Abstract in English:The T helper cell type 1 (Th1) response is essential to resist leishmaniasis, whereas the Th2 response favors the disease. However, many leishmanial antigens, which stimulate a Th1 immune response during the disease or even after the disease is cured, have been shown to have no protective action. Paradoxically, antigens associated with an early Th2 response have been found to be highly protective if the Th1 response to them is generated before infection. Therefore, finding disease-associated Th2 antigens and inducing a Th1 immune response to them using defined vaccination protocols is an interesting unorthodox alternative approach to the discovery of a leishmania vaccine.
Abstract in English:The essential amino acids lysine and threonine are synthesized in higher plants via a pathway starting with aspartate that also leads to the formation of methionine and isoleucine. Lysine is one of most limiting amino acids in plants consumed by humans and livestock. Recent genetic, molecular, and biochemical evidence suggests that lysine synthesis and catabolism are regulated by complex mechanisms. Early kinetic studies utilizing mutants and transgenic plants that over-accumulate lysine have indicated that the major step for the regulation of lysine biosynthesis is at the enzyme dihydrodipicolinate synthase. Despite this tight regulation, recent strong evidence indicates that lysine catabolism is also subject to control, particularly in cereal seeds. The challenge of producing crops with a high-lysine concentration in the seeds appeared to be in sight a few years ago. However, apart from the quality protein maize lines currently commercially available, the release of high-lysine crops has not yet occurred. We are left with the question, is the production of high-lysine crops still a challenge?
Abstract in English:Molecular oxygen (O2) is the premier biological electron acceptor that serves vital roles in fundamental cellular functions. However, with the beneficial properties of O2 comes the inadvertent formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) such as superoxide (O2<FONT FACE=Symbol>·-</FONT>), hydrogen peroxide, and hydroxyl radical (OH<FONT FACE=Symbol>·</FONT>). If unabated, ROS pose a serious threat to or cause the death of aerobic cells. To minimize the damaging effects of ROS, aerobic organisms evolved non-enzymatic and enzymatic antioxidant defenses. The latter include catalases, peroxidases, superoxide dismutases, and glutathione S-transferases (GST). Cellular ROS-sensing mechanisms are not well understood, but a number of transcription factors that regulate the expression of antioxidant genes are well characterized in prokaryotes and in yeast. In higher eukaryotes, oxidative stress responses are more complex and modulated by several regulators. In mammalian systems, two classes of transcription factors, nuclear factor kB and activator protein-1, are involved in the oxidative stress response. Antioxidant-specific gene induction, involved in xenobiotic metabolism, is mediated by the "antioxidant responsive element" (ARE) commonly found in the promoter region of such genes. ARE is present in mammalian GST, metallothioneine-I and MnSod genes, but has not been found in plant Gst genes. However, ARE is present in the promoter region of the three maize catalase (Cat) genes. In plants, ROS have been implicated in the damaging effects of various environmental stress conditions. Many plant defense genes are activated in response to these conditions, including the three maize Cat and some of the superoxide dismutase (Sod) genes.
Abstract in English:The present study was carried out to evaluate the antioxidant and antimicrobial activities of a methanol extract of Bauhinia racemosa (MEBR) (Caesalpiniaceae) stem bark in various systems. 1,1-Diphenyl-2-picryl-hydrazyl (DPPH) radical, superoxide anion radical, nitric oxide radical, and hydroxyl radical scavenging assays were carried out to evaluate the antioxidant potential of the extract. The antioxidant activity of the methanol extract increased in a concentration-dependent manner. About 50, 100, 250, and 500 µg MEBR inhibited the peroxidation of a linoleic acid emulsion by 62.43, 67.21, 71.04, and 76.83%, respectively. Similarly, the effect of MEBR on reducing power increased in a concentration-dependent manner. In DPPH radical scavenging assays the IC50 value of the extract was 152.29 µg/ml. MEBR inhibited the nitric oxide radicals generated from sodium nitroprusside with an IC50 of 78.34 µg/ml, as opposed to 20.4 µg/ml for curcumin. Moreover, MEBR scavenged the superoxide generated by the PMS/NADH-NBT system. MEBR also inhibited the hydroxyl radical generated by Fenton's reaction, with an IC50 value of more than 1000 µg/ml, as compared to 5 µg/ml for catechin. The amounts of total phenolic compounds were also determined and 64.7 µg pyrocatechol phenol equivalents were detected in MEBR (1 mg). The antimicrobial activities of MEBR were determined by disc diffusion with five Gram-positive, four Gram-negative and four fungal species. MEBR showed broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity against all tested microorganisms. The results obtained in the present study indicate that MEBR can be a potential source of natural antioxidant and antimicrobial agents.
