Abstract in English:The sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) Ca2+-ATPase (SERCA2a) is under the control of an SR protein named phospholamban (PLN). Dephosphorylated PLN inhibits SERCA2a, whereas phosphorylation of PLN at either the Ser16 site by PKA or the Thr17 site by CaMKII reverses this inhibition, thus increasing SERCA2a activity and the rate of Ca2+ uptake by the SR. This leads to an increase in the velocity of relaxation, SR Ca2+ load and myocardial contractility. In the intact heart, ß-adrenoceptor stimulation results in phosphorylation of PLN at both Ser16 and Thr17 residues. Phosphorylation of the Thr17 residue requires both stimulation of the CaMKII signaling pathways and inhibition of PP1, the major phosphatase that dephosphorylates PLN. These two prerequisites appear to be fulfilled by ß-adrenoceptor stimulation, which as a result of PKA activation, triggers the activation of CaMKII by increasing intracellular Ca2+, and inhibits PP1. Several pathological situations such as ischemia-reperfusion injury or hypercapnic acidosis provide the required conditions for the phosphorylation of the Thr17 residue of PLN, independently of the increase in PKA activity, i.e., increased intracellular Ca2+ and acidosis-induced phosphatase inhibition. Our results indicated that PLN was phosphorylated at Thr17 at the onset of reflow and immediately after hypercapnia was established, and that this phosphorylation contributes to the mechanical recovery after both the ischemic and acidic insults. Studies on transgenic mice with Thr17 mutated to Ala (PLN-T17A) are consistent with these results. Thus, phosphorylation of the Thr17 residue of PLN probably participates in a protective mechanism that favors Ca2+ handling and limits intracellular Ca2+ overload in pathological situations.
Abstract in English:Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) became a critical health issue with the emergence of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) in the 1980s. Four clinical-epidemiological forms of KS have been described: classical KS, endemic KS, iatrogenic KS, and AIDS-associated KS. In 1994, Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) or human herpesvirus type 8 was identified by Chang and colleagues, and has been detected worldwide at frequencies ranging from 80 to 100%. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the frequency of KSHV infection in KS lesions from HIV-positive and HIV-negative patients in Brazil, as well as to review the current knowledge about KS transmission and detection. For these purposes, DNA from 51 cases of KS was assessed by PCR: 20 (39.2%) cases of classical KS, 29 (56.9%) of AIDS-associated KS and 2 (3.9%) of iatrogenic KS. Most patients were males (7.5:1, M/F), and mean age was 47.9 years (SD = ± 18.7 years). As expected, HIV-positive KS patients were younger than patients with classical KS. On the other hand, patients with AIDS-associated KS have early lesions (patch and plaque) compared to classical KS patients (predominantly nodular lesions). This is assumed to be the result of the early diagnose of KS in the HIV-positive setting. KSHV infection was detected by PCR in almost all cases (48/51; 94.1%), irrespectively of the clinical-epidemiological form of KS. These results show that KSHV is associated with all forms of KS in Brazilian patients, a fact that supports the role of this virus in KS pathogenesis.
Abstract in English:It has been reported that mental stress causes abnormality of spermiogram parameters. We investigated the effect of psychological stress on the L-arginine-nitric oxide (NO) pathway. Semen samples were collected from 29 healthy fourth semester medical students just before (stress) and 3 months after (non-stress) the final examinations. Psychological stress was measured by the State Anxiety Inventory questionnaire. After standard semen analysis, arginase activity and NO concentration were measured spectrophotometrically in the seminal plasma. Measurements were made in duplicate. During the stress period, sperm concentration (41.28 ± 3.70 vs 77.62 ± 7.13 x 10(6)/mL), rapid progressive motility of spermatozoa (8.79 ± 1.66 vs 20.86 ± 1.63%) and seminal plasma arginase activity (0.12 ± 0.01 vs 0.22 ± 0.01 U/mL) were significantly lower than in the non-stress situation, whereas seminal plasma NO (17.28 ± 0.56 vs 10.02 ± 0.49 µmol/L) was higher compared to the non-stress period (P < 0.001 for all). During stress there was a negative correlation between NO concentration and sperm concentration, the percentage of rapid progressive motility and arginase activity (r = -0.622, P < 0.01; r = -0.425, P < 0.05 and r = -0.445, P < 0.05, respectively). These results indicate that psychological stress causes an increase of NO level and a decrease of arginase activity in the L-arginine-NO pathway. Furthermore, poor sperm quality may be due to excessive production of NO under psychological stress. In the light of these results, we suggest that the arginine-NO pathway, together with arginase and NO synthase, are involved in semen quality under stress conditions.
