Abstract in English:The interaction of the product of H2O2 and (PhSe)2 with delta-aminolevulinate dehydratase (delta-ALA-D) from mammals and plants was investigated. (PhSe)2 inhibited rat hepatic delta-ALA-D with an IC50 of 10 µM but not the enzyme from cucumber leaves. The reaction of (PhSe)2 with H2O2 for 1 h increased the inhibitory potency of the original compound and the IC50 for animal delta-ALA-D inhibition was decreased from 10 to 2 µM. delta-ALA-D from cucumber leaves was also inhibited by the products of reaction of (PhSe)2 with H2O2 with an IC50 of 4 µM. The major product of reaction of (PhSe)2 with H2O2 was identified as seleninic acid and produced an intermediate with a lambdamax at 265 nm after reaction with t-BuSH. These results suggest that the interaction of (PhSe)2 with mammal delta-ALA-D requires the presence of cysteinyl residues in close proximity. Two cysteine residues in spatial proximity have been recently described for the mammalian enzyme. Analysis of the primary structure of plant delta-ALA-D did not reveal an analogous site. In contrast to (PhSe)2, seleninic acid, as a result of the higher electrophilic nature of its selenium atom, may react with additional cysteinyl residue(s) in mammalian delta-ALA-D and also with cysteinyl residues from cucumber leaves located at a site distinct from that found at the B and A sites in mammals. Although the interaction of organochalcogens with H2O2 may have some antioxidant properties, the formation of seleninic acid as a product of this reaction may increase the toxicity of organic chalcogens such as (PhSe)2.
Abstract in English:Cell cultures of Mandevilla velutina have proved to be an interesting production system for biomass and secondary metabolites able to inhibit the hypotensive activity of bradykinin, a nonapeptide generated in plasma during tissue trauma. The crude ethyl acetate extract of cultured cells contains about 31- to 79-fold more potent anti-bradykinin compounds (e.g., velutinol A) than that obtained with equivalent extracts of tubers. Somaclonal variation may be an explanation for the wide range of inhibitor activity found in the cell cultures. The heterogeneity concerning morphology, differentiation, carbon dissimilation, and velutinol A production in M. velutina cell cultures is reported. Cell cultures showed an asynchronous growth and cells in distinct developmental stages. Meristematic cells were found as the major type, with several morphological variations. Cell aggregates consisting only of meristematic cells, differentiated cells containing specialized cell structures such as functional chloroplasts (cytodifferentiation) and cells with embryogenetic characteristics were observed. The time course for sucrose metabolism indicated cell populations with significant differences in growth and metabolic rates, with the highest biomass-producing cell line showing a cell cycle 60% shorter and a metabolic rate 33.6% higher than the control (F2 cell population). MALDI-TOF mass spectrometric analysis of velutinol A in selected cell lines demonstrated the existence of velutinol A producing and nonproducing somaclones. These results point to a high genetic heterogeneity in general and also in terms of secondary metabolite content.
Abstract in English:The availability of the genome sequence of the bacterial plant pathogen Xylella fastidiosa, the causal agent of citrus variegated chlorosis, is accelerating important investigations concerning its pathogenicity. Plant vessel occlusion is critical for symptom development. The objective of the present study was to search for information that would help to explain the adhesion of X. fastidiosa cells to the xylem. Scanning electron microscopy revealed that adhesion may occur without the fastidium gum, an exopolysaccharide produced by X. fastidiosa, and X-ray microanalysis demonstrated the presence of elemental sulfur both in cells grown in vitro and in cells found inside plant vessels, indicating that the sulfur signal is generated by the pathogen surface. Calcium and magnesium peaks were detected in association with sulfur in occluded vessels. We propose an explanation for the adhesion and aggregation process. Thiol groups, maintained by the enzyme peptide methionine sulfoxide reductase, could be active on the surface of the bacteria and appear to promote cell-cell aggregation by forming disulfide bonds with thiol groups on the surface of adjacent cells. The enzyme methionine sulfoxide reductase has been shown to be an auxiliary component in the adhesiveness of some human pathogens. The negative charge conferred by the ionized thiol group could of itself constitute a mechanism of adhesion by allowing the formation of divalent cation bridges between the negatively charged bacteria and predominantly negatively charged xylem walls.
