitis B patients. The present study aimed to examine the frequency of chromosomal aberrations and the mitotic index in patients with chronic hepatitis B and their possible association with p53 gene exon 4 codon 72 Arg72Pro (Ex4+119 G>C; rs1042522) polymorphism. Fifty-eight patients with chronic hepatitis B and 30 healthy individuals were genotyped in terms of the p53 gene codon 72 Arg72Pro polymorphism by PCR-RFLP. A 72-h cell culture was performed on the same individuals and evaluated in terms of chromosomal aberrations and mitotic index. A high frequency of chromosomal aberrations and low mitotic index were detected in the patient group compared to the control group. A higher frequency of chromosomal aberrations was detected in both the patient and the control groups with a homozygous proline genotype (13 patients, 3 control subjects) compared to patients and controls with other genotypes [Arg/Pro (38 patients, 20 control subjects) and Arg/Arg (7 patients, 7 control subjects)]. We observed an increased frequency of cytogenetic aberrations in patients with chronic hepatitis B. In addition, a higher frequency of cytogenetic aberrations was observed in p53 variants having the homozygous proline genotype compared to variants having other genotypes both in patients and healthy individuals. <![CDATA[<b>Antimicrobial peptides and nitric oxide production by neutrophils from periodontitis subjects</b>]]> Neutrophils play an important role in periodontitis by producing nitric oxide (NO) and antimicrobial peptides, molecules with microbicidal activity via oxygen-dependent and -independent mechanisms, respectively. It is unknown whether variation in the production of antimicrobial peptides such as LL-37, human neutrophil peptides (HNP) 1-3, and NO by neutrophils influences the pathogenesis of periodontal diseases. We compared the production of these peptides and NO by lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated neutrophils isolated from healthy subjects and from patients with periodontitis. Peripheral blood neutrophils were cultured with or without Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans-LPS (Aa-LPS), Porphyromonas gingivalis-LPS (Pg-LPS) and Escherichia coli-LPS (Ec-LPS). qRT-PCR was used to determine quantities of HNP 1-3 and LL-37 mRNA in neutrophils. Amounts of HNP 1-3 and LL-37 proteins in the cell culture supernatants were also determined by ELISA. In addition, NO levels in neutrophil culture supernatants were quantitated by the Griess reaction. Neutrophils from periodontitis patients cultured with Aa-LPS, Pg-LPS and Ec-LPS expressed higher HNP 1-3 mRNA than neutrophils from healthy subjects. LL-37 mRNA expression was higher in neutrophils from patients stimulated with Aa-LPS. Neutrophils from periodontitis patients produced significantly higher LL-37 protein levels than neutrophils from healthy subjects when stimulated with Pg-LPS and Ec-LPS, but no difference was observed in HNP 1-3 production. Neutrophils from periodontitis patients cultured or not with Pg-LPS and Ec-LPS produced significantly lower NO levels than neutrophils from healthy subjects. The significant differences in the production of LL-37 and NO between neutrophils from healthy and periodontitis subjects indicate that production of these molecules might influence individual susceptibility to important periodontal pathogens. <![CDATA[<b>Dorsal periaqueductal gray stimulation facilitates anxiety-, but not panic-related, defensive responses in rats tested in the elevated T-maze</b>]]> The escape response to electrical or chemical stimulation of the dorsal periaqueductal gray matter (DPAG) has been associated with panic attacks. In order to explore the validity of the DPAG stimulation model for the study of panic disorder, we determined if the aversive consequences of the electrical or chemical stimulation of this midbrain area can be detected subsequently in the elevated T-maze. This animal model, derived from the elevated plus-maze, permits the measurement in the same rat of a generalized anxiety- and a panic-related defensive response, i.e., inhibitory avoidance and escape, respectively. Facilitation of inhibitory avoidance, suggesting an anxiogenic effect, was detected in male Wistar rats (200-220 g) tested in the elevated T-maze 30 min after DPAG electrical stimulation (current generated by a sine-wave stimulator, frequency at 60 Hz) or after local microinjection of the GABA A receptor antagonist bicuculline (5 pmol). Previous electrical (5, 15, 30 min, or 24 h before testing) or chemical stimulation