Abstract in English:Although cardiac ischemia is usually characterized as a disease of the myocyte, it is clear that the vasculature, and especially endothelial cells, is also a major target of this pathology. Indeed, using a rat model of ischemia/reperfusion, we were able to detect severe endothelial dysfunction (assessed as a decreased response to acetylcholine) after acute or chronic reperfusion. Given the essential role of the endothelium in the regulation of vascular tone, as well as platelet and leukocyte function, such a severe dysfunction could lead to an increased risk of vasospasm, thrombosis and accelerated atherosclerosis. This dysfunction can be prevented by free radical scavengers and by exogenous nitric oxide. Endothelial dysfunction can also be prevented by preconditioning with brief periods of intermittent ischemia, thus extending to coronary endothelial cells the concept of endogenous protection previously described at the myocyte level. Experiments performed on cultured cells showed that the endothelial protection induced by free radical scavengers or by preconditioning was due to a lesser expression of endothelial adhesion molecules such as intercellular adhesion molecule-1, leading to a lesser adhesion of neutrophils to endothelial cells. Identification of the mechanisms of this protection may lead to the development of new strategies aimed at protecting the vasculature in ischemic heart diseases.
Abstract in English:This is a review of the research undertaken since 1971 on the behavior and physiological ecology of sloths. The animals exhibit numerous fascinating features. Sloth hair is extremely specialized for a wet tropical environment and contains symbiotic algae. Activity shows circadian and seasonal variation. Nutrients derived from the food, particularly in Bradypus, only barely match the requirements for energy expenditure. Sloths are hosts to a fascinating array of commensal and parasitic arthropods and are carriers of various arthropod-borne viruses. Sloths are known reservoirs of the flagellate protozoan which causes leishmaniasis in humans, and may also carry trypanosomes and the protozoan Pneumocystis carinii.
Abstract in English:The presence of chitin in midgut structures of Callosobruchus maculatus larvae was shown by chemical and immunocytochemical methods. Detection by Western blotting of cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) seed vicilins (7S storage proteins) bound to these structures suggested that C. maculatus-susceptible vicilins presented less staining when compared to C. maculatus-resistant vicilins. Storage proteins present in the microvilli in the larval midgut of the bruchid were recognized by immunolabeling of vicilins in the appropriate sections with immunogold conjugates. These labeling sites coincided with the sites labeled by an anti-chitin antibody. These results, taken together with those previously published showing that the lower rates of hydrolysis of variant vicilins from C. maculatus-resistant seeds by the insect's midgut proteinases and those showing that vicilins bind to chitin matrices, may explain the detrimental effects of variant vicilins on the development of C. maculatus larvae.
Abstract in English:Hydrolysis of D-valyl-L-leucyl-L-arginine p-nitroanilide (7.5-90.0 µM) by human tissue kallikrein (hK1) (4.58-5.27 nM) at pH 9.0 and 37ºC was studied in the absence and in the presence of increasing concentrations of 4-aminobenzamidine (96-576 µM), benzamidine (1.27-7.62 mM), 4-nitroaniline (16.5-66 µM) and aniline (20-50 mM). The kinetic parameters determined in the absence of inhibitors were: Km = 12.0 ± 0.8 µM and k cat = 48.4 ± 1.0 min-1. The data indicate that the inhibition of hK1 by 4-aminobenzamidine and benzamidine is linear competitive, while the inhibition by 4-nitroaniline and aniline is linear mixed, with the inhibitor being able to bind both to the free enzyme with a dissociation constant Ki yielding an EI complex, and to the ES complex with a dissociation constant Ki', yielding an ESI complex. The calculated Ki values for 4-aminobenzamidine, benzamidine, 4-nitroaniline and aniline were 146 ± 10, 1,098 ± 91, 38.6 ± 5.2 and 37,340 ± 5,400 µM, respectively. The calculated Ki' values for 4-nitroaniline and aniline were 289.3 ± 92.8 and 310,500 ± 38,600 µM, respectively. The fact that Ki'>Ki indicates that 4-nitroaniline and aniline bind to a second binding site in the enzyme with lower affinity than they bind to the active site. The data about the inhibition of hK1 by 4-aminobenzamidine and benzamidine help to explain previous observations that esters, anilides or chloromethyl ketone derivatives of Nalpha-substituted arginine are more sensitive substrates or inhibitors of hK1 than the corresponding lysine compounds.
