• Implications of infectious diseases and the adrenal hypothesis for the etiology of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia Concepts and Comments

    Azevedo-Silva, F.; Camargo, B.de; Pombo-de-Oliveira, M.S.

    Abstract in English:

    Acute leukemia is the most frequent cancer in children. Recently, a new hypothesis was proposed for the pathogenesis of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). The so-called "adrenal hypothesis" emphasized the role of endogenous cortisol in the etiology of B-cell precursor ALL. The incidence peak of ALL in children between 3 to 5 years of age has been well documented and is consistent with this view. The adrenal hypothesis proposes that the risk of childhood B-cell precursor ALL is reduced when early childhood infections induce qualitative and quantitative changes in the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis. It suggests that the increased plasma cortisol levels would be sufficient to eliminate all clonal leukemic cells originating during fetal life. Because Brazil is a continental and tropical country, the exposure to infections is diversified with endemic viral and regionally non-viral infections, with some characteristics that support the recent adrenal hypothesis. Here we discuss this new hypothesis in terms of data from epidemiological studies and the possible implications of the diversity of infections occurring in Brazilian children.
  • Climatic changes: what if the global increase of CO2 emissions cannot be kept under control? Concepts and Comments

    Barreto de Castro, L.A.

    Abstract in English:

    Climatic changes threaten the planet. Most articles related to the subject present estimates of the disasters expected to occur, but few have proposed ways to deal with the impending menaces. One such threat is the global warming caused by the continuous increase in CO2 emissions leading to rising ocean levels due to the increasing temperatures of the polar regions. This threat is assumed to eventually cause the death of hundreds of millions of people. We propose to desalinize ocean water as a means to reduce the rise of ocean levels and to use this water for populations that need good quality potable water, precisely in the poorest regions of the planet. Technology is available in many countries to provide desalinated water at a justifiable cost considering the lives threatened both in coastal and desertified areas.
  • Proteoliposomes as matrix vesicles' biomimetics to study the initiation of skeletal mineralization Review

    Simão, A.M.S.; Yadav, M.C.; Ciancaglini, P.; Millán, J.L.

    Abstract in English:

    During the process of endochondral bone formation, chondrocytes and osteoblasts mineralize their extracellular matrix by promoting the formation of hydroxyapatite (HA) seed crystals in the sheltered interior of membrane-limited matrix vesicles (MVs). Ion transporters control the availability of phosphate and calcium needed for HA deposition. The lipidic microenvironment in which MV-associated enzymes and transporters function plays a crucial physiological role and must be taken into account when attempting to elucidate their interplay during the initiation of biomineralization. In this short mini-review, we discuss the potential use of proteoliposome systems as chondrocyte- and osteoblast-derived MVs biomimetics, as a means of reconstituting a phospholipid microenvironment in a manner that recapitulates the native functional MV microenvironment. Such a system can be used to elucidate the interplay of MV enzymes during catalysis of biomineralization substrates and in modulating in vitro calcification. As such, the enzymatic defects associated with disease-causing mutations in MV enzymes could be studied in an artificial vesicular environment that better mimics their in vivo biological milieu. These artificial systems could also be used for the screening of small molecule compounds able to modulate the activity of MV enzymes for potential therapeutic uses. Such a nanovesicular system could also prove useful for the repair/treatment of craniofacial and other skeletal defects and to facilitate the mineralization of titanium-based tooth implants.
  • Water extracts of cabbage and kale inhibit ex vivo H2O2-induced DNA damage but not rat hepatocarcinogenesis Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

    Horst, M.A.; Ong, T.P.; Jordão Jr., A.A.; Vannucchi, H.; Moreno, F.S.; Lajolo, F.M.

