• Apoptotic mimicry: an altruistic behavior in host/Leishmania interplay Review

    Wanderley, J.L.M.; Benjamin, A.; Real, F.; Bonomo, A.; Moreira, M.E.C.; Barcinski, M.A.

    Abstract in English:

    Apoptosis is the most common phenotype observed when cells die through programmed cell death. The morphologic and biochemical changes that characterize apoptotic cells depend on the activation of a diverse set of genes. Apoptosis is essential for multicellular organisms since their development and homeostasis are dependent on extensive cell renewal. In fact, there is strong evidence for the correlation between the emergence of multicellular organisms and apoptosis during evolution. On the other hand, no obvious advantages can be envisaged for unicellular organisms to carry the complex machinery required for programmed cell death. However, accumulating evidence shows that free-living and parasitic protozoa as well as yeasts display apoptotic markers. This phenomenon has been related to altruistic behavior, when a subpopulation of protozoa or yeasts dies by apoptosis, with clear benefits for the entire population. Recently, phosphatidylserine (PS) exposure and its recognition by a specific receptor (PSR) were implicated in the infectivity of amastigote forms of Leishmania, an obligatory vertebrate intramacrophagic parasite, showing for the first time that unicellular organisms use apoptotic features for the establishment and/or maintenance of infection. Here we focus on PS exposure in the outer leaflet of the plasma membrane - an early hallmark of apoptosis - and how it modulates the inflammatory activity of phagocytic cells. We also discuss the possible mechanisms by which PS exposure can define Leishmania survival inside host cells and the evolutionary implications of apoptosis at the unicellular level.
  • Viral membrane fusion: is glycoprotein G of rhabdoviruses a representative of a new class of viral fusion proteins? Review

    Da Poian, A.T.; Carneiro, F.A.; Stauffer, F.

    Abstract in English:

    Enveloped viruses always gain entry into the cytoplasm by fusion of their lipid envelope with a cell membrane. Some enveloped viruses fuse directly with the host cell plasma membrane after virus binding to the cell receptor. Other enveloped viruses enter the cells by the endocytic pathway, and fusion depends on the acidification of the endosomal compartment. In both cases, virus-induced membrane fusion is triggered by conformational changes in viral envelope glycoproteins. Two different classes of viral fusion proteins have been described on the basis of their molecular architecture. Several structural data permitted the elucidation of the mechanisms of membrane fusion mediated by class I and class II fusion proteins. In this article, we review a number of results obtained by our laboratory and by others that suggest that the mechanisms involved in rhabdovirus fusion are different from those used by the two well-studied classes of viral glycoproteins. We focus our discussion on the electrostatic nature of virus binding and interaction with membranes, especially through phosphatidylserine, and on the reversibility of the conformational changes of the rhabdovirus glycoprotein involved in fusion. Taken together, these data suggest the existence of a third class of fusion proteins and support the idea that new insights should emerge from studies of membrane fusion mediated by the G protein of rhabdoviruses. In particular, the elucidation of the three-dimensional structure of the G protein or even of the fusion peptide at different pH's might provide valuable information for understanding the fusion mechanism of this new class of fusion proteins.
  • Schwann cells for spinal cord repair Review

    Oudega, M.; Moon, L.D.F.; de Almeida Leme, R.J.

    Abstract in English:

    The complex nature of spinal cord injury appears to demand a multifactorial repair strategy. One of the components that will likely be included is an implant that will fill the area of lost nervous tissue and provide a growth substrate for injured axons. Here we will discuss the role of Schwann cells (SCs) in cell-based, surgical repair strategies of the injured adult spinal cord. We will review key studies that showed that intraspinal SC grafts limit injury-induced tissue loss and promote axonal regeneration and myelination, and that this response can be improved by adding neurotrophic factors or anti-inflammatory agents. These results will be compared with several other approaches to the repair of the spinal cord. A general concern with repair strategies is the limited functional recovery, which is in large part due to the failure of axons to grow across the scar tissue at the distal graft-spinal cord interface. Consequently, new synaptic connections with spinal neurons involved in motor function are not formed. We will highlight repair approaches that did result in growth across the scar and discuss the necessity for more studies involving larger, clinically relevant types of injuries, addressing this specific issue. Finally, this review will reflect on the prospect of SCs for repair strategies in the clinic.
  • Typing class I HLA-A gene using a nested PCR-RFLP procedure Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

    Castelli, E.C.; Gil, D.S.; Veiga, L.C.S.; de Camargo, J.L.V.

