Abstract in English:Abstract The reduction of skeletal muscle loss in pathological states, such as muscle disuse, has considerable effects in terms of rehabilitation and quality of life. Since there is no currently effective and safe treatment available for skeletal muscle atrophy, the search for new alternatives is necessary. Resistance exercise (RE) seems to be an important tool in the treatment of disuse-induced skeletal muscle atrophy by promoting positive functional (strength and power) and structural (hypertrophy and phenotypic changes) adaptive responses. Human and animal studies using different types of resistance exercise (flywheel, vascular occlusion, dynamic, isometric, and eccentric) have obtained results of great importance. However, since RE is a complex phenomenon, lack of strict control of its variables (volume, frequency, intensity, muscle action, rest intervals) limits the interpretation of the impact of the manipulation on skeletal muscle remodeling and function under disuse. The aim of this review is to critically describe the functional and morphological role of resistance exercise in disuse-induced skeletal muscle atrophy with emphasis on the principles of training.
Abstract in English:Highly efficient mechanisms regulate intracellular calcium (Ca2+) levels. The recent discovery of new components linking intracellular Ca2+ stores to plasma membrane Ca2+ entry channels has brought new insight into the understanding of Ca2+ homeostasis. Stromal interaction molecule 1 (STIM1) was identified as a Ca2+ sensor essential for Ca2+ store depletion-triggered Ca2+ influx. Orai1 was recognized as being an essential component for the Ca2+ release-activated Ca2+ (CRAC) channel. Together, these proteins participate in store-operated Ca2+ channel function. Defective regulation of intracellular Ca2+ is a hallmark of several diseases. In this review, we focus on Ca2+ regulation by the STIM1/Orai1 pathway and review evidence that implicates STIM1/Orai1 in several pathological conditions including cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases, among others.
Abstract in English:The transient receptor potential channels family (TRP channels) is a relatively new group of cation channels that modulate a large range of physiological mechanisms. In the nervous system, the functions of TRP channels have been associated with thermosensation, pain transduction, neurotransmitter release, and redox signaling, among others. However, they have also been extensively correlated with the pathogenesis of several innate and acquired diseases. On the other hand, the omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 fatty acids) have also been associated with several processes that seem to counterbalance or to contribute to the function of several TRPs. In this short review, we discuss some of the remarkable new findings in this field. We also review the possible roles played by n-3 fatty acids in cell signaling that can both control or be controlled by TRP channels in neurodegenerative processes, as well as both the direct and indirect actions of n-3 fatty acids on TRP channels.
Abstract in English:Gene therapy is an alternative treatment for genetic lung disease, especially monogenic disorders such as cystic fibrosis. Cystic fibrosis is a severe autosomal recessive disease affecting one in 2500 live births in the white population, caused by mutation of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR). The disease is classically characterized by pancreatic enzyme insufficiency, an increased concentration of chloride in sweat, and varying severity of chronic obstructive lung disease. Currently, the greatest challenge for gene therapy is finding an ideal vector to deliver the transgene (CFTR) to the affected organ (lung). Adeno-associated virus is the most promising viral vector system for the treatment of respiratory disease because it has natural tropism for airway epithelial cells and does not cause any human disease. This review focuses on the basic properties of adeno-associated virus and its use as a vector for cystic fibrosis gene therapy.
Abstract in English:In 1995, a pioneering MD-PhD program was initiated in Brazil for the training of medical scientists in experimental sciences at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. The program’s aim was achieved with respect to publication of theses in the form of papers with international visibility and also in terms of fostering the scientific careers of the graduates. The expansion of this type of program is one of the strategies for improving the preparation of biomedical researchers in Brazil. A noteworthy absence of interest in carrying out clinical research limits the ability of young Brazilian physicians to solve biomedical problems. To understand the students’ views of science, we used qualitative and quantitative triangulation methods, as well as participant observation to evaluate the students’ concepts of science and common sense. Subjective aspects were clearly less evident in their concepts of science. There was a strong concern about "methodology", "truth" and "usefulness". "Intuition", "creativity" and "curiosity" were the least mentioned thematic categories. Students recognized the value of intuition when it appeared as an explicit option but they did not refer to it spontaneously. Common sense was associated with "consensus", "opinion" and ideas that "require scientific validation". Such observations indicate that MD-PhD students share with their senior academic colleagues the same reluctance to consider common sense as a valid adjunct for the solution of scientific problems. Overcoming this difficulty may be an important step toward stimulating the interest of physicians in pursuing experimental research.