Abstract in English:Two Azospirillum brasilense open reading frames (ORFs) exhibited homology with the two-component NtrY/NtrX regulatory system from Azorhizobium caulinodans. These A. brasilense ORFs, located downstream to the nifR3ntrBC operon, were isolated, sequenced and characterized. The present study suggests that ORF1 and ORF2 correspond to the A. brasilense ntrY and ntrX genes, respectively. The amino acid sequences of A. brasilense NtrY and NtrX proteins showed high similarity to sensor/kinase and regulatory proteins, respectively. Analysis of lacZ transcriptional fusions by the ß-galactosidase assay in Escherichia coli ntrC mutants showed that the NtrY/NtrX proteins failed to activate transcription of the nifA promoter of A. brasilense. The ntrYX operon complemented a nifR3ntrBC deletion mutant of A. brasilense for nitrate-dependent growth, suggesting a possible cross-talk between the NtrY/X and NtrB/C sensor/regulator pairs. Our data support the existence of another two-component regulatory system in A. brasilense, the NtrY/NtrX system, probably involved in the regulation of nitrate assimilation.
Abstract in English:The early demonstration of lung involvement in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients is a difficult but important task. In the present study we attempted to identify abnormalities in pulmonary clearance of 99mTc-DTPA in SLE, correlating their clearance data with clinical findings and disease activity. Forty-six consecutive SLE patients with and without active disease (LACC score) and 30 normal volunteers were studied. All subjects were submitted to pulmonary scintigraphy with 99mTc-DTPA to evaluate the pulmonary clearance, and to a chest X-ray, and SLE patients were submitted to tests of disease activity, spirometry, arterial blood gases and tests to assess acute-phase proteins. Pulmonary clearance was faster in SLE patients with active disease when compared to normal controls [half-life of 67.04 min (51.52-82.55 min) in active SLE versus 85.87 min (78.85-92.87 min) in controls, P<0.05] and there was a higher frequency of abnormal clearance rates in patients with active disease (11 of 26 patients, 42.3%) when compared with SLE patients without disease activity (2 of 20 patients, 10%) (P = 0.04). A significant correlation was observed between the clearance rates and cough (P<0.05), but not between the clearance rates and dyspnea symptoms or radiological findings, duration of SLE disease, antinuclear antibody titers and patterns, C-reactive protein or anti-double stranded DNA antibodies. We conclude that the pulmonary clearance of 99mTc-DTPA is increased in SLE patients with active disease.
Abstract in English:Dietary calcium lowers the risk of nephrolithiasis due to a decreased absorption of dietary oxalate that is bound by intestinal calcium. The aim of the present study was to evaluate oxaluria in normocalciuric and hypercalciuric lithiasic patients under different calcium intake. Fifty patients (26 females and 24 males, 41 ± 10 years old), whose 4-day dietary records revealed a regular low calcium intake (<=500 mg/day), received an oral calcium load (1 g/day) for 7 days. A 24-h urine was obtained before and after load and according to the calciuria under both diets, patients were considered as normocalciuric (NC, N = 15), diet-dependent hypercalciuric (DDHC, N = 9) or diet-independent hypercalciuric (DIHC, N = 26). On regular diet, mean oxaluria was 30 ± 14 mg/24 h for all patients. The 7-day calcium load induced a significant decrease in mean oxaluria compared to the regular diet in NC and DIHC (20 ± 12 vs 26 ± 7 and 27 ± 18 vs 32 ± 15 mg/24 h, respectively, P<0.05) but not in DDHC patients (22 ± 10 vs 23 ± 5 mg/24 h). The lack of an oxalate decrease among DDHC patients after the calcium load might have been due to higher calcium absorption under higher calcium supply, with a consequent lower amount of calcium left in the intestine to bind with oxalate. These data suggest that a long-lasting regular calcium consumption <500 mg was not associated with high oxaluria and that a subpopulation of hypercalciuric patients who presented a higher intestinal calcium absorption (DDHC) tended to hyperabsorb oxalate as well, so that oxaluria did not change under different calcium intake.