of this midbrain area did not affect escape performance in the elevated T-maze or locomotion in an open-field. No change in the two behavioral tasks measured by the elevated T-maze was observed after repetitive (3 trials) electrical stimulation of the DPAG. The results indicate that activation of the DPAG caused a short-lived, but selective, increase in defensive behaviors associated with generalized anxiety. <![CDATA[<b>NAA and NAAG variation in neuronal activation during visual stimulation</b>]]> N-acetyl-aspartyl-glutamate (NAAG) and its hydrolysis product N-acetyl-L-aspartate (NAA) are among the most important brain metabolites. NAA is a marker of neuron integrity and viability, while NAAG modulates glutamate release and may have a role in neuroprotection and synaptic plasticity. Investigating on a quantitative basis the role of these metabolites in brain metabolism in vivo by magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) is a major challenge since the main signals of NAA and NAAG largely overlap. This is a preliminary study in which we evaluated NAA and NAAG changes during a visual stimulation experiment using functional MRS. The paradigm used consisted of a rest period (5 min and 20 s), followed by a stimulation period (10 min and 40 s) and another rest period (10 min and 40 s). MRS from 17 healthy subjects were acquired at 3T with TR/TE = 2000/288 ms. Spectra were averaged over subjects and quantified with LCModel. The main outcomes were that NAA concentration decreased by about 20% with the stimulus, while the concentration of NAAG concomitantly increased by about 200%. Such variations fall into models for the energy metabolism underlying neuronal activation that point to NAAG as being responsible for the hyperemic vascular response that causes the BOLD signal. They also agree with the fact that NAAG and NAA are present in the brain at a ratio of about 1:10, and with the fact that the only known metabolic pathway for NAAG synthesis is from NAA and glutamate. <![CDATA[<b>Facilitatory effects of an auditory warning stimulus in a visual location identification task and a visual shape identification task</b>]]> The occurrence of a weak auditory warning stimulus increases the speed of the response to a subsequent visual target stimulus that must be identified. This facilitatory effect has been attributed to the temporal expectancy automatically induced by the warning stimulus. It has not been determined whether this results from a modulation of the stimulus identification process, the response selection process or both. The present study examined these possibilities. A group of 12 young adults performed a reaction time location identification task and another group of 12 young adults performed a reaction time shape identification task. A visual target stimulus was presented 1850 to 2350 ms plus a fixed interval (50, 100, 200, 400, 800, or 1600 ms, depending on the block) after the appearance of a fixation point, on its left or right side, above or below a virtual horizontal line passing through it. In half of the trials, a weak auditory warning stimulus (S1) appeared 50, 100, 200, 400, 800, or 1600 ms (according to the block) before the target stimulus (S2). Twelve trials were run for each condition. The S1 produced a facilitatory effect for the 200, 400, 800, and 1600 ms stimulus onset asynchronies (SOA) in the case of the side stimulus-response (S-R) corresponding condition, and for the 100 and 400 ms SOA in the case of the side S-R non-corresponding condition. Since these two conditions differ mainly by their response selection requirements, it is reasonable to conclude that automatic temporal expectancy influences the response selection process. <![CDATA[<b>The role of Ca<sup>2+</sup>/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II and calcineurin in TNF-α-induced myocardial hypertrophy</b>]]> We investigated whether Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent kinase II (CaMKII) and calcineurin (CaN) are involved in myocardial hypertrophy induced by tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α). The cardiomyocytes of neonatal Wistar rats (1-2 days old) were cultured and stimulated by TNF-α (100 μg/L), and Ca2+ signal transduction was blocked by several antagonists, including BAPTA (4 µM), KN-93 (0.2 µM) and cyclosporin A (CsA, 0.2 µM). Protein content, protein synthesis, cardiomyocyte volumes, [Ca2+]i transients, CaMKIIδB and CaN were evaluated by the Lowry method, [³H]-leucine incorporation, a computerized image analysis system, a Till imaging