Abstract in English:Polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs) and related halogenated aromatic hydrocarbons (e.g., PCDFs), often called "dioxins", are ubiquitously present environmental contaminants. Some of them, notably 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD), are among the most toxic synthetic compounds known. The biological effects of dioxins are mediated via the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR). Mutations in the AhR transactivation domain are linked to sensitivity to the acute lethality of TCDD. We present here a study of AhR gene polymorphism in normal and cancer human tissues affecting pre-mRNA splicing in the AhR gene-coding transactivation domain region (exon 10, intron 10, exon 11 region), previously shown to be associated with AhR dysfunction. We tested 126 pairs of normal and cancer tissue samples from liver, lung, stomach, kidney, mucous, breast, and pancreas of 49 males and 77 females (45-70 years of age). We used in vitro splicing assay, RT-PCR and sequencing methods. Our results showed that in an in vitro system it is possible to reconstitute cellular pre-mRNA splicing events. Tested cancer tissues did not contain mutations in the AhR transactivation domain region when the DNA sequences were compared with those from normal tissues. There were also no differences in AhR mRNA splice variants between normal and malignant breast tissues and no polymorphisms in the studied regions or cDNA.
Abstract in English:The testicular feminized (Tfm) mouse carries a nonfunctional androgen receptor (AR) and reduced circulating testosterone levels. We used Tfm and castrated mice to determine whether testosterone modulates markers of aging in cardiomyocytes via its classic AR-dependent pathway or conversion to estradiol. Male littermates and Tfm mice were divided into 6 experimental groups. Castrated littermates (group 1) and sham-operated Tfm mice (group 2, N = 8 each) received testosterone. Sham-operated Tfm mice received testosterone in combination with the aromatase inhibitor anastrazole (group 3, N = 7). Castrated littermates (group 4) and sham-operated untreated Tfm mice (group 5) were used as controls (N = 8 and 7, respectively). An additional control group (group 6) consisted of age-matched non-castrated littermates (N = 8). Cardiomyocytes were isolated from the left ventricle, telomere length was measured by quantitative PCR and expression of p16INK4α, retinoblastoma (Rb) and p53 proteins was detected by Western blot 3 months after treatment. Compared with group 6, telomere length was short (P < 0.01) and expression of p16INK4α, Rb and p53 proteins was significantly (P < 0.05) up-regulated in groups 4 and 5. These changes were improved to nearly normal levels in groups 1 and 2 (telomere length = 0.78 ± 0.05 and 0.80 ± 0.08; p16INK4α = 0.13 ± 0.03 and 0.15 ± 0.04; Rb = 0.45 ± 0.05 and 0.39 ± 0.06; p53 = 0.16 ± 0.04 and 0.13 ± 0.03), but did not differ between these two groups. These improvements were partly inhibited in group 3 compared with group 2 (telomere length = 0.65 ± 0.08 vs 0.80 ± 0.08, P = 0.021; p16INK4α = 0.28 ± 0.05 vs 0.15 ± 0.04, P = 0.047; Rb = 0.60 ± 0.06 vs 0.39 ± 0.06, P < 0.01; p53 = 0.34 ± 0.06 vs 0.13 ± 0.03, P = 0.004). In conclusion, testosterone deficiency contributes to cardiomyocyte aging. Physiological testosterone can delay cardiomyocyte aging via an AR-independent pathway and in part by conversion to estradiol.
