Abstract in English:Reconstitution of membrane proteins into lipid bilayers is a powerful tool to analyze functional as well as structural areas of membrane protein research. First, the proper incorporation of a purified membrane protein into closed lipid vesicles, to produce proteoliposomes, allows the investigation of transport and/or catalytic properties of any membrane protein without interference by other membrane components. Second, the incorporation of a large amount of membrane proteins into lipid bilayers to grow crystals confined to two dimensions has recently opened a new way to solve their structure at high resolution using electron crystallography. However, reconstitution of membrane proteins into functional proteoliposomes or 2-D crystallization has been an empirical domain, which has been viewed for a long time more like "black magic" than science. Nevertheless, in the last ten years, important progress has been made in acquiring knowledge of lipid-protein-detergent interactions and has permitted to build upon a set of basic principles that has limited the empirical approach of reconstitution experiments. Reconstitution strategies have been improved and new strategies have been developed, facilitating the success rate of proteoliposome formation and 2-D crystallization. This review deals with the various strategies available to obtain proteoliposomes and 2-D crystals from detergent-solubilized proteins. It gives an overview of the methods that have been applied, which may be of help for reconstituting more proteins into lipid bilayers in a form suitable for functional studies at the molecular level and for high-resolution structural analysis.
Abstract in English:The molecular basis for RHD pseudogene or RHDpsi is a 37-bp insertion in exon 4 of RHD. This insertion, found in two-thirds of D-negative Africans, appears to introduce a stop codon at position 210. The hybrid RHD-CE-Ds, where the 3' end of exon 3 and exons 4 to 8 are derived from RHCE, is associated with the VS+V- phenotype, and leads to a D-negative phenotype in people of African origin. We determined whether Brazilian blood donors of heterogeneous ethnic origin had RHDpsi and RHD-CE-Ds. DNA from 206 blood donors were tested for RHDpsi by a multiplex PCR that detects RHD, RHDpsi and the C and c alleles of RHCE. The RHD genotype was determined by comparison of size of amplified products associated with the RHD gene in both intron 4 and exon 10/3'-UTR. VS was determined by amplification of exon 5 of RHCE, and sequencing of PCR products was used to analyze C733G (Leu245Val). Twenty-two (11%) of the 206 D-negative Brazilians studied had the RHDpsi, 5 (2%) had the RHD-CE-Ds hybrid gene associated with the VS+V- phenotype, and 179 (87%) entirely lacked RHD. As expected, RHD was deleted in all the 50 individuals of Caucasian descent. Among the 156 individuals of African descent, 22 (14%) had inactive RHD and 3% had the RHD-CE-Ds hybrid gene. These data confirm that the inclusion of two different multiplex PCR for RHD is essential to test the D-negative Brazilian population in order to avoid false-positive typing of polytransfused patients and fetuses.
Abstract in English:The purpose of the present report is to demonstrate the long-term efficacy and safety of heparin-induced extracorporeal lipoprotein precipitation (HELP) of LDL-c and fibrinogen in the management of familial hypercholesterolemia. From June 1992 to June 1998 a 22-year-old young male patient with familial hypercholesterolemia (double heterozygote for C660X and S305C) resistant to medication and diet and with symptomatic coronary artery disease (angina) was treated weekly with 90-min sessions of the HELP system. The patient had also been previously submitted to right coronary artery angioplasty. The efficacy of the method was evaluated by comparing the reduction of total cholesterol, LDL-c and fibrinogen before and after the sessions and before and after initiation of the study (data are reported as averages for each year). During the study, angina episodes disappeared and there were no detectable adverse effects of the treatment. Total cholesterol (TC), fibrinogen, and LDL-c decreased significantly after each session by 59.6, 66.1 and 64%, respectively. HDL-c showed a nonsignificant reduction of 20.4%. Comparative mean values pre- and post-treatment values in the study showed significant differences: TC (488 vs 188 mg/dl), LDL-c (416.4 vs 145 mg/dl), and fibrinogen (144.2 vs 57.4 mg/dl). There was no significant change in HDL-c level: 29.4 vs 23 mg/dl. These data show that the HELP system, even for a long period of time, is a safe and efficient mode of treatment of familial hypercholesterolemia and is associated with disappearance of angina symptoms.
