Abstract in English:Gap junctions are constituted by intercellular channels and provide a pathway for transfer of ions and small molecules between adjacent cells of most tissues. The degree of intercellular coupling mediated by gap junctions depends on the number of gap junction channels and their activity may be a function of the state of phosphorylation of connexins, the structural subunit of gap junction channels. Protein phosphorylation has been proposed to control intercellular gap junctional communication at several steps from gene expression to protein degradation, including translational and post-translational modification of connexins (i.e., phosphorylation of the assembled channel acting as a gating mechanism) and assembly into and removal from the plasma membrane. Several connexins contain sites for phosphorylation for more than one protein kinase. These consensus sites vary between connexins and have been preferentially identified in the C-terminus. Changes in intercellular communication mediated by protein phosphorylation are believed to control various physiological tissue and cell functions as well as to be altered under pathological conditions.
Abstract in English:The present review deals with the stages of synthesis and processing of asparagine-linked oligosaccharides occurring in the lumen of the endoplasmic reticulum and their relationship to the acquisition by glycoproteins of their proper tertiary structures. Special emphasis is placed on reactions taking place in trypanosomatid protozoa since their study has allowed the detection of the transient glucosylation of glycoproteins catalyzed by UDP-Glc:glycoprotein glucosyltransferase and glucosidase II. The former enzyme has the unique property of covalently tagging improperly folded conformations by catalyzing the formation of protein-linked Glc1Man7GlcNAc2, Glc1Man8GlcNac2 and Glc1Man9GlcNAc2 from the unglucosylated proteins. Glucosyltransferase is a soluble protein of the endoplasmic reticulum that recognizes protein domains exposed in denatured but not in native conformations (probably hydrophobic amino acids) and the innermost N-acetylglucosamine unit that is hidden from macromolecular probes in most native glycoproteins. In vivo, the glucose units are removed by glucosidase II. The influence of oligosaccharides in glycoprotein folding is reviewed as well as the participation of endoplasmic reticulum chaperones (calnexin and calreticulin) that recognize monoglucosylated species in the same process. A model for the quality control of glycoprotein folding in the endoplasmic reticulum, i.e., the mechanism by which cells recognize the tertiary structure of glycoproteins and only allow transit to the Golgi apparatus of properly folded species, is discussed. The main elements of this control are calnexin and calreticulin as retaining components, the UDP-Glc:glycoprotein glucosyltransferase as a sensor of tertiary structures and glucosidase II as the releasing agent.
Abstract in English:Paracoccidioidomycosis (PCM) is the most prevalent deep mycosis in Latin America and presents a wide spectrum of clinical manifestations. We established a genetically controlled murine model of PCM, where A/Sn mice develop an infection which mimics the benign disease (immune responses which favor cellular immunity) and B10.A animals present the progressive disseminated form of PCM (preferential activation of B cells and impairment of cellular immune responses). To understand the immunoregulatory phenomena associated with resistance and susceptibility in experimental PCM, A/Sn and B10.A mice were studied regarding antigen-elicited secretion of monokines (TNF-<FONT FACE="Symbol">a</font> and TGF-ß) and type-1 (IL-2 and IFN-<FONT FACE="Symbol">g</font>) and type-2 (IL-4,5,10) cytokines. Total lymph node cells from resistant mice infected ip with P. brasiliensis produced early and sustained levels of IFN-<FONT FACE="Symbol">g</font> and IL-2; type-2 cytokines (IL-4 and IL-5) started to appear 8 weeks after infection. In contrast, susceptible mice produced low levels of IFN-<FONT FACE="Symbol">g</font> concomitant with significant levels of IL-5 and IL-10 early in the infection. In the chronic phase of the disease, susceptible animals presented a transitory secretion of IL-2, and IL-4. In the pulmonary infection IL-4, IL-5 and IL-10 were preferentially detected in the lung cells washings of susceptible animals. After in vitro challenge with fungal antigens, normal peritoneal macrophages from B10.A mice secreted high levels of TGF-ß and low levels of TNF-<FONT FACE="Symbol">a</font>. In contrast, macrophages from A/Sn animals released high levels of TNF-<FONT FACE="Symbol">a</font> associated with a small production of TGF-ß. The in vivo depletion of IFN-<FONT FACE="Symbol">g</font> not only abrogated the resistance of A/Sn mice but also diminished the relative resistance of B10.A animals. The in vivo depletion of IL-4 did not alter the disease outcome, whereas administration of rIL-12 significantly enhanced resistance in susceptible animals. Taken together, these results suggest that an early secretion of high levels of TNF-<FONT FACE="Symbol">a</font> and IFN-<FONT FACE="Symbol">g</font> followed by a sustained secretion of IL-2 and IFN-<FONT FACE="Symbol">g</font> plays a dominant role in the resistance mechanisms to P. brasiliensis infection. In contrast, an early and ephemeral secretion of low levels of TNF-<FONT FACE="Symbol">a</font> and IFN-<FONT FACE="Symbol">g</font> associated with production of IL-5, IL-10 and TGF-ß characterizes the progressive disease of susceptible animals.