Abstract in English:In order to assess the molecular epidemiology of HIV-1 in two neighboring cities located near the epicenter of the HIV-1 epidemics in Brazil (Santos and São Paulo), we investigated 83 HIV-1 strains obtained from samples collected in 1995 from intravenous drug users. The V3 through V5 region of the envelope of gp 120 was analyzed by heteroduplex mobility analysis. Of the 95 samples, 12 (12.6%) were PCR negative (6 samples from each group); low DNA concentration was the reason for non-amplification in half of these cases. Of the 42 typed cases from São Paulo, 34 (81%, 95% confidence limits 74.9 to 87.0%) were B and 8 (19%, 95% confidence limits 12.9 to 25.0%) were F, whereas of the 41 typed cases from Santos, 39 (95%, 95% confidence limits 91.6 to 98.4%) were B and 2 (5%, 95% confidence limits 1.6 to 8.4%) were C. We therefore confirm the relationship between clade F and intravenous drug use in São Paulo, and the presence of clade C in Santos. The fact that different genetic subtypes of HIV-1 are co-circulating indicates a need for continuous surveillance for these subtypes as well as for recombinant viruses in Brazil.
Abstract in English:To determine the effects of combined therapy of gliclazide and bedtime insulin on glycemic control and C-peptide secretion, we studied 25 patients with type 2 diabetes and sulfonylurea secondary failure, aged 56.8 ± 8.3 years, with a duration of diabetes of 10.6 ± 6.6 years, fasting plasma glucose of 277.3 ± 64.6 mg/dl and a body mass index of 27.4 ± 4.8 kg/m². Patients were submitted to three therapeutic regimens lasting 2 months each: 320 mg gliclazide (phase 1), 320 mg gliclazide and bedtime NPH insulin (phase 2), and insulin (phase 3). At the end of each period, glycemic and C-peptide curves in response to a mixed meal were determined. During combined therapy, there was a decrease in all glycemic curve values (P<0.01). Twelve patients (48%) reached fasting plasma glucose <140 mg/dl with a significant weight gain of 64.8 kg (43.1-98.8) vs 66.7 kg (42.8-101.4) (P<0.05), with no increase in C-peptide secretion or decrease in HbA1. C-Peptide glucose score (C-peptide/glucose x 100) increased from 0.9 (0.2-2.1) to 1.3 (0.2-4.7) during combined therapy (P<0.01). Despite a 50% increase in insulin doses in phase 3 (12 U (9-30) vs 18 U (11-60); P<0.01) only 3 patients who responded to combined therapy maintained fasting plasma glucose <140 mg/dl (P<0.02). A tendency to a higher absolute increase in C-peptide (0.99 (0.15-2.5) vs 0.6 (0-2.15); P = 0.08) and C-peptide incremental area (2.47 (0.22-6.2) vs 1.2 (0-3.35); P = 0.07) was observed among responders. We conclude that combined therapy resulted in a better glucose response to a mixed meal than insulin alone and should be tried in type 2 diabetic patients before starting insulin monotherapy, despite difficulties in predicting the response.
Abstract in English:Diabetic patients have a 20% higher risk of depression than the general population. Treatment with antidepressant drugs can directly interfere with blood glucose levels or may interact with hypoglycemic agents. The treatment of depression in diabetic patients must take into account variations of glycemic levels at different times and a comparison of the available antidepressant agents is important. In the present study we evaluated the interference of antidepressants with blood glucose levels of diabetic and non-diabetic rats. In a first experiment, male adult Wistar rats were fasted for 12 h. Imipramine (5 mg/kg), moclobemide (30 mg/kg), clonazepam (0.25 mg/kg), fluoxetine (20 mg/kg) sertraline (30 mg/kg) or vehicle was administered. After 30 min, fasting glycemia was measured. An oral glucose overload of 1 ml of a 50% glucose solution was given to rats and blood glucose was determined after 30, 60 and 90 min. Imipramine and clonazepam did not change fasting or overload glycemia. Fluoxetine and moclobemide increased blood glucose at different times after the glucose overload. Sertraline neutralized the increase of glycemia induced by oral glucose overload. In the second experiment, non-diabetic and streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats were fasted, and the same procedures were followed for estimation of glucose tolerance 30 min after glucose overload. Again, sertraline neutralized the increase in glycemia after glucose overload both in diabetic and non-diabetic rats. These data raise the question of whether sertraline is the best choice for prolonged use for diabetic individuals, because of its antihyperglycemic effects. Clonazepam would be useful in cases with potential risk of hypoglycemia.