Abstract in English:Chagas' disease causes degeneration and reduction of the number of intrinsic neurons of the esophageal myenteric plexus, with consequent absent or partial lower esophageal sphincter relaxation and loss of peristalsis in the esophageal body. The impairment of esophageal motility is seen mainly in the distal smooth muscle region. There is no study about esophageal striated muscle contractions in the disease. In 81 patients with heartburn (44 with esophagitis) taken as controls, 51 patients with Chagas' disease (21 with esophageal dilatation) and 18 patients with idiopathic achalasia (11 with esophageal dilatation) we studied the amplitude, duration and area under the curve of esophageal proximal contractions. Using the manometric method and a continuous perfusion system we measured the esophageal striated muscle contractions 2 to 3 cm below the upper esophageal sphincter after swallows of a 5-ml bolus of water. There was no significant difference in striated muscle contractions between patients with heartburn and esophagitis and patients with heartburn without esophagitis. There was also no significant difference between patients with heartburn younger or older than 50 years or between men and women or in esophageal striated muscle contractions between patients with heartburn and Chagas' disease. The esophageal proximal amplitude of contractions was lower in patients with idiopathic achalasia than in patients with heartburn. In patients with Chagas' disease there was no significant difference between patients with esophageal dilatation and patients with normal esophageal diameter. Esophageal striated muscle contractions in patients with Chagas' disease have the same amplitude and duration as seen in patients with heartburn. Patients with idiopathic achalasia have a lower amplitude of contraction than patients with heartburn.
Abstract in English:Parasympathetic dysfunction is an independent risk factor in patients with coronary artery disease; thus, cholinergic stimulation is a potential therapeutic measure that may be protective by acting on ventricular repolarization. The purpose of the present study was to determine the effects of pyridostigmine bromide (PYR), a reversible anticholinesterase agent, on the electrocardiographic variables, particularly QTc interval, in patients with stable coronary artery disease. In a randomized double-blind crossover placebo-controlled study, simultaneous 12-lead electrocardiographic tracings were obtained at rest from 10 patients with exercise-induced myocardial ischemia before and 2 h after the oral administration of 45 mg PYR or placebo. PYR increased the RR intervals (pre: 921 ± 27 ms vs post: 1127 ± 37 ms; P<0.01) and, in contrast with placebo, decreased the QTc interval (pre: 401 ± 3 ms vs post: 382 ± 3 ms; P<0.01). No other electrocardiographic variables were modified (PR segment, QT interval, QT and QTc dispersions). Cholinergic stimulation with PYR caused bradycardia and reduced the QTc interval without important side effects in patients with coronary disease. These effects, if confirmed in studies over longer periods of administration, may suggest a cardioprotection by cholinergic stimulation with PYR.
Abstract in English:Duchenne muscular dystrophy is one of the most devastating myopathies. Muscle fibers undergo necrosis and lose their ability to regenerate, and this may be related to increased interstitial fibrosis or the exhaustion of satellite cells. In this study, we used mdx mice, an animal model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy, to assess whether muscle fibers lose their ability to regenerate after repeated cycles of degeneration-regeneration and to establish the role of interstitial fibrosis or exhaustion of satellite cells in this process. Repeated degenerative-regenerative cycles were induced by the injection of bupivacaine (33 mg/kg), a myotoxic agent. Bupivacaine was injected weekly into the right tibialis anterior muscle of male, 8-week-old mdx (N = 20) and C57Bl/10 (control, N = 10) mice for 20 and 50 weeks. Three weeks after the last injection, the mice were killed and the proportion of regenerated fibers was counted and reported as a fibrosis index. Twenty weekly bupivacaine injections did not change the ability of mdx muscle to regenerate. However, after 50 weekly bupivacaine injections, there was a significant decrease in the regenerative response. There was no correlation between the inability to regenerate and the increase in interstitial fibrosis. These results show that after prolonged repeated cycles of degeneration-regeneration, mdx muscle loses its ability to regenerate because of the exhaustion of satellite cells, rather than because of an increase in interstitial fibrosis. This finding may be relevant to cell and gene therapy in the treatment of Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
Abstract in English:Evaluation of HIV-induced IL-2 production by peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) and HIV-specific T helper and cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) responses in health care workers (HCW) occupationally exposed to HIV reveals a high rate of response to HIV among non-seroconverters. IL-10 is also known to interfere with HIV infection in vitro. To evaluate the induction of IL-10 by HIV antigens in HCW occupationally exposed to HIV, 18 HCW with percutaneous injury were enrolled in this study, 9 of them exposed to HIV-contaminated blood, and 9 exposed to HIV-negative blood. PBMC were incubated on plates coated with HIV-1 antigens, and IL-10 was measured in supernatants by ELISA. Five of nine HCW exposed to HIV-contaminated blood presented HIV-induced IL-10. Two of nine HCW exposed to HIV-negative source patients also had detectable levels of HIV-induced IL-10, one of them in the sample obtained on the day of accidental exposure. There was a relationship between the type of device involved in injury and IL-10 production. Individuals exposed to hollow needles or scalpels presented HIV-induced IL-10, whereas those exposed to solid needles and to digital puncture did not, suggesting a relationship between infectious load and IL-10. Although occupational exposure to HIV leads to a low rate of seroconversion, these individuals can develop an antigen-specific immune response characterized in our study by induction of IL-10 in PBMC in vitro.
