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Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research, Volume: 42, Issue: 3, Published: 2009
  • Immunodominance: a new hypothesis to explain parasite escape and host/parasite equilibrium leading to the chronic phase of Chagas' disease? Concepts And Comments

    Rodrigues, M.M.; Alencar, B.C.G. de; Claser, C.; Tzelepis, F.

    Abstract in English:

    Intense immune responses are observed during human or experimental infection with the digenetic protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi. The reasons why such immune responses are unable to completely eliminate the parasites are unknown. The survival of the parasite leads to a parasite-host equilibrium found during the chronic phase of chagasic infection in most individuals. Parasite persistence is recognized as the most likely cause of the chagasic chronic pathologies. Therefore, a key question in Chagas' disease is to understand how this equilibrium is established and maintained for a long period. Understanding the basis for this equilibrium may lead to new approaches to interventions that could help millions of individuals at risk for infection or who are already infected with T. cruzi. Here, we propose that the phenomenon of immunodominance may be significant in terms of regulating the host-parasite equilibrium observed in Chagas' disease. T. cruzi infection restricts the repertoire of specific T cells generating, in some cases, an intense immunodominant phenotype and in others causing a dramatic interference in the response to distinct epitopes. This immune response is sufficiently strong to maintain the host alive during the acute phase carrying them to the chronic phase where transmission usually occurs. At the same time, immunodominance interferes with the development of a higher and broader immune response that could be able to completely eliminate the parasite. Based on this, we discuss how we can interfere with or take advantage of immunodominance in order to provide an immunotherapeutic alternative for chagasic individuals.
  • The corporate bias and the molding of prescription practices: the case of hypertension Concepts And Comments

    Fuchs, F.D.

    Abstract in English:

    Drug management of hypertension has been a noticeable example of the influence of the pharmaceutical industry on prescription practices. The worldwide leading brands of blood pressure-lowering agents are angiotensin receptor-blocking agents, although they are considered to be simply substitutes of angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors. Commercial strategies have been based on the results of clinical trials sponsored by drug companies. Most of them presented distortions in their planning, presentation or interpretation that favored the drugs from the sponsor, i.e., corporate bias. Atenolol, an ineffective blood pressure agent in elderly individuals, was the comparator drug in several trials. In a re-analysis of the INSIGHT trial, deaths appeared to have been counted twice. The LIFE trial appears in the title of more than 120 reproductions of the main and flawed trial, as a massive strategy of scientific marketing. Most guidelines have incorporated the corporate bias from the original studies, and the evidence from better designed studies, such as the ALLHAT trial, have been largely ignored. In trials published recently corporate influences have touched on ethical limits. In the ADVANCE trial, elderly patients with type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease or risk factors, allocated to placebo, were not allowed to use diuretic and full doses of an ACE inhibitor, despite the sound evidence of benefit demonstrated in previous trials. As a consequence, they had a 14% higher mortality rate than the participants allocated to the active treatment arm. This reality should be modified immediately, and a greater independence of the academy from the pharmaceutical industry is necessary.
  • Proximal tubular dysfunction as an indicator of chronic graft dysfunction Review

    Câmara, N.O.S.; Williams Jr., W.W.; Pacheco-Silva, A.

    Abstract in English:

    New strategies are being devised to limit the impact of renal sclerosis on graft function. Individualization of immunosuppression, specifically the interruption of calcineurin-inhibitors has been tried in order to promote better graft survival once chronic graft dysfunction has been established. However, the long-term impact of these approaches is still not totally clear. Nevertheless, patients at higher risk for tubular atrophy and interstitial fibrosis (TA/IF) development should be carefully monitored for tubular function as well as glomerular performance. Since tubular-interstitial impairment is an early event in TA/IF pathogenesis and associated with graft function, it seems reasonable that strategies directed at assessing tubular structural integrity and function would yield important functional and prognostic data. The measurement of small proteins in urine such as α-1-microglobulin, N-acetyl-beta-D-glucosaminidase, alpha/pi S-glutathione transferases, β-2 microglobulin, and retinol binding protein is associated with proximal tubular cell dysfunction. Therefore, its straightforward assessment could provide a powerful tool in patient monitoring and ongoing clinical assessment of graft function, ultimately helping to facilitate longer patient and graft survival associated with good graft function.
  • FANCD2 Western blot as a diagnostic tool for Brazilian patients with Fanconi anemia Analytica, Diagnostic And Therapeutic Techniques And Instruments

    Pilonetto, D.V.; Pereira, N.F.; Bitencourt, M.A.; Magdalena, N.I.R.; Vieira, E.R.; Veiga, L.B.A.; Cavalli, I.J.; Ribeiro, R.C.; Pasquini, R.