Abstract in English:The interpretation of oligonucleotide array experiments depends on the quality of the target cRNA used. cRNA target quality is assessed by quantitative analysis of the representation of 5' and 3' sequences of control genes using commercially available Test arrays. The Test array provides an economically priced means of determining the quality of labeled target prior to analysis on whole genome expression arrays. This manuscript validates the use of a duplex RT-PCR assay as a faster (6 h) and less expensive (<US$10) but equally accurate alternative to the Test arrays in determining biotinylated cRNA quality. Forty-one different cRNA samples were hybridized to HG-U133A microarrays from Affymetrix. Ten cRNA samples with a ß-actin 3'/5' ratio >6 were chosen and classified as degraded cRNAs, and 31 samples with a ß-actin 3'/5' ratio <6 were selected as good quality cRNAs. Blinded samples were then used for the RT-PCR assay. After gel electrophoresis, optical densities of the amplified 3' and 5' fragments of ß-actin were measured and the 3'/5' ratio was calculated. There was a strong correlation (r² = 0.6802) between the array and the RT-PCR ß-actin 3'/5' ratios. Moreover, the RT-PCR 3'/5' ratio was significantly different (P < 0.0001) between undegraded (mean ± SD, 0.34 ± 0.09) and degraded (1.71 ± 0.83) samples. None of the other parameters analyzed, such as i) the starting amount of RNA, ii) RNA quality assessed using the Bioanalyzer Chip technology, or iii) the concentration and OD260/OD280 ratio of the purified biotinylated cRNA, correlated with cRNA quality.
Abstract in English:Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection has been identified as the major cause of chronic liver disease among patients on chronic hemodialysis (HD), despite the important reduction in risks obtained by testing candidate blood donors for anti-HCV antibodies and the use of recombinant erythropoietin to treat anemia. A cross-sectional study was performed to estimate the prevalence of HCV infection and genotypes among HD patients in Salvador, Northeastern Brazil. Anti-HCV seroprevalence was determined by ELISA in 1243 HD patients from all ten different dialysis centers of the city. HCV infection was confirmed by RT-PCR and genotyping was performed by restriction fragment length polymorphism. Anti-HCV seroprevalence among HD patients was 10.5% (95% CI: 8.8-12.3) (Murex anti-HCV, Abbott Murex, Chicago, IL, USA). Blood samples for qualitative HCV detection and genotyping were collected from 125/130 seropositive HD patients (96.2%). HCV-RNA was detected in 92/125 (73.6%) of the anti-HCV-positive patients. HCV genotype 1 (77.9%) was the most prevalent, followed by genotype 3 (10.5%) and genotype 2 (4.6%). Mixed infections of genotypes 1 and 3 were found in 7.0% of the total number of patients. The present results indicate a significant decrease in anti-HCV prevalence from 23.8% detected in a study carried out in 1994 to 10.5% in the present study. The HCV genotype distribution was closely similar to that observed in other hemodialysis populations in Brazil, in local candidate blood donors and in other groups at risk of transfusion-transmitted infection.