Abstract in English:Nitric oxide synthase activity was measured in Langerhans islets isolated from control and streptozotocin diabetic rats. The activity of the enzyme was linear up to 150 µg of protein from control rats and was optimal at 0.1 µM calcium, when it was measured after 45 min of incubation at 37oC in the presence of 200 µM arginine. Specific activity of the enzyme was 25 x 10-4 nmol [3H]citrulline 45 min-1 mg protein-1. Streptozotocin diabetic rats exhibited less enzyme activity both in total pancreas homogenate and in isolated Langerhans islets when compared to control animals. Nitric oxide synthase activity measured in control and diabetic rats 15 days after the last streptozotocin injection in the second group of animals corresponded only to a constitutive enzyme since it was not inhibited by aminoguanidine in any of the mentioned groups. Hyperglycemia in diabetic rats may be the consequence of impaired insulin release caused at least in part by reduced positive modulation mediated by constitutive nitric oxide synthase activity, which was dramatically reduced in islets severely damaged after streptozotocin treatment.
Abstract in English:There are doubts about the presence of glycosuria and the progress of glomerular disease. Some reports suggest that glycosuria could be an index of a more severe tubulointerstitial lesion. We investigated the presence of glycosuria in 60 patients with primary glomerular diseases: 17 patients (28%) had glycosuria and 43 patients (72%) were glycosuria free. The two groups were similar in age, arterial pressure and sex. Serum creatinine was higher in patients with glycosuria (2.0 ± 1.7 vs 1.3 ± 0.9 mg/dl, P<0.05). The protein excretion rate was 7.5 ± 3.7 vs 5.3 ± 4.2 g/day (P>0.05) in patients with and without glycosuria, respectively, while serum albumin was lower in patients with glycosuria (1.7 ± 0.6 vs 2.7 ± 1.0 g/dl, P<0.05). Several histological forms were present in the group with glycosuria, with membranous glomerulonephritis being the most frequent. Histological evidence of tubular atrophy and interstitial fibrosis prevailed in patients with glycosuria, suggesting a poor prognosis for these patients. We may conclude that the presence of glycosuria in patients with glomerular disease is associated with more pronounced tubular atrophy and interstitial fibrosis and therefore imply a poorer prognosis.
Abstract in English:In the evaluation of exercise intolerance of patients with respiratory diseases the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American Thoracic Society (ATS) have proposed similar classifications for rating aerobic impairment using maximum oxygen uptake (VO2max) normalized for total body weight (ml min-1 kg-1). However, subjects with the same VO2max weight-corrected values may have considerably different losses of aerobic performance (VO2max expressed as % predicted). We have proposed a new, specific method for rating loss of aerobic capacity (VO2max, % predicted) and we have compared the two classifications in a prospective study involving 75 silicotic claimants. Logistic regression analysis showed that the disagreement between rating systems (higher dysfunction by the AMA/ATS classification) was associated with age >50 years (P<0.005) and overweight (P = 0.04). Interestingly, clinical (dyspnea score) and spirometric (FEV1) normality were only associated with the VO2max, % predicted, normal values (P<0.01); therefore, in older and obese subjects the AMA/ATS classification tended to overestimate the aerobic dysfunction. We conclude that in the evaluation of aerobic impairment in patients with respiratory diseases, the loss of aerobic capacity (VO2max, % predicted) should be used instead of the traditional method (remaining aerobic ability, VO2max, in ml min-1 kg-1).