Abstract in English:Desmin is the main intermediate filament (IF) protein of muscle cells. In skeletal muscle, desmin IFs form a scaffold that interconnects the entire contractile apparatus with the subsarcolemmal cytoskeleton and cytoplasmic organelles. The interaction between desmin and the sarcolemma is mediated by a number of membrane proteins, many of which are Ca2+-sensitive. In the present study, we analyzed the effects of the Ca2+ chelator EGTA (1.75 mM) on the expression and distribution of desmin in C2C12 myoblasts grown in culture. We used indirect immunofluorescence microscopy and reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) to analyze desmin distribution and expression in C2C12 cells grown in the presence or absence of EGTA. Control C2C12 myoblasts showed a well-spread morphology after a few hours in culture and became bipolar when grown for 24 h in the presence of EGTA. Control C2C12 cells showed a dense network of desmin from the perinuclear region to the cell periphery, whereas EGTA-treated cells showed desmin aggregates in the cytoplasm. RT-PCR analysis revealed a down-regulation of desmin expression in EGTA-treated C2C12 cells compared to untreated cells. The present results suggest that extracellular Ca2+ availability plays a role in the regulation of desmin expression and in the spatial distribution of desmin IFs in myoblasts, and is involved in the generation and maintenance of myoblast cell shape.
Abstract in English:In a previous study we monitored the distribution and phenotype expression of B1 cells during the evolution of experimental murine schistosomiasis mansoni and we proposed that the B1 cells were heterogeneous: a fraction which originated in the spleen and followed the migratory pathway to mesenteric ganglia, while the other was the resident peritoneal B1-cell pool. In the present study, we have addressed the question of whether these two B1-lymphocyte populations are involved in the production of the late Ig isotype IgE, which is present in high levels in schistosomal infection. Lymphocyte expression of surface markers and immunoglobulins were monitored by immunofluorescence flow cytometry. Both in the spleen and mesenteric ganglia, the B1 and B2 cells were induced to switch from IgM to IgE in the early Th2-dominated phase of the disease, with an increase of IgE in its later phases. Conversely, peritoneal B1-IgM+ switched to the remaining IgE+ present in high numbers in the peritoneal cavity throughout the disease. We correlated the efficient induction of the expression of late Ig isotypes by B1 cells with high levels of inflammatory cytokines due to the intense host response to the presence of worms and their eggs in the abdominal cavity. In conclusion, B1 cells have a different switch behavior from IgM to IgE indicating that these cell sub-populations depend on the microenvironment.
Abstract in English:The objective of the present study was to determine if treatment of diabetic rats with D-alpha-tocopherol could prevent the changes in glomerular and tubular function commonly observed in this disease. Sixty male Wistar rats divided into four groups were studied: control (C), control treated with D-alpha-tocopherol (C + T), diabetic (D), and diabetic treated with D-alpha-tocopherol (D + T). Treatment with D-alpha-tocopherol (40 mg/kg every other day, ip) was started three days after diabetes induction with streptozotocin (60 mg/kg, ip). Renal function studies and microperfusion measurements were performed 30 days after diabetes induction and the kidneys were removed for morphometric analyses. Data are reported as means ± SEM. Glomerular filtration rate increased in D rats but decreased in D + T rats (C: 6.43 ± 0.21; D: 7.74 ± 0.45; D + T: 3.86 ± 0.18 ml min-1 kg-1). Alterations of tubular acidification observed in bicarbonate absorption flux (JHCO3) and in acidification half-time (t/2) in group D were reversed in group D + T (JHCO3, C: 2.30 ± 0.10; D: 3.28 ± 0.22; D + T: 1.87 ± 0.08 nmol cm-2 s-1; t/2, C: 4.75 ± 0.20; D: 3.52 ± 0.15; D + T: 5.92 ± 0.19 s). Glomerular area was significantly increased in D, while D + T rats exhibited values similar to C, suggesting that the vitamin prevented the hypertrophic effect of hyperglycemia (C: 8334.21 ± 112.05; D: 10,217.55 ± 100.66; D + T: 8478.21 ± 119.81µm²). These results suggest that D-alpha-tocopherol is able to protect rats, at least in part, from the harmful effects of diabetes on renal function.