Abstract in English:Endochondral calcification involves the participation of matrix vesicles (MVs), but it remains unclear whether calcification ectopically induced by implants of demineralized bone matrix also proceeds via MVs. Ectopic bone formation was induced by implanting rat demineralized diaphyseal bone matrix into the dorsal subcutaneous tissue of Wistar rats and was examined histologically and biochemically. Budding of MVs from chondrocytes was observed to serve as nucleation sites for mineralization during induced ectopic osteogenesis, presenting a diameter with Gaussian distribution with a median of 306 ± 103 nm. While the role of tissue-nonspecific alkaline phosphatase (TNAP) during mineralization involves hydrolysis of inorganic pyrophosphate (PPi), it is unclear how the microenvironment of MV may affect the ability of TNAP to hydrolyze the variety of substrates present at sites of mineralization. We show that the implants contain high levels of TNAP capable of hydrolyzing p-nitrophenylphosphate (pNPP), ATP and PPi. The catalytic properties of glycosyl phosphatidylinositol-anchored, polidocanol-solubilized and phosphatidylinositol-specific phospholipase C-released TNAP were compared using pNPP, ATP and PPi as substrates. While the enzymatic efficiency (k cat/Km) remained comparable between polidocanol-solubilized and membrane-bound TNAP for all three substrates, the k cat/Km for the phosphatidylinositol-specific phospholipase C-solubilized enzyme increased approximately 108-, 56-, and 556-fold for pNPP, ATP and PPi, respectively, compared to the membrane-bound enzyme. Our data are consistent with the involvement of MVs during ectopic calcification and also suggest that the location of TNAP on the membrane of MVs may play a role in determining substrate selectivity in this micro-compartment.
Abstract in English:In a comparative study of erythrocyte metabolism of vertebrates, the specific activity of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) of the Brazilian opossum Didelphis marsupialis in a hemolysate was shown to be high, 207 ± 38 IU g-1 Hb-1 min-1 at 37ºC, compared to the human erythrocyte activity of 12 ± 2 IU g-1 Hb-1 min-1 at 37ºC. The apparent high specific activity of the mixture led us to investigate the physicochemical properties of the opossum enzyme. We report that reduced glutathione (GSH) in the erythrocytes was only 50% higher than in human erythrocytes, a value lower than expected from the high G6PD activity since GSH is maintained in a reduced state by G6PD activity. The molecular mass, determined by G-200 Sephadex column chromatography at pH 8.0, was 265 kDa, which is essentially the same as that of human G6PD (260 kDa). The Michaelis-Menten constants (Km: 55 µM) for glucose-6-phosphate and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (Km: 3.3 µM) were similar to those of the human enzyme (Km: 50-70 and Km: 2.9-4.4, respectively). A 450-fold purification of the opossum enzyme was achieved and the specific activity of the purified enzyme, 90 IU/mg protein, was actually lower than the 150 IU/mg protein observed for human G6PD. We conclude that G6PD after purification from the hemolysate of D. marsupialis does not have a high specific activity. Thus, it is quite probable that the red cell hyperactivity reported may be explained by increased synthesis of G6PD molecules per unit of hemoglobin or to reduced inactivation in the RBC hemolysate.
Abstract in English:Acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) is characterized by the expansion of blasts that resemble morphologically promyelocytes and harbor a chromosomal translocation involving the retinoic acid receptor a (RARa) and the promyelocytic leukemia (PML) genes on chromosomes 17 and 15, respectively. The expression of the PML/RARa fusion gene is essential for APL genesis. In fact, transgenic mice (TM) expressing PML/RARa develop a form of leukemia that mimics the hematological findings of human APL. Leukemia is diagnosed after a long latency (approximately 12 months) during which no hematological abnormality is detected in peripheral blood (pre-leukemic phase). In humans, immunophenotypic analysis of APL blasts revealed distinct features; however, the precise immunophenotype of leukemic cells in the TM model has not been established. Our aim was to characterize the expression of myeloid antigens by leukemic cells from hCG-PML/RARa TM. In this study, TM (N = 12) developed leukemia at the mean age of 13.1 months. Morphological analysis of bone marrow revealed an increase of the percentage of immature myeloid cells in leukemic TM compared to pre-leukemic TM and wild-type controls (48.63 ± 16.68, 10.83 ± 8.11, 7.4 ± 5.46%, respectively; P < 0.05). Flow cytometry analysis of bone marrow and spleen from leukemic TM identified the asynchronous co-expression of CD34, CD117, and CD11b. This abnormal phenotype was rarely detected prior to the diagnosis of leukemia and was present at similar frequencies in hematologically normal TM and wild-type controls of different ages. The present results demonstrate that, similarly to human APL, leukemic cells from hCG-PML/RARa TM present a specific immunophenotype.