Abstract in English:Undernutrition elicited by a low-protein diet determines a marked reduction of hypophyseal activity and affects the function of the respective target organs. The objective of the present investigation was to study the ultrastructural and quantitative immunohistochemical changes of the different pituitary cell populations in undernourished monkeys that had been previously shown to have significant changes in craniofacial growth. Twenty Saimiri sciureus boliviensis monkeys of both sexes were used. The animals were born in captivity and were separated into two groups at one year of age, i.e., control and undernourished animals. The monkeys were fed ad libitum a 20% (control group) and a 10% (experimental group) protein diet for two years. Pituitaries were processed for light and electron microscopy. The former was immunolabeled with anti-GH, -PRL, -LH, -FSH, -ACTH, and -TSH sera. Volume density and cell density were measured using an image analyzer. Quantitative immunohistochemistry revealed a decrease in these parameters with regard to somatotrophs, lactotrophs, gonadotrophs and thyrotrophs from undernourished animals compared to control ones. In these populations, the ultrastructural study showed changes suggesting compensatory hyperfunction. On the contrary, no significant changes were found in the morphometric parameters or the ultrastructure of the corticotroph population. We conclude that in undernourished monkeys the somatotroph, lactotroph, gonadotroph, and thyrotroph cell populations showed quantitative immunohistochemical changes that can be correlated with ultrastructural findings.
Abstract in English:One of the best known crustacean hormones is the crustacean hyperglycemic hormone (CHH). However, the mechanisms involved in hormone release in these animals are poorly understood, and thus constitute the central objective of the present study. Different groups of crustaceans belonging to diverse taxa (Chasmagnathus granulata, a grapsid crab and Orconectes limosus, an astacid) were injected with serotonin, fluoxetine, or a mixture of both, and glycemic values (C. granulata and O. limosus) and CHH levels (O. limosus) were determined after 2 h in either submerged animals or animals exposed to atmospheric air. Both serotonin and fluoxetine caused significant hyperglycemia (P<0.05) after injection into the blood sinus of the two species, an effect enhanced after exposure to atmospheric air. In C. granulata blood glucose increased from 6.1 to 43.3 and 11.4 mg/100 ml in submerged animals and from 5.7 to 55.2 and 22.5 mg/100 ml in air-exposed animals after treatment with serotonin and fluoxetine, respectively. In O. limosus the increases were from 1.2 to 59.7 and 135.2 mg/100 ml in submerged animals and from 2.5 to 200.3 and 193.6 mg/100 ml in air-exposed animals after treatment with serotonin and fluoxetine, respectively. Serotonin and fluoxetine also caused a significant increase in the circulating levels of CHH in O. limosus, from 11.9 to 43 and 45.7 fmol/ml in submerged animals and from 13.2 to 32.6 and 45.7 fmol/ml in air-exposed animals, respectively, thus confirming their action as neuroregulators in these invertebrates.