system, and Western blot analysis, respectively. TNF-α induced a significant increase in protein content in a dose-dependent manner from 10 µg/L (53.56 µg protein/well) to 100 μg/L (72.18 µg protein/well), and in a time-dependent manner from 12 h (37.42 µg protein/well) to 72 h (42.81 µg protein/well). TNF-α (100 μg/L) significantly increased the amplitude of spontaneous [Ca2+]i transients, the total protein content, cell size, and [³H]-leucine incorporation in cultured cardiomyocytes, which was abolished by 4 µM BAPTA, an intracellular Ca2+ chelator. The increases in protein content, cell size and [³H]-leucine incorporation were abolished by 0.2 µM KN-93 or 0.2 µM CsA. TNF-α increased the expression of CaMKIIδB by 35.21% and that of CaN by 22.22% compared to control. These effects were abolished by 4 µM BAPTA, which itself had no effect. These results suggest that TNF-α induces increases in [Ca2+]i, CaMKIIδB and CaN and promotes cardiac hypertrophy. Therefore, we hypothesize that the Ca2+/CaMKII- and CaN-dependent signaling pathways are involved in myocardial hypertrophy induced by TNF-α. <![CDATA[<b>Rhein induces apoptosis of human gastric cancer SGC-7901 cells via an intrinsic mitochondrial pathway</b>]]> Rhein is a primary anthraquinone found in the roots of a traditional Chinese herb, rhubarb, and has been shown to have some anticancer effects. The aim of the present study was to investigate the effect of rhein on the apoptosis of the human gastric cancer line SGC-7901 and to identify the mechanism involved. SGC-7901 cells were cultured and treated with rhein (0, 50, 100, 150, and 200 µM) for 24, 48, or 72 h. Relative cell viability assessed by the MTT assay after treatment was 100, 99, 85, 79, 63% for 24 h; 100, 98, 80, 51, 37% for 48 h, and 100, 97, 60, 36, 15% for 72 h, respectively. Cell apoptosis was detected with TUNEL staining and quantified with flow cytometry using annexin FITC-PI staining at 48 h after 100, 200 and 300 µm rhein. The percentage of apoptotic cells was 7.3, 21.9, 43.5%, respectively. We also measured the mRNA levels of caspase-3 and -9 using real-time PCR. Treatment with 100 µM rhein for 48 h significantly increased mRNA expression of caspase-3 and -9. The levels of apoptosis-related proteins including Bcl-2, Bax, Bcl-xL, and pro-caspase-3 were evaluated in rhein-treated cells. Rhein increased the Bax:Bcl-2 ratio but decreased the protein levels of Bcl-xL and pro-caspase-3. Moreover, rhein significantly increased the expression of cytochrome c and apoptotic protease activating factor 1, two critical components involved in mitochondrial pathway-mediated apoptosis. We conclude that rhein inhibits SGC-7901 proliferation by inducing apoptosis and this antitumor effect of rhein is mediated in part by an intrinsic mitochondrial pathway. <![CDATA[<b>Anticonvulsant and antiarrhythmic effects of nifedipine in rats prone to audiogenic seizures</b>]]> Calcium ion participates in the regulation of neural transmission and the presynaptic release of neurotransmitters. It is also involved in epileptic events, cardiac arrhythmias and abnormal conduction of stimuli. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the effects of nifedipine, a calcium channel blocker, on epileptic seizures and on reperfusion arrhythmias in rats prone to audiogenic epileptic seizures (Wistar audiogenic rats, WAR) and in normal Wistar rats (N = 6/group). The seizure severity index was applied after an intraperitoneal injection of 20 or 40 mg/kg nifedipine (N20 and N40 groups, respectively). The Langendorff technique was used to analyze cardiac function, as well as the incidence and severity of the reperfusion arrhythmias after ligature and release of the left coronary artery in rats treated or not with nifedipine. We found that nifedipine treatment decreased seizure severity (0.94 ± 0.02 for WAR; 0.70 ± 0.10 for WAR + N20; 0.47 ± 0.08 for WAR + N40) and increased the latent period (13 ± 2 s for WAR; 35 ± 10 s for WAR + N20; 48 ± 7 s for WAR + N40) for the development of seizures in WAR. Furthermore, the incidence and severity of the reperfusion arrhythmias were lower in WAR and normal Wistar rats injected with nifedipine. In WAR, these effects were mediated, at least in part, by a decrease in heart rate. Thus, our results indicate that nifedipine may be considered to be a potential adjuvant drug for epilepsy treatment, especially in those cases associated with cardiac rhythm abnormalities. <![CDATA[<b>Arginine induces GH gene expression by activating NOS/NO signaling in rat isolated