Abstract in English:Vitamins are essential compounds mainly involved in acting as enzyme co-factors or in response to oxidative stress. In the last two years it became apparent that apicomplexan parasites are able to generate B vitamers such as vitamin B1 and B6 de novo. The biosynthesis pathways responsible for vitamin generation are considered as drug targets, since both provide a high degree of selectivity due to their absence in the human host. This report updates the current knowledge about vitamin B1 and B6 biosynthesis in malaria and other apicomplexan parasites. Owing to the urgent need for novel antimalarials, the significance of the biosynthesis and salvage of these vitamins is critically discussed in terms of parasite survival and their exploitation for drug development.
Abstract in English:Apolipoprotein E (ApoE) polymorphism influences lipid metabolism, but its association with arterial hypertension is controversial. The objective of this study was to examine the association between ApoE polymorphism and prevalent hypertension in a large unselected population of older adults. Participants from the baseline of the Bambuí Health Aging Study whose ApoE genes had been genotyped were selected for this study (N = 1406, aged 60-95 years). These subjects represented 80.7% of the total elderly residents in Bambuí city, MG, Brazil. Hypertension was defined as a systolic blood pressure ³140 mmHg and/or a diastolic blood pressure ³90 mmHg, or the use of anti-hypertensive medication. The exposure variable was the ApoE genotype as follows: e3 carriers, e3e3; e2 carriers, e2e2 or e2e3, and e4 carriers, e3e4 or e4e4. Potential confounding variables were age, gender, traditional cardiovascular risk factors, uric acid, and creatinine levels. The prevalence of hypertension was 61.3%. Compared with the e3 homozygotes, neither the e2 nor the e4 carrier status was associated with hypertension (adjusted prevalence ratios = 0.94, 95%CI = 0.83-1.07 and 0.98, 0.89-1.07, respectively). On the other hand, the e2 allele carriers had lower LDL cholesterol levels (P < 0.001) and the e4 carriers had higher LDL cholesterol levels (P = 0.036). This study provides epidemiologic evidence that the ApoE genotype is not associated with prevalent hypertension in old age.
Abstract in English:The fetal hemoglobin (HbF) levels and ßS-globin gene haplotypes of 125 sickle cell anemia patients from Brazil were investigated. We sequenced the Gg- and Ag-globin gene promoters and the DNase I-2 hypersensitive sites in the locus control regions (HS2-LCR) of patients with HbF level disparities as compared to their ßS haplotypes. Sixty-four (51.2%) patients had CAR/Ben genotype; 36 (28.8%) Ben/Ben; 18 (14.4%) CAR/CAR; 2 (1.6%) CAR/Atypical; 2 (1.6%) Ben/Cam; 1 (0.8%) CAR/Cam; 1 (0.8%) CAR/Arab-Indian, and 1 (0.8%) Sen/Atypical. The HS2-LCR sequence analyses demonstrated a c.-10.677G>A change in patients with the Ben haplotype and high HbF levels. The Gg gene promoter sequence analyses showed a c.-157T>C substitution shared by all patients, and a c.-222_-225del related to the Cam haplotype. These results identify new polymorphisms in the HS2-LCR and Gg-globin gene promoter. Further studies are required to determine the correlation between HbF synthesis and the clinical profile of sickle cell anemia patients.
Abstract in English:A correlation between cancer and prothrombotic states has long been described. More recently, a number of studies have focused on the procoagulant mechanisms exhibited by tumor cells. In the present study, we dissected the molecular mechanisms responsible for the procoagulant activity of MV3, a highly aggressive human melanoma cell line. It was observed that tumor cells strongly accelerate plasma coagulation as a result of: i) expression of the blood clotting initiator protein, a tissue factor, as shown by flow cytometry and functional assays (factor Xa formation in the presence of cells and factor VIIa), and ii) direct activation of prothrombin to thrombin by cells, as evidenced by hydrolysis of the synthetic substrate, S-2238, and the natural substrate, fibrinogen. This ability was highly potentiated by the addition of exogenous factor Va, which functions as a co-factor for the enzyme factor Xa. In contrast, prothrombin activation was not observed when cells were previously incubated with DEGR-factor Xa, an inactive derivative of the enzyme. Moreover, a monoclonal antibody against bovine factor Xa reduced the prothrombin-converting activity of tumor cells. In conclusion, the data strongly suggest that MV3 cells recruit factor Xa from the culture medium, triggering an uncommon procoagulant mechanism.