    Abstract in English:

    In order to detect several new HLA-A class I alleles that have been described since 1998, the original PCR-RFLP method developed to identify the 78 alleles recognized at that time at high resolution level was adapted by us for low and medium resolution levels using a nested PCR-RFLP approach. The results obtained from blood samples of 23 subjects using both the PCR-RFLP method and a commercial kit (MicroSSP1A®, One Lambda Inc.) showed an agreement higher than 95%. The PCR-RFLP adapted method was effective in low and medium resolution histocompatibility evaluations.
  • Molecular epidemiology of type 1 and 2 dengue viruses in Brazil from 1988 to 2001 Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

    Pires Neto, R.J.; Lima, D.M.; de Paula, S.O.; Lima, C.M.; Rocco, I.M.; Fonseca, B.A.L.

    Abstract in English:

    Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral infection that in recent decades has become a major international public health concern. Epidemic dengue fever reemerged in Brazil in 1981. Since 1990 more than one dengue virus serotype has been circulating in this tropical country and increasing rates of dengue hemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome have been detected every year. Some evidence supports the association between the introduction of a new serotype and/or genotype in a region and the appearance of dengue hemorrhagic fever. In order to study the evolutionary relationships and possible detection of the introduction of new dengue virus genotypes in Brazil in the last years, we analyzed partial nucleotide sequences of 52 Brazilian samples of both dengue type 1 and dengue type 2 isolated from 1988 to 2001 from highly endemic regions. A 240-nucleotide-long sequence from the envelope/nonstructural protein 1 gene junction was used for phylogenetic analysis. After comparing the nucleotide sequences originally obtained in this study to those previously studied by others, and analyzing the phylogenetic trees, we conclude that, after the initial introduction of the currently circulating dengue-1 and dengue-2 genotypes in Brazil, there has been no evidence of introduction of new genotypes since 1988. The increasing number of dengue hemorrhagic fever cases seen in Brazil in the last years is probably associated with secondary infections or with the introduction of new serotypes but not with the introduction of new genotypes.
  • A multiplex PCR assay able to simultaneously detect Torque teno virus isolates from phylogenetic groups 1 to 5 Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

    Devalle, S.; Niel, C.

    Abstract in English:

    Torque teno virus (TTV) is a circular, single-stranded DNA virus that chronically infects healthy individuals of all ages worldwide. TTV has an extreme genetic heterogeneity which is reflected in its current classification into five main phylogenetic groups (1-5). Using specific PCR assays, it has been shown that many individuals are co-infected with TTV isolates belonging to different phylogenetic groups. Here, a multiplex PCR assay was developed, using five recombinant plasmids. Each plasmid carried an insert of different size issued from a TTV isolate belonging to a different group. The assay was able to simultaneously amplify DNAs of TTV isolates belonging to all five phylogenetic groups. Multiplex PCR was then tested satisfactorily on DNAs extracted from 55 serum samples (47 health care workers and 8 AIDS patients). All individuals but nine were infected with at least one TTV isolate. Co-infection with multiple isolates was found in 29/47 (62%) health care workers and in 8/8 (100%) AIDS patients. A number of discrepancies were observed when results obtained with three thermostable DNA polymerases were compared. For example, four TTV phylogenetic groups were detected in a particular serum sample by using one of the three DNA polymerases, whereas the other two enzymes were able to detect only three TTV groups. However, none of the three enzymes used could be broadly considered to be more efficient than the others. Despite its limitations, the assay described here constitutes a suitable tool to visualize the degree of co-infection of a given population, avoiding time-consuming experiments.
  • A continuous fluorescent assay for the determination of plasma and tissue angiotensin I-converting enzyme activity Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

    Alves, M.F.; Araujo, M.C.; Juliano, M.A.; Oliveira, E.M.; Krieger, J.E.; Casarini, D.E.; Juliano, L.; Carmona, A.K.

