• Role of immunoglobulin E and mast cells in murine models of asthma Review

    Mayr, S.I.; Zuberi, R.I.; Liu, F.-T.

    Abstract in English:

    Immunoglobulin E (IgE) and mast cells are believed to play important roles in allergic inflammation. However, their contributions to the pathogenesis of human asthma have not been clearly established. Significant progress has been made recently in our understanding of airway inflammation and airway hyperresponsiveness through studies of murine models of asthma and genetically engineered mice. Some of the studies have provided significant insights into the role of IgE and mast cells in the allergic airway response. In these models mice are immunized systemically with soluble protein antigens and then receive an antigen challenge through the airways. Bronchoalveolar lavage fluid from mice with allergic airway inflammation contains significant amounts of IgE. The IgE can capture the antigen presented to the airways and the immune complexes so formed can augment allergic airway response in a high-affinity IgE receptor (FcepsilonRI)-dependent manner. Previously, there were conflicting reports regarding the role of mast cells in murine models of asthma, based on studies of mast cell-deficient mice. More recent studies have suggested that the extent to which mast cells contribute to murine models of asthma depends on the experimental conditions employed to generate the airway response. This conclusion was further supported by studies using FcepsilonRI-deficient mice. Therefore, IgE-dependent activation of mast cells plays an important role in the development of allergic airway inflammation and airway hyperresponsiveness in mice under specific conditions. The murine models used should be of value for testing inhibitors of IgE or mast cells for the development of therapeutic agents for human asthma.
  • Shared control of maltose and trehalose utilization in Candida utilis Biochemistry and molecular biology

    Rolim, M.F.; de Araujo, P.S.; Panek, A.D.; Paschoalin, V.M.F.; Silva, J.T.

    Abstract in English:

    Trehalose biosynthesis and its hydrolysis have been extensively studied in yeast, but few reports have addressed the catabolism of exogenously supplied trehalose. Here we report the catabolism of exogenous trehalose by Candida utilis. In contrast to the biphasic growth in glucose, the growth of C. utilis in a mineral medium with trehalose as the sole carbon and energy source is aerobic and exhibits the Kluyver effect. Trehalose is transported into the cell by an inducible trehalose transporter (K M of 8 mM and V MAX of 1.8 µmol trehalose min-1 mg cell (dry weight)-1. The activity of the trehalose transporter is high in cells growing in media containing trehalose or maltose and very low or absent during the growth in glucose or glycerol. Similarly, total trehalase activity was increased from about 1.0 mU/mg protein in cells growing in glucose to 39.0 and 56.2 mU/mg protein in cells growing in maltose and trehalose, respectively. Acidic and neutral trehalase activities increased during the growth in trehalose, with neutral trehalase contributing to about 70% of the total activity. In addition to the increased activities of the trehalose transporter and trehalases, growth in trehalose promoted the increase in the activity of alpha-glucosidase and the maltose transporter. These results clearly indicate that maltose and trehalose promote the increase of the enzymatic activities necessary to their catabolism but are also able to stimulate each other's catabolism, as reported to occur in Escherichia coli. We show here for the first time that trehalose induces the catabolism of maltose in yeast.
  • Expression of CYP2A3 mRNA and its regulation by 3-methylcholanthrene, pyrazole, and ß-ionone in rat tissues Biochemistry and molecular biology

    Robottom-Ferreira, A.B.; Aquino, S.R.; Queiroga, R.; Albano, R.M.; Ribeiro Pinto, L.F.

