Abstract in English:Naomi Shinomiya Hell was the first researcher to investigate the physiological adaptations to a meal-feeding scheme (MFS) in Brazil. Over a period of 20 years, from 1979 to 1999, Naomi's group determined the physiological and metabolic adaptations induced by this feeding scheme in rats. The group showed the persistence of such adaptations even when MFS is associated with moderate exercise training and the performance to a session of intense physical effort. The metabolic changes induced by the feeding training were discriminated from those caused by the effective fasting period. Naomi made an important contribution to the understanding of the MFS but a lot still has to be done. One crucial question still remains to be satisfactorily answered: what is the ideal control for the MFS?
Abstract in English:This article is a transcription of an electronic symposium in which some active researchers were invited by the Brazilian Society for Neuroscience and Behavior (SBNeC) to discuss the last decade's advances in neurobiology of learning and memory. The way different parts of the brain are recruited during the storage of different kinds of memory (e.g., short-term vs long-term memory, declarative vs procedural memory) and even the property of these divisions were discussed. It was pointed out that the brain does not really store memories, but stores traces of information that are later used to create memories, not always expressing a completely veridical picture of the past experienced reality. To perform this process different parts of the brain act as important nodes of the neural network that encode, store and retrieve the information that will be used to create memories. Some of the brain regions are recognizably active during the activation of short-term working memory (e.g., prefrontal cortex), or the storage of information retrieved as long-term explicit memories (e.g., hippocampus and related cortical areas) or the modulation of the storage of memories related to emotional events (e.g., amygdala). This does not mean that there is a separate neural structure completely supporting the storage of each kind of memory but means that these memories critically depend on the functioning of these neural structures. The current view is that there is no sense in talking about hippocampus-based or amygdala-based memory since this implies that there is a one-to-one correspondence. The present question to be solved is how systems interact in memory. The pertinence of attributing a critical role to cellular processes like synaptic tagging and protein kinase A activation to explain the memory storage processes at the cellular level was also discussed.
Abstract in English:This study was designed to evaluate the effect of different conditions of collection, transport and storage on the quality of blood samples from normal individuals in terms of the activity of the enzymes ß-glucuronidase, total hexosaminidase, hexosaminidase A, arylsulfatase A and ß-galactosidase. The enzyme activities were not affected by the different materials used for collection (plastic syringes or vacuum glass tubes). In the evaluation of different heparin concentrations (10% heparin, 5% heparin, and heparinized syringe) in the syringes, it was observed that higher doses resulted in an increase of at least 1-fold in the activities of ß-galactosidase, total hexosaminidase and hexosaminidase A in leukocytes, and ß-glucuronidase in plasma. When the effects of time and means of transportation were studied, samples that had been kept at room temperature showed higher deterioration with time (72 and 96 h) before processing, and in this case it was impossible to isolate leukocytes from most samples. Comparison of heparin and acid citrate-dextrose (ACD) as anticoagulants revealed that ß-glucuronidase and hexosaminidase activities in plasma reached levels near the lower normal limits when ACD was used. In conclusion, we observed that heparin should be used as the preferable anticoagulant when measuring these lysosomal enzyme activities, and we recommend that, when transport time is more than 24 h, samples should be shipped by air in a styrofoam box containing wet ice.
Abstract in English:The interaction of plasminogen, tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA) and urokinase with a clinical strain of Helicobacter pylori was studied. Plasminogen bound to the surface of H. pylori cells in a concentration-dependent manner and could be activated to the enzymatic form, plasmin, by t-PA. Affinity chromatography assays revealed a plasminogen-binding protein of 58.9 kDa in water extracts of surface proteins. Surface-associated plasmin activity, detected with the chromogenic substrate CBS 00.65, was observed only when plasminogen and an exogenous activator were added to the cell suspension. The two physiologic plasminogen activators, t-PA and urokinase, were also shown to bind to and remain active on the surface of bacterial cells. epsilon-Aminocaproic acid caused partial inhibition of t-PA binding, suggesting that the kringle 2 structure of this activator is involved in the interaction with surface receptors. The activation of plasminogen by t-PA, but not urokinase, strongly depended on the presence of cells and a 25-fold enhancer effect on the initial velocity of activation by t-PA compared to urokinase was established. Furthermore, a relationship between cell concentration and the initial velocity of activation was demonstrated. These findings support the concept that plasminogen activation by t-PA on the bacterial surface is a surface-dependent reaction which offers catalytic advantages.