    Abstract in English:

    A continuous assay using internally quenched fluorescent peptides with the general sequence Abz-peptidyl-(Dnp)P-OH (Abz = ortho-aminobenzoic acid; Dnp = 2,4-dinitrophenyl) was optimized for the measurement of angiotensin I-converting enzyme (ACE) in human plasma and rat tissues. Abz-FRK(Dnp)P-OH, which was cleaved at the Arg-Lys bond by ACE, was used for the enzyme evaluation in human plasma. Enzymatic activity was monitored by continuous recording of the fluorescence (lambdaex = 320 nm and lambdaem = 420 nm) at 37ºC, in 0.1 M Tris-HCl buffer, pH 7.0, with 50 mM NaCl and 10 µM ZnCl2. The assays can be performed directly in the cuvette of the fluorimeter and the hydrolysis followed for 5 to 10 min. ACE measurements in the plasma of 80 healthy patients with Hip-His-Leu and with Abz-FRK(Dnp)P-OH correlated closely (r = 0.90, P < 0.001). The specificity of the assay was demonstrated by the complete inhibition of hydrolysis by 0.5 µM lisinopril or captopril. Abz-FRK(Dnp)P-OH cleavage by ACE was monitored in rat lung, kidney, heart, and liver homogenates in the presence of a cocktail of inhibitors containing trans-epoxy-succinyl-L-leucylamido-(4-guanido)-butene, pepstatin, phenyl-methylsulfonyl fluoride, N-tosyl-L-phenylalanyl-chloromethyl ketone, and N-tosyl-lysyl-chloromethyl ketone to prevent undesirable hydrolysis. ACE activity in lung, heart and kidney homogenates, but not in liver homogenates, was completely abolished by 0.5 µM lisinopril or captopril. The advantages of the method are the procedural simplicity and the high sensitivity providing a rapid assay for ACE determinations.
  • Maturation of pig oocytes in vitro in a medium with pyruvate Cell Biology

    Gonzales-Figueroa, H.; Gonzales-Molfino, H.M.

    Abstract in English:

    The aim of in vitro maturation oocyte systems is to produce oocytes of comparable quality to those derived in vivo. The present study was designed to examine the surface morphological changes of the cumulus-oocyte complex (COC) and nuclear maturation in a culture system containing pyruvate. Ovaries were obtained from a slaughterhouseand transported to the laboratory within 2 h at 35-39ºC,and rinsed three times in 0.9% NaCl. The COCs were harvested from the ovaries and in vitro maturation was evaluated in San Marcos (SM) medium, a chemically defined culture system containing 22.3 mM sodium pyruvate. Oocytes were cultured in SM, SM + porcine follicular fluid (pFF) and in SM + pFF + gonadotropins (eCG and hCG) for 20-22 h and then without hormonal supplements for an additional 20-22 h. After culture, the degree of cumulus expansion and frequency of nuclear maturation were determined. Oocytes matured in SM (40.9%) and SM + pFF (42.9%) showed moderate cumulus expansion, whereas oocytes matured in SM + pFF + gonadotropins (54.6%) showed high cumulus expansion. The maturation rate of cultured oocytes, measured in function of the presence of the polar corpuscle, did not differ significantly between SM (40.9 ± 3.6%) and SM + pFF (42.9 ± 3.7%). These results indicate that pig oocytes can be successfully matured in a chemically definedmedium and suggest a possible bifunctional role of pyruvate as an energy substrate and as an antioxidant protecting oocytes against the stress of the in vitro environment.
  • Short-lasting systemic and regional benefits of early crystalloid infusion after intravenous inoculation of dogs with live Escherichia coli Experimental Biology

    Garrido, A.G.; Poli de Figueiredo, L.F.; Cruz Jr., R.J.; Silva, E.; Rocha e Silva, M.

    Abstract in English:

    We investigated the systemic and regional hemodynamic effects of early crystalloid infusion in an experimental model of septic shock induced by intravenous inoculation with live Escherichia coli. Anesthetized dogs received an intravenous infusion of 1.2 x 10(10) cfu/kg live E. coli in 30 min. After 30 min of observation, they were randomized to controls (no fluids; N = 7), or fluid resuscitation with lactated Ringer's solution, 16 ml/kg (N = 7) or 32 ml/kg (N = 7) over 30 min and followed for 120 min. Cardiac index, portal blood flow, mean arterial pressure, systemic and regional oxygen-derived variables, blood lactate, and gastric PCO2 were assessed. Rapid and progressive cardiovascular deterioration with reduction in cardiac output, mean arterial pressure and portal blood flow (~50, ~25 and ~70%, respectively) was induced by the live bacteria challenge. Systemic and regional territories showed significant increases in oxygen extraction and in lactate levels. Significant increases in venous-arterial (~9.6 mmHg), portal-arterial (~12.1 mmHg) and gastric mucosal-arterial (~18.4 mmHg) PCO2 gradients were also observed. Early fluid replacement, especially with 32 ml/kg volumes of crystalloids, promoted only partial and transient benefits such as increases of ~76% in cardiac index, of ~50% in portal vein blood flow and decreases in venous-arterial, portal-arterial, gastric mucosal-arterial PCO2 gradients (7.2 ± 1.0, 7.2 ± 1.3 and 9.7 ± 2.5 mmHg, respectively). The fluid infusion promoted only modest and transient benefits, unable to restore the systemic and regional perfusional and metabolic changes in this hypodynamic septic shock model.
  • Hypoglycemic activity of polysaccharide fractions containing ß-glucans from extracts of Rhynchelytrum repens (Willd.) C.E. Hubb., Poaceae Experimental Biology

