Abstract in English:(-)-∆9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (∆9-THC), a psychoactive component of marijuana, has been reported to induce oxidative damage in vivo and in vitro. In this study, we administered ∆9-THC to healthy C57BL/6J mice aged 15 weeks in order to determine its effect on hepatic redox state. Mice were divided into 3 groups: ∆9-THC (N = 10), treated with 10 mg/kg body weight ∆9-THC daily; VCtrl (N = 10), treated with vehicle [1:1:18, cremophor EL® (polyoxyl 35 castor oil)/ethanol/saline]; Ctrl (N = 10), treated with saline. Animals were injected ip twice a day with 5 mg/kg body weight for 10 days. Lipid peroxidation, protein carbonylation and DNA oxidation were used as biomarkers of oxidative stress. The endogenous antioxidant defenses analyzed were glutathione (GSH) levels as well as enzyme activities of superoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione S-transferase, glutathione reductase, and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) in liver homogenates. The levels of mRNA of the cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2 were also monitored. Treatment with ∆9-THC did not produce significant changes in oxidative stress markers or in mRNA levels of CB1 and CB2 receptors in the liver of mice, but attenuated the increase in the selenium-dependent GPx activity (Δ9-THC: 8%; VCtrl: 23% increase) and the GSH/oxidized GSH ratio (Δ9-THC: 61%; VCtrl: 96% increase), caused by treatment with the vehicle. Δ9-THC administration did not show any harmful effects on lipid peroxidation, protein carboxylation or DNA oxidation in the healthy liver of mice but attenuated unexpected effects produced by the vehicle containing ethanol/cremophor EL®.
Abstract in English:The objectives of this study were to determine the effect of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) on intestinal epithelial cell permeability and the expression of tight junction proteins. Caco-2 cells were plated onto Transwell® microporous filters and treated with TNF-α (10 or 100 ng/mL) for 0, 4, 8, 16, or 24 h. The transepithelial electrical resistance and the mucosal-to-serosal flux rates of the established paracellular marker Lucifer yellow were measured in filter-grown monolayers of Caco-2 intestinal cells. The localization and expression of the tight junction protein occludin were detected by immunofluorescence and Western blot analysis, respectively. SYBR-Green-based real-time PCR was used to measure the expression of occludin mRNA. TNF-α treatment produced concentration- and time-dependent decreases in Caco-2 transepithelial resistance and increases in transepithelial permeability to the paracellular marker Lucifer yellow. Western blot results indicated that TNF-α decreased the expression of phosphorylated occludin in detergent-insoluble fractions but did not affect the expression of non-phosphorylated occludin protein. Real-time RT-PCR data showed that TNF-α did not affect the expression of occludin mRNA. Taken together, our data demonstrate that TNF-α increases Caco-2 monolayer permeability, decreases occludin protein expression and disturbs intercellular junctions.
Abstract in English:Lactobacilli isolated from the vaginal tract of women with and without bacterial vaginosis (BV) were identified and characterized for the production of antagonists. Bacterial samples were isolated from healthy women (N = 16), from patients with clinical complaints but without BV (N = 30), and from patients with BV (N = 32). Identification was performed using amplified ribosomal DNA restriction analysis. Production of antagonistic compounds was evaluated by the double-layer diffusion technique using Gram-positive (N = 9) and Gram-negative bacteria (N = 6) as well as yeast (N = 5) as indicator strains. Of a total of 147 isolates, 133 were identified as pertaining to the genus Lactobacillus. Lactobacillus crispatus was the species most frequently recovered, followed by L. johnsonii and L. jensenii. Statistical analysis showed that L. crispatus was more frequent in individuals without BV (P < 0.05). A higher production of antagonists was noted in L. crispatus isolates from healthy women (P < 0.05). More acidic local pH and higher H2O2 production by isolated lactobacilli from healthy women suggest these mechanisms as the possible cause of this antagonism. In conclusion, a significant correlation was detected between the presence and antagonistic properties of certain species of Lactobacillus and the clinical status of the patients.