Abstract in English:The venom of Lonomia obliqua caterpillar may induce a hemorrhagic syndrome in humans, and blood incoagulability by afibrinogenemia when intravenously injected in laboratory animals. The possible antithrombotic and thrombolytic activities of L. obliqua caterpillar bristle extract (LOCBE) were evaluated in this study. The minimal intravenous dose of the extract necessary to induce afibrinogenemia and anticoagulation was 3.0 and 10.0 µg protein/kg body weight for rabbits and rats, respectively. In rabbits, this dose induced total blood incoagulability for at least 10 h and did not reduce the weight of preformed venous thrombi, in contrast to streptokinase (30,000 IU/kg). In rats, pretreatment with 5.0 and 10.0 µg/kg LOCBE prevented the formation of thrombi induced by venous stasis or by injury to the venous endothelium. The dose of 5.0 µg/kg LOCBE did not modify blood coagulation assay parameters but increased bleeding time and decreased plasma factor XIII concentration. When the extract was administered to rats at the dose of 10.0 µg/kg, the blood was totally incoagulable for 6 h. These data show that LOCBE was effective in preventing experimental venous thrombosis in rats, justifying further studies using purified fractions of the extract to clarify the mechanisms of this effect.
Abstract in English:We report the antinociceptive activity, determined by the writhing, formalin and hot-plate tests in mice, of crude (F0/60), lectin and carbohydrate fractions isolated by ammonium sulfate precipitation (0 to 60%) from Bryothamnion seaforthii and B. triquetrum, species of red algae. Not only fraction F0/60 but also lectins from both species significantly inhibited acetic acid-induced abdominal contractions after intraperitoneal or oral administrations. In the formalin test, lectins (1 and 5 mg/kg, ip, and 5 to 20 mg/kg, po) inhibited the 1st and 2nd phases (5 and 20 min, respectively), but the effect occurred predominantly on the 2nd phase. The effects of the lectins were totally or partially reversed by naloxone (2 mg/kg, sc) in the 1st and 2nd phases, respectively. Experiments performed with lectins in the absence and presence of avidin (1 mg/kg, ip) and D-mannose (1 mg/kg, ip) showed that avidin did not interfere with the effect of B. seaforthii lectin but partially reversed the effect of B. triquetrum lectin. D-Mannose completely reversed the effects of both species. F0/60 fractions from both algae significantly increased the latency time in response to thermal stimuli, and naloxone reversed antinociception, indicating the involvement of the opioid system in both the peripheral and central effects of the fractions. In the writhing test, the carbohydrate fractions were the most active, inhibiting the contractions by 71 and 79% (B. triquetrum) and by 46 and 69% (B. seaforthii) at doses of 1 and 5 mg/kg, ip, respectively. Sulfated carbohydrate fractions of B. seaforthii and B. triquetrum, containing only about 5% protein as contaminants, are probably responsible for the antinociceptive effects of these red algae.
Abstract in English:We investigated the protective effect of suramin, an enzyme inhibitor and an uncoupler of G protein from receptors, on the myotoxic activity in mice of different crotalid snake venoms (A.c. laticinctus, C.v. viridis, C.d. terrificus, B. jararacussu, B. moojeni, B. alternatus, B. jararaca, L. muta). Myotoxicity was evaluated in vivo by injecting im the venoms (0.5 or 1.0 mg/kg) dissolved in physiological saline solution (0.1 ml) and measuring plasma creatine kinase (CK) activity. Two experimental approaches were used in mice (N = 5 for each group). In protocol A, 1 mg of each venom was incubated with 1.0 mg suramin (15 min, 37ºC, in vitro), and then injected im into the mice at a dose of 1.0 mg/kg (in vivo). In protocol B, venoms, 1.0 mg/kg, were injected im 15 min prior to suramin (1.0 mg/kg, iv). Before and 2 h after the im injection blood was collected by orbital puncture. Plasma was separated and stored at 4ºC for determination of CK activity using a diagnostic kit from Sigma. Preincubation of some venoms (C.v. viridis, A.c. laticinctus, C.d. terrificus and B. jararacussu) with suramin reduced (37-76%) the increase in plasma CK, except for B. alternatus, B. jararaca or L. muta venoms. Injection of suramin after the venom partially protected (34-51%) against the myotoxicity of B. jararacussu, A.c. laticinctus and C.d. terrificus venom, and did not protect against C.v. viridis, L. muta, B. moojeni, B. alternatus or B. jararaca venoms. These results show that suramin has an antimyotoxic effect against some, but not all the North and South American crotalid snake venoms studied here.
