Abstract in English:Oxysterols are 27-carbon atom molecules resulting from autoxidation or enzymatic oxidation of cholesterol. They are present in numerous foodstuffs and have been demonstrated to be present at increased levels in the plasma of patients with cardiovascular diseases and in atherosclerotic lesions. Thus, their role in lipid disorders is widely suspected, and they might also be involved in important degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, osteoporosis, and age-related macular degeneration. Since atherosclerosis is associated with the presence of apoptotic cells and with oxidative and inflammatory processes, the ability of some oxysterols, especially 7-ketocholesterol and 7β-hydroxycholesterol, to trigger cell death, activate inflammation, and modulate lipid homeostasis is being extensively studied, especially in vitro. Thus, since there are a number of essential considerations regarding the physiological/pathophysiological functions and activities of the different oxysterols, it is important to determine their biological activities and identify their signaling pathways, when they are used either alone or as mixtures. Oxysterols may have cytotoxic, oxidative, and/or inflammatory effects, or none whatsoever. Moreover, a substantial accumulation of polar lipids in cytoplasmic multilamellar structures has been observed with cytotoxic oxysterols, suggesting that cytotoxic oxysterols are potent inducers of phospholipidosis. This basic knowledge about oxysterols contributes to a better understanding of the associated pathologies and may lead to new treatments and new drugs. Since oxysterols have a number of biological activities, and as oxysterol-induced cell death is assumed to take part in degenerative pathologies, the present review will focus on the cytotoxic activities of these compounds, the corresponding cell death signaling pathways, and associated events (oxidation, inflammation, and phospholipidosis).
Abstract in English:It is well known that the ventrolateral medulla contains neurons involved in the tonic and reflex control of the cardiovascular system. Two regions within the ventrolateral medulla were initially identified: the rostral ventrolateral medulla (RVLM) and the caudal ventrolateral medulla (CVLM). Activation of the RVLM raises arterial blood pressure and sympathetic nerve activity, and activation of the CVLM causes opposite effects. The RVLM premotor neurons project directly to sympathetic preganglionic neurons and are involved in the maintenance of resting sympathetic vasomotor tone. A significant proportion of tonic activity in the RVLM sympathetic premotor neurons is driven by neurons located in a third region of the ventrolateral medulla denominated caudal pressor area (CPA). The CPA is a pressor region located at the extreme caudal part of the ventrolateral medulla that appears to have an important role controlling the activity of RVLM neurons. In this brief review, we will address the importance of the ventrolateral medulla neurons for the generation of resting sympathetic tone related to arterial blood pressure control focusing on two regions, the RVLM and the CPA.
Abstract in English:The continuous intravenous administration of isotopic bicarbonate (NaH13CO2) has been used for the determination of the retention of the 13CO2 fraction or the 13CO2 recovered in expired air. This determination is important for the calculation of substrate oxidation. The aim of the present study was to evaluate, in critically ill patients with sepsis under mechanical ventilation, the 13CO2 recovery fraction in expired air after continuous intravenous infusion of NaH13CO2 (3.8 µmol/kg diluted in 0.9% saline in ddH2O). A prospective study was conducted on 10 patients with septic shock between the second and fifth day of sepsis evolution (APACHE II, 25.9 ± 7.4). Initially, baseline CO2 was collected and indirect calorimetry was also performed. A primer of 5 mL NaH13CO2 was administered followed by continuous infusion of 5 mL/h for 6 h. Six CO2 production (VCO2) measurements (30 min each) were made with a portable metabolic cart connected to a respirator and hourly samples of expired air were obtained using a 750-mL gas collecting bag attached to the outlet of the respirator. 13CO2 enrichment in expired air was determined with a mass spectrometer. The patients presented a mean value of VCO2 of 182 ± 52 mL/min during the steady-state phase. The mean recovery fraction was 0.68 ± 0.06%, which is less than that reported in the literature (0.82 ± 0.03%). This suggests that the 13CO2 recovery fraction in septic patients following enteral feeding is incomplete, indicating retention of 13CO2 in the organism. The severity of septic shock in terms of the prognostic index APACHE II and the sepsis score was not associated with the 13CO2 recovery fraction in expired air.