Abstract in English:The aim of the present study was to verify the sensitivity to the carbon dioxide (CO2) challenge test of panic disorder (PD) patients with respiratory and nonrespiratory subtypes of the disorder. Our hypothesis is that the respiratory subtype is more sensitive to 35% CO2. Twenty-seven PD subjects with or without agoraphobia were classified into respiratory and nonrespiratory subtypes on the basis of the presence of respiratory symptoms during their panic attacks. The tests were carried out in a double-blind manner using two mixtures: 1) 35% CO2 and 65% O2, and 2) 100% atmospheric compressed air, 20 min apart. The tests were repeated after 2 weeks during which the participants in the study did not receive any psychotropic drugs. At least 15 of 16 (93.7%) respiratory PD subtype patients and 5 of 11 (43.4%) nonrespiratory PD patients had a panic attack during one of two CO2 challenges (P = 0.009, Fisher exact test). Respiratory PD subtype patients were more sensitive to the CO2 challenge test. There was agreement between the severity of PD measured by the Clinical Global Impression (CGI) Scale and the subtype of PD. Higher CGI scores in the respiratory PD subtype could reflect a greater sensitivity to the CO2 challenge due to a greater severity of PD. Carbon dioxide challenges in PD may define PD subtypes and their underlying mechanisms.
Abstract in English:Fungal infection is one of the most important causes of morbidity and mortality in bone marrow transplant (BMT) recipients. The growing incidence of these infections is related to several factors including prolonged granulocytopenia, use of broad-spectrum antibiotics, conditioning regimens, and use of immunosuppression to avoid graft-versus-host disease (GvHD). In the present series, we report five cases of invasive mold infections documented among 64 BMT recipients undergoing fluconazole antifungal prophylaxis: 1) A strain of Scedosporium prolificans was isolated from a skin lesion that developed on day +72 after BMT in a chronic myeloid leukemic patient. 2) Invasive pulmonary aspergillosis (Aspergillus fumigatus) was diagnosed on day +29 in a patient with a long period of hospitalization before being transplanted for severe aplastic anemia. 3) A tumoral lung lesion due to Rhizopus arrhizus (zygomycosis) was observed in a transplanted patient who presented severe chronic GvHD. 4) A tumoral lesion due to Aspergillus spp involving the 7th, 8th and 9th right ribs and local soft tissue was diagnosed in a BMT patient on day +110. 5) A patient with a history of Ph1-positive acute lymphocytic leukemia exhibited a cerebral lesion on day +477 after receiving a BMT during an episode of severe chronic GvHD. At that time, blood and spinal fluid cultures yielded Fusarium sp. Opportunistic infections due to fungi other than Candida spp are becoming a major problem among BMT patients receiving systemic antifungal prophylaxis with fluconazole.
Abstract in English:The aim of this study was to determine the relationship between urinary albumin excretion (UAE), cardiac structural changes upon echocardiography and 24-h ambulatory blood pressure (ABPM) levels. Twenty mild hypertensive patients (mean age 56.8 ± 9.6 years) were evaluated. After 2 weeks of a washout period of all antihypertensive drugs, all patients underwent an echocardiographic evaluation, a 24-h ABPM and an overnight urine collection. Systolic and diastolic blood pressure during 24-h ABPM was 145 ± 14/91 ± 10 mmHg (daytime) and 130 ± 14/76 ± 8 mmHg (nighttime), respectively. Seven (35%) patients presented UAE > or = 15 µg/min, and for the whole group, the geometric mean value for UAE was 10.2 x/÷ 3.86 µg/min. Cardiac measurements showed mean values of interventricular septum thickness (IVS) of 11 ± 2.3 mm, left ventricular posterior wall thickness (PWT) of 10 ± 2.0 mm, left ventricular mass (LVM) of 165 ± 52 g, and left ventricular mass index (LVMI) of 99 ± 31 g/m². A forward stepwise regression model indicated that blood pressure levels did not influence UAE. Significant correlations were observed between UAE and cardiac structural parameters such as IVS (r = 0.71, P<0.001), PWT (r = 0.64, P<0.005), LVM (r = 0.65, P<0.005) and LVMI (r = 0.57, P<0.01). Compared with normoalbuminuric patients, those who had microalbuminuria presented higher values of all cardiac parameters measured. The predictive positive and negative values of UAE > or = 15 µg/min for the presence of geometric cardiac abnormalities were 75 and 91.6%. These data indicate that microalbuminuria in essential hypertension represents an early marker of cardiac structural damage.