Abstract in English:The recombinant heat shock protein (18 kDa-hsp) from Mycobacterium leprae was studied as a T-epitope model for vaccine development. We present a structural analysis of the stability of recombinant 18 kDa-hsp during different processing steps. Circular dichroism and ELISA were used to monitor protein structure after thermal stress, lyophilization and chemical modification. We observed that the 18 kDa-hsp is extremely resistant to a wide range of temperatures (60% of activity is retained at 80ºC for 20 min). N-Acylation increased its ordered structure by 4% and decreased its ß-T1 structure by 2%. ELISA demonstrated that the native conformation of the 18 kDa-hsp was preserved after hydrophobic modification by acylation. The recombinant 18 kDa-hsp resists to a wide range of temperatures and chemical modifications without loss of its main characteristic, which is to be a source of T epitopes. This resistance is probably directly related to its lack of organization at the level of tertiary and secondary structures.
Abstract in English:Despite its ancient use as a therapeutic tool to treat several ailments, acupuncture still faces the challenge of scrutiny by Western science both in terms of its efficacy and in terms of the characterization of its effects and mechanisms of actions underlying these effects. We investigated under well-controlled and carefully characterized conditions the influence of electrical stimulation of acupuncture points ST-36 (Zusanli) and SP-6 (Sanyinjiao) on the myoelectric activity of the small intestine of 38 adult male Wistar rats. Electrical recordings obtained by means of four electrodes chronically implanted in the small intestine were used to assess the effects of acupuncture (electroacupuncture stimulation set at 2 Hz, intermittent stimulation, 1 V, for 30 min). Immobilization of the animals was associated with a consistent decrease (-8 ± 7%) in the myoelectric activity of the small intestine as measured by means of the root mean square. Conversely, acupuncture was able to significantly increase (overshoot) this activity compared to baseline (+44 ± 7%). In contrast, immobilized animals subjected to sham acupuncture had only modest (nonsignificant) increases in myoelectric activity (+9 ± 6%). Using carefully controlled conditions we confirmed previous noncontrolled studies on the ability of acupuncture to alter intestinal motility. The characterization of the topographic and temporal profiles of the effects observed here represents a basis for future dissection of the physiological and pharmacological systems underlying these effects.
Abstract in English:The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the effects of aerobic physical training (APT) on heart rate variability (HRV) and cardiorespiratory responses at peak condition and ventilatory anaerobic threshold. Ten young (Y: median = 21 years) and seven middle-aged (MA = 53 years) healthy sedentary men were studied. Dynamic exercise tests were performed on a cycloergometer using a continuous ramp protocol (12 to 20 W/min) until exhaustion. A dynamic 24-h electrocardiogram was analyzed by time (TD) (standard deviation of mean R-R intervals) and frequency domain (FD) methods. The power spectral components were expressed as absolute (a) and normalized units (nu) at low (LF) and high (HF) frequencies and as the LF/HF ratio. Control (C) condition: HRV in TD (Y: 108, MA: 96 ms; P<0.05) and FD - LFa, HFa - was significantly higher in young (1030; 2589 ms²/Hz) than in middle-aged men (357; 342 ms²/Hz) only during sleep (P<0.05); post-training effects: resting bradycardia (P<0.05) in the awake condition in both groups; VO2 increased for both groups at anaerobic threshold (P<0.05), and at peak condition only in young men; HRV in TD and FD (a and nu) was not significantly changed by training in either groups. The vagal predominance during sleep is reduced with aging. The resting bradycardia induced by short-term APT in both age groups suggests that this adaptation is much more related to intrinsic alterations in sinus node than in efferent vagal-sympathetic modulation. Furthermore, the greater alterations in VO2 than in HRV may be related to short-term APT.