Abstract in English:Werner syndrome (WS) is a premature aging disease caused by a mutation in the WRN gene. The gene was identified in 1996 and its product acts as a DNA helicase and exonuclease. Some specific WRN polymorphic variants were associated with increased risk for cardiovascular diseases. The identification of genetic polymorphisms as risk factors for complex diseases affecting older people can improve their prevention, diagnosis and prognosis. We investigated WRN codon 1367 polymorphism in 383 residents in a district of the city of São Paulo, who were enrolled in an Elderly Brazilian Longitudinal Study. Their mean age was 79.70 ± 5.32 years, ranging from 67 to 97. This population was composed of 262 females (68.4%) and 121 males (31.6%) of European (89.2%), Japanese (3.3%), Middle Eastern (1.81%), and mixed and/or other origins (5.7%). There are no studies concerning this polymorphism in Brazilian population. These subjects were evaluated clinically every two years. The major health problems and morbidities affecting this cohort were cardiovascular diseases (21.7%), hypertension (83.7%), diabetes (63.3%), obesity (41.23%), dementia (8.0%), depression (20.0%), and neoplasia (10.8%). Their prevalence is similar to some urban elderly Brazilian samples. DNA was isolated from blood cells, amplified by PCR and digested with PmaCI. Allele frequencies were 0.788 for the cysteine and 0.211 for the arginine. Genotype distributions were within that expected for the Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium. Female gender was associated with hypertension and obesity. Logistic regression analysis did not detect significant association between the polymorphism and morbidity. These findings confirm those from Europeans and differ from Japanese population.
Abstract in English:Plants used in traditional medicine are rich sources of hemolysins and cytolysins, which are potential bactericidal and anticancer drugs. The present study demonstrates for the first time the presence of a hemolysin in the leaves of Passiflora quadrangularis L. This hemolysin is heat stable, resistant to trypsin treatment, has the capacity to froth, and acts very rapidly. The hemolysin activity is dose-dependent, with a slope greater than 1 in a double-logarithmic plot. Polyethylene glycols of high molecular weight were able to reduce the rate of hemolysis, while liposomes containing cholesterol completely inhibited it. In contrast, liposomes containing phosphatidylcholine were ineffective. The Passiflora hemolysin markedly increased the conductance of planar lipid bilayers containing cholesterol but was ineffective in cholesterol-free bilayers. Successive extraction of the crude hemolysin with n-hexane, chloroform, ethyl acetate, and n-butanol resulted in a 10-fold purification, with the hemolytic activity being recovered in the n-butanol fraction. The data suggest that membrane cholesterol is the primary target for this hemolysin and that several hemolysin molecules form a large transmembrane water pore. The properties of the Passiflora hemolysin, such as its frothing ability, positive color reaction with vanillin, selective extraction with n-butanol, HPLC profile, cholesterol-dependent membrane susceptibility, formation of a stable complex with cholesterol, and rapid erythrocyte lysis kinetics indicate that it is probably a saponin.
Abstract in English:An effective preservation method and decreased rejection are essential for tracheal transplantation in the reconstruction of large airway defects. Our objective in the present study was to evaluate the antigenic properties of glycerin-preserved tracheal segments. Sixty-one tracheal segments (2.4 to 3.1 cm) were divided into three groups: autograft (N = 21), fresh allograft (N = 18) and glycerin-preserved allograft (N = 22). Two segments from different groups were implanted into the greater omentum of dogs (N = 31). After 28 days, the segments were harvested and analyzed for mononuclear infiltration score and for the presence of respiratory epithelium. The fresh allograft group presented the highest score for mononuclear infiltration (1.78 ± 0.43, P <= 0.001) when compared to the autograft and glycerin-preserved allograft groups. In contrast to the regenerated epithelium observed in autograft segments, all fresh allografts and glycerin-preserved allografts had desquamation of the respiratory mucosa. The low antigenicity observed in glycerin segments was probably the result of denudation of the respiratory epithelium and perhaps due to the decrease of major histocompatibility complex class II antigens.