Abstract in English:The in vivo antifungal activity of the naphthoquinone beta-lapachone against disseminated infection by Cryptococcus neoformans was investigated. Swiss mice were immunosuppressed daily with dexamethasone (0.5 mg per mouse) intraperitoneally for 3 days, the procedure was repeated 4 days later, and the animals were then challenged intravenously with C. neoformans (10(6) CFU/mL) 1 week later. Seven days after infection, the mice were divided into groups and treated daily with beta-lapachone (10 mg/kg, iv) for 7 (N = 6) and 14 days (N = 10). Amphotericin B (0.5 mg/kg) was used as comparator drug and an additional group received PBS. Treatment with beta-lapachone cleared the yeast from the spleen and liver, and the fungal burden decreased approximately 10(4) times in the lungs and brain 14 days after infection when compared to the PBS group (P < 0.05). This result was similar to that of the amphotericin B-treated group. Protection was suggestively due to in vivo antifungal activity of this drug and apparently not influenced by activation of the immune response, due to similar leukocyte cell counts among all groups. This study highlights the prospective use of beta-lapachone for treatment of disseminated cryptococcosis.
Abstract in English:This study determined the effects of gallium-aluminum-arsenide laser (GaAlAs), gallium-arsenide laser (GaAs) and Dersani® healing ointment on skin wounds in Wistar rats. The parameters analyzed were: type I and III collagen fiber concentrations as well as the rate of wound closure. Five wounds, 12 mm in diameter, were made on the animals’ backs. The depth of the surgical incision was controlled by removing the epithelial tissue until the dorsal muscular fascia was exposed. The animals were anesthetized with ketamine and xylazine via intraperitoneal injection. The rats were randomly divided into five groups of 6 animals each, according to the treatment received. Group 1 (L4): GaAs laser (4 J/cm²); group 2 (L30): GaAlAs laser (30 J/cm²); group 3 (L60): GaAlAs laser (60 J/cm²); group 4 (D): Dersani® ointment; group 5 (control): 0.9% saline. The applications were made daily over a period of 20 days. Tissue fragments were stained with picrosirius to distinguish type I collagen from type III collagen. The collagen fibers were photo-documented and analyzed using the Quantum software based on the primary color spectrum (red, yellow and blue). Significant results for wound closing rate were obtained for group 1 (L4), 7.37 mm/day. The highest concentration of type III collagen fibers was observed in group 2 (L30; 37.80 ± 7.10%), which differed from control (29.86 ± 5.15%) on the 20th day of treatment. The type I collagen fibers of group 1 (L4; 2.67 ± 2.23%) and group 2 (L30; 2.87 ± 2.40%) differed significantly from control (1.77 ± 2.97%) on the 20th day of the experiment.
Abstract in English:Agmatine has neuroprotective effects on retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) as well as cortical and spinal neurons. It protects RGCs from oxidative stress even when it is not present at the time of injury. As agmatine has high affinity for various cellular receptors, we assessed protective mechanisms of agmatine using transformed RGCs (RGC-5 cell line). Differentiated RGC-5 cells were pretreated with 100 μM agmatine and consecutively exposed to 1.0 mM hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). Cell viability was determined by measuring lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), and the effects of selective alpha 2-adrenergic receptor antagonist yohimbine (0-500 nM) and N-methyl-D-aspartic acid (NMDA) receptor agonist NMDA (0-100 µM) were evaluated. Agmatine’s protective effect was compared to a selective NMDA receptor antagonist MK-801. After a 16-h exposure to H2O2, the LDH assay showed cell loss greater than 50%, which was reduced to about 30% when agmatine was pretreated before injury. Yohimbine almost completely inhibited agmatine’s protective effect, but NMDA did not. In addition, MK-801 (0-100 µM) did not significantly attenuate the H2O2-induced cytotoxicity. Our results suggest that neuroprotective effects of agmatine on RGCs under oxidative stress may be mainly attributed to the alpha 2-adrenergic receptor signaling pathway.