    Abstract in English:

    The chemopreventive potential of water extracts of the Brassica vegetables cabbage and kale was evaluated by administering their aqueous extracts in drinking water ad libitum to Wistar rats submitted to Ito’s hepatocarcinogenesis model (CB group and K group, respectively - 14 rats per group). Animals submitted to this same model and treated with water were used as controls (W group - 15 rats). Treatment with the vegetable extracts did not inhibit (P > 0.05) placental glutathione S-transferase-positive preneoplastic lesions (PNL). The number of apoptotic bodies did not differ (P > 0.05) among the experimental groups. Ex vivo hydrogen peroxide treatment of rat livers resulted in lower (P < 0.05) DNA strand breakage in cabbage- (107.6 ± 7.8 µm) and kale- (110.8 ± 10.0 µm) treated animals compared with control (120.9 ± 12.7 µm), as evaluated by the single cell gel (comet) assay. Treatment with cabbage (2 ± 0.3 µg/g) or kale (4 ± 0.2 µg/g) resulted in increased (P < 0.05) hepatic lutein concentration compared with control (0.5 ± 0.07 µg/g). Despite the absence of inhibitory effects of cabbage and kale aqueous extracts on PNL, these Brassica vegetables presented protection against DNA damage, an effect possibly related to increased hepatic lutein concentrations. However, it must be pointed out that the cause-effect relationship between lutein levels and protection is hypothetical and remains to be demonstrated.
  • ApoE polymorphisms and diarrheal outcomes in Brazilian shanty town children Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

    Oriá, R.B.; Patrick, P.D.; Oriá, M.O.B.; Lorntz, B.; Thompson, M.R.; Azevedo, O.G.R.; Lobo, R.N.B.; Pinkerton, R.F.; Guerrant, R.L.; Lima, A.A.M.

    Abstract in English:

    A series of studies have shown that the heavy burdens of diarrheal diseases in the first 2 formative years of life in children living in urban shanty towns have negative effects on physical and cognitive development lasting into later childhood. We have shown that APOE4 is relatively common in shanty town children living in Brazil (13.4%) and suggest that APOE4 has a protective role in cognitive development as well as weight-for-height in children with heavy burdens of diarrhea in early childhood (64/123; 52%), despite being a marker for cognitive decline with Alzheimer’s and cardiovascular diseases later in life. APOE2 frequency was higher among children with heaviest diarrhea burdens during the first 2 years of life, as detected by PCR using the restriction fragment length polymorphism method, raising the possibility that ApoE-cholesterol balance might be critical for growth and cognitive development under the stress of heavy diarrhea burdens and when an enriched fat diet is insufficient. These findings provide a potential explanation for the survival advantage in evolution of genes, which might raise cholesterol levels during heavy stress of diarrhea burdens and malnutrition early in life.
  • Genetic polymorphism of alcohol-metabolizing enzyme and alcohol dependence in Polish men Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

    Cichoż-Lach, H.; Celiński, K.; Wojcierowski, J.; Słomka, M.; Lis, E.

    Abstract in English:

    Alcohol dependence poses a serious medical and sociological problem. It is influenced by multiple environmental and genetic factors, which may determine differences in alcohol metabolism. Genetic polymorphism of the enzymes involved in alcohol metabolism is highly ethnically and race dependent. The purpose of this study was to investigate the differences, if present, in the allele and genotype frequency of alcohol dehydrogenase 1B (ADH1B), ADH1C and the microsomal ethanol-oxidizing system (MEOS/CYP2E1) between alcohol-dependent individuals and controls and also to determine if these genotypes cause a difference in the age at which the patients become alcohol dependent. The allele and genotype frequencies of ADH1B, ADH1C, and CYP2E1 were determined in 204 alcohol dependent men and 172 healthy volunteers who do not drink alcohol (control group). Genotyping was performed by PCR-RFLP methods on white cell DNA. ADH1B*1 (99.3%) and ADH1C*1 (62.5%) alleles and ADH1B*1/*1 (N = 201) and ADH1C*1/*1 (N = 85) genotypes were statistically more frequent among alcohol-dependent subjects than among controls (99.3 and 62.5%, N = 201 and 85 vs 94.5 and 40.7%, N = 153 and 32, respectively). Differences in the CYP2E1 allele and genotype distribution between groups were not significant. The persons with ADH1C*1/*1 and CYP2E1*c1/*c2 genotypes became alcohol dependent at a considerably younger age than the subjects with ADH1C*1/*2, ADH1C*2/*2 and CYP2E1*c1/*c1 genotypes (28.08, 25.67 years vs 36.0, 45.05, 34.45 years, respectively). In the Polish men examined, ADH1C*1 and ADH1B*1 alleles and ADH1C*1/*1 and ADH1B*1/*1 genotypes favor alcohol dependence. The ADH1B*2 allele may protect from alcohol dependence. However, subjects with ADH1C*1/*1 and CYP2E1*c1/*c2 genotypes become alcohol dependent at a considerably younger age than the subjects with ADH1C*1/*2, ADH1C*2/*2 and CYP2E1*c1/*c1 genotypes.
  • cDNA and deduced primary structure of basic phospholipase A2 with neurotoxic activity from the venom secretion of the Crotalus durissus collilineatus rattlesnake Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