Abstract in English:The aim of the present investigation was to study the effect of acute swimming training with an anaerobic component on matrix metallopeptidase (MMP) activity and myosin heavy chain gene expression in the rat myocardium. Animals (male Wistar rats, weighing approximately 180 g) were trained for 6 h/day in 3 sessions of 2 h each for 1 to 5 consecutive days (N = 5 rats per group). Rats swam in basins 47 cm in diameter and 60 cm deep filled with water at 33 to 35ºC. After the training period a significant increase (P < 0.05) was observed in the heart weight normalized to body weight by about 22 and 35% in the groups that trained for 96 and 120 h, respectively. Blood lactate levels were significantly increased (P < 0.05) in all groups after all training sessions, confirming an anaerobic component. However, lactate levels decreased (P < 0.05) with days of training, suggesting that the animals became adapted to this protocol. Myosin heavy chain-ß gene expression, analyzed by real time PCR and normalized with GAPDH gene expression, showed a significant two-fold increase (P < 0.01) after 5 days of training. Zymography analysis of myocardium extracts indicated a single ~60-kDa activity band that was significantly increased (P < 0.05) after 72, 96, and 120 h, indicating an increased expression of MMP-2 and suggesting precocious remodeling. Furthermore, the presence of MMP-2 was confirmed by Western blot analysis, but not the presence of MMP-1 and MMP-3. Taken together, our results indicate that in these training conditions, the rat heart undergoes early biochemical and functional changes required for the adaptation to the new physiological condition by tissue remodeling.
Abstract in English:Elevated blood cholesterol is an important risk factor associated with atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease. Several studies have reported a decrease in serum cholesterol during the consumption of large doses of fermented dairy products or lactobacillus strains. The proposed mechanism for this effect is the removal or assimilation of intestinal cholesterol by the bacteria, reducing cholesterol absorption. Although this effect was demonstrated in vitro, its relevance in vivo is still controversial. Furthermore, few studies have investigated the role of lactobacilli in atherogenesis. The aim of the present study was to determine the effect of Lactobacillus delbrueckii on cholesterol metabolism in germ-free mice and the possible hypocholesterolemic and antiatherogenic action of these bacteria using atherosclerosis-prone apolipoprotein E (apo E) knock-out (KO) mice. For this purpose, Swiss/NIH germ-free mice were monoassociated with L. delbrueckii and fed a hypercholesterolemic diet for four weeks. In addition, apo E KO mice were fed a normal chow diet and treated with L. delbrueckii for 6 weeks. There was a reduction in cholesterol excretion in germ-free mice, which was not associated with changes in blood or liver cholesterol concentration. In apo E KO mice, no effect of L. delbrueckii was detected in blood, liver or fecal cholesterol. The atherosclerotic lesion in the aorta was also similar in mice receiving or not these bacteria. In conclusion, these results suggest that, although L. delbrueckii treatment was able to reduce cholesterol excretion in germ-free mice, no hypocholesterolemic or antiatherogenic effect was observed in apo E KO mice.
Abstract in English:Schwann cell disturbance followed by segmental demyelination in the peripheral nervous system occurs in diabetic patients. Since Schwann cell and oligodendrocyte remyelination in the central nervous system is a well-known event in the ethidium bromide (EB) demyelinating model, the aim of this investigation was to determine the behavior of both cell types after local EB injection into the brainstem of streptozotocin diabetic rats. Adult male Wistar rats received a single intravenous injection of streptozotocin (50 mg/kg) and were submitted 10 days later to a single injection of 10 µL 0.1% (w/v) EB or 0.9% saline solution into the cisterna pontis. Ten microliters of 0.1% EB was also injected into non-diabetic rats. The animals were anesthetized and perfused through the heart 7 to 31 days after EB or saline injection and brainstem sections were collected and processed for light and transmission electron microscopy. The final balance of myelin repair in diabetic and non-diabetic rats at 31 days was compared using a semi-quantitative method. Diabetic rats presented delayed macrophage activity and lesser remyelination compared to non-diabetic rats. Although oligodendrocytes were the major remyelinating cells in the brainstem, Schwann cells invaded EB-induced lesions, first appearing at 11 days in non-diabetic rats and by 15 days in diabetic rats. Results indicate that short-term streptozotocin-induced diabetes hindered both oligodendrocyte and Schwann cell remyelination (mean remyelination scores of 2.57 ± 0.77 for oligodendrocytes and 0.67 ± 0.5 for Schwann cells) compared to non-diabetic rats (3.27 ± 0.85 and 1.38 ± 0.81, respectively).
