Abstract in English:Ionotropic glutamate receptors are major excitatory receptors in the central nervous system and also have a far reaching influence in other areas of the body. Their modular nature has allowed for the isolation of the ligand-binding domain and for subsequent structural studies using a variety of spectroscopic techniques. This review will discuss the role of specific ligand:protein interactions in mediating activation in the a-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid subtype of glutamate receptors as established by various spectroscopic investigations of the GluR2 and GluR4 subunits of this receptor. Specifically, this review will provide an introduction to the insight gained from X-ray crystallography and nuclear magnetic resonance investigations and then go on to focus on studies utilizing vibrational spectroscopy and fluorescence resonance energy transfer to study the behavior of the isolated ligand-binding domain in solution and discuss the importance of specific ligand:protein interactions in the mechanism of receptor activation.
Abstract in English:Apolipoprotein E (ApoE) is one of the most extensively studied genes in the context of aging, but there are few population-based studies on ApoE polymorphism in the elderly in developing countries. The objective of the present study was to assess ApoE allele and genotype distribution in a large elderly community-based sample and its association with age, sex and skin color. Participants included 1408 subjects (80.8% of all residents aged ³60 years) residing in Bambuí city, MG, Brazil. The DNA samples were subjected to the polymerase chain reaction amplification, followed by the restriction fragment length polymorphism technique, with digestion by HhaI. Analysis was carried out taking into consideration the six ApoE genotypes (e3/e3, e3/e4, e2/e3, e4/e4, e2/e4, and e2/e2), the three ApoE alleles, and the number of ApoE4 alleles for each individual. The e3 allele predominated (80.0%), followed by e4 (13.5%) and e2 (6.5%). All six possible genotypes were observed, the e3/e3 genotype being the most frequent (63.4%). This distribution was similar to that described in other western populations. Sex was not associated with number of ApoE4 alleles. Black skin color was significantly and independently associated with the presence of two ApoE4 alleles (age-sex adjusted OR = 7.38; 95%CI = 1.93-28.25), showing that the African-Brazilian elderly have a high prevalence of the e4 allele, as observed in blacks from Africa. No association between number of ApoE4 alleles and age was found, suggesting the absence of association of ApoE genotype with mortality in this population.
Abstract in English:MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of small endogenous RNAs that play important regulatory roles by targeting mRNAs for cleavage or translational repression. miRNAs act in diverse biological processes including development, cell growth, apoptosis, and hematopoiesis, suggesting their association with cancer. We determined the miRNA expression profile of chronic and acute lymphocytic leukemias (CLL and ALL) using the TaqMan® MicroRNA Assays Human Panel (Applied Biosystems). Pooled leukemia samples were compared to pooled CD19+ samples from healthy individuals (calibrator) by the 2-DDCt method. Total RNA input was normalized based on the Ct values obtained for hsa-miR-30b. The five most highly expressed miRNAs were miR-128b, miR-204, miR-218, miR-331, and miR-181b-1 in ALL, and miR-331, miR-29a, miR-195, miR-34a, and miR-29c in CLL. To our knowledge, this is the first report associating miR-128b, miR-204 and miR-331 to hematological malignancies. The miR-17-92 cluster was also found to be up-regulated in ALL, as previously reported for some types of lymphomas. The differences observed in gene expression levels were validated for miR-331 and miR-128b in ALL and CD19+ samples. These miRNAs were up-regulated in ALL, in agreement with our initial results. A brief target analysis was performed for miR-331. One of its putative targets, SOCS1, promotes STAT activation, which is a known mediator of cell proliferation and survival, suggesting the possibility of an association between miR-331 and these processes. This initial screening provided information on miRNA differentially expressed in normal and malignant B-cells that could suggest the potential roles of these miRNAs in hematopoiesis and leukemogenesis.