    Fagundes, F.H.R.; Oliveira, M.; Huancahuire-Vega, S.; Romero-Vargas, F.F.; Ponce-Soto, L.A.; Marangoni, S.

    Abstract in English:

    To illustrate the construction of precursor complementary DNAs, we isolated mRNAs from whole venom samples. After reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), we amplified the cDNA coding for a neurotoxic protein, phospholipase A2 D49 (PLA2 D49), from the venom of Crotalus durissus collilineatus (Cdc PLA2). The cDNA encoding Cdc PLA2 from whole venom was sequenced. The deduced amino acid sequence of this cDNA has high overall sequence identity with the group II PLA2 protein family. Cdc PLA2 has 14 cysteine residues capable of forming seven disulfide bonds that characterize this group of PLA2 enzymes. Cdc PLA2 was isolated using conventional Sephadex G75 column chromatography and reverse-phase high performance liquid chromatography (RP-HPLC). The molecular mass was estimated using matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time-of-flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometry. We tested the neuromuscular blocking activities on chick biventer cervicis neuromuscular tissue. Phylogenetic analysis of Cdc PLA2 showed the existence of two lines of N6-PLA2, denominated F24 and S24. Apparently, the sequences of the New World’s N6-F24-PLA2 are similar to those of the agkistrodotoxin from the Asian genus Gloydius. The sequences of N6-S24-PLA2 are similar to the sequence of trimucrotoxin from the genus Protobothrops, found in the Old World.
  • Growth inhibitory effect and Chk1-dependent signaling involved in G2/M arrest on human gastric cancer cells induced by diallyl disulfide Cell Biology

    Ling, H.; Wen, L.; Ji, X.X.; Tang, Y.L.; He, J.; Tan, H.; Xia, H.; Zhou, J.G.; Su, Q.

    Abstract in English:

    Diallyl disulfide (DADS) inhibits growth and induces cell cycle G2/M arrest in human gastric cancer MGC803 cells. In this study, 15 mg/L DADS exerted similar effects on growth and cell cycle arrest in human gastric cancer BGC823 cells. Due to the importance of cell cycle redistribution in DADS-mediated anti-carcinogenic effects, we investigated the role of checkpoint kinases (Chk1 and Chk2) during DADS-induced cell cycle arrest. We hypothesized that DADS could mediate G2/M phase arrest through either Chk1 or Chk2 signal transduction pathways. We demonstrated that DADS induced the accumulation of phosphorylated Chk1, but not of Chk2, and that DADS down-regulated Cdc25C and cyclin B1. The expression of mRNA and total protein for Chkl and Chk2 was unchanged. Chk1 is specifically phosphorylated by ATR (ATM-RAD3-related gene). Western blot analysis showed that phospho-ATR was activated by DADS. Taken together, these data suggest that cell cycle G2/M arrest, which was associated with accumulation of the phosphorylated forms of Chk1, but not of Chk2, was involved in the growth inhibition induced by DADS in the human gastric cancer cell line BGC823. Furthermore, the DADS-induced G2/M checkpoint response is mediated by Chk1 signaling through ATR/Chk1/Cdc25C/cyclin B1, and is independent of Chk2.
  • Glucocorticoids, master modulators of the thymic catecholaminergic system? Immunology

    Pilipović, I.; Kosec, D.; Radojević, K.; Perišić, M.; Pešić, V.; Stojić-Vukanić, Z.; Leposavi, G.