Abstract in English:The objective of the present study was to identify the single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) and magnetic resonance (MR) findings in juvenile systemic lupus erythematosus (JSLE) patients with CNS involvement and to try to correlate them with neurological clinical history data and neurological clinical examination. Nineteen patients with JSLE (16 girls and 3 boys, mean age at onset 9.2 years) were submitted to neurological examination, electroencephalography, cerebrospinal fluid analysis, SPECT and MR. All the evaluations were made separately within a period of 15 days. SPECT and MR findings were analyzed independently by two radiologists. Electroencephalography and cerebrospinal fluid analysis revealed no relevant alterations. Ten of 19 patients (53%) presented neurological abnormalities including present or past neurological clinical history (8/19, 42%), abnormal neurological clinical examination (5/19, 26%), and abnormal SPECT or MR (8/19, 42% and 3/19, 16%, respectively). The most common changes in SPECT were cerebral hypoperfusion and heterogeneous distribution of blood flow. The most common abnormalities in MR were leukomalacia and diffuse alterations of white matter. There was a correlation between SPECT and MR (P<0.05). We conclude that SPECT and MR are complementary and useful exams in the evaluation of neurological involvement of lupus.
Abstract in English:The antibacterial activity of a series of 1,4-naphthoquinones was demonstrated. Disk diffusion tests were carried out against several Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. The compound 5-amino-8-hydroxy-1,4-naphthoquinone was the most effective, presenting inhibition zones measuring 20 mm against staphylococci, streptococci and bacilli at 50 µg/ml. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and several clinical isolates of this bacterium were also inhibited. Naphthazarin, 5-acetamido-8-hydroxy-1,4-naphthoquinone, and 2,3-diamino-1,4-naphthoquinone were the next most active compounds. The minimal inhibitory concentration of the active compounds was determined against S. aureus, ranging from 30 to 125 µg/ml. All compounds presented a minimal bactericidal concentration higher than 500 µg/ml, indicating that their effect was bacteriostatic. The EC50, defined as the drug concentration that produces 50% of maximal effect, was 8 µg/ml for 5-amino-8-hydroxy-1,4-naphthoquinone against S. aureus, S. intermedius, and S. epidermidis. These results indicate an effective in vitro activity of 5-amino-8-hydroxy-1,4-naphthoquinone and encourage further studies for its application in antibiotic therapy.
Abstract in English:Topoisomerase inhibitors are agents with anticancer activity. 7"-O-Methyl-agathisflavone (I) and amentoflavone (II) are biflavonoids and were isolated from the Brazilian plants Ouratea hexasperma and O. semiserrata, respectively. These biflavonoids and the acetyl derivative of II (IIa) are inhibitors of human DNA topoisomerases I at 200 µM, as demonstrated by the relaxation assay of supercoiled DNA, and only agathisflavone (I) at 200 µM also inhibited DNA topoisomerases II-alpha, as observed by decatenation and relaxation assays. The biflavonoids showed concentration-dependent growth inhibitory activities on Ehrlich carcinoma cells in 45-h culture, assayed by a tetrazolium method, with IC50 = 24 ± 1.4 µM for I, 26 ± 1.1 µM for II and 10 ± 0.7 µM for IIa. These biflavonoids were assayed against human K562 leukemia cells in 45-h culture, but only I showed 42% growth inhibitory activity at 90 µM. Our results suggest that biflavonoids are targets for DNA topoisomerases and their cytotoxicity is dependent on tumor cell type.