    Abstract in English:

    Fanconi anemia is a rare hereditary disease showing genetic heterogeneity due to a variety of mutations in genes involved in DNA repair pathways, which may lead to different clinical manifestations. Phenotypic variability makes diagnosis difficult based only on clinical manifestations, therefore laboratory tests are necessary. New advances in molecular pathogenesis of this disease led researchers to develop a diagnostic test based on Western blot for FANCD2. The objective of the present study was to determine the efficacy of this method for the diagnosis of 84 Brazilian patients with Fanconi anemia, all of whom tested positive for the diepoxybutane test, and 98 healthy controls. The FANCD2 monoubiquitinated isoform (FANCDS+/FANCD2L-) was not detected in 77 patients (91.7%). In 2 patients (2.4%), there was an absence of both the monoubiquitinated and the non-ubiquitinated proteins (FANCD2S-/FANCD2L-) and 5 patients (5.9%) had both isoforms (FANCD2S+/FANCD2L+). This last phenotype suggests downstream subtypes or mosaicism. All controls were diepoxybutane negative and were also negative on the FANCD2 Western blot. The Western blot for FANCD2 presented a sensitivity of 94% (79/84) and specificity of 100% (98/98). This method was confirmed as an efficient approach to screen Brazilian patients with deleterious mutations on FANCD2 (FANCD2S-/FANCD2L-) or other upstream genes of the FA/BRCA pathway (FANCDS+/FANCD2L-), to confirm the chromosome breakage test and to classify patients according to the level of FA/BRCA pathway defects. However, patients showing both FANCD2 isoforms (FANCD2S+/FANCD2L+) require additional studies to confirm mutations on downstream Fanconi anemia genes or the presence of mosaicism.
  • A retrospective comparison of cyclophosphamide plus antithymocyte globulin with cyclophosphamide plus busulfan as the conditioning regimen for severe aplastic anemia Blood, Immunology And Organ Transplantation

    Ommati, L.V.M.; Rodrigues, C.A.; Silva, A.R.; Silva, L.P.; Chaufaille, M.L.L.F.; Oliveira, J.S.R.

    Abstract in English:

    Allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (AHSCT) is the treatment of choice for young patients with severe aplastic anemia (SAA). The association of antithymocyte globulin (ATG) and cyclophosphamide (CY) is the most frequently used conditioning regimen for this disease. We performed this retrospective study in order to compare the outcomes of HLA-matched sibling donor AHSCT in 41 patients with SAA receiving cyclophosphamide plus ATG (ATG-CY, N = 17) or cyclophosphamide plus busulfan (BU-CY, N = 24). The substitution of BU for ATG was motivated by the high cost of ATG. There were no differences in the clinical features between the two groups, including age, gender, cytomegalovirus status, ABO match, interval between diagnosis and transplant, and number of total nucleated cells infused. No differences were observed in the time to neutrophil and platelet engraftment, or in the risk of veno-occlusive disease and hemorrhage. However, there was a higher risk of mucositis in the BU-CY group (71 vs 24%, P = 0.004). There were no differences in the incidence of neutrophil and platelet engraftment, acute and chronic graft-versus-host disease, and transplant-related mortality. There was a higher incidence of late rejection in the ATG-CY group (41 vs 4%, P = 0.009). Although the ATG-CY group had a longer follow-up (101 months) than the BU-CY group (67 months, P = 0.04), overall survival was similar between the groups (69 vs 58%, respectively, P = 0.32). We conclude that the association BU-CY is a feasible option to the conventional ATG-CY regimen in this population.
  • Mechanical cardiac remodeling and new-onset atrial fibrillation in long-term follow-up of subjects with chronic Chagas' disease Cardiovascular, Respiratory And Sport Medicine

    Benchimol-Barbosa, P.R.; Barbosa-Filho, J.