hemi-pituitaries</b>]]> The amino acid arginine (Arg) is a recognized secretagogue of growth hormone (GH), and has been shown to induce GH gene expression. Arg is the natural precursor of nitric oxide (NO), which is known to mediate many of the effects of Arg, such as GH secretion. Arg was also shown to increase calcium influx in pituitary cells, which might contribute to its effects on GH secretion. Although the mechanisms involved in the effects of Arg on GH secretion are well established, little is known about them regarding the control of GH gene expression. We investigated whether the NO pathway and/or calcium are involved in the effects of Arg on GH gene expression in rat isolated pituitaries. To this end, pituitaries from approximately 170 male Wistar rats (~250 g) were removed, divided into two halves, pooled (three hemi-pituitaries) and incubated or not with Arg, as well as with different pharmacological agents. Arg (71 mM), the NO donor sodium nitroprusside (SNP, 1 and 0.1 mM) and a cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) analogue (8-Br-cGMP, 1 mM) increased GH mRNA expression 60 min later. The NO acceptor hemoglobin (0.3 µM) blunted the effect of SNP, and the combined treatment with Arg and L-NAME (a NO synthase (NOS) inhibitor, 55 mM) abolished the stimulatory effect of Arg on GH gene expression. The calcium channel inhibitor nifedipine (3 µM) also abolished Arg-induced GH gene expression. The present study shows that Arg directly induces GH gene expression in hemi-pituitaries isolated from rats, excluding interference from somatostatinergic neurons, which are supposed to be inhibited by Arg. Moreover, the data demonstrate that the NOS/NO signaling pathway and calcium mediate the Arg effects on GH gene expression. <![CDATA[<b>Evaluation of chromosomal abnormalities by cIg-FISH and association with proliferative and apoptotic indexes in multiple myeloma</b>]]> Eighty-six newly diagnosed multiple myeloma (MM) patients from a public hospital of São Paulo (Brazil) were evaluated by cIg-FISH for the presence of del(13)(q14), t(4;14)(p16.3;q32) and del(17)(p13). These abnormalities were observed in 46.5, 9.3, and 7.0% of the patients, respectively. In order to identify the possible role of del(13)(q14) in the physiopathology of MM, we investigated the association between this abnormality and the proliferative and apoptotic indexes of plasma cells. When cases demonstrating t(4;14)(p16.3;q32) and del(17)(p13) were excluded from the analysis, we observed a trend towards a positive correlation between the proportion of cells carrying del(13)(q14) and plasma cell proliferation, determined by Ki-67 expression (r = 0.23, P = 0.06). On the other hand, no correlation between the proportion of cells carrying del(13)(q14) and apoptosis, determined by annexin-V staining, was detected (r = 0.05, P = 0.69). In general, patients carrying del(13)(q14) did not have lower survival than patients without del(13)(q14) (P = 0.15), but patients with more than 80% of cells carrying del(13)(q14) showed a lower overall survival (P = 0.033). These results suggest that, when del(13)(q14) is observed in a high proportion of malignant cells, it may have a role in determining MM prognosis. Another finding was a statistically significant lower overall survival of patients with t(4;14)(p16.3;q32) (P = 0.026). In the present study, almost half the patients with t(4;14)(p16.3;q32) died just after diagnosis, before starting treatment. This fact suggests that, in São Paulo, there may be even more patients with this chromosomal abnormality, but they probably die before being diagnosed due to unfavorable socioeconomic conditions. This could explain the low prevalence of this chromosomal abnormality observed in the present study. <![CDATA[<b>Association of sulfur dioxide exposure with circulatory system deaths in a medium-sized city in Brazil</b>]]> There is a demonstrable association between exposure to air pollutants and deaths due to cardiovascular diseases. The objective of this study was to estimate the effects of exposure to sulfur dioxide on mortality due to circulatory diseases in individuals 50 years of age or older residing in São José dos Campos, SP. This was a time-series ecological study for the years 2003 to 2007 using information on deaths due to circulatory disease obtained from Datasus reports. Data on daily levels of pollutants, particulate matter, sulfur dioxide (SO2), ozone, temperature, and humidity were obtained from the São Paulo State Environmental Agency. Moving average models for 2 to 7 days were