Abstract in English:Numerous studies have suggested a substantial genetic contribution in the etiology of the primary form of restless legs syndrome (RLS) and periodic leg movements (PLM). We describe the symptoms, the sleep profiles and physiological parameters of two families in which several members present RLS/PLM. The proband of family 1 is a 70-year-old woman and the proband of family 2 is a 57-year-old woman; both have exhibited the symptoms since the age of 20 years. All patients in both families were diagnosed with RLS according to the criteria of the International RLS Study Group. Polysomnographic recordings were performed to quantify and to describe PLM during sleep. Sleep parameters showed decreased sleep efficiency, increased sleep latency in the arousal index and the presence of PLM in all subjects. One of the families showed an exact profile of dominant inheritance with anticipation of age at onset. In the other family, the founders were blood relatives and there was no affected member in the third generation suggesting a recessive mode of inheritance. RLS/PLM is a prevalent sleep disorder affecting about 5 to 15% of the population and one that substantially impairs healthy sleep patterns. Efforts to understand the underlying pathophysiology will contribute to improve the sleep and life quality of these patients.
Abstract in English:To find Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) strains with genetic variations of EBV latent membrane protein 1 (EBV-LMP1) from nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC), the full-length DNA of LMP1 genes from 21 NPC biopsies obtained in Hunan province in southern China was amplified and sequenced. Our sequences were compared to those previously reported by the Clustal V method. Results showed that all 21 sequences displayed two amino acid changes most frequently in LMP1 of CD4+ T cell epitopes at codons 144 (F®I, 21/21) and 212 (G®S, 19/21) or (G®N, 2/21). We also show that type A EBV strain is prevalent in the cases of NPC from Hunan province with a 30-bp 18/21 deletion, and we highlight that this deletion resulted in loss of one of the CD4+ T cell-restricted epitopes. The other 3 sequences without this deletion all had a change at codon 344 (G®D). Furthermore, in the major epitope sequence of CD8+ T cells restricted by HLA-A2, all 21 sequences showed changes at codons 126 (L®F) and 129 (M®I). Our study discovered that one of the 21 sequence variations harbored a new change at codon 131 (W®C), and 5/21 specimens showed another novel change at codon 115 (G®A) in the major epitope sequence of CD8+ T cells restricted by HLA-A2. Our study suggests that these sequence variations of NPC-derived LMP1 may lead to a potential escape from host cell immune recognition, protecting latent EBV infection and causing an increase in tumorigenicity.
Abstract in English:The effects of H2O2 were evaluated in the estuarine worm Laeonereis acuta (Polychaeta, Nereididae) collected at the Patos Lagoon estuary (Southern Brazil) and maintained in the laboratory under controlled salinity (10 psu diluted seawater) and temperature (20°C). The worms were exposed to H2O2 (10 and 50 µM) for 4, 7, and 10 days and the following variables were determined: oxygen consumption, catalase (CAT) and glutathione peroxidase activity in both the supernatant and pellet fractions of whole body homogenates. The concentrations of non-protein sulfhydryl and lipid peroxides (LPO) were also measured. The oxygen consumption response was biphasic, decreasing after 4 days and increasing after 7 and 10 days of exposure to 50 µM H2O2 (P < 0.05). At the same H2O2 concentration, CAT activity was lower (P < 0.05) in the pellet fraction of worms exposed for 10 days compared to control. Non-protein sulfhydryl concentration and glutathione peroxidase activity were not affected by H2O2 exposure. After 10 days, LPO levels were higher (P < 0.05) in worms exposed to 50 µM H2O2 compared to control. The reduction in the antioxidant defense was paralleled by oxidative stress as indicated by higher LPO values (441% compared to control). The reduction of CAT activity in the pellet fraction may be related to protein oxidation. These results, taken together with previous findings, suggest that the worms were not able to cope with this H2O2 concentration.
Abstract in English:The aim of the present study was to assess the reproductive parameters of obese Wistar rats and to determine the frequency of their obese adult offspring. Neonatal rats were divided into two groups: F1 generation, induced to obesity by monosodium glutamate (MSG; F1MSG, N = 30), and rats given saline (F1CON, N = 13). At 90 days of age all animals were mated, producing the F2 offspring (F2CON, N = 28; F2MSG, N = 15). Reproductive parameters (fertility, pregnancy, and delivery indexes) were evaluated in F1 rats. F2 newborns were weighed, and the obesity parameter for F1 and F2 generations was determined from months 5 to 7 of life. At month 7, periovarian fat was weighed and no differences were found. Mean newborn weight also did not differ. The F1 and F2MSG groups presented approximately 90% of obese rats since month 5 of life, whereas F1 and F2CON groups presented only 33%. There was no difference in periovarian weight among groups. Although obesity did not affect reproductive parameters, obese dams (F1MSG) were responsible for the appearance of obesity in the subsequent generation. Thus, obesity induced by neonatal MSG administration did not interfere with reproduction, but did provide a viable model for obesity in second-generation adult Wistar rats. This model might contribute to a better understanding of the pathophysiological mechanisms involved in transgenerational obesity.