Abstract in English:This paper reports what is apparently the first observation of Mycoplasma pneumoniae in association with Chlamydia pneumoniae in thrombosed ruptured atheromas. We performed electron microscopy and in situ hybridization in specimens from three patients who died of acute myocardial infarction. These patients had typical symptoms of acute ischemic syndrome. Mycoplasmas were present mainly in the lipid core of the ruptured thrombosed plaque. Vulnerable atheromas are rich in cholesterol and may favor the growth of mycoplasmas, the only microorganisms that require cholesterol for survival. We suggest that the association of Mycoplasma pneumoniae and Chlamydia pneumoniae may increase the virulence of these microorganisms, favoring proliferation, plaque inflammation and possibly plaque rupture.
Abstract in English:Eggplant (Solanum melongena) is consumed extensively in Brazil. It has been believed that infusion of a powdered preparation of the fruit may reduce serum cholesterol. However, there are few documented reports on its effects on cholesterol metabolism and its possible hypocholesterolemic effect has not been proved by well-controlled studies. The aim of the present study was to observe the effects of S. melongena on the serum cholesterol and triglycerides of 38 hypercholesterolemic human volunteers ingesting S. melongena infusion for five weeks. Thirty-eight hypercholesterolemic subjects receiving either S. melongena infusion (N = 19) or placebo (N = 19) participated in two clinical experiments in which the effect of S. melongena infusion was studied with (N = 16) or without (N = 38) dietary orientation. Total cholesterol and its fractions, triglycerides, and apolipoproteins A and B were measured in blood at the beginning of the experiment and three and five weeks thereafter. No differences were observed compared to control. Intraindividual analysis showed that S. melongena infusion significantly reduced the blood levels of total and LDL cholesterol and of apolipoprotein B. After dietary orientation, no intra- or intergroup differences were seen for any of the parameters analyzed. The results suggest that S. melongena infusion had a modest and transitory effect, which was not different from that obtained with standard orientation for dyslipidemia patients (diet and physical activities).
Abstract in English:A pilot study has ascribed an important role in gallbladder motility and emptying to the perimenopausal period. To assess the effect of this period on gallbladder emptying and cholelithogenesis, 25 women in the perimenopausal period without gallbladder disease were submitted to cholangiography and two ultrasound exams. The time for gallbladder emptying and the presence of cholelithiasis were assessed. All patients presented a delay in gallbladder emptying with no relationship to the pre- or postmenopausal period. This finding was not related to lithogenesis. Gallbladder emptying time is longer during the perimenopausal period.
Abstract in English:Seven unrelated patients with hemoglobin (Hb) H disease and 27 individuals with alpha-chain structural alterations were studied to identify the alpha-globin gene mutations present in the population of Southeast Brazil. The -alpha3.7, --MED and -(alpha)20.5 deletions were investigated by PCR, whereas non-deletional alpha-thalassemia (alphaHphalpha, alphaNcoIalpha, <FONT FACE="Symbol">aa</FONT>NcoI, alphaIcalpha and alphaTSaudialpha) was screened with restriction enzymes and by nested PCR. Structural alterations were identified by direct DNA sequencing. Of the seven patients with Hb H disease, all of Italian descent, two had the -(alpha)20.5/-alpha3.7 genotype, one had the --MED/-alpha3.7 genotype, one had the --MED/alphaHphalpha genotype and three showed interaction of the -alpha3.7 deletion with an unusual, unidentified form of non-deletional alpha-thalassemia [-alpha3.7/(<FONT FACE="Symbol">aa</FONT>)T]. Among the 27 patients with structural alterations, 15 (of Italian descent) had Hb Hasharon (alpha47Asp->His) associated with the -alpha3.7 deletion, 4 (of Italian descent) were heterozygous for Hb J-Rovigo (alpha53Ala->Asp), 4 (3 Blacks and 1 Caucasian) were heterozygous for Hb Stanleyville-II (alpha78Asn->Lys) associated with the alpha+-thalassemia, 1 (Black) was heterozygous for Hb G-Pest (alpha74Asp->Asn), 1 (Caucasian) was heterozygous for Hb Kurosaki (alpha7Lys->Glu), 1 (Caucasian) was heterozygous for Hb Westmead (alpha122His->Gln), and 1 (Caucasian) was the carrier of a novel silent variant (Hb Campinas, alpha26Ala->Val). Most of the mutations found reflected the Mediterranean and African origins of the population. Hbs G-Pest and Kurosaki, very rare, and Hb Westmead, common in southern China, were initially described in individuals of ethnic origin differing from those of the carriers reported in the present study and are the first cases to be reported in the Brazilian population.