    Abstract in English:

    Cytochrome P450 (CYP) 2A enzymes are involved in the metabolism of numerous drugs and hormones and activate different carcinogens. Human CYP2A6, mouse CYP2A5 and rat CYP2A3 are orthologous enzymes that present high similarity in their amino acid sequence and share substrate specificities. However, different from the human and mouse enzyme, CYP2A3 is not expressed in the rat liver. There are limited data about expression of CYP2A3 in extrahepatic tissues and its regulation by typical CYP inducers. Therefore, the objective of the present study was to analyze CYP2A3 mRNA expression in different rat tissues by RT-PCR, and to study the influence of 3-methylcholanthrene, pyrazole and ß-ionone treatment on its expression. Male Wistar rats were divided into four groups of 5 rats each, and were treated ip for 4 days with 3-methylcholanthrene (25 mg/kg body weight), pyrazole (150 mg/kg body weight), ß-ionone (1 g/kg body weight), or vehicle. Total RNA was extracted from tissues and CYP2A3 mRNA levels were analyzed by semiquantitative RT-PCR. CYP2A3 mRNA was constitutively expressed in the esophagus, lung and nasal epithelium, but not along the intestine, liver, or kidney. CYP2A3 mRNA levels were increased in the esophagus by treatment with 3-methylcholanthrene and pyrazole (17- and 7-fold, respectively), in lung by pyrazole and ß-ionone (3- and 4-fold, respectively, although not statistically significant), in the distal part of the intestine and kidney by 3-methylcholanthrene and pyrazole, and in the proximal part of the intestine by pyrazole. CYP2A3 mRNA was not induced in nasal epithelium, liver or in the middle part of the intestine. These data show that, in the rat, CYP2A3 is constitutively expressed in several extrahepatic tissues and its regulation occurs through a complex mechanism that is essentially tissue specific.
  • Karyotype of cryopreserved bone marrow cells Biochemistry and molecular biology

    Chauffaille, M.L.L.F.; Pinheiro, R.F.; Stefano, J.T.; Kerbauy, J.

    Abstract in English:

    The analysis of chromosomal abnormalities is important for the study of hematological neoplastic disorders since it facilitates classification of the disease. The ability to perform chromosome analysis of cryopreserved malignant marrow or peripheral blast cells is important for retrospective studies. In the present study, we compared the karyotype of fresh bone marrow cells (20 metaphases) to that of cells stored with a simplified cryopreservation method, evaluated the effect of the use of granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) as an in vitro mitotic index stimulator, and compared the cell viability and chromosome morphology of fresh and cryopreserved cells whenever possible (sufficient metaphases for analysis). Twenty-five bone marrow samples from 24 patients with hematological disorders such as acute myeloid leukemia, acute lymphoblastic leukemia, myelodysplastic syndrome, chronic myeloid leukemia, megaloblastic anemia and lymphoma (8, 3, 3, 8, 1, and 1 patients, respectively) were selected at diagnosis, at relapse or during routine follow-up and one sample was obtained from a bone marrow donor after informed consent. Average cell viability before and after freezing was 98.8 and 78.5%, respectively (P < 0.05). Cytogenetic analysis was successful in 76% of fresh cell cultures, as opposed to 52% of cryopreserved samples (P < 0.05). GM-CSF had no proliferative effect before or after freezing. The morphological aspects of the chromosomes in fresh and cryopreserved cells were subjectively the same. The present study shows that cytogenetic analysis of cryopreserved bone marrow cells can be a reliable alternative when fresh cell analysis cannot be done, notwithstanding the reduced viability and lower percent of successful analysis that are associated with freezing.
  • Screening for carbohydrate-binding proteins in extracts of Uruguayan plants Biochemistry and molecular biology

    Plá, A.; Alonso, E.; Batista-Viera, F.; Franco Fraguas, L.

    Abstract in English:

    The presence of carbohydrate-binding proteins, namely lectins, ß-galactosidases and amylases, was determined in aqueous extracts of plants collected in Uruguay. Twenty-six extracts were prepared from 15 Uruguayan plants belonging to 12 Phanerogam families. Among them, 18 extracts caused hemagglutination (HAG) that was inhibited by mono- and disaccharides in 13 cases, indicating the presence of lectins. The other 8 extracts did not cause any HAG with the four systems used to detect HAG activity (rabbit and mouse red cells, trypsin-treated rabbit and mouse red cells). For the extracts prepared from Solanum commersonii, HAG activity and HAG inhibition were similar for those prepared from tubers, leaves and fruits, with the chitocompounds being responsible for all the inhibitions. Purification of the S. commersonii tuber lectin was carried out by affinity chromatography on asialofetuin-Sepharose, and SDS-PAGE under reducing conditions gave a single band of Mr of approximately 80 kDa. The monomer N-acetylglucosamine did not inhibit HAG induced by the purified lectin, but chitobiose inhibited HAG at 24 mM and chitotriose inhibited it at 1 mM. ß-Galactosidase activity was detected in leaves and stems of Cayaponia martiana, and in seeds from Datura ferox. Only traces of amylase activity were detected in some of the extracts analyzed. The present screening increases knowledge about the occurrence of carbohydrate-binding proteins present in regional plants.
  • Effect of an aqueous extract of Phaseolus vulgaris on the properties of tail tendon collagen of rats with streptozotocin-induced diabetes Biochemistry and molecular biology

    Pari, L.; Venkateswaran, S.

    Abstract in English:

    Changes in the structural and functional properties of collagen caused by advanced glycation might be of importance for the etiology of late complications in diabetes. The present study was undertaken to investigate the influence of oral administration of aqueous pod extract (200 mg/kg body weight) of Phaseolus vulgaris, an indigenous plant used in Ayurvedic Medicine in India, on collagen content and characteristics in the tail tendon of streptozotocin-diabetic rats. In diabetic rats, collagen content (117.01 ± 6.84 mg/100 mg tissue) as well as its degree of cross-linking was increased, as shown by increased extent of glycation (21.70 ± 0.90 µg glucose/mg collagen), collagen-linked fluorescence (52.8 ± 3.0 AU/µmol hydroxyproline), shrinkage temperature (71.50 ± 2.50ºC) and decreased acid (1.878 ± 0.062 mg hydroxyproline/100 mg tissue) and pepsin solubility (1.77 ± 0.080 mg hydroxyproline/100 mg tissue). The alpha/ß ratio of acid- (1.69) and pepsin-soluble (2.00) collagen was significantly decreased in streptozotocin-diabetic rats. Administration of P. vulgaris for 45 days to streptozotocin-diabetic rats significantly reduced the accumulation and cross-linking of collagen. The effect of P. vulgaris was compared with that of glibenclamide, a reference drug administered to streptozotocin-diabetic rats at the dose of 600 µg/kg body weight for 45 days by gavage. The effects of P. vulgaris (collagen content, 64.18 ± 1.97; extent of glycation, 12.00 ± 0.53; collagen-linked fluorescence, 33.6 ± 1.9; shrinkage temperature, 57.0 ± 1.0; extent of cross-linking - acid-soluble collagen, 2.572 ± 0.080, and pepsin-soluble collagen, 2.28 ± 0.112) were comparable with those of glibenclamide (collagen content, 71.5 ± 2.04; extent of glycation, 13.00 ± 0.60; collagen-linked fluorescence, 38.9 ± 2.0; shrinkage temperature, 59.0 ± 1.5; extent of cross-linking - acid-soluble collagen, 2.463 ± 0.078, and pepsin-soluble collagen, 2.17 ± 0.104). In conclusion, administration of P. vulgaris pods had a positive influence on the content of collagen and its properties in streptozotocin-diabetic rats.
  • Reproductive ability of pubertal male and female rats Experimental biology

    Zemunik, T.; Peruzovic, M.; Capkun, V.; Zekan, L.; Tomic, S.; Milkovic, K.

    Abstract in English:

    Ten Fisher rats 50 to 55 days of age made up the pubertal group, and ten rats 90 to 95 days of age served as the controls. The testicular and epididymal weights and volumes of the pubertal males were lower than those of the controls (P<0.001). There was also a difference in relative epididymal weight (P<0.001). The sperm of pubertal males was morphologically abnormal in 58.2% of cases, as opposed to only 3.8% in the controls (P<0.001). The mean number of spermatozoa in the control group was 11.9 × 10(6)/ml and their viability was 99.6%, while these values could not be determined for pubertal rats. Serum testosterone was higher in the pubertal animals than in the controls (2.52 ± 1.46 vs 0.92 ± 0.34 nM, P<0.01). The ovaries of control females were heavier than those of pubertal females (P<0.001) but there was no difference in their relative weights. Serum estradiol was similar in both groups (75.5 ± 12.8 vs 81.8 ± 14.7 nM, P>0.05). At the beginning of gestation, the pubertal dams weighed less than the controls (P<0.001) but following uterectomy the body weights were equal. Pubertal dams delivered fewer pups than the controls (8.1 ± 2.5 vs 10.4 ± 1.3, P<0.05). There was no difference in the body weights of their offspring or in the weights of their placentas. The results suggest that, in contrast to their female counterparts, pubertal male rats are not fully mature and have not reached complete reproductive capacity at 50-55 days of age.
  • An experimental model of hemolysis-induced acute pancreatitis Experimental biology

    Saruc, M.; Yuceyar, H.; Turkel, N.; Ozutemiz, O.; Tuzcuoglu, I.; Yuce, G.; Huseyinov, A.

    Abstract in English:

    The literature indicates that acute pancreatitis is a complication of massive hemolysis with a prevalence of about 20%. We describe an experimental model of hemolysis-induced acute pancreatitis. Hemolytic anemia was induced in rats by a single ip injection of 60 mg/kg of 20 mg/ml acetylphenylhydrazine (APH) in 20% (v/v) ethanol on the first experimental day (day 0). One hundred and fifty Wistar albino rats weighing 180-200 g were divided into three groups of 50 animals each: groups 1, 2 and 3 were injected ip with APH, 20% ethanol, and physiological saline, respectively. Ten rats from each group were sacrificed on study days 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. Serum amylase, lipase levels and pancreatic tissue tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and platelet-activating factor (PAF) contents were determined and a histological examination of the pancreas was performed. No hemolysis or pancreatitis was observed in any of the rats in groups 2 and 3. In group 1, massive hemolysis was observed in 35 (70%) of 50 rats, moderate hemolysis in seven (14%), and no hemolysis in eight (16%). Thirty-three of 35 (94.2%) rats with massive hemolysis had hyperamylasemia, and 29 of these rats (82.8%) had histologically proven pancreatitis. The most severe pancreatitis occurred on day 3, as demonstrated by histology. Tissue TNF-alpha and PAF levels were statistically higher in group 1 than in groups 2 and 3. Acute massive hemolysis induced acute pancreatitis, as indicated by histology, in almost 80% of cases. Hemolysis may induce acute pancreatitis by triggering the release of proinflammatory and immunoregulatory cytokines.
  • Changes in red blood cell osmotic fragility induced by total plasma and plasma fractions obtained from rats bearing progressive and regressive variants of the Walker 256 tumor Experimental biology

    Cavalcanti, T.C.; Gregorini, C.C.; Guimarães, F.; Rettori, O.; Vieira-Matos, A.N.

    Abstract in English:

    Two variants (A and B) of the widely employed Walker 256 rat tumor cells are known. When inoculated sc, the A variant produces solid, invasive, highly metastasizing tumors that cause severe systemic effects and death. We have obtained a regressive variant (AR) whose sc growth is slower, resulting in 70-80% regression followed by development of immunity against A and AR variants. Simultaneously with the beginning of tumor regression, a temporary anemia developed (~8 days duration), accompanied by marked splenomegaly (~300%) and changes in red blood cell osmotic fragility, with mean corpuscular fragility increasing from 4.1 to 6.5 g/l NaCl. The possibility was raised that plasma factors associated with the immune response induced these changes. In the present study, we identify and compare the osmotic fragility increasing activity of plasma fractions obtained from A and AR tumor bearers at different stages of tumor development. The results showed that by day 4 compounds precipitating in 60% (NH4)2SO4 and able to increase red blood cell osmotic fragility appeared in the plasma of A and AR tumor bearers. Later, these compounds disappeared from the plasma of A tumor bearers but slightly increased in the plasma of AR tumor bearers. Furthermore, by day 10, compounds precipitating between 60 and 80% (NH4)2SO4 and with similar effects appeared only in plasma of AR tumor bearers. The salt solubility, production kinetics and hemolytic activity of these compounds resemble those of the immunoglobulins. This, together with their preferential increase in rats bearing the AR variant, suggest their association with an immune response against this tumor.
  • Role of nitric oxide of the median preoptic nucleus (MnPO) in the alterations of salivary flow, arterial pressure and heart rate induced by injection of pilocarpine into the MnPO and intraperitoneally Neurosciences and behavior