Abstract in English:Caffeine is the most consumed psychoactive substance in the world. The effects of caffeine have been studied using cognitive and motor measures, quantitative electroencephalography (qEEG) and event-related potentials. However, these methods are not usually employed in combination, a fact that impairs the interpretation of the results. The objective of the present study was to analyze changes in electrophysiological, cognitive and motor variables with the ingestion of caffeine, and to relate central to peripheral responses. For this purpose we recorded event-related potentials and eyes-closed, resting EEG, applied the Stroop test, and measured reaction time. Fifteen volunteers took caffeine (400 mg) or placebo in a randomized, crossover, double-blind design. A significant reduction of alpha absolute power over the entire scalp and of P300 latency at the Fz electrode were observed after caffeine ingestion. These results are consistent with a stimulatory effect of caffeine, although there was no change in the attention (Stroop) test or in reaction time. The qEEG seems to be the most sensitive index of the changes produced by caffeine in the central nervous system since it proved to be capable of detecting changes that were not evident in the tests of cognitive or motor performance.
Abstract in English:Dorstenia barteri and D. convexa extracts and some isolated components of the former were investigated for effectiveness against Trichomonas gallinarum and compared with quercetin and quercitrin. The antioxidant activity of the extracts/compounds was also determined. The minimum lethal concentrations (MLCs) for the extract of D. barteri leaves and twigs at 24 h were found to be 15.625 and 15.625 µg/ml, respectively. However, the MLCs of the leaf and twig extract of D. convexa were 125 and 437.5 µg/ml, respectively. The prenylated and geranylated chalcones were as active as the prenylated flavones, 6-prenylapigenin and the diprenylated derivative 6,8-diprenyleridictyol. The order of the antitrichomonal activity of the compounds at 24 h was: quercetin (0.121 µg/ml) > quercitrin (0.244 µg/ml) > or = bartericin B (0.244 µg/ml) > bartericin A (0.73 µg/ml) > stigmasterol (0.98 µg/ml) > 6,8-diprenyleridictyol = isobavachalcone = dorsmanin F (31.25 µg/ml). D. barteri extracts, quercitrin, and bartericin A, and the prenylated flavonoids had potent antioxidant properties. The twig extract of D. barteri was more potent than the leaf extract. Moderate (EC50 >50 µg/ml) and high (EC50 <50 µg/ml) antioxidant activities were detected in the leaf and twig extracts of D. barteri and the prenylated flavonoids. Prenylated flavonoids and the isolated compounds with antioxidant properties described here may account for the anti-inflammatory action of these extracts. The antitrichomonal and antioxidant activities shown by the extracts and compounds in this study are consistent with the ethnomedicinal and local use of the Dorstenia species studied.
Abstract in English:Carpotroche brasiliensis is a native Brazilian tree belonging to the Oncobeae tribe of Flacourtiaceae. The oil extracted from its seeds contains as major constituents the same cyclopentenyl fatty acids hydnocarpic (40.5%), chaulmoogric (14.0%) and gorlic (16.1%) acids found in the better known chaulmoogra oil prepared from the seeds of various species of Hydnocarpus (Flacourtiaceae). These acids are known to be related to the pharmacological activities of these plants and to their use as anti-leprotic agents. Although C. brasiliensis oil has been used in the treatment of leprosy, a disease that elicits inflammatory responses, the anti-inflammatory and analgesic activities of the oil and its constituents have never been characterized. We describe the anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive activities of C. brasiliensis seed oil in acute and chronic models of inflammation and in peripheral and central nociception. The mixture of acids from C. brasiliensis administered orally by gavage showed dose-dependent (10-500 mg/kg) anti-inflammatory activity in carrageenan-induced rat paw edema, inhibiting both the edema by 30-40% and the associated hyperalgesia. The acid fraction (200 mg/kg) also showed significant antinociceptive activity in acetic acid-induced constrictions (57% inhibition) and formalin-induced pain (55% inhibition of the second phase) in Swiss mice. No effects were observed in the hot-plate (100 mg/kg; N = 10), rota-road (200 mg/kg; N = 9) or adjuvant-induced arthritis (50 mg/kg daily for 7 days; N = 5) tests, the latter a chronic model of inflammation. The acid fraction of the seeds of C. brasiliensis which contains cyclopentenyl fatty acids is now shown to have significant oral anti-inflammatory and peripheral antinociceptive effects.