Abstract in English:We compared the cost-benefit of two algorithms, recently proposed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, USA, with the conventional one, the most appropriate for the diagnosis of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in the Brazilian population. Serum samples were obtained from 517 ELISA-positive or -inconclusive blood donors who had returned to Fundação Pró-Sangue/Hemocentro de São Paulo to confirm previous results. Algorithm A was based on signal-to-cut-off (s/co) ratio of ELISA anti-HCV samples that show s/co ratio ³95% concordance with immunoblot (IB) positivity. For algorithm B, reflex nucleic acid amplification testing by PCR was required for ELISA-positive or -inconclusive samples and IB for PCR-negative samples. For algorithm C, all positive or inconclusive ELISA samples were submitted to IB. We observed a similar rate of positive results with the three algorithms: 287, 287, and 285 for A, B, and C, respectively, and 283 were concordant with one another. Indeterminate results from algorithms A and C were elucidated by PCR (expanded algorithm) which detected two more positive samples. The estimated cost of algorithms A and B was US$21,299.39 and US$32,397.40, respectively, which were 43.5 and 14.0% more economic than C (US$37,673.79). The cost can vary according to the technique used. We conclude that both algorithms A and B are suitable for diagnosing HCV infection in the Brazilian population. Furthermore, algorithm A is the more practical and economical one since it requires supplemental tests for only 54% of the samples. Algorithm B provides early information about the presence of viremia.
Abstract in English:The goal of the present study was to investigate the role of thigmotaxis (the tendency to remain close to vertical surfaces) in rat exploratory behavior in an open-field. Thigmotaxis was investigated in a parametric way, using 24 experimentally adult naive male Wistar rats (210-230 g). Exploratory behavior was studied in an open-field (N = 12) in 5-min sessions and behavior was analyzed in terms of where it occurred: in areas surrounded by two, one, or no walls. Another group of rats (N = 12) was studied in an open-field with blocks placed near two of the corners so as to make these corner areas surrounded by three walls. The floor of the open-fields was divided into 20-cm squares in order to locate the exact place of occurrence of each behavior. The following behaviors were recorded: entries into the squares, rearings, and groomings. In both types of open-field the rats chose to remain longer in the squares surrounded by the largest possible number of walls. In one of the open-fields, the mean time (seconds) spent in squares surrounded by two walls was longer than the time spent in squares surrounded by one or no walls (37.2, 7.7, and 1.8 s, respectively). In the other open-field, the mean time spent in squares surrounded by three walls was longer than the time spent in squares surrounded by two, one or no walls (41.7, 20.4, 7.0, and 2.6 s, respectively). Other measures presented a similar profile. These results indicate that rats are sensitive to the number of walls in an environment and prefer to remain close to them.
Abstract in English:In a serial feature-positive conditional discrimination procedure the properties of a target stimulus A are defined by the presence or not of a feature stimulus X preceding it. In the present experiment, composite features preceded targets associated with two different topography operant responses (right and left bar pressing); matching and non-matching-to-sample arrangements were also used. Five water-deprived Wistar rats were trained in 6 different trials: X-R®Ar and X-L®Al, in which X and A were same modality visual stimuli and the reinforcement was contingent to pressing either the right (r) or left (l) bar that had the light on during the feature (matching-to-sample); Y-R®Bl and Y-L®Br, in which Y and B were same modality auditory stimuli and the reinforcement was contingent to pressing the bar that had the light off during the feature (non-matching-to-sample); A- and B- alone. After 100 training sessions, the animals were submitted to transfer tests with the targets used plus a new one (auditory click). Average percentages of stimuli with a response were measured. Acquisition occurred completely only for Y-L®Br+; however, complex associations were established along training. Transfer was not complete during the tests since concurrent effects of extinction and response generalization also occurred. Results suggest the use of both simple conditioning and configurational strategies, favoring the most recent theories of conditional discrimination learning. The implications of the use of complex arrangements for discussing these theories are considered.