Abstract in English:The C/T-13910 mutation is the major factor responsible for the persistence of the lactase-phlorizin hydrolase (LCT) gene expression. Mutation G/A-22018 appears to be only in co-segregation with C/T-13910. The objective of the present study was to assess the presence of these two mutations in Brazilian individuals with and without lactose malabsorption diagnosed by the hydrogen breath test (HBT). Ten milk-tolerant and 10 milk-intolerant individuals underwent the HBT after oral ingestion of 50 g lactose (equivalent to 1 L of milk). Analyses for C/T-13910 and G/A-22018 mutations were performed using a PCR-based method. Primers were designed for this study based on the GenBank sequence. The CT/GA, CT/AA, and TT/AA genotypes (lactase persistence) were found in 10 individuals with negative HBT. The CC/GG genotype (lactase non-persistence) was found in 10 individuals, 9 of them with positive HBT results. There was a significant agreement between the presence of mutations in the LCT gene promoter and HBT results (kappa = -0.9, P < 0.001). The CT/AA genotype has not been described previously and seems to be related to lactase persistence. The present study showed a significant agreement between the occurrence of mutations G/A-22018 and C/T-13910 and lactose absorption in Brazilian subjects, suggesting that the molecular test used here could be proposed for the laboratory diagnosis of adult-type primary hypolactasia.
Abstract in English:Ectopic gastric mucosa (EGM) is considered to be a congenital condition. Rare cases of adenocarcinoma have been described. There are no data justifying regular biopsies or follow-up. Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) is a protein involved in gastrointestinal tumor development by inhibiting apoptosis and regulating angiogenesis. The aim of this prospective study was to evaluate COX-2 expression in EGM and compare it with normal tissue and Barrett's esophagus. We evaluated 1327 patients. Biopsies were taken from the inlet patch for histological evaluation and from the gastric antrum to assess Helicobacter pylori infection. Biopsies taken from normal esophageal, gastric antrum and body mucosa and Barrett's esophagus were retrieved from a tissue bank. EGM biopsies were evaluated with respect to type of epithelium, presence of H. pylori, and inflammation. COX-2 was detected by immunohistochemistry using the avidin-biotin complex. EGM islets were found in 14 patients (1.1%). Histological examination revealed fundic type epithelium in 58.3% of cases, H. pylori was present in 50% and chronic inflammation in 66.7%. Expression of COX-2 was negative in normal distal esophagus, normal gastric antrum and normal gastric body specimens (10 each). In contrast, EGM presented over-expression of COX-2 in 41.7% of cases and Barrett's esophagus in 90% of cases (P = 0.04 and 0.03, respectively). COX-2 immunoexpression in EGM was not related to gender, age, epithelium type, presence of inflammation or intestinal metaplasia, H. pylori infection, or any endoscopic finding. Our results demonstrate up-regulation of COX-2 in EGM, suggesting a possible malignant potential of this so-called harmless mucosa.
Abstract in English:The retina is a highly differentiated tissue with a complex layered structure that has been extensively characterized. However, most of the previous studies focused on the histology of the central retina while little is known about the cellular composition, organization and function of the marginal retina. Recent research has identified a subpopulation of multipotential progenitor cells in the marginal regions of the retina, closest to the ciliary body ("ciliary marginal zone"). These cells are capable of differentiation in response to an appropriate stimulus. Thus, it is possible that the structure and composition of the marginal retina are distinct from those of the central retina to accommodate the potential addition of newly formed neurons. To characterize the cellular profile of the chick marginal retina, we labeled it immunohistochemically for markers whose staining pattern is well established in the central retina: calbindin, calretinin, protein kinase C, and choline acetyltransferase. Calbindin was present at very low levels in the marginal retina putative photoreceptor layer. Calretinin-positive horizontal cells were also sparse close to the ciliary marginal zone. The bipolar cells in the marginal outer plexiform layer were positive for anti-protein kinase C antibodies, but the density of labeling was also decreased in relation to the central retina. In contrast, the marginal starburst cholinergic amacrine cell pattern was very similar to the central retina. From these data we conclude that the structure of the marginal retina is significantly different from that of the central retina. In particular, the expression of late retina markers in the marginal retina decreased in comparison to the central retina.