Abstract in English:Two attenuated bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) preparations derived from the same Moreau strain, Copenhagen but grown in Sauton medium containing starch and bacto-peptone (onco BCG, O-BCG), or asparagine (intradermal BCG, ID-BCG), exhibited indistinguishable DNA sequences and bacterial morphology. The number of viable bacilli recovered from spleen, liver and lungs was approximately the same in mice inoculated with the vaccines and was similarly reduced (over 90%) in mice previously immunized with either BCG vaccine. The humoral immune response evoked by the vaccines was, however, distinct. Spleen cell proliferation accompanying the growth of bacilli in tissue was significantly higher in mice inoculated with O-BCG. These cells proliferated in vitro upon challenge with the corresponding BCG extract. Previous cell treatment with mAb anti-CD4 T cells abolished this effect. Anti-BCG antibodies, as assayed either in serum by ELISA or by determining the number of antibody-producing spleen cells by the spot-ELISA method, were significantly higher in mice inoculated with ID-BCG. Anti-BCG antibodies were detected in all immunoglobulin classes, but they were more prevalent in IgG with the following distribution among its isotypes: IgG1>(IgG2a = IgG2b)>IgG3. When some well-characterized Mycobacterium tuberculosis antigens were used as substitutes for BCG extracts in ELISA, although antibodies against the 65-kDa and 96-kDa proteins were detected significantly, antibodies against the 71-kDa, 38-kDa proteins and lipoarabinomannan were only barely detected or even absent. These results indicate that BCG bacilli cultured in Sauton-asparagine medium permitted the multiplication of bacilli, tending to induce a stronger humoral immune response as compared with bacilli grown in Sauton-starch/bacto-peptone-enriched medium.
Abstract in English:A prospective study of cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection was carried out on 34 renal transplant recipients managed at a General Hospital in Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brazil. Serologic tests showed that all patients were infected with CMV before renal transplantation. Two nested-PCR techniques with primers that recognize sequences of the glycoprotein B (gB) and H (gH) genes were used for CMV detection in blood and urine samples during the post-transplantation period. CMV was detected more frequently in blood samples than in urine samples (P<0.001). Thirty-three patients had CMV detected at least once in blood and/or urine samples. Seven of these patients (21.2%) were diagnosed as having symptomatic CMV infection and showed a worse clinical outcome, with a higher death rate (P = 0.03). No association between CMV viremia and graft rejection was observed. Nested-PCR was not useful to identify patients at risk for symptomatic CMV infection since only 21.2% of the patients with CMV infection were symptomatic.
Abstract in English:Some upper brainstem cholinergic neurons (pedunculopontine and laterodorsal tegmental nuclei) are involved in the generation of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and project rostrally to the thalamus and caudally to the medulla oblongata. A previous report showed that 96 h of REM sleep deprivation in rats induced an increase in the activity of brainstem acetylcholinesterase (Achase), the enzyme which inactivates acetylcholine (Ach) in the synaptic cleft. There was no change in the enzyme's activity in the whole brain and cerebrum. The components of the cholinergic synaptic endings (for example, Achase) are not uniformly distributed throughout the discrete regions of the brain. In order to detect possible regional changes we measured Achase activity in several discrete rat brain regions (medulla oblongata, pons, thalamus, striatum, hippocampus and cerebral cortex) after 96 h of REM sleep deprivation. Naive adult male Wistar rats were deprived of REM sleep using the flower-pot technique, while control rats were left in their home cages. Total, membrane-bound and soluble Achase activities (nmol of thiocholine formed min-1 mg protein-1) were assayed photometrically. The results (mean ± SD) obtained showed a statistically significant (Student t-test) increase in total Achase activity in the pons (control: 147.8 ± 12.8, REM sleep-deprived: 169.3 ± 17.4, N = 6 for both groups, P<0.025) and thalamus (control: 167.4 ± 29.0, REM sleep-deprived: 191.9 ± 15.4, N = 6 for both groups, P<0.05). Increases in membrane-bound Achase activity in the pons (control: 171.0 ± 14.7, REM sleep-deprived: 189.5 ± 19.5, N = 6 for both groups, P<0.05) and soluble enzyme activity in the medulla oblongata (control: 147.6 ± 16.3, REM sleep-deprived: 163.8 ± 8.3, N = 6 for both groups, P<0.05) were also observed. There were no statistically significant differences in the enzyme's activity in the other brain regions assayed. The present findings show that the increase in Achase activity induced by REM sleep deprivation was specific to the pons, a brain region where cholinergic neurons involved in REM generation are located, and also to brain regions which receive cholinergic input from the pons (the thalamus and medulla oblongata). During REM sleep extracellular levels of Ach are higher in the pons, medulla oblongata and thalamus. The increase in Achase activity in these brain areas after REM sleep deprivation suggests a higher rate of Ach turnover.