Abstract in English:The effects of adrenalectomy and adrenal enucleation on liquid gastric emptying were studied in male Wistar rats that were adrenalectomized, adrenal enucleated (AE) or sham operated (SH). The animals in the first group had free access to a 1% NaCl solution (ADS), while the animals in the second and third groups were divided into two subgroups, which ingested either tap water (AEW, SHW) or 1% NaCl solution (AES, SHS). The gastric emptying study was performed on the 16th post-operative day. Three test meals labeled with phenol red (6 mg/dl) were used (0.9% NaCl, 1.8% NaCl and 5% glucose). Percent gastric retention was determined 10 min after orogastric infusion of the NaCl test meals and 15 min after the glucose meal. Gastric retention of the ADS subgroup was significantly lower (P<0.01) (median = 19.8% vs 25.5% for SHW, vs 31.9% for SHS, vs 25.7% for AEW, and vs 27.1% for AES) for the 0.9% NaCl test meal and for the 1.8% NaCl test meal (33.5% for ADS vs 47.5% for AEW and 50.6% for AES). When 5% glucose was used as a test meal, gastric retention was similar for all subgroups. These results suggest that ablation of the adrenal cortex results in increased gastric emptying of an isosmolar NaCl meal.
Abstract in English:The effects of a fraction (T1) of Tityus serrulatus scorpion venom prepared by gel filtration on gastric emptying and small intestinal transit were investigated in male Wistar rats. Fasted animals were anesthetized with urethane, submitted to tracheal intubation and right jugular vein cannulation. Scorpion toxin (250 µg/kg) or saline was injected iv and 1 h later a bolus of saline (1.0 ml/100 g) labeled with 99m technetium-phytate (10 MBq) was administered by gavage. After 15 min, animals were sacrificed and the radioactivity remaining in the stomach was determined. Intestinal transit was evaluated by instillation of a technetium-labeled saline bolus (1.0 ml) through a cannula previously implanted in the duodenum. After 60 min, the progression of the marker throughout 7 consecutive gut segments was estimated by the geometric center method. Gastric retention of the liquid test meal in rats injected with scorpion toxin (median: 88%; range: 52-95%) was significantly higher (P<0.02) than in controls (54%; 21-76%), an effect which was not modified by gastric secretion blockade with ranitidine. The progression of the isotope marker throughout the small intestine was significantly slower (P<0.05) in rats treated with toxin (1.2; 1.0-2.5) than in control animals (2.3; 1.0-3.2). Inhibition of both gastric emptying and intestinal transit in rats injected with scorpion toxin suggests an increased resistance to aboral flow, which might be caused by abnormal neurotransmitter release or by the local effects of venom on smooth muscle cells.
Abstract in English:Neurocysticercosis (NCC) is a common neurological disorder especially in developing countries, caused by infection of the brain with encysted larvae of the tapeworm Taenia solium. Seizures are a common finding associated with this disease. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the correlation between the levels of various cytokines present in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of patients with NCC and the severity of the disease. The levels of the cytokines IL-1ß, TNF-alpha, IL-5, IL-10 and IFN-gamma were determined in the CSF of 22 patients with active NCC, 13 patients with inactive NCC and 15 control subjects. CSF from patients with active NCC presented significantly higher IL-5 levels compared to control subjects. IL-5 and IL-10 levels in CSF from NCC patients with inflammatory CSF were significantly higher than those detected in non-inflammatory CSF. These results show a predominant Th2 lymphocyte activation in human NCC and also indicate the possible use of cytokines in the CSF as a marker for the differential diagnosis between inactive disease and the active form of NCC.
Abstract in English:Pemphigus foliaceus (PF) is characterized by acantholysis determined by IgG4 binding to desmoglein I, a 160-kDa desmosomal glycoprotein. To investigate the immunopathological aspects of Brazilian PF, we determined levels of serum cytokines in patients with PF. Twenty-five patients with PF and a control group consisting of 10 healthy individuals were studied. Serum IL-2, IL-4, IL-5, IL-10, IL-12 and IFN-gamma were measured in the two groups by ELISA. The median concentration of IL-2 was lower in PF patients compared to the control group (0.45 and 9.50 pg/ml, respectively), as also was the concentration of IL-4 (0.26 and 10.16 pg/ml, respectively). The same was observed for IL-5 (7.94 and 15.74 pg/ml, respectively) and for IFN-gamma (5.90 and 8.58 pg/ml, respectively). For IL-10 and IL-12, higher concentrations were observed in PF compared to the control group (IL-10: 24.76 and 20.92; IL-12: 2.92 and 1.17 pg/ml, respectively). Considering the Th1/Th2 paradigm, it seems that a Th2 profile, mainly represented by IL-10, predominates in PF.