    De Paula, A.C.C.F.F.; Sousa, R.V.; Figueiredo-Ribeiro, R.C.L.; Buckeridge, M.S.

    Abstract in English:

    ß-Glucans are soluble fibers with physiological functions, such as interference with absorption of sugars and reduction of serum lipid levels. The objective of the present study was to analyze the distribution of ß-glucans in different tissues of the African grass species Rhynchelytrum repens and also to evaluate their hypoglycemic activity. Leaf blades, sheaths, stems, and young leaves of R. repens were submitted to extraction with 4 M KOH. Analysis of the fractions revealed the presence of arabinose, glucose, xylose, and traces of rhamnose and galactose. The presence of ß-glucan in these fractions was confirmed by hydrolyzing the polymers with endo-ß-glucanase from Bacillus subtilis, followed by HPLC analysis of the characteristic oligosaccharides produced. The 4 M KOH fractions from different tissues were subjected to gel permeation chromatography on Sepharose 4B, with separation of polysaccharides with different degrees of polymerization, the highest molecular mass (above 2000 kDa) being found in young leaves. The molecular mass of the leaf blade polymers was similar (250 kDa) to that of maize coleoptile ß-glucan used for comparison. The 4 M KOH fraction injected into rats with streptozotocin-induced diabetes showed hypoglycemic activity, reducing blood sugar to normal levels for approximately 24 h. This performance was better than that obtained with pure ß-glucan from barley, which decreased blood sugar levels for about 4 h. These results suggest that the activity of ß-glucans from R. repens is responsible for the use of this plant extract as a hypoglycemic drug in folk medicine.
  • Preoperative cobalt60 irradiation delays the healing of rectal anastomoses in rats Experimental Biology

    Fang, C.B.; Klug, W.A.; Capelhuchnik, P.

    Abstract in English:

    The healing of colorectal anastomoses after irradiation therapy continues to be a major concern. The authors evaluated the healing of rectal anastomoses in a rat model after a preoperative 500-cGy dose of cobalt60 irradiation. Thirty-six male Wistar rats were divided into two equal groups: control (group A), and irradiation group (group B). Group B received a single 500-cGy dose of irradiation, and a rectal resection and end-to-end anastomosis was performed in both groups on the 7th day after irradiation. Parameters of the healing process included bursting pressure and collagen content on the 5th, 7th, and 14th days after surgery. In the irradiation group, the mean bursting pressure on the 5th, 7th, and 14th days was 116, 218, and 273 mmHg, respectively. The collagen content assessed by histomorphometry was 9.0, 20.8, and 32%, respectively. In contrast, the control group had a mean bursting pressure of 175, 225 and 263 mmHg, and a collagen content of 17.8, 28.1, and 32.1%, respectively. The adverse effect of irradiation on healing was detectable only on the 5th postoperative day, as demonstrated by lower bursting pressure (P < 0.013) and collagen content (P < 0.008). However, there was no failure of anastomotic healing such as leakage or dehiscence due to irradiation. We conclude that a single preoperative 500-cGy dose of irradiation delays the healing of rectal anastomosis in rats.
  • Cytotoxicity and genotoxicity of low doses of mercury chloride and methylmercury chloride on human lymphocytes in vitro Experimental Biology

    Silva-Pereira, L.C.; Cardoso, P.C.S.; Leite, D.S.; Bahia, M.O.; Bastos, W.R.; Smith, M.A.C.; Burbano, R.R.