Abstract in English:Apoptotic protease activating factor 1 (APAF-1) has a critical role in the regulation of apoptosis. In the present study, the mRNA expression analysis of different APAF-1 transcripts (APAF-1S, APAF-1LC, APAF-1LN, and APAF-1XL) was analyzed in bone marrow samples from 37 patients with acute myeloid leukemia (newly diagnosed, with no previous treatment). APAF-1XL and APAF-1LN transcripts (with and without an extra WD-40 repeat region, respectively) were detected in all samples, although the major form expressed was APAF-1XL in 65% of the samples (group 1), while 35% of the samples expressed primarily APAF-1LN (group 2). Only 46% of the patients presented complete remission in response to remission induction therapy (represented by less than 5% marrow blasts and hematological recovery), all but 2 cases being from group 1, 21.6% did not attain complete remission (only 1 case from group 1), and 32.4% of the patients died early. Lower expression of APAF-1XL (APAF-1XL/APAF-1LN ratio <1.2) was associated with a poor response to therapy (P = 0.0005, Fisher exact test). Both groups showed similar characteristics regarding white blood cell counts, cytogenetic data or presence of gene rearrangements associated with good prognosis as AML1-ETO, CBFB-MYH11 and PML/RARA. Since it has been shown that only the isoforms with the extra WD-40 repeat region activate procaspase-9, we suggest that low procaspase-9 activation may also be involved in the deregulation of apoptosis and chemotherapy resistance in acute myeloid leukemia.
Abstract in English:Most breast cancer risk factors are associated with prolonged exposure of the mammary gland to high levels of estrogens. The actions of estrogens are predominantly mediated by two receptors, ERα and ERβ, which act as transcription factors binding with high affinity to estrogen response elements in the promoter region of target genes. However, most target genes do not contain the consensus estrogen response elements, but rather degenerated palindromic sequences showing one or more mutations and other ER-binding sites such as AP-1 and SP-1. Using the differential display reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction technique, our group identified several genes differentially expressed in normal tissue and in ER-positive and ER-negative primary breast tumors. One of the genes shown to be down-regulated in breast tumors compared to normal breast tissue was the PHLDA1 (Pleckstrin homology-like domain, family A, member 1). In the present study, we investigated the potential of PHLDA1 to be regulated by estrogen via ER in MCF-7 breast cancer cells. The promoter region of PHLDA1 shows an imperfect palindrome, an AP-1- and three SP-1-binding sites potentially regulated by estrogens. We also assessed the effects of 17β-estradiol on PHLDA1 mRNA expression in MCF-7 breast cancer cells. MCF-7 cells exposed to 10 nM 17β-estradiol showed more than 2-fold increased expression of the PHLDA1 transcripts compared to control cells (P = 0.05). The anti-estrogen ICI 182,780 (1 µM) inhibited PHLDA1 mRNA expression and completely abolished the effect of 10 nM 17β-estradiol on PHLDA1 expression (P < 0.05), suggesting that PHLDA1 is regulated by estrogen via ER.
Abstract in English:The purpose of the present study was to identify the expression of p16INK4 in cervical cancer precursor lesions by immunohistochemistry and to correlate it with lesion grade and presence of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. Cervical specimens from 144 women seen consecutively at the gynecology outpatient clinic of our institution from December 2003 to May 2005 were analyzed by cytopathology, histopathology, polymerase chain reaction for HPV-DNA, and p16INK4 immunostaining. Histologically normal biopsies, HPV-DNA negative by polymerase chain reaction, were used as control. HPV-DNA prevalence, including the control group, was 68.1% and the prevalence of p16INK4 expression was 55.0%. The percentage of cells stained by p16INK4 ranged from 10 to 100%, both in the group consisting of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN)1/HPV specimens and in the group of CIN2/CIN3 specimens with P value of 0.0001. p16INK4 expression was 48.3% in the CIN1/HPV group, as opposed to 94.3% in the CIN2/CIN3 group (P = 0.001), showing a statistically significant difference between the two groups. The quantitative method used here is simple and less subjective than the different semiquantitative methods described in the literature. In view of the different definitions of a p16INK4-positive case, it is almost impossible to compare the findings reported by different investigators. This study confirms the association between p16INK4 and CIN2 and CIN3 lesions. Moreover, it shows that some low grade lesions expressed high levels of this protein. This may indicate that such low grade lesions may be predisposed to progress to high grade lesions. This means that p16INK4 may be a strong marker for "neoplastic lesions" induced by HPV and not just an infection marker.