    Saad, Wilson A.; Guarda, I.F.M.S.; Camargo, L.A.A.; Santos, T.A.F.B.; Guarda, R.S.; Saad, Willian A.; Simões, S.; Antunes Rodrigues, J.

    Abstract in English:

    We investigated the effect of L-NAME, a nitric oxide (NO) inhibitor and sodium nitroprusside (SNP), an NO-donating agent, on pilocarpine-induced alterations in salivary flow, mean arterial blood pressure (MAP) and heart rate (HR) in rats. Male Holtzman rats (250-300 g) were implanted with a stainless steel cannula directly into the median preoptic nucleus (MnPO). Pilocarpine (10, 20, 40, 80, 160 µg) injected into the MnPO induced an increase in salivary secretion (P<0.01). Pilocarpine (1, 2, 4, 8, 16 mg/kg) ip also increased salivary secretion (P<0.01). Injection of L-NAME (40 µg) into the MnPO prior to pilocarpine (10, 20, 40, 80, 160 µg) injected into the MnPO or ip (1, 2, 4, 8, 16 mg/kg) increased salivary secretion (P<0.01). SNP (30 µg) injected into the MnPO or ip prior to pilocarpine attenuated salivary secretion (P<0.01). Pilocarpine (40 µg) injection into the MnPO increased MAP and decreased HR (P<0.01). Pilocarpine (4 mg/kg body weight) ip produced a decrease in MAP and an increase in HR (P<0.01). Injection of L-NAME (40 µg) into the MnPO prior to pilocarpine potentiated the increase in MAP and reduced HR (P<0.01). SNP (30 µg) injected into the MnPO prior to pilocarpine attenuated (100%) the effect of pilocarpine on MAP, with no effect on HR. Administration of L-NAME (40 µg) into the MnPO potentiated the effect of pilocarpine injected ip. SNP (30 µg) injected into the MnPO attenuated the effect of ip pilocarpine on MAP and HR. The present study suggests that in the rat MnPO 1) NO is important for the effects of pilocarpine on salivary flow, and 2) pilocarpine interferes with blood pressure and HR (side effects of pilocarpine), that is attenuated by NO.
  • The modulation of simple reaction time by the spatial probability of a visual stimulus Neurosciences and behavior

    Carreiro, L.R.R.; Haddad Jr., H.; Baldo, M.V.C.

    Abstract in English:

    Simple reaction time (SRT) in response to visual stimuli can be influenced by many stimulus features. The speed and accuracy with which observers respond to a visual stimulus may be improved by prior knowledge about the stimulus location, which can be obtained by manipulating the spatial probability of the stimulus. However, when higher spatial probability is achieved by holding constant the stimulus location throughout successive trials, the resulting improvement in performance can also be due to local sensory facilitation caused by the recurrent spatial location of a visual target (position priming). The main objective of the present investigation was to quantitatively evaluate the modulation of SRT by the spatial probability structure of a visual stimulus. In two experiments the volunteers had to respond as quickly as possible to the visual target presented on a computer screen by pressing an optic key with the index finger of the dominant hand. Experiment 1 (N = 14) investigated how SRT changed as a function of both the different levels of spatial probability and the subject's explicit knowledge about the precise probability structure of visual stimulation. We found a gradual decrease in SRT with increasing spatial probability of a visual target regardless of the observer's previous knowledge concerning the spatial probability of the stimulus. Error rates, below 2%, were independent of the spatial probability structure of the visual stimulus, suggesting the absence of a speed-accuracy trade-off. Experiment 2 (N = 12) examined whether changes in SRT in response to a spatially recurrent visual target might be accounted for simply by sensory and temporally local facilitation. The findings indicated that the decrease in SRT brought about by a spatially recurrent target was associated with its spatial predictability, and could not be accounted for solely in terms of sensory priming.
  • Evidence of hemispheric specialization in marmosets (Callithrix penicillata) using tympanic membrane thermometry Neurosciences and behavior

    Tomaz, C.; Verburg, M.S.; Boere, V.; Pianta, T.F.; Belo, M.