    Abstract in English:

    Atrial fibrillation (AF) affects subjects with Chagas' disease and is an indicator of poor prognosis. We investigated clinical, echocardiographic and electrocardiographic variables of Chagas' disease in a long-term longitudinal study as predictors of a new-onset AF episode lasting >24 h, nonfatal embolic stroke and cardiac death. Fifty adult outpatients (34 to 74 years old, 62% females) staged according to the Los Andes classification were enrolled. During a follow-up of (mean ± SD) 84.2 ± 39.0 months, 9 subjects developed AF (incidence: 3.3 ± 1.0%/year), 5 had nonfatal stroke (incidence: 1.3 ± 1.0%/year), and nine died (mortality rate: 2.3 ± 0.8%/year). The progression rate of left ventricular mass and left ventricular ejection fraction was significantly greater in subjects who experienced AF (16.4 ± 20.0 g/year and -8.6 ± 7.6%/year, respectively) than in those who did not (8.2 ± 8.4 g/year; P = 0.03, and -3.0 ± 2.5%/year; P = 0.04, respectively). In univariate analysis, left atrial diameter ≥3.2 cm (P = 0.002), pulmonary arterial hypertension (P = 0.035), frequent premature supraventricular and ventricular contraction counts/24 h (P = 0.005 and P = 0.007, respectively), ventricular couplets/24 h (P = 0.002), and ventricular tachycardia (P = 0.004) were long-term predictors of AF. P-wave signal-averaged ECG revealed a limited long-term predictive value for AF. In chronic Chagas' disease, large left atrial diameter, pulmonary arterial hypertension, frequent supraventricular and ventricular premature beats, and ventricular tachycardia are long-term predictors of AF. The rate of left ventricular mass enlargement and systolic function deterioration impact AF incidence in this population.
  • Effect of three exercise programs on patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease Cardiovascular, Respiratory And Sport Medicine

    Dourado, V.Z.; Tanni, S.E.; Antunes, L.C.O.; Paiva, S.A.R.; Campana, A.O.; Renno, A.C.M.; Godoy, I.

    Abstract in English:

    We compared the effect of three different exercise programs on patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease including strength training at 50_80% of one-repetition maximum (1-RM) (ST; N = 11), low-intensity general training (LGT; N = 13), or combined training groups (CT; N = 11). Body composition, muscle strength, treadmill endurance test (TEnd), 6-min walk test (6MWT), Saint George's Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ), and baseline dyspnea (BDI) were assessed prior to and after the training programs (12 weeks). The training modalities showed similar improvements (P > 0.05) in SGRQ-total (ST = 13 ± 14%; CT = 12 ± 14%; LGT = 11 ± 10%), BDI (ST = 1.8 ± 4; CT = 1.8 ± 3; LGT = 1 ± 2), 6MWT (ST = 43 ± 51 m; CT = 48 ± 50 m; LGT = 31 ± 75 m), and TEnd (ST = 11 ± 20 min; CT = 11 ± 11 min; LGT = 7 ± 5 min). In the ST and CT groups, an additional improvement in 1-RM values was shown (P < 0.05) compared to the LGT group (ST = 10 ± 6 to 57 ± 36 kg; CT = 6 ± 2 to 38 ± 16 kg; LGT = 1 ± 2 to 16 ± 12 kg). The addition of strength training to our current training program increased muscle strength; however, it produced no additional improvement in walking endurance, dyspnea or quality of life. A simple combined training program provides benefits without increasing the duration of the training sessions.
  • Exercise may cause myocardial ischemia at the anaerobic threshold in cardiac rehabilitation programs Cardiovascular, Respiratory And Sport Medicine

    Fuchs, A.R.C.N.; Meneghelo, R.S.; Stefanini, E.; De Paola, A.V.; Smanio, P.E.P.; Mastrocolla, L.E.; Ferraz, A.S.; Buglia, S.; Piegas, L.S.; Carvalho, A.A.C.