Abstract in English:Efonidipine hydrochloride is an antihypertensive and antianginal agent with fewer side effects and is better tolerated in the treatment of hypertension with renal impairment. Its interaction with bovine serum albumin (BSA) is of great use for the understanding of the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic mechanisms of the drug. The binding of efonidipine to BSA was investigated by fluorescence spectroscopy and circular dichroism. BSA fluorescence was quenched by efonidipine, due to the fact that efonidipine quenched the fluorescence of tryptophan residues mainly by the collision mode. The thermodynamic parameters ΔH0 and ΔS0 were 68.04 kJ/mol and 319.42 J·mol-1·K-1, respectively, indicating that the hydrophobic interactions played a major role. The results of circular dichroism and synchronous fluorescence measurements showed that the binding of efonidipine to BSA led to a conformational change of BSA. The fraction of occupied sites (θ) for the 8-anilino-1-naphthalein-sulfonic acid (ANS)-BSA system is 85%, whereas for the NZ-105-BSA system, it is 53%, which suggests that the interaction of ANS with BSA is stronger than that of NZ-105 with BSA. Binding studies in the presence of ANS indicated that efonidipine competed with ANS for hydrophobic sites of BSA. The effects of metal ions on the binding constant of the efonidipine-BSA complex were also investigated. The presence of metal ions Zn2+, Mg2+, Al3+, K+, and Ca2+ increased the binding constant of efonidipine_BSA complex, which may prolong the storage period of NZ-105 in blood plasma and enhance its maximum effects.
Abstract in English:Hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome (HCPS) has been recognized as an important public heath problem. Five hantaviruses associated with HCPS are currently known in Brazil: Juquitiba, Araraquara, Laguna Negra-like, Castelo dos Sonhos, and Anajatuba viruses. The laboratory diagnosis of HCPS is routinely carried out by the detection of anti-hantavirus IgM and/or IgG antibodies. The present study describes the expression of the N protein of a hantavirus detected in the blood sample of an HCPS patient. The entire S segment of the virus was amplified and found to be 1858 nucleotides long, with an open reading frame of 1287 nucleotides that encodes a protein of 429 amino acids. The nucleotide sequence described here showed a high identity with the N protein gene of Araraquara virus. The entire N protein was expressed using the vector pET200D and the Escherichia coli BL21 strain. The expression of the recombinant protein was confirmed by the detection of a 52-kDa protein by Western blot using a pool of human sera obtained from HCPS patients, and by specific IgG detection in five serum samples of HCPS patients tested by ELISA. These results suggest that the recombinant N protein could be used as an antigen for the serological screening of hantavirus infection.