Abstract in English:Gastroesophageal reflux (GER) is common in asthma patients and can contribute to sleep disruption. The aim of the present study was to determine the time-related distribution of GER events together with their impact on sleep in asthmatic subjects with GER disease symptoms. The inclusion criteria were: 18-65 years, controlled moderate to severe asthma and GER-compatible clinical evidence. The exclusion criteria were: chronic obstructive lung disease, smoking, infections of the upper airways, use of oral corticosteroids, other co-morbidities, pregnancy, sleep-related disorders, night-time shift work, and the use of substances with impact on sleep. Asthmatic patients with nocturnal symptoms were excluded. All-night polysomnography and esophageal pH monitoring were recorded simultaneously. Of the 147 subjects selected, 31 patients and 31 controls were included. Seventeen patients were classified as DeMeester positive and 14 as DeMeester negative. Both groups displayed similar outcomes when general variables were considered. Sleep stage modification one minute prior to GER was observed in the DeMeester-positive group. Awakening was the most frequent occurrence at GER onset and during the 1-min period preceding 38% of the nocturnal GER. Sleep stage 2 was also prevalent and preceded 36% of GER events. In the DeMeester-negative group, awakening was the most frequent response before and during GER. Modifications in sleep stages, arousals or awakenings were associated with 75% of the total GER events analyzed during the period of one minute before and after the fall of esophageal pH below 4 in the DeMeester-positive group. These data provide evidence that sleep modifications precede the GER events in asthmatic patients.
Abstract in English:A long-standing debate in the literature is whether attention can form two or more independent spatial foci in addition to the well-known unique spatial focus. There is evidence that voluntary visual attention divides in space. The possibility that this also occurs for automatic visual attention was investigated here. Thirty-six female volunteers were tested. In each trial, a prime stimulus was presented in the left or right visual hemifield. This stimulus was characterized by the blinking of a superior, middle or inferior ring, the blinking of all these rings, or the blinking of the superior and inferior rings. A target stimulus to which the volunteer should respond with the same side hand or a target stimulus to which she should not respond was presented 100 ms later in a primed location, a location between two primed locations or a location in the contralateral hemifield. Reaction time to the positive target stimulus in a primed location was consistently shorter than reaction time in the horizontally corresponding contralateral location. This attentional effect was significantly smaller or absent when the positive target stimulus appeared in the middle location after the double prime stimulus. These results suggest that automatic visual attention can focus on two separate locations simultaneously, to some extent sparing the region in between.
Abstract in English:This study was undertaken in anesthetized dogs to evaluate the relative participation of prostaglandins (PGs) and nitric oxide (NO) in the maintenance of total renal blood flow (TRBF), and renal medullary blood flow (RMBF). It was hypothesized that the inhibition of NO should impair cortical and medullary circulation because of the synthesis of this compound in the endothelial cells of these two territories. In contrast, under normal conditions of perfusion pressure PG synthesis is confined to the renal medulla. Hence PG inhibition should predominantly impair the medullary circulation. The initial administration of 25 µM kg-1 min-1 NG-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester produced a significant 26% decrease in TRBF and a concomitant 34% fall in RMBF, while the subsequent inhibition of PGs with 5 mg/kg meclofenamate further reduced TRBF by 33% and RMBF by 89%. In contrast, the initial administration of meclofenamate failed to change TRBF, while decreasing RMBF by 49%. The subsequent blockade of NO decreased TRBF by 35% without further altering RMBF. These results indicate that initial PG synthesis inhibition predominantly alters the medullary circulation, whereas NO inhibition decreases both cortical and medullary flow. This latter change induced by NO renders cortical and RMBF susceptible to a further decrease by PG inhibition. However, the decrease in medullary circulation produced by NO inhibition is not further enhanced by subsequent PG inhibition.
Abstract in English:Serum hormone levels were compared between captive and free-living maned wolves and seasonal variations of sex hormones were studied. Blood samples were collected from 16 male and 26 female adult animals from Brazilian zoos, and from 30 male and 24 female free-living adults to determine serum progesterone and testosterone by radioimmunoassay. Serum testosterone concentrations varied (P < 0.05) across seasons for 16 captive males, being higher in autumn (2184.7 ± 355.1 pg/mL) than in summer (1080.7 ± 205.4 pg/mL), winter (1270.1 ± 276.6 pg/mL) and spring (963.9 ± 248.1 pg/mL), although they did not differ between summer, winter and spring. Testosterone concentration of 30 free-living males differed (P < 0.05) between autumn (824.1 ± 512.2 pg/mL), winter (14.4 ± 8.0 pg/mL) and spring (151.9 ± 90.5 pg/mL). Comparison between captive and free-living animals showed no difference in autumn (P > 0.05). Sixteen captive males showed higher testosterone concentration during winter and spring compared with 30 free-living animals (P < 0.05). Progesterone concentration varied among seasons in 26 captive females (P < 0.05), being higher in autumn (15.3 ± 3.1 ng/mL) than in summer (6.6 ± 1.5 ng/mL), winter (5.3 ± 3.1 ng/mL) and spring (4.3 ± 0.7 ng/mL). Progesterone concentration of 24 free-living females varied between autumn (17.1 ± 6.0 ng/mL) and winter (1.7 ± 0.3 ng/mL) (P < 0.05), but we could not obtain data for spring or summer. No difference in progesterone levels was observed between captive and free-living females in autumn and winter.