Abstract in English:TP53, a tumor suppressor gene, has a critical role in cell cycle, apoptosis and cell senescence and participates in many crucial physiological and pathological processes. Identification of TP53 polymorphism in older people and age-related diseases may provide an understanding of its physiology and pathophysiological role as well as risk factors for complex diseases. TP53 codon 72 (TP53:72) polymorphism was investigated in 383 individuals aged 66 to 97 years in a cohort from a Brazilian Elderly Longitudinal Study. We investigated allele frequency, genotype distribution and allele association with morbidities such as cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes, obesity, neoplasia, low cognitive level (dementia), and depression. We also determined the association of this polymorphism with serum lipid fractions and urea, creatinine, albumin, fasting glucose, and glycated hemoglobin levels. DNA was isolated from blood cells, amplified by PCR using sense 5'-TTGCCGTCCCAAGCAATGGATGA-3' and antisense 5'-TCTGGGAAGGGACAGAAGATGAC-3' primers and digested with the BstUI enzyme. This polymorphism is within exon 4 at nucleotide residue 347. Descriptive statistics, logistic regression analysis and Student t-test using the multiple comparison test were used. Allele frequencies, R (Arg) = 0.69 and P (Pro) = 0.31, were similar to other populations. Genotype distributions were within Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium. This polymorphism did not show significant association with any age-related disease or serum variables. However, R allele carriers showed lower HDL levels and a higher frequency of cardiovascular disease than P allele subjects. These findings may help to elucidate the physiopathological role of TP53:72 polymorphism in Brazilian elderly people.
Abstract in English:Since there is evidence that paradoxical sleep deprivation (PSD) elicits penile erection (PE) and ejaculation (EJ), and that the erectile response of rats is mediated by nitric oxide, the present study sought to extend the latter finding by assessing the effects of sildenafil on the genital reflexes of male Wistar rats subjected to PSD. We also determined the influence of sildenafil on hormone concentrations. In the first experiment, sildenafil at doses ranging from 0.08 to 0.32 mg/kg was administered intraperitoneally to rats that had been deprived of sleep for 4 days and to home cage controls (N = 8-10/group). The frequency of PE and EJ was measured for 60 min. PSD alone induced PE in 50% of the animals; however, a single injection of sildenafil did not significantly increase the percentage of rats displaying PE compared to PSD-saline or to home cage groups. PSD alone also induced spontaneous EJ, but this response was not potentiated by sildenafil in the dose range tested. Testosterone concentrations were significantly lower in PSD rats (137 ± 22 ng/dL) than in controls (365 ± 38 ng/dL), whereas progesterone (0.9 ± 0.1 vs 5.4 ± 1 ng/mL) and plasma dopamine (103.4 ± 30 vs 262.6 ± 77 pg/mL) increased. These changes did not occur after sildenafil treatment. The data show that although sildenafil did not alter the frequency of genital reflexes, it antagonized hormonal (testosterone and progesterone) and plasma dopamine changes induced by PSD. The stimulation of the genital reflexes by sildenafil did not result in potentiating effects in PSD rats.
Abstract in English:The role of gonadal hormones in induction and, particularly, maintenance/progression of rat thymic involution, which normally starts around puberty, was reassessed by examining the effects of peripubertal orchidectomy on thymic weight and morphometric parameters at different times up to the age of 10 months. Up to 6 months post-castration both thymic weight and cellularity in orchidectomized (Cx) rats were greater than in age-matched control rats, sham Cx (Sx). The increase in thymic cellularity reflected an increase in thymocyte proliferation rate (the proportion of proliferating cells was 18.6 ± 0.7% in 2-month-old Cx (N = 5) vs 13.4 ± 0.3% (N = 5) in age-matched Sx rats) followed by reduced sensitivity to apoptotic signals (apoptotic thymocytes were 9.8 ± 0.9% in 2-month-old Cx (N = 5) vs 15.5 ± 0.3% (N = 5) age-matched Sx rats). However, 9 months post-orchidectomy, neither thymic weight and cellularity nor any of the morphometric parameters analyzed differed between Cx and control rats. The reduction of thymic cellularity in Cx rats to control values may be related to increased sensitivity of their thymocytes to apoptotic signals in culture (72.6 ± 1.2% in 10-month-old vs 9.8 ± 0.9% in 2-month-old Cx rats) followed by reduced responsiveness to proliferative stimuli (14.1 ± 0.2% in 10-month-old vs 18.6 ± 0.7% in 2-month-old Cx rats). Thus, the study indicates that the effects of peripubertal orchidectomy on thymic weight and cellularity, as well as on the main morphometric indices, are long-lasting but not permanent, i.e., that removal of the testes can only postpone but not prevent age-related organ atrophy and consequently functional deterioration of the immune system.