    Abstract in English:

    There is evidence that the major mediators of stress, i.e., catecholamines and glucocorticoids, play an important role in modulating thymopoiesis and consequently immune responses. Furthermore, there are data suggesting that glucocorticoids influence catecholamine action. Therefore, to assess the putative relevance of glucocorticoid-catecholamine interplay in the modulation of thymopoiesis we analyzed thymocyte differentiation/maturation in non-adrenalectomized and andrenalectomized rats subjected to treatment with propranolol (0.4 mg·100 g body weight-1·day-1) for 4 days. The effects of β-adrenoceptor blockade on thymopoiesis in non-adrenalectomized rats differed not only quantitatively but also qualitatively from those in adrenalectomized rats. In adrenalectomized rats, besides a more efficient thymopoiesis [judged by a more pronounced increase in the relative proportion of the most mature single-positive TCRαβhigh thymocytes as revealed by two-way ANOVA; for CD4+CD8- F (1,20) = 10.92, P < 0.01; for CD4-CD8+ F (1,20) = 7.47, P < 0.05], a skewed thymocyte maturation towards the CD4-CD8+ phenotype, and consequently a diminished CD4+CD8-/CD4-CD8+ mature TCRαβhigh thymocyte ratio (3.41 ± 0.21 in non-adrenalectomized rats vs 2.90 ± 0.31 in adrenalectomized rats, P < 0.05) were found. Therefore, we assumed that catecholaminergic modulation of thymopoiesis exhibits a substantial degree of glucocorticoid-dependent plasticity. Given that glucocorticoids, apart from catecholamine synthesis, influence adrenoceptor expression, we also hypothesized that the lack of adrenal glucocorticoids affected not only β-adrenoceptor- but also α-adrenoceptor-mediated modulation of thymopoiesis.
  • Effect of escitalopram on the processing of emotional faces Neurosciences and Behavior

    Alves-Neto, W.C.; Guapo, V.G.; Graeff, F.G.; Deakin, J.F.W.; Del-Ben, C.M.

    Abstract in English:

    Serotonin has been implicated in the neurobiology of depressive and anxiety disorders, but little is known about its role in the modulation of basic emotional processing. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, escitalopram, on the perception of facial emotional expressions. Twelve healthy male volunteers completed two experimental sessions each, in a randomized, balanced order, double-blind design. A single oral dose of escitalopram (10 mg) or placebo was administered 3 h before the task. Participants were presented to a task composed of six basic emotions (anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, and surprise) that were morphed between neutral and each standard emotion in 10% steps. Escitalopram facilitated the recognition of sadness and inhibited the recognition of happiness in male, but not female faces. No drug effect on subjective measures was detected. These results confirm that serotonin modulates the recognition of emotional faces, and suggest that the gender of the face can have a role in this modulation. Further studies including female volunteers are needed.
  • Human umbilical cord blood cells in infarcted rats Physiology and Biophysics

    Pinho-Ribeiro, V.; Maia, A.C.V.; Werneck-de-Castro, J.P S.; Oliveira, P.F.; Goldenberg, R.C.S.; Campos de Carvalho, A.C.

    Abstract in English:

    Therapy with bone marrow-derived cells has been used in ischemic patients with reported success. The aim of this study was to determine the therapeutic efficacy of fresh and frozen human umbilical cord blood cells (hUCB) in Wistar rats submitted to permanent occlusion of the left coronary artery. Three hours after myocardial infarction, 2 x 10(7) hUCB cells or vehicle were administered by intramyocardial injection. The animals were divided into five groups: control (N = 10), sham operated (N = 10), infarcted that received vehicle (N = 9), infarcted treated with cryopreserved hUCB (N = 7), and infarcted treated with fresh hUCB (N = 5). Cardiac function was evaluated by electrocardiogram (ECG) and echocardiogram (ECHO) before cell therapy, and by ECG, ECHO, cardiopulmonary test, and left ventricular pressure measurements 3 weeks later. After 3 weeks, both groups treated with hUCB still had Q wave present in L1, âQRS >90° and reduced shortening fraction (less than 50%). In addition, cardiac indexes of left ventricular contractility and relaxation were 5484 ± 875 and -4032 ± 643 mmHg (cryopreserved hUCB) and 4585 ± 955 and -2862 ± 590 mmHg (fresh hUCB), respectively. These values were not statistically different from those of saline-treated animals. Cardiopulmonary exercise test profile was typical of infarcted hearts; exercise time was about 14 min and maximal VO2 was 24.77 ± 5.00 mL·kg-1·min-1. These data show that hUCB therapy did not improve the cardiac function of infarcted animals or prevent cardiac remodeling.
  • Highly sensitive C-reactive protein and male gender are independently related to the severity of coronary disease in patients with metabolic syndrome and an acute coronary event Cardiovascular, Respiratory and Sport Medicine

    Monteiro, C.M.C.; Pinheiro, L.F.; Izar, M.C.; Barros, S.W.; Vasco, M.B.; Fischer, S.M.; Povoa, R.M.; Brandão, S.A.; Santos, A.O.; Oliveira, L.; Carvalho, A.C.; Fonseca, F.A.H.

    Abstract in English:

    Patients with metabolic syndrome are at high-risk for development of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular events. The objective of this study was to examine the major determinants of coronary disease severity, including those coronary risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome, during the early period after an acute coronary episode. We tested the hypothesis that inflammatory markers, especially highly sensitive C-reactive protein (hsCRP), are related to coronary atherosclerosis, in addition to traditional coronary risk factors. Subjects of both genders aged 30 to 75 years (N = 116) were prospectively included if they had suffered a recent acute coronary syndrome (acute myocardial infarction or unstable angina pectoris requiring hospitalization) and if they had metabolic syndrome diagnosed according to the National Cholesterol Education Program/Adult Treatment Panel III. Patients were submitted to a coronary angiography and the burden of atherosclerosis was estimated by the Gensini score. The severity of coronary disease was correlated (Spearman’s or Pearson’s coefficient) with gender (r = 0.291, P = 0.008), age (r = 0.218, P = 0.048), hsCRP (r = 0.256, P = 0.020), ApoB/ApoA ratio (r = 0.233, P = 0.041), and carotid intima-media thickness (r = 0.236, P = 0.041). After multiple linear regression, only male gender (P = 0.046) and hsCRP (P = 0.012) remained independently associated with the Gensini score. In this high-risk population, male gender and high levels of hsCRP, two variables that can be easily obtained, were associated with more extensive coronary disease, identifying patients with the highest potential of developing new coronary events.
  • Radioiodine plus recombinant human thyrotropin do not cause acute airway compression and are effective in reducing multinodular goiter Endocrine Diseases, Nutrition and Metabolism

    Albino, C.C.; Graf, H.; Paz-Filho, G.; Diehl, L.A.; Olandoski, M.; Sabbag, A.; Buchpiguel, C.

    Abstract in English:

    Recombinant human thyrotropin (rhTSH) reduces the activity of radioiodine required to treat multinodular goiter (MNG), but acute airway compression can be a life-threatening complication. In this prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, we assessed the efficacy and safety (including airway compression) of different doses of rhTSH associated with a fixed activity of 131I for treating MNG. Euthyroid patients with MNG (69.3 ± 62.0 mL, 20 females, 2 males, 64 ± 7 years) received 0.1 mg (group I, N = 8) or 0.01 mg (group II, N = 6) rhTSH or placebo (group III, N = 8), 24 h before 1.11 GBq 131I. Radioactive iodine uptake was determined at baseline and 24 h after rhTSH and thyroid volume (TV, baseline and 6 and 12 months after treatment) and tracheal cross-sectional area (TCA, baseline and 2, 7, 180, and 360 days after rhTSH) were determined by magnetic resonance; antithyroid antibodies and thyroid hormones were determined at frequent intervals. After 6 months, TV decreased significantly in groups I (28.5 ± 17.6%) and II (21.6 ± 17.8%), but not in group III (2.7 ± 15.3%). After 12 months, TV decreased significantly in groups I (36.7 ± 18.1%) and II (37.4 ± 27.1%), but not in group III (19.0 ± 24.3%). No significant changes in TCA were observed. T3 and free T4 increased transiently during the first month. After 12 months, 7 patients were hypothyroid (N = 3 in group I and N = 2 in groups II and III). rhTSH plus a 1.11-GBq fixed 131I activity did not cause acute or chronic changes in TCA. After 6 and 12 months, TV reduction was more pronounced among patients treated with rhTSH plus 131I.
  • Cardiac and pulmonary alterations in symptomatic and asymptomatic dogs infectednaturally with Leishmania (Leishmania) chagasi Infectious Agents and Diseases