Abstract in English:The objective of this study was to investigate the phenomenon of learning generalization of a specific skill of auditory temporal processing (temporal order detection) in children with dyslexia. The frequency order discrimination task was applied to children with dyslexia and its effect after training was analyzed in the same trained task and in a different task (duration order discrimination) involving the temporal order discrimination too. During study 1, one group of subjects with dyslexia (N = 12; mean age = 10.9 ± 1.4 years) was trained and compared to a group of untrained dyslexic children (N = 28; mean age = 10.4 ± 2.1 years). In study 2, the performance of a trained dyslexic group (N = 18; mean age = 10.1 ± 2.1 years) was compared at three different times: 2 months before training, at the beginning of training, and at the end of training. Training was carried out for 2 months using a computer program responsible for training frequency ordering skill. In study 1, the trained group showed significant improvement after training only for frequency ordering task compared to the untrained group (P < 0.001). In study 2, the children showed improvement in the last interval in both frequency ordering (P < 0.001) and duration ordering (P = 0.01) tasks. These results showed differences regarding the presence of learning generalization of temporal order detection, since there was generalization of learning in only one of the studies. The presence of methodological differences between the studies, as well as the relationship between trained task and evaluated tasks, are discussed.
Abstract in English:Nerve injury leads to a neuropathic pain state that results from central sensitization. This phenomenom is mediated by NMDA receptors and may involve the production of nitric oxide (NO). In this study, we investigated the expression of the neuronal isoform of NO synthase (nNOS) in the spinal cord of 3-month-old male, Wistar rats after sciatic nerve transection (SNT). Our attention was focused on the dorsal part of L3-L5 segments receiving sensory inputs from the sciatic nerve. SNT resulted in the development of neuropathic pain symptoms confirmed by evaluating mechanical hyperalgesia (Randall and Selitto test) and allodynia (von Frey hair test). Control animals did not present any alteration (sham-animals). The selective inhibitor of nNOS, 7-nitroindazole (0.2 and 2 µg in 50 µL), blocked hyperalgesia and allodynia induced by SNT. Immunohistochemical analysis showed that nNOS was increased (48% by day 30) in the lumbar spinal cord after SNT. This increase was observed near the central canal (Rexed’s lamina X) and also in lamina I-IV of the dorsal horn. Real-time PCR results indicated an increase of nNOS mRNA detected from 1 to 30 days after SNT, with the highest increase observed 1 day after injury (1469%). Immunoblotting confirmed the increase of nNOS in the spinal cord between 1 and 15 days post-lesion (20%), reaching the greatest increase (60%) 30 days after surgery. The present findings demonstrate an increase of nNOS after peripheral nerve injury that may contribute to the increase of NO production observed after peripheral neuropathy.
Abstract in English:After myocardial infarction (MI), activation of the immune system and inflammatory mechanisms, among others, can lead to ventricular remodeling and heart failure (HF). The interaction between these systemic alterations and corresponding changes in the heart has not been extensively examined in the setting of chronic ischemia. The main purpose of this study was to investigate alterations in cardiac gene and systemic cytokine profile in mice with post-ischemic HF. Plasma was tested for IgM and IgG anti-heart reactive repertoire and inflammatory cytokines. Heart samples were assayed for gene expression by analyzing hybridization to AECOM 32k mouse microarrays. Ischemic HF significantly increased the levels of total serum IgM (by 5.2-fold) and total IgG (by 3.6-fold) associated with a relatively high content of anti-heart specificity. A comparable increase was observed in the levels of circulating pro-inflammatory cytokines such as IL-1β (3.8X) and TNF-α (6.0X). IFN-γ was also increased by 3.1-fold in the MI group. However, IL-4 and IL-10 were not significantly different between the MI and sham-operated groups. Chemokines such as MCP-1 and IL-8 were 1.4- and 13-fold increased, respectively, in the plasma of infarcted mice. We identified 2079 well annotated unigenes that were significantly regulated by post-ischemic HF. Complement activation and immune response were among the most up-regulated processes. Interestingly, 21 of the 101 quantified unigenes involved in the inflammatory response were significantly up-regulated and none were down-regulated. These data indicate that post-ischemic heart remodeling is accompanied by immune-mediated mechanisms that act both systemically and locally.