    Abstract in English:

    Mercury is a xenobiotic metal that is a highly deleterious environmental pollutant. The biotransformation of mercury chloride (HgCl2) into methylmercury chloride (CH3HgCl) in aquatic environments is well-known and humans are exposed by consumption of contaminated fish, shellfish and algae. The objective of the present study was to determine the changes induced in vitro by two mercury compounds (HgCl2 and CH3HgCl) in cultured human lymphocytes. Short-term human leukocyte cultures from 10 healthy donors (5 females and 5 males) were set-up by adding drops of whole blood in complete medium. Cultures were separately and simultaneously treated with low doses (0.1 to 1000 µg/l) of HgCl2 and CH3HgCl and incubated at 37ºC for 48 h. Genotoxicity was assessed by chromosome aberrations and polyploid cells. Mitotic index was used as a measure of cytotoxicity. A significant increase (P < 0.05) in the relative frequency of chromosome aberrations was observed for all concentrations of CH3HgCl when compared to control, whether alone or in an evident sinergistic combination with HgCl2. The frequency of polyploid cells was also significantly increased (P < 0.05) when compared to control after exposure to all concentrations of CH3HgCl alone or in combination with HgCl2. CH3HgCl significantly decreased (P < 0.05) the mitotic index at 100 and 1000 µg/l alone, and at 1, 10, 100, and 1000 µg/l when combined with HgCl2, showing a synergistic cytotoxic effect. Our data showed that low concentrations of CH3HgCl might be cytotoxic/genotoxic. Such effects may indicate early cellular changes with possible biological consequences and should be considered in the preliminary evaluation of the risks of populations exposed in vivo to low doses of mercury.
  • Leptospira interrogans activation of peripheral blood monocyte glycolipoprotein demonstrated in whole blood by the release of IL-6 Immunology

    Dorigatti, F.; Brunialti, M.K.C.; Romero, E.C.; Kallas, E.G.; Salomão, R.

    Abstract in English:

    Glycolipoprotein (GLP) from pathogenic serovars of Leptospira has been implicated in the pathogenesis of leptospirosis by its presence in tissues of experimental animals with leptospirosis, the inhibition of the Na,K-ATPase pump activity, and induced production of cytokines. The aims of the present study were to investigate the induction of IL-6 by GLP in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) and to demonstrate monocyte stimulation at the cellular level in whole blood from healthy volunteers. PBMC were stimulated with increasing concentrations (5 to 2500 ng/ml) of GLP extracted from the pathogenic L. interrogans serovar Copenhageni, lipopolysaccharide (positive control) or medium (negative control), and supernatants were collected after 6, 20/24, and 48 h, and kept at -80ºC until use. Whole blood was diluted 1:1 in RPMI medium and cultivated for 6 h, with medium, GLP and lipopolysaccharide as described above. Monensin was added after the first hour of culture. Supernatant cytokine levels from PBMC were measured by ELISA and intracellular IL-6 was detected in monocytes in whole blood cultures by flow-cytometry. Monocytes were identified in whole blood on the basis of forward versus side scatter parameters and positive reactions with CD45 and CD14 antibodies. GLP ( > or = 50 ng/ml)-induced IL-6 levels in supernatants were detected after 6-h incubation, reaching a peak after 20/24 h. The percentage of monocytes staining for IL-6 increased with increasing GLP concentration. Thus, our findings show a GLP-induced cellular activation by demonstrating the ability of GLP to induce IL-6 and the occurrence of monocyte activation in whole blood at the cellular level.
  • Density, proportion, and dendritic coverage of retinal ganglion cells of the common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus jacchus) Neurosciences and Behavior

    Gomes, F.L.; Silveira, L.C.L.; Saito, C.A.; Yamada, E.S.

    Abstract in English:

    We performed a quantitative analysis of M and P cell mosaics of the common-marmoset retina. Ganglion cells were labeled retrogradely from optic nerve deposits of Biocytin. The labeling was visualized using horseradish peroxidase (HRP) histochemistry and 3-3'diaminobenzidine as chromogen. M and P cells were morphologically similar to those found in Old- and New-World primates. Measurements were performed on well-stained cells from 4 retinas of different animals. We analyzed separate mosaics for inner and outer M and P cells at increasing distances from the fovea (2.5-9 mm of eccentricity) to estimate cell density, proportion, and dendritic coverage. M cell density decreased towards the retinal periphery in all quadrants. M cell density was higher in the nasal quadrant than in other retinal regions at similar eccentricities, reaching about 740 cells/mm² at 2.5 mm of temporal eccentricity, and representing 8-14% of all ganglion cells. P cell density increased from peripheral to more central regions, reaching about 5540 cells/mm² at 2.5 mm of temporal eccentricity. P cells represented a smaller proportion of all ganglion cells in the nasal quadrant than in other quadrants, and their numbers increased towards central retinal regions. The M cell coverage factor ranged from 5 to 12 and the P cell coverage factor ranged from 1 to 3 in the nasal quadrant and from 5 to 12 in the other quadrants. These results show that central and peripheral retinal regions differ in terms of cell class proportions and dendritic coverage, and their properties do not result from simply scaling down cell density. Therefore, differences in functional properties between central and peripheral vision should take these distinct regional retinal characteristics into account.
  • Quantitative evidence for neurofilament heavy subunit aggregation in motor neurons of spinal cords of patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis Neurosciences and Behavior