    Alves, G.B.B.; Pinho, F.A.; Silva, S.M.M.S.; Cruz, M.S.P.; Costa, F.A.L.

    Abstract in English:

    Fifteen symptomatic and seven asymptomatic dogs infected naturally with Leishmania chagasi were examined in order to identify the presence of parasites and changes in heart and lung. Histopathological, cytological, and immunohistochemical analyses were performed on samples of heart and lung tissues. An inflammatory reaction characterized by inflammatory mononuclear, perivascular and intermuscular infiltrates was observed in both symptomatic and asymptomatic animals on histopathological analysis of the heart. In the lung, there was thickening of the alveolar septa due to congestion, edema, inflammatory infiltrate, and fibroblast proliferation. A focal reaction was observed although a diffuse reaction was present in both groups. On cytological examination, heart and lung imprints revealed amastigotes in two symptomatic animals and heart imprints were found in 1 asymptomatic dog. Immunoperoxidase staining showed amastigotes in the lung and heart of only 1 of 6 symptomatic animals examined. Within the ethical principles and limits of this research, it can be inferred that the study of heart and lung alterations in canine visceral leishmaniasis is increasingly important for understanding the problem related to humans. Dogs with visceral leishmaniasis were a good experimental model, since infection was caused by the same agent and the animals developed clinical, pathological and immunological alterations similar to those observed in humans.
  • Hypomagnesemia is a risk factor for nonrecovery of renal function and mortality in AIDS patients with acute kidney injury Kidney and Extracellular Environment

    Biagioni Santos, M.S.; Seguro, A.C.; Andrade, L.

    Abstract in English:

    The objective of the present study was to determine the prevalence of electrolyte disturbances in AIDS patients developing acute kidney injury in the hospital setting, as well as to determine whether such disturbances constitute a risk factor for nephrotoxic and ischemic injury. A prospective, observational cohort study was carried out. Hospitalized AIDS patients were evaluated for age; gender; coinfection with hepatitis; diabetes mellitus; hypertension; time since HIV seroconversion; CD4 count; HIV viral load; proteinuria; serum levels of creatinine, urea, sodium, potassium and magnesium; antiretroviral use; nephrotoxic drug use; sepsis; intensive care unit (ICU) admission, and the need for dialysis. Each of these characteristics was correlated with the development of acute kidney injury, with recovery of renal function and with survival. Fifty-four patients developed acute kidney injury: 72% were males, 59% had been HIV-infected for >5 years, 72% had CD4 counts <200 cells/mm³, 87% developed electrolyte disturbances, 33% recovered renal function, and 56% survived. ICU admission, dialysis, sepsis and hypomagnesemia were all significantly associated with nonrecovery of renal function and with mortality. Nonrecovery of renal function was significantly associated with hypomagnesemia, as was mortality in the multivariate analysis. The risks for nonrecovery of renal function and for death were 6.94 and 6.92 times greater, respectively, for patients with hypomagnesemia. In hospitalized AIDS patients, hypomagnesemia is a risk factor for nonrecovery of renal function and for in-hospital mortality. To determine whether hypomagnesemia is a determinant or simply a marker of critical illness, further studies involving magnesium supplementation in AIDS patients are warranted.
  • Correction Correction

    Iwama, A.M.; Andrade, G.N.; Shima, P.; Tanni, S.E.; Godoy, I.; Dourado, V.Z.
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