Abstract in English:Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) is important in calcification and its expression seems to be associated with the inflammatory process. We investigated the in vitro acute effects of compounds used for the prevention or treatment of cardiovascular diseases on total ALP activity from male Wistar rat heart homogenate. ALP activity was determined by quantifying, at 410 nm, the p-nitrophenol released from p-nitrophenylphosphate (substrate in Tris buffer, pH 10.4). Using specific inhibitors of ALP activity and the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, we showed that the rat heart had high ALP activity (31.73 ± 3.43 nmol p-nitrophenol·mg protein-1·min-1): mainly tissue-nonspecific ALP but also tissue-specific intestinal ALP type II. Both ALP isoenzymes presented myocardial localization (striated pattern) by immunofluorescence. ALP was inhibited a) strongly by 0.5 mM levamisole, 2 mM theophylline and 2 mM aspirin (91, 77 and 84%, respectively) and b) less strongly by 2 mM L-phenylalanine, 100 mL polyphenol-rich beverages and 0.5 mM progesterone (24, 21 to 29 and 11%, respectively). β-estradiol and caffeine (0.5 and 2 mM) had no effect; 0.5 mM simvastatin and 2 mM atenolol activated ALP (32 and 36%, respectively). Propranolol (2 mM) tended to activate ALP activity and corticosterone activated (18%) and inhibited (13%) (0.5 and 2 mM, respectively). We report, for the first time, that the rat heart expresses intestinal ALP type II and has high total ALP activity. ALP activity was inhibited by compounds used in the prevention of cardiovascular pathology. ALP manipulation in vivo may constitute an additional target for intervention in cardiovascular diseases.
Abstract in English:Deletions on chromosomes 5 and 7 are frequently seen in myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML). It is assumed that these deletions indicate loss of tumor suppressor genes on these chromosomes and until these tumor suppressor genes are identified, the functional consequences of these deletions and the molecular basis of these myeloid disorders cannot be completely understood. We evaluated loss of heterozygosity (LOH) in 44 patients (18 MDS and 26 AML, diagnosed according to WHO classification criteria) at diagnosis, using a four-microsatellite marker panel: an intragenic marker on the 7th intron of gene IRF-1 of the 5q31.1 region and three markers located inside the 7q31.1 region and correlated the LOH with karyotype abnormalities. The microsatellites chosen corresponded to chromosome regions frequently deleted in MDS/AML. The samples with Q (peak area) less than or equal to 0.50 were indicative of LOH. The percent of informative samples (i.e., heterozygous) for the intragenic microsatellite in gene IRF-1 and in loci D7S486, D7S515 and D7S522 were 66.6, 73.7, 75.5, and 48.8%, respectively. Cytogenetic abnormalities by G-banding were found in 36% (16/44) of the patients (2 of 18 MDS and 14 of 26 AML patients). We found a significantly positive association of the occurrence of LOH with abnormal karyotype (P < 0.05; chi-square test) and there were cases with LOH but the karyotype was normal (by G-banding). These data indicate that LOH in different microsatellite markers is possibly an event previous to chromosomal abnormalities in these myeloid neoplasias.
Abstract in English:Obesity is a complex multifactorial disorder that is often associated with cardiovascular diseases. Research on experimental models has suggested that cardiac dysfunction in obesity might be related to alterations in myocardial intracellular calcium (Ca2+) handling. However, information about the expression of Ca2+-related genes that lead to this abnormality is scarce. We evaluated the effects of obesity induced by a high-fat diet in the expression of Ca2+-related genes, focusing the L-type Ca2+ channel (Cacna1c), sarcolemmal Na+/Ca2+ exchanger (NCX), sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ ATPase (SERCA2a), ryanodine receptor (RyR2), and phospholamban (PLB) mRNA in rat myocardium. Male 30-day-old Wistar rats were fed a standard (control) or high-fat diet (obese) for 15 weeks. Obesity was defined as increased percent of body fat in carcass. The mRNA expression of Ca2+-related genes in the left ventricle was measured by RT-PCR. Compared with control rats, the obese rats had increased percent of body fat, area under the curve for glucose, and leptin and insulin plasma concentrations. Obesity also caused an increase in the levels of SERCA2a, RyR2 and PLB mRNA (P < 0.05) but did not modify the mRNA levels of Cacna1c and NCX. These findings show that obesity induced by high-fat diet causes cardiac upregulation of Ca2+ transport_related genes in the sarcoplasmic reticulum.