    Mendonça, D.M.F.; Chimelli, L.; Martinez, A.M.B.

    Abstract in English:

    Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a neurodegenerative disease of unknown etiology, affects motor neurons leading to atrophy of skeletal muscles, paralysis and death. There is evidence for the accumulation of neurofilaments (NF) in motor neurons of the spinal cord in ALS cases. NF are major structural elements of the neuronal cytoskeleton. They play an important role in cell architecture and differentiation and in the determination and maintenance of fiber caliber. They are composed of three different polypeptides: light (NF-L), medium (NF-M) and heavy (NF-H) subunits. In the present study, we performed a morphological and quantitative immunohistochemical analysis to evaluate the accumulation of NF and the presence of each subunit in control and ALS cases. Spinal cords from patients without neurological disease and from ALS patients were obtained at autopsy. In all ALS cases there was a marked loss of motor neurons, besides atrophic neurons and preserved neurons with cytoplasmic inclusions, and extensive gliosis. In control cases, the immunoreaction in the cytoplasm of neurons was weak for phosphorylated NF-H, strong for NF-M and weak for NF-L. In ALS cases, anterior horn neurons showed intense immunoreactivity in focal regions of neuronal perikarya for all subunits, although the difference in the integrated optical density was statistically significant only for NF-H. Furthermore, we also observed dilated axons (spheroids), which were immunopositive for NF-H but negative for NF-M and NF-L. In conclusion, we present qualitative and quantitative evidence of NF-H subunit accumulation in neuronal perikarya and spheroids, which suggests a possible role of this subunit in the pathogenesis of ALS.
  • Differential effect of plant lectins on mast cells of different origins Pharmacology

    Lopes, F.C.; Cavada, B.S.; Pinto, V.P.T.; Sampaio, A.H.; Gomes, J.C.

    Abstract in English:

    Histamine release induced by plant lectins was studied with emphasis on the carbohydrate specificity, external calcium requirement, metal binding sites, and mast cell heterogeneity and on the importance of antibodies bound to the mast cell membrane to the lectin effect. Peritoneal mast cells were obtained by direct lavage of the rat peritoneal cavity and guinea pig intestine and hamster cheek pouch mast cells were obtained by dispersion with collagenase type IA. Histamine release was induced with concanavalin A (Con A), lectins from Canavalia brasiliensis, mannose-specific Cymbosema roseum, Maackia amurensis, Parkia platycephala, Triticum vulgaris (WGA), and demetallized Con A and C. brasiliensis, using 1-300 µg/ml lectin concentrations applied to Wistar rat peritoneal mast cells, peaking on 26.9, 21.0, 29.1, 24.9, 17.2, 10.7, 19.9, and 41.5%, respectively. This effect was inhibited in the absence of extracellular calcium. The lectins were also active on hamster cheek pouch mast cells (except demetallized Con A) and on Rowett nude rat (animal free of immunoglobulins) peritoneal mast cells (except for mannose-specific C. roseum, P. platycephala and WGA). No effect was observed in guinea pig intestine mast cells. Glucose-saturated Con A and C. brasiliensis also released histamine from Wistar rat peritoneal mast cells. These results suggest that histamine release induced by lectins is influenced by the heterogeneity of mast cells and depends on extracellular calcium. The results also suggest that this histamine release might occur by alternative mechanisms, because the usual mechanism of lectins is related to their binding properties to metals from which depend the binding to sugars, which would be their sites to bind to immunoglobulins. In the present study, we show that the histamine release by lectins was also induced by demetallized lectins and by sugar-saturated lectins (which would avoid their binding to other sugars). Additionally, the lectins also released histamine from Rowett nude mast cells that are free of immunoglobulins.
  • Extracts of Azadirachta indica and Melia azedarach seeds inhibit folliculogenesis in albino rats Pharmacology

    Roop, J.K.; Dhaliwal, P.K.; Guraya, S.S.