Abstract in English:The pharmacological effects of 4-phenyl-2-trichloromethyl-3H-1,5-benzodiazepine hydrogen sulfate (PTMB), a novel synthetic benzodiazepine, were examined in mice. In the elevated plus-maze test of anxiety, 0.3-1 mg/kg diazepam ip (F(3,53) = 3.78; P<0.05) and 1-10 mg/kg PTMB ip increased (F(5,98) = 3.26; P<0.01), whereas 2 mg/kg picrotoxin ip decreased (F(3,59) = 8.32; P<0.001) the proportion of time spent in the open arms, consistent with an anxiolytic action of both benzodiazepines, and an anxiogenic role for picrotoxin. In the holeboard, 1.0 mg/kg diazepam ip increased (F(3,54) = 2.78; P<0.05) and 2 mg/kg picrotoxin ip decreased (F(3,59) = 4.69; P<0.01) locomotor activity. Rotarod assessment revealed that 1 mg/kg diazepam ip and 3, 10 and 30 mg/kg PTMB ip produced significant motor incoordination compared to vehicle control (F(4,70) = 7.6; P<0.001). These data suggest that the recently synthesized PTMB compound possesses anxiolytic activity and produces motor incoordination similar to those observed with diazepam.
Abstract in English:In this study we characterize the presence of muscarinic acetylcholine receptors (mAChR) in the isthmo-optic nucleus (ION) of chicks by immunohistochemistry with the M35 antibody. Some M35-immunoreactive fibers were observed emerging from the retinal optic nerve insertion, suggesting that they could be centrifugal fibers. Indeed, intraocular injections of cholera toxin B (CTb), a retrograde tracer, and double-labeling with M35 and CTb in the ION confirmed this hypothesis. The presence of M35-immunoreactive cells and the possible mAChR expression in ION and ectopic neuron cells in the chick brain strongly suggest the existence of such a cholinergic system in this nucleus and that acetylcholine release from amacrine cells may mediate interactions between retinal cells and ION terminals.
Abstract in English:High levels of aggressive behaviors against intruders in the nest area are displayed by female rats during the first 10 days after delivery, declining thereafter to very low levels, even though lactation continues. Cross-fostering experiments were undertaken to test the hypothesis that pup age may affect aggression in lactating rats. The behavior of females on the 8th day after delivery when raising fostered 8-day-old pups was compared to that of females on the 8th postpartum day raising older pups (18 days old) for the last 5 days, and females on the 18th day after delivery raising fostered 18-day-old pups were compared to females in the same postpartum period nursing younger pups (8 days of age at the time of the maternal aggression test) for 5 days. Pup retrieval activity and plasma prolactin level were also analyzed. Females on the 8th postpartum day nursing 18-day-old pups were less aggressive than females in the same postpartum period, but with 8-day-old pups. Likewise, females on the 18th postpartum day nursing younger pups were more aggressive and presented higher levels of prolactin than females nursing older pups. Thus, pup development can alter the natural decline of maternal aggressive behavior.
Abstract in English:In most of cells bradykinin (BK) induces intracellular calcium mobilization. In pancreatic beta cells intracellular calcium is a major signal for insulin secretion. In these cells, glucose metabolism yields intracellular ATP which blocks membrane potassium channels. The membrane depolarizes, voltage-dependent Ca2+ channels are activated and the intracellular calcium load allows insulin secretion. Repolarization occurs due to activation of the Ca2+-dependent K+ channel. The insulin secretion depends on the integrity of this oscillatory process (bursts). Therefore, we decided to determine whether BK (100 nM) induces bursts in the presence of a non-stimulatory glucose concentration (5.6 mM). During continuous membrane voltage recording, our results showed that bursts were obtained with 11 mM glucose, blocked with 5.6 mM glucose and recovered with 5.6 mM glucose plus 100 nM BK. Thus, the stimulatory process obtained in the presence of BK and of a non-stimulatory concentration of glucose in the present study suggests that BK may facilitate the action of glucose on beta cell secretion.