Abstract in English:The participation of opioids in the antinociceptive effect of electroacupuncture was evaluated in terms of nociception produced by thermal stimuli applied to the face of male Wistar rats, weighing 180-230 g. Electrical stimulation (bipolar and asymmetric square wave with 0.5 mA intensity for 20 min) of acupoint St36, located in the anterior tibial muscle 10 mm distal to the knee joint, induced antinociception in the present model, which was maintained for 150 min. Acupoint LI4, located in the junction of the first and second metacarpal bones, did not achieve antinociception at any frequency studied (5 Hz: 1.7 ± 0.1; 30 Hz: 1.8 ± 0.1; 100 Hz: 1.7 ± 0.1 vs 1.4 ± 0.2). The antinociception obtained by stimulation of acupoint St36 was only achieved when high frequency 100 Hz (3.0 ± 0.2 vs 1.0 ± 0.1) was used, and not with 5 or 30 Hz (1.2 ± 0.2 and 0.7 ± 0.1 vs 1.0 ± 0.1). The antinociceptive effect of acupuncture occurred by opioid pathway activation, since naloxone (1 and 2 mg/kg, subcutaneously) antagonized it (1.8 ± 0.2 and 1.7 ± 0.2 vs 3.0 ± 0.1).
Abstract in English:Previous studies have demonstrated the high reproducibility of heart rate variability (HRV) measures in adults while little information exists concerning HRV reproducibility in children. Subsequently, the aim of the current study was to examine the moderate-term reproducibility of heart rate and frequency domain measures of HRV during rest and light to moderate exercise in children. Ten healthy children (6 males, 4 females) aged between 7 and 12 years of age volunteered for this study with HRV recordings obtained during supine rest and three treadmill walking exercise work rates (≤60% maximum heart rate), initially and then 8 weeks later. Differences (P < 0.05) between variables were examined using paired t-tests or Wilcoxon signed rank tests while reliability and reproducibility were examined by intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC), coefficients of variation (CV), and mean bias ratio and ratio limits of agreement (LOA). Heart rate and all measures of HRV at rest and exercise were unchanged after 8 weeks. Significant ICC were documented primarily during rest (0.72-0.85) while weaker relationships (-0.02-0.87) were evident during exercise. A large range of CV was identified during rest (6-33%) and exercise (3-128%) while the ratio LOA were variable and substantial (1.04-2.73). Despite similar HRV over an 8-week period, variable ICC and sizable CV and ratio LOA indicate moderate to poor reproducibility of HRV in children, particularly during light to moderate exercise. Studies examining HRV in children should include age- or maturation stage-matched control participants to address the age-related change in HRV and inadequate HRV reliability.
Abstract in English:The type of fluid used during resuscitation may have an important impact on tissue edema. We evaluated the impact of two different regimens of fluid resuscitation on hemodynamics and on lung and intestinal edema during splanchnic hypoperfusion in rabbits. The study included 16 female New Zealand rabbits (2.9 to 3.3 kg body weight, aged 8 to 12 months) with splanchnic ischemia induced by ligation of the superior mesenteric artery. The animals were randomized into two experimental groups: group I (N = 9) received 12 mL·kg-1·h-1 lactated Ringer solution and 20 mL/kg 6% hydroxyethyl starch solution; group II (N = 7) received 36 mL·kg-1·h-1 lactated Ringer solution and 20 mL/kg 0.9% saline. A segment from the ileum was isolated to be perfused. A tonometric catheter was placed in a second gut segment. Superior mesenteric artery (Q SMA) and aortic (Qaorta) flows were measured using ultrasonic flow probes. After 4 h of fluid resuscitation, tissue specimens were immediately removed for estimations of gut and lung edema. There were no differences in global and regional perfusion variables, lung wet-to-dry weight ratios and oxygenation indices between groups. Gut wet-to-dry weight ratio was significantly lower in the crystalloid/colloid-treated group (4.9 ± 1.5) than in the crystalloid-treated group (7.3 ± 2.4) (P < 0.05). In this model of intestinal ischemia, fluid resuscitation with crystalloids caused more gut edema than a combination of crystalloids and colloids.