Abstract in English:Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors reduce blood pressure and attenuate cardiac and vascular remodeling in hypertension. However, the kinetics of remodeling after discontinuation of the long-term use of these drugs are unknown. Our objective was to investigate the temporal changes occurring in blood pressure and vascular structure of spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR). Captopril treatment was started in the pre-hypertensive state. Rats (4 weeks) were assigned to three groups: SHR-Cap (N = 51) treated with captopril (1 g/L) in drinking water from the 4th to the 14th week; SHR-C (N = 48) untreated SHR; Wistar (N = 47) control rats. Subgroups of animals were studied at 2, 4, and 8 weeks after discontinuation of captopril. Direct blood pressure was recorded in freely moving animals after femoral artery catheterism. The animals were then killed to determine left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) and the aorta fixed at the same pressure measured in vivo. Captopril prevented hypertension (105 ± 3 vs 136 ± 5 mmHg), LVH (2.17 ± 0.05 vs 2.97 ± 0.14 mg/g body weight) and the increase in cross-sectional area to luminal area ratio of the aorta (0.21 ± 0.01 vs 0.26 ± 0.02 μm²) (SHR-Cap vs SHR-C). However, these parameters increased progressively after discontinuation of captopril (22nd week: 141 ± 2 mmHg, 2.50 ± 0.06 mg/g, 0.27 ± 0.02 μm²). Prevention of the development of hypertension in SHR by using captopril during the prehypertensive period prevents the development of cardiac and vascular remodeling. Recovery of these processes follows the kinetic of hypertension development after discontinuation of captopril.
Abstract in English:Marfan syndrome (MS) is a dominant autosomal disease caused by mutations in chromosome 15, the locus controlling fibrillin 1 synthesis, and may exhibit skeletal, ocular, cardiovascular, and other manifestations. Pulse wave velocity (PWV) is used to measure arterial elasticity and stiffness and is related to the elastic properties of the vascular wall. Since the practice of exercise is limited in MS patients, it was of interest to analyze the acute effect of submaximal exercise on aortic distensibility using PWV and other hemodynamic variables in patients with MS with either mild or no aortic dilatation. PWV and physiological variables were evaluated before and after submaximal exercise in 33 patients with MS and 18 controls. PWV was 8.51 ± 0.58 at rest and 9.10 ± 0.63 m/s at the end of exercise (P = 0.002) in the group with MS and 8.07 ± 0.35 and 8.98 ± 0.56 m/s in the control group, respectively (P = 0.004). Comparative group analysis regarding PWV at rest and at the end of exercise revealed no statistically significant differences. The same was true for the group that used β-blockers and the one that did not. The final heart rate was 10% higher in the control group than in the MS group (P = 0.01). Final systolic arterial pressure was higher in the control group (P = 0.02). PWV in MS patients with mild or no aortic dilatation did not differ from the control group after submaximal effort.
Abstract in English:A correlation between cancer and hypercoagulability has been described for more than a century. Patients with cancer are at increased risk for thrombotic complications and the clotting initiator protein, tissue factor (TF), is possibly involved in this process. Moreover, TF may promote angiogenesis and tumor growth. In addition to TF, thrombin seems to play a relevant role in tumor biology, mainly through activation of protease-activated receptor-1 (PAR-1). In the present study, we prospectively studied 39 lung adenocarcinoma patients in relation to the tumor expression levels of TF and PAR-1 and their correlation with thrombosis outcome and survival. Immunohistochemical analysis showed TF positivity in 22 patients (56%), most of them in advanced stages (III and IV). Expression of PAR-1 was found in 15 patients (39%), most of them also in advanced stages (III and IV). Remarkably, no correlation was observed between the expression of TF or PAR-1 and risk for thrombosis development. On the other hand, patients who were positive for TF or PAR-1 tended to have decreased long-term survival. We conclude that immunolocalization of either TF or PAR-1 in lung adenocarcinoma may predict a poor prognosis although lacking correlation with thrombosis outcome.