    Abstract in English:

    The seed oil of Azadirachta indica A. Juss (neem) is used in traditional medicine for its antidiabetic, spermicidal, antifertility, antibacterial, and wound healing properties. The present study was undertaken to investigate the quantitative aspects of follicular development in cyclic female albino rats (135 ± 10 g; 8 groups with 6 animals in each group) after oral administration of polar (PF) and non-polar (NPF) fractions of A. indica seed extract at 3 and 6 mg kg body weight-1 day-1 and Melia azedarach Linn. (dharek) seed extract at 24 mg kg body weight-1 day-1 for 18 days. The extracts were prepared using a flash evaporator at 35°C and then dissolved in olive oil to prepare doses on a per kg body weight basis. There was a significant reduction (P = 0.05) in the number of normal single layered follicles (A. indica: 0.67 ± 0.33 and 4.67 ± 2.03 after 3 and 6 mg/kg NPF, and 3.33 ± 1.67 and 1.00 ± 1.00 after 3 and 6 mg/kg PF vs control: 72.67 ± 9.14 and M. azedarach: 0.60 ± 0.40 and 1.80 ± 1.2 after 24 mg/kg PF and NPF, respectively, vs control: 73.40 ± 7.02) and follicles in various stages (I-VII) of follicular development in all treatment groups. These extracts also significantly reduced (P = 0.05) the total number of normal follicles in the neem (14.67 ± 5.93 and 1.00 ± 1.00 after 3 and 6 mg/kg PF and 3.67 ± 0.88 and 5.33 ± 2.03 after 3 and 6 mg/kg NPF) and dharek (13.00 ± 3.58 and 14.60 ± 2.25 after 24 mg/kg NPF and PF) treatments compared to control (216.00 ± 15.72 and 222.20 ± 19.52, respectively). Currently, indiscriminate use of persistent and toxic rodenticides to control rodent populations has created serious problems such as resistance and environmental contamination. Therefore, it becomes necessary to use ecologically safe and biologically active botanical substances that are metabolized and are not passed on to the next trophic level, and that interfere with the reproductive potential particularly growth and differentiation of follicles. This may help elevate the socio-economic status of the country. Thus, the present study is an attempt to investigate the effects of A. indica and M. azedarach seed extracts on reproduction of albino rats.
  • A semi-automatic computerized method to measure baroreflex-mediated heart rate responses that reduces interobserver variability Physiology and Biophysics

    Soares, P.P.S.; Ushizima, M.R.; Krieger, E.M.; Irigoyen, M.C.C.

    Abstract in English:

    Arterial baroreflex sensitivity estimated by pharmacological impulse stimuli depends on intrinsic signal variability and usually a subjective choice of blood pressure (BP) and heart rate (HR) values. We propose a semi-automatic method to estimate cardiovascular reflex sensitivity to bolus infusions of phenylephrine and nitroprusside. Beat-to-beat BP and HR time series for male Wistar rats (N = 13) were obtained from the digitized signal (sample frequency = 2 kHz) and analyzed by the proposed method (PRM) developed in Matlab language. In the PRM, time series were low-pass filtered with zero-phase distortion (3rd order Butterworth used in the forward and reverse direction) and presented graphically, and parameters were selected interactively. Differences between basal mean values and peak BP (deltaBP) and HR (deltaHR) values after drug infusions were used to calculate baroreflex sensitivity indexes, defined as the deltaHR/deltaBP ratio. The PRM was compared to the method traditionally (TDM) employed by seven independent observers using files for reflex bradycardia (N = 43) and tachycardia (N = 61). Agreement was assessed by Bland and Altman plots. Dispersion among users, measured as the standard deviation, was higher for TDM for reflex bradycardia (0.60 ± 0.46 vs 0.21 ± 0.26 bpm/mmHg for PRM, P < 0.001) and tachycardia (0.83 ± 0.62 vs 0.28 ± 0.28 bpm/mmHg for PRM, P < 0.001). The advantage of the present method is related to its objectivity, since the routine automatically calculates the desired parameters according to previous software instructions. This is an objective, robust and easy-to-use tool for cardiovascular reflex studies.
  • Acetylcholine and bradykinin enhance hypotension and affect the function of remodeled conduit arteries in SHR and SHR treated with nitric oxide donors Physiology and Biophysics

    Gerová, M.; Kristek, F.; Cacányiová, S.; Cebová, M.