Abstract in English:The submucous plexus of the normal small and large intestine of Calomys callosus was studied by NADH and AChE histochemical techniques and by transmission and scanning electron microscopy. The plexus contains (mean ± SD) 7,488 ± 293 neurons/cm2 in the duodenum, 5,611 ± 836 in the jejunum, 2,741 ± 360 in the ileum, 3,067 ± 179 in the cecum, and 3,817 ± 256 in the proximal colon. No ganglia or nerve cell bodies were seen in the esophagus, stomach, distal colon or rectum. The neurons are pear-shaped with a round or oval nucleus and the neuronal cell profile areas were larger in the large intestine than in the small intestine. Most of the neurons display intense AChE activity in the cytoplasm. AChE-positive nerve fibers are present in a primary meshwork of large nerve bundles and in a secondary meshwork of finer nerve bundles. At the ultrastructural level, the ganglia are irregular in shape and covered with fibroblast-like cells. The nucleoplasm of the neurons is finely granular with a few condensations of chromatin attached to the nuclear envelope. In the neuropil numerous varicosities filled with vesicles of different size and electron densities are seen. The pre- and post-synaptic membrane thickenings are asymmetric. Characteristic glial cells with oval nuclei and few organelles are numerous. These data provide a detailed description of this submucosal meshwork.
Abstract in English:Sixty Piaractus mesopotamicus Holmberg, 1887 (pacu) fry fed a diet containing 0, 50, 100 and 200 mg ascorbic acid/kg dry feed were studied to evaluate the effect on parasitic infestation by the monogenean Anacanthorus penilabiatus Boeger, Husak and Martins, 1995 (Monogenea: Dactylogyridae) for a period of 24 weeks. The temperature of the aquaria was measured daily and remained between 28 and 31oC. At the beginning of the experiment, fish showed 6.15 ± 0.33 cm standard length and 8.64 ± 1.62 g average body weight. A sample of fish was examined and showed 43 ± 17 monogeneans per fish. At the end of the experiment, the gills of control and vitamin C-treated fish were collected for parasite counts. Control fish had 42.5 parasites per fish, a significantly higher number (P<0.05) when compared with fish fed vitamin C, that showed 16.5 parasites per fish. Ascorbic acid fortification in the food promoted an increase in fish resistance to parasites. It is suggested that an optimum level of 139 mg/kg vitamin C supplementation either elicited better nutritional conditions by stimulating the appetite of the fish or improved the immune response.
Abstract in English:Ultrastructural phenotypic transitional features were noted between adult adipocytes and fibroblasts in the subcutaneous adipose tissue of the dorsal pad of normal adult Wistar rats of both sexes, weighing 180-260 g, after acute injury either by the implantation of small (1.8 x 1 x 0.4 cm) perforated plastic boxes or by local heat application. Soon after the inflicted damage, fat-containing cells presented variable shapes. Early after damage, some of these cells were round, adipocyte-like, with numerous and large cytoplasmic fat droplets. A few days later, fat-containing cells became elongated, with the fat droplets in their cytoplasm becoming smaller and less numerous. The cells also showed a prominent active rough endoplasmic reticulum and newly formed collagenous matrix accumulated in the interstices. Although current views consider adult adipocytes to be terminal cells, the present findings, in their time sequence, strongly suggest the transformation of adipocytes into fibroblasts after acute injury to adipose tissue.
Abstract in English:Six hundred million people are at risk of infection by Schistosoma mansoni. MHC haplotypes have been reported to segregate with susceptibility to schistosomiasis in murine models. In humans, a major gene related to susceptibility/resistance to infection by S. mansoni (SM1) and displaying the mean fecal egg count as phenotype was detected by segregation analysis. This gene displayed a codominant mode of inheritance with an estimated frequency of 0.20-0.25 for the deleterious allele and accounted for more than 50% of the variance of infection levels. To determine if the SM1 gene segregates with the human MHC chromosomal region, we performed a linkage study by the lod score method. We typed for HLA-A, B, C, DR and DQ antigens in 11 informative families from an endemic area for schistosomiasis in Bahia, Brazil, by the microlymphocytotoxicity technique. HLA-DR typing by the polymerase chain reaction with sequence-specific primers (PCR-SSP) and HLA-DQ were confirmed by PCR-sequence-specific oligonucleotide probes (PCR-SSOP). The lod scores for the different <FONT FACE="Symbol">q</font> values obtained clearly indicate that there is no physical linkage between HLA and SM1 genes. Thus, susceptibility or resistance to schistosomiasis, as defined by mean fecal egg count, is not primarily dependent on the host's HLA profile. However, if the HLA molecule plays an important role in specific immune responses to S. mansoni, this may involve the development of the different clinical aspects of the disease such as granuloma formation and development of hepatosplenomegaly.