Abstract in English:The objective of the present study was to evaluate incentive spirometers using volume- (Coach and Voldyne) and flow-oriented (Triflo II and Respirex) devices. Sixteen healthy subjects, 24 ± 4 years, 62 ± 12 kg, were studied. Respiratory variables were obtained by respiratory inductive plethysmography, with subjects in a semi-reclined position (45º). Tidal volume, respiratory frequency, minute ventilation, inspiratory duty cycle, mean inspiratory flow, and thoracoabdominal motion were measured. Statistical analysis was performed with Kolmogorov-Smirnov test, t-test and ANOVA. Comparison between the Coach and Voldyne devices showed that larger values of tidal volume (1035 ± 268 vs 947 ± 268 ml, P = 0.02) and minute ventilation (9.07 ± 3.61 vs 7.49 ± 2.58 l/min, P = 0.01) were reached with Voldyne, whereas no significant differences in respiratory frequency were observed (7.85 ± 1.24 vs 8.57 ± 1.89 bpm). Comparison between flow-oriented devices showed larger values of inspiratory duty cycle and lower mean inspiratory flow with Triflo II (0.35 ± 0.05 vs 0.32 ± 0.05 ml/s, P = 0.00, and 531 ± 137 vs 606 ± 167 ml/s, P = 0.00, respectively). Abdominal motion was larger (P < 0.05) during the use of volume-oriented devices compared to flow-oriented devices (52 ± 11% for Coach and 50 ± 9% for Voldyne; 43 ± 13% for Triflo II and 44 ± 14% for Respirex). We observed that significantly higher tidal volume associated with low respiratory frequency was reached with Voldyne, and that there was a larger abdominal displacement with volume-oriented devices.
Abstract in English:It has been reported that star fruit can lead to a fatal outcome in uremic patients. The intoxication syndrome consists of hiccups, mental confusion, dizziness, and vomiting. On the other hand, folk medicine uses teas and infusions of carambola leaves to treat headache, vomiting, cough, insomnia, and diabetes. This motivated us to determine if Averrhoa carambola can act on the contractility and automaticity of the guinea pig heart. We measured the atrial isometric force in stimulated left atria and determined the chronotropic changes in spontaneously beating right atria. The carambola leaf extracts (1.5 mg/ml) abolished the contractile force in a concentration-dependent manner. Among the crude, methanolic, ethanolic, aqueous, and acetic extracts, the aqueous one was the most potent (EC50 = 520 ± 94 µg/ml; flavonoids and tannins are the main constituents; Na+ and K+ contents in 1.0 mg/ml of aqueous extract were 0.12 ± 0.016 and 1.19 ± 0.15 mM, respectively). The aqueous extract abolished the positive Bowditch staircase phenomenon and reduced the inotropic response to CaCl2 (0.17-8.22 mM), events that are dependent on the cellular Ca2+ inward current. The adrenergic, muscarinic or opioid membrane receptors do not seem to participate in the mechanism of action of the cardioactive substance(s). In spontaneously beating atria, the aqueous extract promoted a negative chronotropic effect that was antagonized by 0.1 µM isoproterenol bitartrate. With this agonist, the EC50 of the aqueous extract increased from 133 ± 58 to 650 ± 100 µg/ml. These data regarding the effect of A. carambola on guinea pig atrial contractility and automaticity indicate an L-type Ca2+ channel blockade.