calculated by Poisson regression using the R software. Exposure to SO2 was analyzed using a unipollutant, bipollutant or multipollutant model adjusted for mean temperature and humidity. The relative risks with 95%CI were obtained and the percent decrease in risk was calculated. There were 1928 deaths with a daily mean (± SD) of 1.05 ± 1.03 (range: 0-6). Exposure to SO2 was significantly associated with mortality due to circulatory disease: RR = 1.04 (95%CI = 1.01 to 1.06) in the 7-day moving average, after adjusting for ozone. There was an 8.5% decrease in risk in the multipollutant model, proportional to a decrease of SO2 concentrations. The results of this study suggest that residents of medium-sized Brazilian cities with characteristics similar to those of São José dos Campos probably have health problems due to exposure to air pollutants. <![CDATA[<b>Association of postalimentary lipemia with atherosclerotic manifestations</b>]]> We identified different lipemic and metabolic responses after the ingestion of a standardized meal by healthy adults and related them to atherosclerotic markers. Samples from 60 normolipidemic adults were collected before and after a liquid meal (40 g fat/m² body surface) at 0, 2, 4, 6, and 8 h for measurements of lipids, free fatty acids (FFA), insulin, cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP), autoantibodies to epitopes of oxidized LDL (oxLDL Ab), lipolytic activities, and apolipoprotein E polymorphism. Mean carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT) was determined by Doppler ultrasound. The volunteers were classified into early (N = 39) and late (N = 31) triacylglycerol (TAG) responders to the test meal. Late responders showed lower HDL cholesterol concentration at fasting and in the TAG peak, lower insulin and higher FFA concentrations compared to early responders. Multivariate regression analyses showed that mean cIMT was associated with gender (male) and age in early responders and by cholesterol levels at the 6th hour in late responders. oxLDL Ab were explained by lipoprotein lipase and negatively by hepatic lipase and oxLDL Ab (fasting period) by CETP (negative) and FFA (positive). This study is the first to identify a postalimentary insulin resistance state, combined with a reduced CETP response exclusively among late responders, and the identification of the regulators of postalimentary atherogenicity. Further research is required to determine the metabolic mechanisms described in the different postalimentary phenotypes observed in this study, as well as in different pathological states, as currently investigated in our laboratory. <![CDATA[<b>Differences in synthesis and absorption of cholesterol of two effective lipid-lowering therapies</b>]]> Effective statin therapy is associated with a marked reduction of cardiovascular events. However, the explanation for full benefits obtained for LDL cholesterol targets by combined lipid-lowering therapy is controversial. Our study compared the effects of two equally effective lipid-lowering strategies on markers of cholesterol synthesis and absorption. A prospective, open label, randomized, parallel design study, with blinded endpoints, included 116 subjects. We compared the effects of a 12-week treatment with 40 mg rosuvastatin or the combination of 40 mg simvastatin/10 mg ezetimibe on markers of cholesterol absorption (campesterol and β-sitosterol), synthesis (desmosterol), and their ratios to cholesterol. Both therapies similarly decreased total and LDL cholesterol, triglycerides and apolipoprotein B, and increased apolipoprotein A1 (P < 0.05 vs baseline for all). Simvastatin/ezetimibe increased plasma desmosterol (P = 0.012 vs baseline), and decreased campesterol and β-sitosterol (P < 0.0001 vs baseline for both), with higher desmosterol (P = 0.007) and lower campesterol and β-sitosterol compared to rosuvastatin, (P < 0.0001, for both). In addition, rosuvastatin increased the ratios of these markers to cholesterol (P < 0.002 vs baseline for all), whereas simvastatin/ezetimibe significantly decreased the campesterol/cholesterol ratio (P = 0.008 vs baseline) and tripled the desmosterol/cholesterol ratio (P < 0.0001 vs baseline). The campesterol/cholesterol and β-sitosterol/cholesterol ratios were lower, whereas the desmosterol/cholesterol ratio was higher in patients receiving simvastatin/ezetimibe (P < 0.0001 vs rosuvastatin, for all). Pronounced differences in markers of cholesterol absorption and synthesis were observed between two equally effective lipid-lowering strategies.