Abstract in English:We previously reported that a DNA vaccine constructed with the heat shock protein (HSP65) gene from Mycobacterium leprae (DNA-HSP65) was protective and also therapeutic in experimental tuberculosis. By the intramuscular route, this vaccine elicited a predominant Th1 response that was consistent with its protective efficacy against tuberculosis. It has been suggested that the immune response to Hsp60/65 may be the link between exposure to microorganisms and increased cardiovascular risk. Additionally, the high cholesterol levels found in atherosclerosis could modulate host immunity. In this context, we evaluated if an atherogenic diet could modulate the immune response induced by the DNA-HSP65 vaccine. C57BL/6 mice (4-6 animals per group) were initially submitted to a protocol of atherosclerosis induction and then immunized by the intramuscular or intradermal route with 4 doses of 100 µg DNA-HSP65. On day 150 (15 days after the last immunization), the animals were sacrificed and antibodies and cytokines were determined. Vaccination by the intramuscular route induced high levels of anti-Hsp65 IgG2a antibodies, but not anti-Hsp65 IgG1 antibodies and a significant production of IL-6, IFN-g and IL-10, but not IL-5, indicating a Th1 profile. Immunization by the intradermal route triggered a mixed pattern (Th1/Th2) characterized by synthesis of anti-Hsp65 IgG2a and IgG1 antibodies and production of high levels of IL-5, IL-6, IL-10, and IFN-g. These results indicate that experimentally induced atherosclerosis did not affect the ability of DNA-HSP65 to induce a predominant Th1 response that is potentially protective against tuberculosis.
Abstract in English:This study compares the prevalence of complaints of insomnia, excessive diurnal sleepiness, parasomnias, and sleep habits of the adult population in the city of São Paulo, Brazil, estimated in surveys carried out in 1987 and 1995. Representative samples of 1000 adult residents per survey were interviewed using a validated structured sleep questionnaire, the "UNIFESP Sleep Questionnaire". Difficulty maintaining sleep, difficulty initiating sleep and early morning awakening, occurring at least three times a week, were reported in 1987 and 1995, by 15.8/27.6, 13.9/19.1, and 10.6/14.2% of the interviewees, respectively, significantly increasing throughout time. These sleep problems were more often found among women. Frequencies of excessive diurnal sleepiness and sleep attacks were unchanged comparing 1987 with 1995 (4.5 vs 3.8 and 3.1 vs 3.0%, respectively). Parasomnia complaints remained unchanged, with the exception of leg cramps, which doubled in prevalence from 1987 to 1995 (2.6 to 5.8%). Snoring was the most common parasomnia (21.5% in 1995), reported more often by men than by women, and somnambulism was the least common (approximately 1%). Besides sleeping slightly less, interviewees went to bed and woke up later in 1995. Approximately 12% of the subjects in both surveys had consulted a physician due to sleep problems and 3.0% reported habitual use of sleep-promoting substances in 1995. Overall, there was a significant increase in insomnia complaints from 1987 to 1995 in the general population of the city of São Paulo. This major change over a little under a decade should be considered as an important public health issue.