Abstract in English:We investigated the effects of bilateral injections of the GABA receptor agonists muscimol (GABA A) and baclofen (GABA B) into the nucleus tractus solitarius (NTS) on the bradycardia and hypotension induced by iv serotonin injections (5-HT, 2 µg/rat) in awake male Holtzman rats. 5-HT was injected in rats with stainless steel cannulas implanted bilaterally in the NTS, before and 5, 15, and 60 min after bilateral injections of muscimol or baclofen into the NTS. The responses to 5-HT were tested before and after the injection of atropine methyl bromide. Muscimol (50 pmol/50 nl, N = 8) into the NTS increased basal mean arterial pressure (MAP) from 115 ± 4 to 144 ± 6 mmHg, did not change basal heart rate (HR) and reduced the bradycardia (-40 ± 14 and -73 ± 26 bpm at 5 and 15 min, respectively, vs -180 ± 20 bpm for the control) and hypotension (-11 ± 4 and -14 ± 4 mmHg, vs -40 ± 9 mmHg for the control) elicited by 5-HT. Baclofen (12.5 pmol/50 nl, N = 7) into the NTS also increased basal MAP, but did not change basal HR, bradycardia or hypotension in response to 5-HT injections. Atropine methyl bromide (1 mg/kg body weight) injected iv reduced the bradycardic and hypotensive responses to 5-HT injections. The stimulation of GABA A receptors in the NTS of awake rats elicits a significant increase in basal MAP and decreases the cardiac Bezold-Jarisch reflex responses to iv 5-HT injections.
Abstract in English:Centrally stimulated sweat rate produced by graded exercise until exhaustion was compared to the local sweat rate induced by pilocarpine, often used as a sweating index for healthy individuals. Nine young male volunteers (22 ± 4 years) were studied in temperate environment in two situations: at rest and during progressive exercise with 25 W increases every 2 min until exhaustion, on a cycle ergometer. In both situations, sweating was induced on the right forearm with 5 ml 0.5% pilocarpine hydrochloride applied by iontophoresis (1.5 mA, 5 min), with left forearm used as control. Local sweat rate was measured for 15 min at rest. During exercise, whole-body sweat rate was calculated from the body weight variation. Local sweat rate was measured from the time when heart rate reached 150 bpm until exhaustion and was collected using absorbent filter paper. Pharmacologically induced local sweat rate at rest (0.4 ± 0.2 mg cm-2 min-1) and mean exercise-induced whole-body sweat rate (0.4 ± 0.1 mg cm-2 min-1) were the same (P > 0.05) but were about five times smaller than local exercise-induced sweat rate (control = 2.1 ± 1.4; pilocarpine = 2.7 ± 1.2 mg cm-2 min-1), indicating different sudorific mechanisms. Both exercise-induced whole-body sweat rate (P < 0.05) and local sweat rate (P < 0.05) on control forearm correlated positively with pilocarpine-induced local sweat rate at rest. Assuming that exercise-induced sweating was a result of integrated physiological mechanisms, we suggest that local and whole-body sweat rate measured during graded exercise could be a better sweating index than pilocarpine.
Abstract in English:The mechanisms underlying the loss of resting bradycardia with detraining were studied in rats. The relative contribution of autonomic and non-autonomic mechanisms was studied in 26 male Wistar rats (180-220 g) randomly assigned to four groups: sedentary (S, N = 6), trained (T, N = 8), detrained for 1 week (D1, N = 6), and detrained for 2 weeks (D2, N = 6). T, D1 and D2 were treadmill trained 5 days/week for 60 min with a gradual increase towards 50% peak VO2. After the last training session, D1 and D2 were detrained for 1 and 2 weeks, respectively. The effect of the autonomic nervous system in causing training-induced resting bradycardia and in restoring heart rate (HR) to pre-exercise training level (PET) with detraining was examined indirectly after cardiac muscarinic and adrenergic receptor blockade. T rats significantly increased peak VO2 by 15 or 23.5% when compared to PET and S rats, respectively. Detraining reduced peak VO2 in both D1 and D2 rats by 22% compared to T rats, indicating loss of aerobic capacity. Resting HR was significantly lower in T and D1 rats than in S rats (313 ± 6.67 and 321 ± 6.01 vs 342 ± 12.2 bpm) and was associated with a significantly decreased intrinsic HR (368 ± 6.1 and 362 ± 7.3 vs 390 ± 8 bpm). Two weeks of detraining reversed the resting HR near PET (335 ± 6.01 bpm) due to an increased intrinsic HR in D2 rats compared with T and D1 rats (376 ± 8.8 bpm). The present study provides the first evidence of intrinsic HR-mediated loss of resting bradycardia with detraining in rats.