Abstract in English:In order to evaluate the use of a Western blot methodology for the diagnosis of infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV) infection, chickens were experimentally infected with IBDV strains and tested for the presence of viral antigens and antibodies by a blocking Western blot test (bWB). The viral proteins obtained from the bursa of Fabricius (BF) were transferred to a nitrocellulose membrane after sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE), and the chicken sera obtained by heart puncture were used for the detection of these proteins. In order to eliminate nonspecific reactions, we used a rabbit anti-chicken serum (blocking tool). By the use of the bWB test, two distinct viral proteins of 43-kDa (VP2) and 32-kDa (VP3) were detected. We suggest the use of this methodology for the detection of IBDV infection in animals suspected of having IBDV reinfection and a chronic subclinical form of the disease. With the use of the rabbit anti-chicken sera for blocking, this method is practical, sensitive and less time consuming
Abstract in English:It has been proposed that the multiple-platform method (MP) for desynchronized sleep (DS) deprivation eliminates the stress induced by social isolation and by the restriction of locomotion in the single-platform (SP) method. MP, however, induces a higher increase in plasma corticosterone and ACTH levels than SP. Since deprivation is of heuristic value to identify the functional role of this state of sleep, the objective of the present study was to determine the behavioral differences exhibited by rats during sleep deprivation induced by these two methods. All behavioral patterns exhibited by a group of 7 albino male Wistar rats submitted to 4 days of sleep deprivation by the MP method (15 platforms, spaced 150 mm apart) and by 7 other rats submitted to sleep deprivation by the SP method were recorded in order to elaborate an ethogram. The behavioral patterns were quantitated in 10 replications by naive observers using other groups of 7 rats each submitted to the same deprivation schedule. Each quantification session lasted 35 min and the behavioral patterns presented by each rat over a period of 5 min were counted. The results obtained were: a) rats submitted to the MP method changed platforms at a mean rate of 2.62 ± 1.17 platforms h-1 animal-1; b) the number of episodes of noninteractive waking patterns for the MP animals was significantly higher than that for SP animals (1077 vs 768); c) additional episodes of waking patterns (26.9 ± 18.9 episodes/session) were promoted by social interaction in MP animals; d) the cumulative number of sleep episodes observed in the MP test (311) was significantly lower (chi-square test, 1 d.f., P<0.05) than that observed in the SP test (534); e) rats submitted to the MP test did not show the well-known increase in ambulatory activity observed after the end of the SP test; f) comparison of 6 MP and 6 SP rats showed a significantly shorter latency to the onset of DS in MP rats (7.8 ± 4.3 and 29.0 ± 25.0 min, respectively; Student t-test, P<0.05). We conclude that the social interaction occurring in the MP test generates additional stress since it increases the time of forced wakefulness and reduces the time of rest promoted by synchronized sleep.
Abstract in English:The antinociceptive effects of stimulating the medial (ME) and central (CE) nuclei of the amygdala in rats were evaluated by the changes in the latency for the tail withdrawal reflex to noxious heating of the skin. A 30-s period of sine-wave stimulation of the ME or CE produced a significant and short increase in the duration of tail flick latency. A 15-s period of stimulation was ineffective. Repeated stimulation of these nuclei at 48-h intervals produced progressively smaller effects. The antinociception evoked from the ME was significantly reduced by the previous systemic administration of naloxone, methysergide, atropine, phenoxybenzamine, and propranolol, but not by mecamylamine, all given at the dose of 1.0 mg/kg. Previous systemic administration of naloxone, atropine, and propranolol, but not methysergide, phenoxybenzamine, or mecamylamine, was effective against the effects of stimulating the CE. We conclude that the antinociceptive effects of stimulating the ME involve at least opioid, serotonergic, adrenergic, and muscarinic cholinergic descending mechanisms. The effects of stimulating the CE involve at least opioid, ß-adrenergic, and muscarinic cholinergic descending mechanisms.
Abstract in English:The bioavailability of propranolol depends on the degree of liver metabolism. Orally but not intravenously administered propranolol is heavily metabolized. In the present study we assessed the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of sublingual propranolol. Fourteen severely hypertensive patients (diastolic blood pressure (DBP) <FONT FACE="Symbol">³</font>115 mmHg), aged 40 to 66 years, were randomly chosen to receive a single dose of 40 mg propranolol hydrochloride by sublingual or peroral administration. Systolic (SBP) and diastolic (DBP) blood pressures, heart rate (HR) for pharmacodynamics and blood samples for noncompartmental pharmacokinetics were obtained at baseline and at 10, 20, 30, 60 and 120 min after the single dose. Significant reductions in BP and HR were obtained, but differences in these parameters were not observed when sublingual and peroral administrations were compared as follows: SBP (17 vs 18%, P = NS), DBP (14 vs 8%, P = NS) and HR (22 vs 28%, P = NS), respectively. The pharmacokinetic parameters obtained after sublingual or peroral drug administration were: peak plasma concentration (CMAX): 147 ± 72 vs 41 ± 12 ng/ml, P<0.05; time to reach CMAX (TMAX): 34 ± 18 vs 52 ± 11 min, P<0.05; biological half-life (t1/2b): 0.91 ± 0.54 vs 2.41 ± 1.16 h, P<0.05; area under the curve (AUCT): 245 ± 134 vs 79 ± 54 ng h-1 ml-1, P<0.05; total body clearance (CLT/F): 44 ± 23 vs 26 ± 12 ml min-1 kg-1, P = NS. Systemic availability measured by the AUCT ratio indicates that extension of bioavailability was increased 3 times by the sublingual route. Mouth paresthesia was the main adverse effect observed after sublingual administration. Sublingual propranolol administration showed a better pharmacokinetic profile and this route of administration may be an alternative for intravenous or oral administration.