Abstract in English:We examined the effect of crotoxin, the neurotoxic complex from the venom of the South American rattlesnake Crotalus durissus terrificus, on the uptake of ³H-choline in minces of smooth muscle myenteric plexus from guinea pig ileum. In the concentration range used (0.03-1 µM) and up to 10 min of treatment, crotoxin decreased ³H-choline uptake by 50-75% compared to control. This inhibition was time dependent and did not seem to be associated with the disruption of the neuronal membrane, because at least for the first 20 min of tissue exposure to the toxin (up to 1 µM) the levels of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) released into the supernatant were similar to those of controls. Higher concentrations of crotoxin or more extensive incubation times with this toxin resulted in elevation of LDH activity detected in the assay supernatant. The inhibitory effect of crotoxin on ³H-choline uptake seems to be associated with its phospholipase activity since the equimolar substitution of Sr2+ for Ca2+ in the incubation medium or the modification of the toxin with p-bromophenacyl bromide substantially decreased this effect. Our results show that crotoxin inhibits ³H-choline uptake with high affinity (EC25 = 10 ± 5 nM). We suggest that this inhibition could explain, at least in part, the blocking effect of crotoxin on neurotransmission.
Abstract in English:Angiotensin-(1-7) (Ang-(1-7)) increased osmotic water permeability in the isolated toad skin, a tissue with functional properties similar to those of the distal mammalian nephron. Concentrations of 0.1 to 10 µM were effective, with a peak at 20 min. This effect was similar in magnitude to that of frog skin angiotensin II (Ang II) and oxytocin but lower than that of human Ang II and arginine-vasotocin. The AT2 angiotensin receptor antagonist PD 123319 (1.0 µM) fully inhibited the response to 0.1 µM Ang-(1-7) but had no effect on the response to Ang II at the same concentration. The specific receptor antagonist of Ang-(1-7), A-779, was ineffective in blocking the response to Ang-(1-7) and to frog skin Ang II. The AT1 receptor subtype antagonist losartan, which blocked the response to frog skin Ang II, was ineffective in blocking the response to Ang-(1-7). The present results support the view of an antidiuretic action of Ang-(1-7) in the mammalian nephron.
Abstract in English:In order to investigate whether prolonged stress interferes with the onset of sexual behavior at puberty and with fertility at adulthood, prepubertal male Wistar rats (40 days of age) were immobilized 6 h a day for 15 days (up to early puberty) or for 60 days (until sexual maturity). Pubertal stressed rats showed a two-fold increase in the latency for the first mount (probably due to repeated aversive experience in which a change of environment was always followed by immobilization) and a 2.5-fold increase in the frequency of thrusting (indicative of enhanced sexual performance). The apparently stimulatory effect of prolonged stress on the onset of sexual behavior is discussed in terms of increased testosterone level and interference with the complex interchanges between the neurotransmitters/neuropeptides involved in the central control of male sexual activity. Adult stressed animals were mated with normal females, which became pregnant but exhibited a more than two-fold increase in both pre-implantation and post-implantation loss, probably due to a smaller rate of fertilization and/or fertilization with damaged spermatozoa.
Abstract in English:Steroid hormones have been implicated in the modulation of TSH secretion; however, there are few and controversial data regarding the effect of progesterone (Pg) on TSH secretion. Medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA) is a synthetic alpha-hydroxyprogesterone analog that has been extensively employed in therapeutics for its Pg-like actions, but that also has some glucocorticoid and androgen activity. Both hormones have been shown to interfere with TSH secretion. The objective of the present study was to investigate the effects of MPA or Pg administration to ovariectomized (OVX) rats on in vivo and in vitro TSH release and pituitary TSH content. The treatment of adult OVX rats with MPA (0.25 mg/100 g body weight, sc, daily for 9 days) induced a significant (P<0.05) increase in the pituitary TSH content, which was not observed when the same treatment was used with a 10 times higher MPA dose or with Pg doses similar to those of MPA. Serum TSH was similar for all groups. MPA administered to OVX rats at the lower dose also had a stimulatory effect on the in vitro basal and TRH-induced TSH release. The in vitro basal and TRH-stimulated TSH release was not significantly affected by Pg treatment. Conversely, MPA had no effect on old OVX rats. However, in these old rats, ovariectomy alone significantly reduced (P<0.05) basal and TRH-stimulated TSH release in vitro, as well as pituitary TSH content. The results suggest that in adult, but not in old OVX rats, MPA but not Pg has a stimulatory effect on TSH stores and on the response to TRH in vitro.