Abstract in English:The aim of the present study was to determine the effect of a regional basic diet (RBD) on the prevalence of caries in the molar teeth of rats of both sexes aged 23 days. The animals were divided into six groups of 10 rats each receiving the following diets for 30 and 60 days after weaning: RBD, a cariogenic diet, and a commercial diet. The prevalence and penetration of caries in the molar teeth of the rats was then analyzed. The RBD produced caries in 37.5% of the teeth of animals fed 30 days, and in 83.4% of animals fed 60 days, while the cariogenic diet produced caries in 72.5% and 77.5% of the teeth of animals fed 30 and 60 days, respectively. Rats fed the RBD for 30 days had caries in the enamel in 38% of their teeth, 48% had superficial dentin caries, and 7.5% moderate dentin caries. The effect of the RBD did not differ significantly from that of the cariogenic diet in terms of the presence of caries in rats fed 60 days. The penetration depth of the caries produced by the RBD was the same as that produced by the cariogenic diet. Our results show that the RBD has the same cariogenic potential as the cariogenic diet. Since the RBD is the only option for the low-income population, there should be a study of how to compensate for the cariogenicity of this diet.
Abstract in English:There is increasing interest in the immune response induced by plant viruses since these could be used as antigen-expressing systems in vaccination procedures. Cowpea severe mosaic virus (CPSMV), as a purified preparation (300 g of leaves, 2 weeks post-inoculation), or crude extract from cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) leaves infected with CPSMV both administered by gavage to Swiss mice induced a humoral immune response. Groups of 10 Swiss mice (2-month-old females) were immunized orally with 10 daily doses of either 50 µg viral capsid protein (boosters of 50 µg at days 21 and 35 after immunization) or 0.6 mg protein of the crude extract (boosters of 0.6 mg at days 21 and 35 after immunization). Anti-CPSMV antibodies were quantified by ELISA in pooled sera diluted at least 1:400 at days 7, 14, 21, 28, 35 and 42 after the 10th dose. IgG and IgA against CPSMV were produced systemically, but IgE was not detected. No synthesis of specific antibodies against the proteins of leaf extracts from V. unguiculata, infected or not with CPSMV, was detected. The use of CPSMV, a plant-infecting virus that apparently does not induce a pathogenic response in animals, induced a humoral and persistent (at least 6 months) immune response through the administration of low antigen doses by gavage. These results raise the possibility of using CPSMV either as a vector for the production of vaccines against animal pathogens or in quick and easy methods to produce specific antisera for viral diagnosis.
Abstract in English:The Horne-Östberg questionnaire partly covers some factors that may be important determinants of peak time and characterize patterns of behavior. We conducted a study for the evaluation of self-reported behavioral states (hunger sensation, availability for study, physical exercise, solving daily problems, and time preferences) as expressions of underlying cyclic activity. Three hundred and eighteen community subjects without history of medical, psychiatric, or sleep disorders were evaluated in a cross-sectional design. A self-report about daily highest level of activity was used to categorize individuals into morning, evening, and indifferently active. Time-related behavioral states were evaluated with 23 visual analog questions. The responses to most analogic questions were significantly different between morning and evening active subjects. Logistic regression analysis identified a group of behaviors more strongly associated with the self-reported activity pattern (common wake up time, highest subjective fatigue, as well as wake up, bedtime, exercise and study preferences). These findings suggested that the patterns of activity presented by normal adults were related to specific common behavioral characteristics that may contribute to peak time.