Abstract in English:The effect of different contextual stimuli on different ethanol-induced internal states was investigated during the time course of both the hypothermic effect of the drug and of drug tolerance. Minimitters were surgically implanted in 16 Wistar rats to assess changes in their body temperature under the effect of ethanol. Rat groups were submitted to ethanol or saline trials every other day. The animals were divided into two groups, one receiving a constant dose (CD) of ethanol injected intraperitoneally, and the other receiving increasing doses (ID) during the 10 training sessions. During the ethanol training sessions, conditioned stimuli A (tone) and B (buzzer) were presented at "state +" (35 min after drug injection) and "state -" (170 min after drug injection), respectively. Conditioned stimuli C (bip) and D (white noise) were presented at moments equivalent to stimuli A and B, respectively, but during the saline training sessions. All stimuli lasted 15 min. The CD group, but not the ID group, developed tolerance to the hypothermic effect of ethanol. Stimulus A (associated with drug "state +") induced hyperthermia with saline injection in the ID group. Stimulus B (associated with drug "state -") reduced ethanol tolerance in the CD group and modulated the hypothermic effect of the drug in the ID group. These results indicate that contextual stimuli acquire modulatory conditioned properties that are associated with the time course of both the action of the drug and the development of drug tolerance.
Abstract in English:An analysis of scientific bibliographic productivity using the Hirsch h-index, information from the Institute of Scientific Information database and the Curriculum Lattes (CNPq, Brazil) was performed at the Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão Preto, Universidade de São Paulo (FFCLRP-USP) that has four departments in natural, biological and social sciences. Bibliometric evaluations of undergraduate programs showed a better performance of the departments of Chemistry (P < 0.001) and Biology (P < 0.001) when compared to the departments of Physics and Mathematics and Psychology and Education. We also analyzed the scientific output of the six graduate programs of FFCLRP: Psychology, Psychobiology, Chemistry, Physics Applied to Medicine and Biology, Comparative Biology, and Entomology. The graduate program in Psychology presented a lower h-index (P < 0.001) and had fewer papers indexed by the ISI web of science (P < 0.001) when compared to the other graduate programs. The poorer performance of the Psychology program may be associated with the limited coverage by the Thompson Institute of Scientific Information database.
Abstract in English:The anti-tumor effect of the Moroccan endemic thyme (Thymus broussonettii) essential oil (EOT) was investigated in vitro using the human ovarian adenocarcinoma IGR-OV1 parental cell line OV1/P and its chemoresistant counterparts OV1/adriamycin (OV1/ADR), OV1/vincristine (OV1/VCR), and OV1/cisplatin (OV1/CDDP). All of these cell lines elicited various degrees of sensitivity to the cytotoxic effect of EOT. The IC50 values (mean ± SEM, v/v) were 0.40 ± 0.02, 0.39 ± 0.02, 0.94 ± 0.05, and 0.65 ± 0.03% for OV1/P, OV1/ADR, OV1/VCR, and OV1/CDDP, respectively. Using the DBA-2/P815 (H2d) mouse model, tumors were developed by subcutaneous grafting of tumor fragments of similar size obtained from P815 (murin mastocytoma cell line) injected in donor mouse. Interestingly, intra-tumoral injection of EOT significantly reduced solid tumor development. Indeed, by the 30th day of repeated EOT treatment, the tumor volumes of the animals were 2.00 ± 0.27, 1.35 ± 0.20, and 0.85 ± 0.18 cm³ after injection with 10, 30, or 50 µL per 72 h (six times), respectively, as opposed to 3.88 ± 0.50 cm³ for the control animals. This tumoricidal effect was associated with a marked decrease of mouse mortality. In fact, in these groups of mice, the recorded mortality by the 30th day of treatment was 30 ± 4, 18 ± 4, and 8 ± 3%, respectively, while the control animals showed 75 ± 10% of mortality. These data indicate that the EOT which contains carvacrol as the major component has an important in vitro cytotoxic activity against tumor cells resistant to chemotherapy as well as a significant antitumor effect in mice. However, our data do not distinguish between carvacrol and the other components of EOT as the active factor.