Abstract in English:It has been suggested that glucocorticoids released during stress might impair neuronal function by decreasing glucose uptake by hippocampal neurons. Previous work has demonstrated that glucose uptake is reduced in hippocampal and cerebral cortex slices 24 h after exposure to acute stress, while no effect was observed after repeated stress. Here, we report the effect of acute and repeated restraint stress on glucose oxidation to CO2 in hippocampal and cerebral cortex slices and on plasma glucose and corticosterone levels. Male adult Wistar rats were exposed to restraint 1 h/day for 50 days in the chronic model. In the acute model there was a single exposure. Immediately or 24 h after stress, the animals were sacrificed and the hippocampus and cerebral cortex were dissected, sliced, and incubated with Krebs buffer, pH 7.4, containing 5 mM glucose and 0.2 µCi D-[U-14C] glucose. CO2 production from glucose was estimated. Trunk blood was also collected, and both corticosterone and glucose were measured. The results showed that corticosterone levels after exposure to acute restraint were increased, but the increase was smaller when the animals were submitted to repeated stress. Blood glucose levels increased after both acute and repeated stress. However, glucose utilization, measured as CO2 production in hippocampal and cerebral cortex slices, was the same in stressed and control groups under conditions of both acute and chronic stress. We conclude that, although stress may induce a decrease in glucose uptake, this effect is not sufficient to affect the energy metabolism of these cells.
Abstract in English:We studied the effects of chronic intoxication with the heavy metals lead (Pb2+) and zinc (Zn2+) on memory formation in mice. Animals were intoxicated through drinking water during the pre- and postnatal periods and then tested in the step-through inhibitory avoidance memory task. Chronic postnatal intoxication with Pb2+ did not change the step-through latency values recorded during the 4 weeks of the test (ANOVA, P>0.05). In contrast, mice intoxicated during the prenatal period showed significantly reduced latency values when compared to the control group (day 1: q = 4.62, P<0.05; day 7: q = 4.42, P<0.05; day 14: q = 5.65, P<0.05; day 21: q = 3.96, P<0.05, and day 28: q = 6.09, P<0.05). Although chronic postnatal intoxication with Zn2+ did not alter a memory retention test performed 24 h after training, we noticed a gradual decrease in latency at subsequent 4-week intervals (F = 3.07, P<0.05), an effect that was not observed in the control or in the Pb2+-treated groups. These results suggest an impairment of memory formation by Pb2+ when the animals are exposed during the critical period of neurogenesis, while Zn2+ appears to facilitate learning extinction.
Abstract in English:Most studies suggest that serotonin exerts an inhibitory control on the aggression process. According to experimental evidence, this amine also influences growth and development of the nervous tissue including serotoninergic neurons. Thus, the possibility exists that increased serotonin availability in young animals facilitates a long-lasting effect on aggressive responses. The present study aimed to investigate the aggressive behavior of adult rats (90-120 days) treated from the 1st to the 19th postnatal day with citalopram (CIT), a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (20 mg/kg, sc, every 3 days). Aggressive behavior was induced by placing a pair of rats (matched by weight) in a box (20 x 20 x 20 cm), and submitting them to a 20-min session of electric footshocks (five 1.6-mA - 2-s current pulses, separated by a 4-min intershock interval). When compared to the control group (rats treated for the same period with equivalent volumes of saline solution), the CIT group presented a 41.4% reduction in the duration of aggressive response. The results indicate that the repeated administration of CIT early in life reduces the aggressive behavior in adulthood and suggest that the increased brain serotoninergic activity could play a role in this effect.