    Abstract in English:

    Discrepancy was found between enhanced hypotension and attenuated relaxation of conduit arteries in response to acetylcholine (ACh) and bradykinin (BK) in nitric oxide (NO)-deficient hypertension. The question is whether a similar phenomenon occurs in spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) with a different pathogenesis. Wistar rats, SHR, and SHR treated with NO donors [molsidomine (50 mg/kg) or pentaerythritol tetranitrate (100 mg/kg), twice a day, by gavage] were studied. After 6 weeks of treatment systolic blood pressure (BP) was increased significantly in experimental groups. Under anesthesia, the carotid artery was cannulated for BP recording and the jugular vein for drug administration. The iliac artery was used for in vitro studies and determination of geometry. Compared to control, SHR showed a significantly enhanced (P < 0.01) hypotensive response to ACh (1 and 10 µg, 87.9 ± 6.9 and 108.1 ± 5.1 vs 35.9 ± 4.7 and 64.0 ± 3.3 mmHg), and BK (100 µg, 106.7 ± 8.3 vs 53.3 ± 5.2 mmHg). SHR receiving NO donors yielded similar results. In contrast, maximum relaxation of the iliac artery in response to ACh was attenuated in SHR (12.1 ± 3.6 vs 74.2 ± 8.6% in controls, P < 0.01). Iliac artery inner diameter also increased (680 ± 46 vs 828 ± 28 µm in controls, P < 0.01). Wall thickness, wall cross-section area, wall thickness/inner diameter ratio increased significantly (P < 0.01). No differences were found in this respect among SHR and SHR treated with NO donors. These findings demonstrated enhanced hypotension and attenuated relaxation of the conduit artery in response to NO activators in SHR and in SHR treated with NO donors, a response similar to that found in NO-deficient hypertension.
  • Acute effect of amiodarone on cardiovascular reflexes of normotensive and renal hypertensive rats Physiology and Biophysics

    Oliveira, P.F.; Dias da Silva, V.J.; Salgado, M.C.O.; Fazan Jr., R.; Aguiar, C.A.; Salgado, H.C.

    Abstract in English:

    The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effect of amiodarone on mean arterial pressure (MAP), heart rate (HR), baroreflex, Bezold-Jarisch, and peripheral chemoreflex in normotensive and chronic one-kidney, one-clip (1K1C) hypertensive rats (N = 9 to 11 rats in each group). Amiodarone (50 mg/kg, iv) elicited hypotension and bradycardia in normotensive (-10 ± 1 mmHg, -57 ± 6 bpm) and hypertensive rats (-37 ± 7 mmHg, -39 ± 19 bpm). The baroreflex index (deltaHR/deltaMAP) was significantly attenuated by amiodarone in both normotensive (-0.61 ± 0.12 vs -1.47 ± 0.14 bpm/mmHg for reflex bradycardia and -1.15 ± 0.19 vs -2.63 ± 0.26 bpm/mmHg for reflex tachycardia) and hypertensive rats (-0.26 ± 0.05 vs -0.72 ± 0.16 bpm/mmHg for reflex bradycardia and -0.92 ± 0.19 vs -1.51 ± 0.19 bpm/mmHg for reflex tachycardia). The slope of linear regression from deltapulse interval/deltaMAP was attenuated for both reflex bradycardia and tachycardia in normotensive rats (-0.47 ± 0.13 vs -0.94 ± 0.19 ms/mmHg and -0.80 ± 0.13 vs -1.11 ± 0.13 ms/mmHg), but only for reflex bradycardia in hypertensive rats (-0.15 ± 0.02 vs -0.23 ± 0.3 ms/mmHg). In addition, the MAP and HR responses to the Bezold-Jarisch reflex were 20-30% smaller in amiodarone-treated normotensive or hypertensive rats. The bradycardic response to peripheral chemoreflex activation with intravenous potassium cyanide was also attenuated by amiodarone in both normotensive (-30 ± 6 vs -49 ± 8 bpm) and hypertensive rats (-34 ± 13 vs -42 ± 10 bpm). On the basis of the well-known electrophysiological effects of amiodarone, the sinus node might be the responsible for the attenuation of the cardiovascular reflexes found in the present study.
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