Abstract in English:Dominance status among female marmosets is reflected in agonistic behavior and ovarian function. Socially dominant females receive submissive behavior from subordinates, while exhibiting normal ovulatory function. Subordinate females, however, receive agonistic behavior from dominants, while exhibiting reduced or absent ovulatory function. Such disparity in female fertility is not absolute, and groups with two breeding females have been described. The data reported here were obtained from 8 female-female pairs of captive female marmosets, each housed with a single unrelated male. Pairs were classified into two groups: "uncontested" dominance (UD) and "contested" dominance (CD), with 4 pairs each. Dominant females in UD pairs showed significantly higher frequencies (4.1) of agonism (piloerection, attack and chasing) than their subordinates (0.36), and agonistic behaviors were overall more frequently displayed by CD than by UD pairs. Subordinates in CD pairs exhibited more agonistic behavior (2.9) than subordinates in UD pairs (0.36), which displayed significantly more submissive (6.97) behaviors than their dominants (0.35). The data suggest that there is more than one kind of dominance relationship between female common marmosets. Assessment of progesterone levels showed that while subordinates in UD pairs appeared to be anovulatory, the degree of ovulatory disruption in subordinates of CD pairs was more varied and less complete. We suggest that such variation in female-female social dominance relationships and the associated variation in the degree and reliability of fertility suppression may explain variations of the reproductive condition of free-living groups of common marmosets.
Abstract in English:The objective of the present study was to examine gender differences in the influence of paternal alcoholism on children's social-emotional development and to determine whether paternal alcoholism is associated with a greater number of externalizing symptoms in the male offspring. From the Mannheim Study of Risk Children, an ongoing longitudinal study of a high-risk population, the developmental data of 219 children [193 (95 boys and 98 girls) of non-alcoholic fathers, non-COAs, and 26 (14 boys, 12 girls) of alcoholic fathers, COAs] were analyzed from birth to the age of 11 years. Paternal alcoholism was defined according to the ICD-10 categories of alcohol dependence and harmful use. Socio-demographic data, cognitive development, number and severity of behavior problems, and gender-related differences in the rates of externalizing and internalizing symptoms were assessed using standardized instruments (IQ tests, Child Behavior Checklist questionnaire and diagnostic interviews). The general linear model analysis revealed a significant overall effect of paternal alcoholism on the number of child psychiatric problems (F = 21.872, d.f. = 1.217, P < 0.001). Beginning at age 2, significantly higher numbers of externalizing symptoms were observed among COAs. In female COAs, a pattern similar to that of the male COAs emerged, with the predominance of delinquent and aggressive behavior. Unlike male COAs, females showed an increase of internalizing symptoms up to age 11 years. Of these, somatic complaints revealed the strongest discriminating effect in 11-year-old females. Children of alcoholic fathers are at high risk for psychopathology. Gender-related differences seem to exist and may contribute to different phenotypes during development from early childhood to adolescence.
Abstract in English:Pemphigus is an inflammatory autoimmune disorder of the skin. Nitric oxide (NO) is an inflammatory mediator linked to a variety of physiological and pathophysiological phenomena that include skin tumors, psoriasis, urticaria, and atopic dermatitis. Inflammatory cells present in pemphigus lesions are important sources of NO production. We investigated whether NO is involved in pemphigus. A prospective cohort study was conducted at the Dermatology Service of the Hospital Universitário Walter Cantídio of the Federal University of Ceará. All patients seen at the outpatient clinic between August 2000 and July 2001, with a clinically and histologically confirmed diagnosis of pemphigus were included. The median age was 42.5 years (range: 12-69 years) with a male to female ratio of 3:2. Total serum nitrite levels, used as a marker for NO production, were determined by the Griess reaction. Skin biopsies from pemphigus and breast surgery (control) patients were used for the detection of the inducible NO synthase (iNOS) by immunohistochemistry. Twenty-two (22) patients with pemphigus and eight (8) controls who did not differ in demographic characteristics were included. Total serum nitrite levels were significantly higher (>7 µmol/L) in pemphigus patients compared to controls (<6 µmol/L), regardless of the severity of the clinical activity of pemphigus (P < 0.0001). All pemphigus biopsies presented increased immunostaining for iNOS that was not detected in normal skin samples. These data are the first to demonstrate that pemphigus patients display increased serum NO levels that are associated with increased iNOS expression in the affected skin.