Abstract in English:Bradykinin has been reported to act as a growth factor for fibroblasts, mesangial cells and keratinocytes. Recently, we reported that bradykinin augments liver regeneration after partial hepatectomy in rats. Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) is also a powerful bradykinin-degrading enzyme. We have investigated the effect of ACE inhibition by lisinopril on liver regeneration after partial hepatectomy. Adult male Wistar rats underwent 70% partial hepatectomy (PH). The animals received lisinopril at a dose of 1 mg kg body weight-1 day-1, or saline solution, intraperitoneally, for 5 days before hepatectomy, and daily after surgery. Four to six animals from the lisinopril and saline groups were sacrificed at 12, 24, 36, 48, 72, and 120 h after PH. Liver regeneration was evaluated by immunohistochemical staining for proliferating cell nuclear antigen using the PC-10 monoclonal antibody. The value for the lisinopril-treated group was three-fold above the corresponding control at 12 h after PH (P<0.001), remaining elevated at approximately two-fold above control values at 24, 36, 48 (P<0.001), and at 72 h (P<0.01) after PH, but values did not reach statistical difference at 120 h after PH. Plasma ACE activity measured by radioenzymatic assay was significantly higher in the saline group than in the lisinopril-treated group (P<0.001), with 81% ACE inhibition. The present study shows that plasma ACE inhibition enhances liver regeneration after PH in rats. Since it was reported that bradykinin also augments liver regeneration after PH, this may explain the liver growth stimulating effect of ACE inhibitors.
Abstract in English:We have developed a system with two epi-illumination sources, a DC-regulated lamp for transillumination and mechanical switches for rapid shift of illumination and detection of defined areas (250-750 µm²) by fluorescence and phosphorescence videomicroscopy. The system permits investigation of standard microvascular parameters, vascular permeability as well as intra- and extravascular PO2 by phosphorescence quenching of Pd-meso-tetra (4-carboxyphenyl) porphine (PORPH). A Pechan prism was used to position a defined region over the photomultiplier and TV camera. In order to validate the system for in vivo use, in vitro tests were performed with probes at concentrations that can be found in microvascular studies. Extensive in vitro evaluations were performed by filling glass capillaries with solutions of various concentrations of FITC-dextran (diluted in blood and in saline) mixed with different amounts of PORPH. Fluorescence intensity and phosphorescence decay were determined for each mixture. FITC-dextran solutions without PORPH and PORPH solutions without FITC-dextran were used as references. Phosphorescence decay curves were relatively unaffected by the presence of FITC-dextran at all concentrations tested (0.1 µg/ml to 5 mg/ml). Likewise, fluorescence determinations were performed in the presence of PORPH (0.05 to 0.5 mg/ml). The system was successfully used to study macromolecular extravasation and PO2 in the rat mesentery circulation under controlled conditions and during ischemia-reperfusion.
Abstract in English:Chick cardiomyocytes, when submitted to hyposmotic swelling, exhibit a partial regulatory volume decrease (RVD). A Ca2+ influx by stretch-activated channels signals a taurine efflux and the RVD at 37°C. We evaluated the cell's performance at room temperature. Cardiomyocytes isolated and cultured from 11-day-old chick embryos were submitted to a hyposmotic solution (180 mOsm/kg H2O) at 37°C and at room temperature (26°C). Under these conditions we measured the changes in cell volume as well as the intracellular free Ca2+ (using fura-2). During hyposmotic swelling, cells at 37°C displayed a peak relative volume of 1.61 ± 0.03 and recovery to 1.22 ± 0.04 (N = 14), while cells at 26°C presented a peak swell relative volume of 1.74 ± 0.06 and did not recover (1.59 ± 0.09, N = 9). Transient increases in intracellular Ca2+, which are characteristic of the normal RVD, were observed at both temperatures (29.1 ± 4.5% (N = 8) and 115.2 ± 42.8% (N = 5) increase at 37° and 26°C (P<0.05), respectively). A delay in the Ca2+ transient increase was also observed when the cells were at 26°C (109 ± 34 s compared to 38 ± 9 s at 37°C, P<0.05). At room temperature the RVD does not occur because the calcium transient increase, which is an early event in the signaling of the RVD, is delayed. Also, free calcium is not cleared as in the 37°C RVD. In the normal RVD the free calcium returns to baseline levels. The very high and persistent free calcium levels seen at room temperature can lead to unregulated enzyme activities and may promote irreversible injury and cell death.