Abstract in English:Impaired baroreflex sensitivity in diabetes is well described and has been attributed to autonomic diabetic neuropathy. In the present study conducted on acute (10-20 days) streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic rats we examined: 1) cardiac baroreflex sensitivity, assessed by the slope of the linear regression between phenylephrine- or sodium nitroprusside-induced changes in arterial pressure and reflex changes in heart rate (HR) in conscious rats; 2) aortic baroreceptor function by means of the relationship between systolic arterial pressure and aortic depressor nerve (ADN) activity, in anesthetized rats, and 3) bradycardia produced by electrical stimulation of the vagus nerve or by the iv injection of methacholine in anesthetized animals. Reflex bradycardia (-1.4 ± 0.1 vs -1.7 ± 0.1 bpm/mmHg) and tachycardia (-2.1 ± 0.3 vs -3.0 ± 0.2 bpm/mmHg) were reduced in the diabetic group. The gain of the ADN activity relationship was similar in control (1.7 ± 0.1% max/mmHg) and diabetic (1.5 ± 0.1% max/mmHg) animals. The HR response to vagal nerve stimulation with 16, 32 and 64 Hz was 13, 16 and 14% higher, respectively, than the response of STZ-treated rats. The HR response to increasing doses of methacholine was also higher in the diabetic group compared to control animals. Our results confirm the baroreflex dysfunction detected in previous studies on short-term diabetic rats. Moreover, the normal baroreceptor function and the altered HR responses to vagal stimulation or methacholine injection suggest that the efferent limb of the baroreflex is mainly responsible for baroreflex dysfunction in this model of diabetes.
Abstract in English:The aim of the present study was to confirm whether feeding influences the resting breathing rate and to observe possible alterations in blood gas and pH levels produced by feeding in unanesthetized sloths (Bradypus variegatus). Five adult male sloths (4.1 ± 0.6 kg) were placed daily in an experimental chair for a period of at least 4 h for sitting adaptation. Five measurements were made for each sloth. However, the sloths one, two and five were studied once and the sloths three and four were studied twice. Breathing rate was determined with an impedance meter and the output signal was digitized. Arterial blood samples were collected for blood gas analysis with a BGE electrolytes analyzer and adjusted for the animal's body temperature and hemoglobin content. The data are reported as mean ± SD and were collected during the resting period (8:00-10:00 h) and during the feeding period (16:00-18:00 h). The mean breathing rate increased during mastication of ymbahuba leaves (rest: 5.0 ± 1, feeding: 10 ± 1 bpm). No significant alterations were observed in arterial pH (rest: 7.42 ± 0.05, feeding: 7.45 ± 0.03), PCO2 (rest: 35.2 ± 5.3, feeding: 33.3 ± 4.4 mmHg) or PO2 (rest: 77.5 ± 8.2, feeding: 78.4 ± 5.2 mmHg) levels. These results indicate that in unanesthetized sloths 1) feeding evokes an increase in breathing rate without a significant change in arterial pH, PCO2 or PO2 levels, and 2) the increase in breathing rate produced by feeding probably is due to the act of mastication.
Abstract in English:We investigated the effects of adenosine on prolactin (PRL) secretion from rat anterior pituitaries incubated in vitro. The administration of 5-N-methylcarboxamidoadenosine (MECA), an analog agonist that preferentially activates A2 receptors, induced a dose-dependent (1 nM to 1 µM) increase in the levels of PRL released, an effect abolished by 1,3-dipropyl-7-methylxanthine, an antagonist of A2 adenosine receptors. In addition, the basal levels of PRL secretion were decreased by the blockade of cyclooxygenase or lipoxygenase pathways, with indomethacin and nordihydroguaiaretic acid (NDGA), respectively. The stimulatory effects of MECA on PRL secretion persisted even after the addition of indomethacin, but not of NDGA, to the medium. MECA was unable to stimulate PRL secretion in the presence of dopamine, the strongest inhibitor of PRL release that works by inducing a decrease in adenylyl cyclase activity. Furthermore, the addition of adenosine (10 nM) mimicked the effects of MECA on PRL secretion, an effect that persisted regardless of the presence of LiCl (5 mM). The basal secretion of PRL was significatively reduced by LiCl, and restored by the concomitant addition of both LiCl and myo-inositol. These results indicate that PRL secretion is under a multifactorial regulatory mechanism, with the participation of different enzymes, including adenylyl cyclase, inositol-1-phosphatase, cyclooxygenase, and lipoxygenase. However, the increase in PRL secretion observed in the lactotroph in response to A2 adenosine receptor activation probably was mediated by mechanisms involving regulation of adenylyl cyclase, independent of membrane phosphoinositide synthesis or cyclooxygenase activity and partially dependent on lipoxygenase arachidonic acid-derived substances.