    Abstract in English:

    Myocardial ischemia may occur during an exercise session in cardiac rehabilitation programs. However, it has not been established whether it is elicited when exercise prescription is based on heart rate corresponding to the anaerobic threshold as measured by cardiopulmonary exercise testing. Our objective was to determine the incidence of myocardial ischemia in cardiac rehabilitation programs according to myocardial perfusion SPECT in exercise programs based on the anaerobic threshold. Thirty-nine patients (35 men and 4 women) diagnosed with coronary artery disease by coronary angiography and stress technetium-99m-sestamibi gated SPECT associated with a baseline cardiopulmonary exercise test were assessed. Ages ranged from 45 to 75 years. A second cardiopulmonary exercise test determined training intensity at the anaerobic threshold. Repeat gated-SPECT was obtained after a third cardiopulmonary exercise test at the prescribed workload and heart rate. Myocardial perfusion images were analyzed using a score system of 6.4 at rest, 13.9 at peak stress, and 10.7 during the prescribed exercise (P < 0.05). The presence of myocardial ischemia during exercise was defined as a difference ≥2 between the summed stress score and summed rest score. Accordingly, 25 (64%) patients were classified as ischemic and 14 (36%) as nonischemic. MIBI-SPECT showed myocardial ischemia during exercise within the anaerobic threshold. The 64% prevalence of ischemia observed in the study should not be looked on as representative of the whole population of patients undergoing exercise programs. Changes in patient care and exercise programs were implemented as a result of our finding of ischemia during the prescribed exercise.
  • Demographic and metabolic characteristics of individuals with progressive glucose tolerance Endocrine Diseases, Nutrition And Metabolism

    Mendes, A.L.; Santos, M.L.; Padovani, C.R.; Pimenta, W.P.

    Abstract in English:

    We evaluated changes in glucose tolerance of 17 progressors and 62 non-progressors for 9 years to improve our understanding of the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Changes in anthropometric measurements and responses to an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) were analyzed. We identified 14 pairs of individuals, one from each group, who were initially normal glucose tolerant and were matched for gender, age, weight, and girth. We compared initial plasma glucose and insulin curves (from OGTT), insulin secretion (first and second phases) and insulin sensitivity indices (from hyperglycemic clamp assay) for both groups. In the normal glucose tolerant phase, progressors presented: 1) a higher OGTT blood glucose response with hyperglycemia in the second hour and a similar insulin response vs non-progressors; 2) a reduced first-phase insulin secretion (2.0 ± 0.3 vs 2.3 ± 0.3 pmol/L; P < 0.02) with a similar insulin sensitivity index and a lower disposition index (3.9 ± 0.2 vs 4.1 ± 0.2 µmol·kg-1·min-1 ; P < 0.05) vs non-progressors. After 9 years, both groups presented similar increases in weight and fasting blood glucose levels and progressors had an increased glycemic response at 120 min (P < 0.05) and reduced early insulin response to OGTT (progressors, 1st: 2.10 ± 0.34 vs 2nd: 1.87 ± 0.25 pmol/mmol; non-progressors, 1st: 2.15 ± 0.28 vs 2nd: 2.03 ± 0.39 pmol/mmol; P < 0.05). Theses data suggest that β-cell dysfunction might be a risk factor for type 2 diabetes mellitus.
  • Factors associated with bacteremia due to multidrug-resistant Gram-negative bacilli in hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients Infectious Agents And Diseases

    Garnica, M.; Maiolino, A.; Nucci, M.

    Abstract in English:

    The epidemiology of bacteremia developing during neutropenia has changed in the past decade, with the re-emergence of Gram-negative (GN) bacteria and the development of multidrug resistance (MDR) among GN bacteria. We conducted a case-control study in order to identify factors associated with bacteremia due to multidrug-resistant Gram-negative (MDRGN) isolates in hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients. Ten patients with MDRGN bacteremia were compared with 44 patients with GN bacteremia without MDR. Bacteremia due to Burkholderia or Stenotrophomonas sp was excluded from analysis (3 cases), because the possibility of intrinsical resistance. Infection due to MDRGN bacteria occurred in 2.9% of 342 hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients. Klebsiella pneumoniae was the most frequent MDRGN (4 isolates), followed by Pseudomonas aeruginosa (3 isolates). Among non-MDRGN, P. aeruginosa was the most frequent agent (34%), followed by Escherichia coli (30%). The development of GN bacteremia during the empirical treatment of febrile neutropenia (breakthrough bacteremia) was associated with MDR (P < 0.001, odds ratio = 32, 95% confidence interval = 5_190) by multivariate analysis. Bacteremia due to MDRGN bacteria was associated with a higher death rate by univariate analysis (40 vs 9%; P = 0.03). We were unable to identify risk factors on admission or at the time of the first fever, but the occurrence of breakthrough bacteremia was strongly associated with MDRGN bacteria. An immediate change in the antibiotic regimen in such circumstances may improve the prognosis of these patients.
  • Hospital strain colonization by Staphylococcus epidermidis Infectious Agents And Diseases

    Blum-Menezes, D.; Bratfich, O.J.; Padoveze, M.C.; Moretti, M.L.

    Abstract in English:

    The skin and mucous membranes of healthy subjects are colonized by strains of Staphylococcus epidermidis showing a high diversity of genomic DNA polymorphisms. Prolonged hospitalization and the use of invasive procedures promote changes in the microbiota with subsequent colonization by hospital strains. We report here a patient with prolonged hospitalization due to chronic pancreatitis who was treated with multiple antibiotics, invasive procedures and abdominal surgery. We studied the dynamics of skin colonization by S. epidermidis leading to the development of catheter-related infections and compared the genotypic profile of clinical and microbiota strains by pulsed field gel electrophoresis. During hospitalization, the normal S. epidermidis skin microbiota exhibiting a polymorphic genomic DNA profile was replaced with a hospital-acquired biofilm-producer S. epidermidis strain that subsequently caused repetitive catheter-related infections.
  • Effects on prolactin secretion and binding to dopaminergic receptors in sleep-deprived lupus-prone mice Xi Congresso Brasileiro Do Sono, Fortaleza, Ce, Brazil, November 11-14, 2007

    Palma, B.D.; Hipolide, D.C.; Tufik, S.

    Abstract in English:

    Sleep disturbances have far-reaching effects on the neuroendocrine and immune systems and may be linked to disease manifestation. Sleep deprivation can accelerate the onset of lupus in NZB/NZWF1 mice, an animal model of severe systemic lupus erythematosus. High prolactin (PRL) concentrations are involved in the pathogenesis of systemic lupus erythematosus in human beings, as well as in NZB/NZWF1 mice. We hypothesized that PRL could be involved in the earlier onset of the disease in sleep-deprived NZB/NZWF1 mice. We also investigated its binding to dopaminergic receptors, since PRL secretion is mainly controlled by dopamine. Female NZB/NZWF1 mice aged 9 weeks were deprived of sleep using the multiple platform method. Blood samples were taken for the determination of PRL concentrations and quantitative receptor autoradiography was used to map binding of the tritiated dopaminergic receptor ligands [³H]-SCH23390, [³H]-raclopride and [³H]-WIN35,428 to D1 and D2 dopaminergic receptors and dopamine transporter sites throughout the brain, respectively. Sleep deprivation induced a significant decrease in plasma PRL secretion (2.58 ± 0.95 ng/mL) compared with the control group (25.25 ± 9.18 ng/mL). The binding to D1 and D2 binding sites was not significantly affected by sleep deprivation; however, dopamine transporter binding was significantly increased in subdivisions of the caudate-putamen - posterior (16.52 ± 0.5 vs 14.44 ± 0.6), dorsolateral (18.84 ± 0.7 vs 15.97 ± 0.7) and ventrolateral (24.99 ± 0.5 vs 22.54 ± 0.7 µCi/g), in the sleep-deprived mice when compared to the control group. These results suggest that PRL is not the main mechanism involved in the earlier onset of the disease observed in sleep-deprived NZB/NZWF1 mice and the reduction of PRL concentrations after sleep deprivation may be mediated by modifications in the dopamine transporter sites of the caudate-putamen.
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