Abstract in English:Agaricus blazei Murill is a native Brazilian mushroom which functions primarily as an anticancer substance in transplanted mouse tumors. However, the mechanism underlying this function of A. blazei Murill remains obscure. The present study was carried out to investigate the effect of fraction FA-2-b-ß, an RNA-protein complex isolated from A. blazei Murill, on human leukemia HL-60 cells in vitro. Typical apoptotic characteristics were determined by morphological methods using DNA agarose gel electrophoresis and flow cytometry. The growth suppressive effect of fraction FA-2-b-ß on HL-60 cells in vitro occurred in a dose- (5-80 µg/mL) and time-dependent (24-96 h) manner. The proliferation of HL-60 cells (1 x 10(5) cells/mL) treated with 40 µg/mL of fraction FA-2-b-ß for 24-96 h and with 5-80 µg/mL for 96 h resulted in inhibitory rates ranging from 8 to 54.5%, and from 4.9 to 86.3%, respectively. Both telomerase activity determined by TRAP-ELISA and mRNA expression of the caspase-3 gene detected by RT-PCR were increased in HL-60 cells during fraction FA-2-b-ß treatment. The rate of apoptosis correlated negatively with the decrease of telomerase activity (r = 0.926, P < 0.05), but correlated positively with caspase-3 mRNA expression (r = 0.926, P < 0.05). These data show that fraction FA-2-b-ß can induce HL-60 cell apoptosis and that the combined effect of down-regulation of telomerase activity and up-regulation of mRNA expression of the caspase-3 gene could be the primary mechanism of induction of apoptosis. These findings provide strong evidence that fraction FA-2-b-ß could be of interest for the clinical treatment of acute leukemia.
Abstract in English:The severity of left ventricular (LV) dysfunction in rats with myocardial infarction (MI) varies widely. Because homogeneity in baseline parameters is essential for experimental investigations, a study was conducted to establish whether Doppler echocardiography (DE) could accurately identify animals with high LV end-diastolic pressure as a marker of LV dysfunction soon after MI. Direct measurements of LV end-diastolic pressure were made and DE was performed simultaneously 1 week after surgically induced MI (N = 16) or sham-operation (N = 17) in female Wistar rats (200 to 250 g). The ratio of peak early (E) to late (A) diastolic LV filling velocities and the ratio of E velocity to peak early (Em) diastolic myocardial velocity were the best predictors of high LV end-diastolic pressure (>12 mmHg) soon after MI. Cut-off values of 1.77 for the E/A ratio (P = 0.001) identified rats with elevated LV end-diastolic pressure with 90% sensitivity and 80% specificity. Cut-off values of 20.4 for the E/Em ratio (P = 0.0001) identified rats with elevated LV end-diastolic pressure with 81.8% sensitivity and 80% specificity. Moreover, E/A and E/Em ratios were the only echocardiographic parameters independently associated with LV end-diastolic pressure in multiple linear regression analysis. Therefore, DE identifies rats with high LV end-diastolic pressure soon after MI. These findings have implications for using serial DE in animal selection and in the assessment of their response to experimental therapies.
Abstract in English:Because it is not known where in the reflex arch, i.e., afference, central nervous system or efferences, hyperglycemia affects baroreflex function, the present study examined the effect of short-term (30 min) hyperglycemia on aortic depressor nerve function measured by a mean arterial pressure vs aortic depressor nerve activity curve, fitted by sigmoidal regression, or by cross-spectral analysis between mean arterial pressure and aortic depressor nerve activity. Anesthetized male Wistar rats received an intravenous bolus (0.25 mL) injection, followed by 30 min of infusion (1 mL/h) of 30% glucose (N = 14). Control groups received a bolus injection and infusion of 0.9% saline (N = 14), or 30% mannitol (N = 14). Glucose significantly increased both blood glucose and plasma osmolarity (P < 0.05). Mean arterial pressure did not change after glucose, saline or mannitol infusion. Mean arterial pressure vs nerve activity curves were identical before and 10 and 30 min after the beginning of glucose, saline or mannitol infusion. Slow (0.3 Hz) oscillations of arterial pressure were induced by controlled bleeding, and cross-spectral analysis was applied to arterial pressure and aortic nerve activity. Transfer function magnitude (aortic depressor nerve activity/mean arterial pressure ratio in the frequency domain) was calculated as an index of gain of the aortic depressor nerve. Transfer function magnitude was similar in all groups during induced or spontaneous oscillations of arterial pressure. In conclusion, the present study demonstrates, by means of two different approaches for assessing baroreceptor function, that aortic depressor nerve activity was not altered by short-term (30 min) hyperglycemia.