    Abstract in English:

    Recent studies have employed tympanic thermometry to assess lateralization of cognitive and emotional functions in primates. However, no studies using this technique have investigated the possibility of hemispheric specialization in New World monkeys. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to investigate tympanic membrane (TM) temperature asymmetries and their possible correlation with stress responses in marmosets (Callithrix penicillata). Infrared TM thermometry was completed bilaterally in 24 animals (14 males and 10 females) during a stressful situation of capture and restraint. There were no significant differences between gender. A significant negative correlation was observed between TM temperature of the right ear and the number of captures (r = -0.633; P<0.001). Subjects with a more frequent previous history of captures (5 to 9 captures; N = 11) showed lower TM temperature when compared to those with fewer previous captures (1 to 4 captures; N = 13). No differences were observed for the left TM temperature. These results suggest that under intense emotional challenge (capture and restraint) there is a stronger activation of the neural structures situated in the right brain hemisphere. Taken together, the data reveal for the first time evidence of hemispheric specialization in emotional physiological processing in a New World monkey.
  • Association of apolipoprotein E polymorphism in late-onset Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia in Brazilians Neurosciences and behavior

    Souza, D.R.S.; De Godoy, M.R.; Hotta, J.; Tajara, E.H.; Brandão, A.C.; Pinheiro Júnior, S.; Tognola, W.A.; Dos Santos, J.E.

    Abstract in English:

    The genetic basis for dementias is complex. A common polymorphism in the apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene is considered to be the major risk factor in families with sporadic and late-onset Alzheimer's disease as well as in the general population. The distribution of alleles and genotypes of the APOE gene in late-onset Alzheimer's disease (N = 68), other late-life dementias (N = 39), and in cognitively normal controls (N = 58) was determined, as also was the risk for Alzheimer's disease associated with the epsilon4 allele. Peripheral blood samples were obtained from a total of 165 individuals living in Brazil aged 65-82 years. Genomic DNA was amplified by the polymerase chain reaction and the products were digested with HhaI restriction enzyme. APOE epsilon2 frequency was considerably lower in the Alzheimer's disease group (1%), and the epsilon3 allele and epsilon3/epsilon3 genotype frequencies were higher in the controls (84 and 72%, respectively) as were the epsilon4 allele and epsilon3/epsilon4 genotype frequencies in Alzheimer's disease (25 and 41%, respectively). The higher frequency of the epsilon4 allele in Alzheimer's disease confirmed its role as a risk factor, while epsilon2 provided a weak protection against development of the disease. However, in view of the unexpectedly low frequency of the epsilon4 allele, additional analyses in a more varied Brazilian sample are needed to clarify the real contribution of apolipoprotein E to the development of Alzheimer's disease in this population.
  • Decreased left temporal lobe volume of panic patients measured by magnetic resonance imaging Neurosciences and behavior

    Uchida, R.R.; Del-Ben, C.M.; Santos, A.C.; Araújo, D.; Crippa, J.A.; Guimarães, F.S.; Graeff, F.G.