Abstract in English:Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is notorious for the metastases, which are in close association with Epstein-Barr virus-encoded latent membrane protein 1 (LMP1). Arsenic trioxide (As2O3) has been shown to induce apoptosis and differentiation in NPC xenografts. Then, can it repress the cancer cells' metastasis potential? To elucidate this issue, the present study was performed. LMP1-negative cell line HNE1 and LMP1-positive cell line HNE1-LMP1 were used as in vitro model. Cells (1 x 10(5)/mL) were cultured with or without 3 µM As2O3 for 48 h. Then the survival cells were collected to investigate their potential of colony formation, attachment, invasion, and migration. Both confocal immunofluorescence staining and Western blot were used to detect the changes of LMP1 expression. The changes of MMP-9 were examined by RT-PCR assay and Western blot. The results were as follow: i) the colony formation inhibition rate (75.41 ± 3.9% in HNE1-LMP1 cells vs 37.89 ± 4.9% in HNE1 cells), the rate of attachment (HNE1-LMP1 vs HNE1: 56.40 ± 3.5 vs 65.87 ± 5.9%), the invasion inhibitory rate (HNE1-LMP1 vs HNE1: 56.50 ± 3.7 and 27.91 ± 2.1%), and the migration inhibitory rate (HNE1-LMP1 vs HNE1: 48.70 ± 3.9 vs 29.19 ± 6.27%) were all significantly different between the two cell lines (P < 0.01). ii) LMP1 was down-regulated in As2O3-treated HNE1-LMP1 cells. iii) The reduction of MMP-9 was found in As2O3-treated groups, more evident in HNE1-LMP1 cells. Thus, we conclude that As2O3 can reduce metastasis potential of NPC cells, involving inhibition of MMP-9 expression. LMP1 were also reduced in this process and seemed to enhance anti-metastasis activity of As2O3.
Abstract in English:Although echocardiography has been used in rats, few studies have determined its efficacy for estimating myocardial infarct size. Our objective was to estimate the myocardial infarct size, and to evaluate anatomic and functional variables of the left ventricle. Myocardial infarction was produced in 43 female Wistar rats by ligature of the left coronary artery. Echocardiography was performed 5 weeks later to measure left ventricular diameter and transverse area (mean of 3 transverse planes), infarct size (percentage of the arc with infarct on 3 transverse planes), systolic function by the change in fractional area, and diastolic function by mitral inflow parameters. The histologic measurement of myocardial infarction size was similar to the echocardiographic method. Myocardial infarct size ranged from 4.8 to 66.6% when determined by histology and from 5 to 69.8% when determined by echocardiography, with good correlation (r = 0.88; P < 0.05; Pearson correlation coefficient). Left ventricular diameter and mean diastolic transverse area correlated with myocardial infarct size by histology (r = 0.57 and r = 0.78; P < 0.0005). The fractional area change ranged from 28.5 ± 5.6 (large-size myocardial infarction) to 53.1 ± 1.5% (control) and correlated with myocardial infarct size by echocardiography (r = -0.87; P < 0.00001) and histology (r = -0.78; P < 00001). The E/A wave ratio of mitral inflow velocity for animals with large-size myocardial infarction (5.6 ± 2.7) was significantly higher than for all others (control: 1.9 ± 0.1; small-size myocardial infarction: 1.9 ± 0.4; moderate-size myocardial infarction: 2.8 ± 2.3). There was good agreement between echocardiographic and histologic estimates of myocardial infarct size in rats.