Abstract in English:The present study examines the effect of concanavalin A (Con A) on the blood insulin and glucose levels of rats. Male and female rats treated with Con A (62.5-500 µg/kg) for three days showed a dose- and time-dependent hyperinsulinemia that lasted more than 48 h. Male rats were more sensitive to Con A. Thus, 6 h after treatment with Con A the circulating insulin levels in male rats had increased by 85% (control: 10.2 ± 0.9 mU/l and Con A-treated: 18.8 ± 1 mU/l) compared to only 38% (control: 7.5 ± 0.2 mU/l; Con A-treated: 10.3 ± 0.9 mU/l) in females. An identical response was seen after 12 h. Con A (250 µg/kg) produced time-dependent hypoglycemia in both sexes but more pronounced in males. There was no correlation between the hypoglycemia and hyperinsulinemia described above. The Con A-induced hyperinsulinemia in rats of both sexes was abolished in gonadectomized animals (intact males: +101 ± 17% vs orchiectomized males: -5 ± 3%; intact females: +86 ± 23% vs ovariectomized females: -18 ± 7.2%). Pretreating intact male and female rats with human chorionic gonadotropin also significantly inhibited the Con A-induced hyperinsulinemia. Estradiol (10 µg/kg, im) significantly blocked the Con A-induced increase in circulating insulin in male rats (101 ± 17% for controls vs 32 ± 5.3% for estradiol-treated animals, P<0.05) while testosterone (10 mg/kg, im) had no similar effect on intact female rats. Pretreating Con A-injected rats with opioid antagonists such as naloxone (1 mg/kg, sc) and naltrexone (5 mg/kg, sc) blocked the hyperinsulinemia produced by the lectin in males (control: +101 ± 17% vs naloxone-treated: +5 ± 14%, or naltrexone-treated: -23 ± 4.5%) and females (control: +86 ± 23% vs naloxone-treated: +21 ± 20%, or naltrexone-treated: -18 ± 11%). These results demonstrate that Con A increases the levels of circulating insulin in rats and that this response is opioid-dependent and hormonally regulated.
Abstract in English:We investigated the effects of aerobic training on the efferent autonomic control of heart rate (HR) during dynamic exercise in middle-aged men, eight of whom underwent exercise training (T) while the other seven continued their sedentary (S) life style. The training was conducted over 10 months (three 1-h sessions/week on a field track at 70-85% of the peak HR). The contribution of sympathetic and parasympathetic exercise tachycardia was determined in terms of differences in the time constant effects on the HR response obtained using a discontinuous protocol (4-min tests at 25, 50, 100 and 125 watts on a cycle ergometer), and a continuous protocol (25 watts/min until exhaustion) allowed the quantification of the parameters (anaerobic threshold, VO2 AT; peak O2 uptake, VO2 peak; power peak) that reflect oxygen transport. The results obtained for the S and the T groups were: 1) a smaller resting HR in T (66 beats/min) when compared to S (84 beats/min); 2) during exercise, a small increase in the fast tachycardia (<FONT FACE="Symbol">D</font>0-10 s) related to vagal withdrawal (P<0.05, only at 25 watts) was observed in T at all powers; at middle and higher powers a significant decrease (P<0.05 at 50, 100 and 125 watts) in the slow tachycardia (<FONT FACE="Symbol">D</font>1-4 min) related to a sympathetic-dependent mechanism was observed in T; 3) the VO2 AT (S = 1.06 and T = 1.33 l/min) and VO2 peak (S = 1.97 and T = 2.47 l/min) were higher in T (P<0.05). These results demonstrate that aerobic training can induce significant physiological adaptations in middle-aged men, mainly expressed as a decrease in the sympathetic effects on heart rate associated with an increase in oxygen transport during dynamic exercise.