    Abstract in English:

    Reported neuroimaging studies have shown functional and morphological changes of temporal lobe structures in panic patients, but only one used a volumetric method. The aim of the present study was to determine the volume of temporal lobe structures in patients with panic disorder, measured by magnetic resonance imaging. Eleven panic patients and eleven controls matched for age, sex, handedness, socioeconomic status and years of education participated in the study. The mean volume of the left temporal lobe of panic patients was 9% smaller than that of controls (t21 = 2.37, P = 0.028). In addition, there was a trend (P values between 0.05 and 0.10) to smaller volumes of the right temporal lobe (7%, t21 = 1.99, P = 0.06), right amygdala (8%, t21 = 1.83, P = 0.08), left amygdala (5%, t21 = 1.78, P = 0.09) and left hippocampus (9%, t21 = 1.93, P = 0.07) in panic patients compared to controls. There was a positive correlation between left hippocampal volume and duration of panic disorder (r = 0.67, P = 0.025), with recent cases showing more reduction than older cases. The present results show that panic patients have a decreased volume of the left temporal lobe and indicate the presence of volumetric abnormalities of temporal lobe structures.
  • Adverse pregnancy outcome in rats following exposure to a Salacia reticulata (Celastraceae) root extract Pharmacology

    Ratnasooriya, W.D.; Jayakody, J.R.A.C.; Premakumara, G.A.S.

    Abstract in English:

    The root extract of Salacia reticulata Wight (family: Celastraceae) is used in Sri Lanka by traditional practitioners as a herbal therapy for glycemic control even during pregnancy. It is recognized that some clinically used antidiabetic drugs have harmful effects on pregnancy but the effects of the S. reticulata root extract on reproductive outcome is unknown and deserves examination. We determined the effects of the S. reticulata root extract on the reproductive outcome of Wistar rats (250-260 g) when administered orally (10 g/kg) during early (days 1-7) and mid- (days 7-14) pregnancy. The root extract significantly (P<0.05) enhanced post-implantation losses (control vs treatment: early pregnancy, 4.7 ± 2.4 vs 49.3 ± 13%; mid-pregnancy, 4.7 ± 2.4 vs 41.7 ± 16.1%). Gestational length was unaltered but the pups born had a low birth weight (P<0.05) (early pregnancy, 6.8 ± 0.1 vs 5.3 ± 0.1 g; mid-pregnancy, 6.8 ± 0.1 vs 5.0 ± 0.1 g) and low birth index (P<0.05) (early pregnancy, 95.2 ± 2.4 vs 50.7 ± 12.9%; mid-pregnancy, 95.2 ± 2.4 vs 58.3 ± 16.1%), fetal survival ratio (P<0.05) (early pregnancy, 95.2 ± 2.4 vs 50.7 ± 12.9; mid-pregnancy, 95.2 ± 2.4 vs 58.3 ± 16.1), and viability index (P<0.05) (early pregnancy, 94.9 ± 2.6 vs 49.5 ± 12.5%; mid-pregnancy, 94.9 ± 2.6 vs 57.1 ± 16.1%). However, the root extract was non-teratogenic. We conclude that the S. reticulata root extract can be hazardous to successful pregnancy in women and should not be used in pregnancy complicated by diabetes.
  • 4-Aminopyridine inhibits the neuromuscular effects of nitric oxide and 8-Br-cGMP Pharmacology

    Queiroz, R.N.; Ramos, E.R.P.; Alves-Do-Prado, W.

    Abstract in English:

    The effects induced by nitric oxide (NO) in different tissues depend on direct and/or indirect interactions with K+ channels. The indirect interaction of NO is produced by activation of guanylyl cyclase which increases the intracellular cGMP. Since NO, cGMP and 4-aminopyridine alone induce tetanic fade and increase amplitude of muscular contractions in isolated rat neuromuscular preparations, the present study was undertaken to determine whether or not the neuromuscular effects of NO and 8-Br-cGMP can be modified by 4-aminopyridine. Using the phrenic nerve and diaphragm muscle isolated from male Wistar rats (200-250 g), we observed that L-arginine (4.7 mM) and 8-Br-cGMP (18 µM), in contrast to D-arginine, induced an increase in the amplitude of muscle contraction (10.5 ± 0.7%, N = 10 and 8.0 ± 0.7%, N = 10) and tetanic fade (15 ± 2.0%, N = 8 and 11.6 ± 1.7%, N = 8) at 0.2 and 50 Hz, respectively. N G-nitro-L-arginine (4 mM, N = 8 and 8 mM, N = 8) antagonized the effects of L-arginine. 4-Aminopyridine (1 and 10 µM) caused a dose-dependent increase in the amplitude of muscle contraction (15 ± 1.8%, N = 9 and 40 ± 3.1%, N = 10) and tetanic fade (17.7 ± 3.3%, N = 8 and 37.4 ± 1.3%, N = 8). 4-Aminopyridine (1 µM, N = 8) did not cause any change in muscle contraction amplitude or tetanic fade of preparations previously paralyzed with d-tubocurarine or stimulated directly. The effects induced by 4-aminopyridine alone were similar to those observed when the drug was administered in combination with L-arginine or 8-Br-cGMP. The data suggest that the blockage of K+ channels produced by 4-aminopyridine inhibits the neuromuscular effects induced by NO and 8-Br-cGMP. Therefore, the presynaptic effects induced by NO seem to depend on indirect interactions with K+ channels.
  • Oral administration of L-arginine decreases blood pressure and increases renal excretion of sodium and water in renovascular hypertensive rats Physiology and biophysics

    Gouvêa, S.A.; Moysés, M.R.; Bissoli, N.S.; Pires, J.G.P.; Cabral, A.M.; Abreu, G.R.

    Abstract in English:

    The two-kidney, one-clip renovascular (2K1C) hypertension model is characterized by a reduction in renal flow on the clipped artery that activates the renin-angiotensin system. Endothelium dysfunction, including diminished nitric oxide production, is also believed to play a role in the pathophysiology of this model. Some studies have shown an effect of L-arginine (L-Arg, a nitric oxide precursor) on hypertension. In the present study we determined the ability of L-Arg (7 days of treatment) to reduce blood pressure and alter renal excretions of water, Na+ and K+ in a model of 2K1C-induced hypertension. Under ether anesthesia, male Wistar rats (150-170 g) had a silver clip (0.20 mm) placed around the left renal artery to produce the 2K1C renovascular hypertension model. In the experimental group, the drinking water was replaced with an L-Arg solution (10 mg/ml; average intake of 300 mg/day) from the 7th to the 14th day after surgery. Sham-operated rats were used as controls. At the end of the treatment period, mean blood pressure was measured in conscious animals. The animals were then killed and the kidneys were removed and weighed. There was a significant reduction of mean blood pressure in the L-Arg-treated group when compared to control (129 ± 7 vs 168 ± 6 mmHg, N = 8-10 per group; P<0.05). Concomitantly, a significant enhancement of water and Na+ excretion was observed in the 2K1C L-Arg-treated group when compared to control (water: 13.0 ± 0.7 vs 9.2 ± 0.5 ml/day, P<0.01; Na+: 1.1 ± 0.05 vs 0.8 ± 0.05 mEq/day, respectively, P<0.01). These results show that orally administered L-Arg acts on the kidney, possibly inducing changes in renal hemodynamics or tubular transport due to an increase in nitric oxide formation.
  • Electrophysiological evidence for glial-subtype glutamate transporter functional expression in rat cerebellar granule neurons Physiology and biophysics

    Mafra, R.A.; Leão, R.M.; Beirão, P.S.L.; Cruz, J.S.

    Abstract in English:

    A glutamate-sensitive inward current (Iglu) is described in rat cerebellar granule neurons and related to a glutamate transport mechanism. We examined the features of Iglu using the patch-clamp technique. In steady-state conditions the Iglu measured 8.14 ± 1.9 pA. Iglu was identified as a voltage-dependent inward current showing a strong rectification at positive potentials. L-Glutamate activated the inward current in a dose-dependent manner, with a half-maximal effect at about 18 µM and a maximum increase of 51.2 ± 4.4%. The inward current was blocked by the presence of dihydrokainate (0.5 mM), shown by others to readily block the GLT1 isoform. We thus speculate that Iglu could be attributed to the presence of a native glutamate transporter in cerebellar granule neurons.
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