Abstract in English:Antibacterial monomers incorporated in dentin bonding systems may have toxic effects on the pulp. Thus, the cytotoxicity of antibacterial monomers and its underlying mechanisms must be elucidated to improve the safety of antibacterial monomer application. The influence of an antibacterial monomer, methacryloxylethyl cetyl ammonium chloride (DMAE-CB), on the vitality of L929 mouse fibroblasts was tested using MTT assay. Cell cycle progression was studied using flow cytometry. Production of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) after DMAE-CB treatment was measured using 2,7-dichlorodihydrofluorescein diacetate staining and flow cytometry analysis. Loss of mitochondrial membrane potential, disturbance of Bcl-2 and Bax expression, as well as release of cytochrome C were also measured using flow cytometry analysis or Western blot to explore the possible involvement of the mitochondrial-related apoptotic pathway. DMAE-CB elicited cell death in a dose-dependent manner and more than 50% of cells were killed after treatment with 30 µM of the monomer. Both necrosis and apoptosis were observed. DMAE-CB also induced G1- and G2-phase arrest. Increased levels of intracellular ROS were observed after 1 h and this overproduction was further enhanced by 6-h treatment with the monomer. DMAE-CB may cause apoptosis by disturbing the expression of Bcl-2 and Bax, reducing the mitochondrial potential and inducing release of cytochrome C. Taken together, these findings suggest that the toxicity of the antibacterial monomer DMAE-CB is associated with ROS production, mitochondrial dysfunction, cell cycle disturbance, and cell apoptosis/necrosis.
Abstract in English:Human T lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) is the causal agent of myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP), a disease mediated by the immune response. HTLV-1 induces a spontaneous proliferation and production of pro-inflammatory cytokines by T cells, and increasing interferon-γ (IFN-γ) and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) levels are potentially involved in tissue damage in diseases related to HTLV-1. This exaggerated immune response is also due to an inability of the natural regulatory mechanisms to down-modulate the immune response in this group of patients. TNF-α inhibitors reduce inflammation and have been shown to improve chronic inflammatory diseases in clinical trials. The aim of this study was to evaluate the ability of pentoxifylline, forskolin, rolipram, and thalidomide to decrease in vitro production of TNF-α and IFN-γ in cells of HTLV-1-infected subjects. Participants of the study included 19 patients with HAM/TSP (mean age, 53 ± 11; male:female ratio, 1:1) and 18 HTLV-1 carriers (mean age, 47 ± 11; male:female ratio, 1:2.6). Cytokines were determined by ELISA in supernatants of mononuclear cell cultures. Pentoxifylline inhibited TNF-α and IFN-γ synthesis with the minimum dose used (50 µM). The results with forskolin were similar to those observed with pentoxifylline. The doses of rolipram used were 0.01-1 µM and the best inhibition of TNF-α production was achieved with 1 µM and for IFN-γ production it was 0.01 µM. The minimum dose of thalidomide used (1 µM) inhibited TNF-α production but thalidomide did not inhibit IFN-γ production even when the maximum dose (50 µM) was used. All drugs had an in vitro inhibitory effect on TNF-α production and, with the exception of thalidomide, all of them also decreased IFN-γ production.
Abstract in English:This study examined the food intake changes evoked by intracerebroventricular (icv) injection of a selective agonist (BRL37344, 2 and 20 nmol) or antagonist (SR59230A, 10 and 50 nmol) of β3-adrenergic receptors in 24-h fasted rats (adult male Wistar rats, 200-350 g, N = 6/treatment). The animals were also pretreated with saline icv (SAL) or SR59230A (50 nmol) followed by BRL37344 (20 nmol) or SAL in order to determine the selectivity of the effects evoked by BRL37344 on food intake or the selectivity of the effects evoked by SR59230A on risk assessment (RA) behavior. The highest dose of BRL37344 (N = 7) decreased food intake 1 h after the treatment (6.4 ± 0.5 g in SAL-treated vs 4.2 ± 0.8 g in drug-treated rats). While both doses of SR59230A failed to affect food intake (5.1 ± 1.1 g for 10 nmol and 6.0 ± 1.8 g for 50 nmol), this treatment reduced the RA frequency (number/30 min) (4 ± 2 for SAL-treated vs 1 ± 1 for 10 nmol and 0.5 ± 1 for 50 nmol SR59230A-treated rats), an ethological parameter related to anxiety. While pretreatment with SR59230A (7.0 ± 0.5 g) abolished the hypophagia induced by BRL37344 (3.6 ± 0.9 g), BRL37344 suppressed the reduction in RA frequency caused by SR59230A. These results show that the hypophagia caused by BRL37344 is selectively mediated by β3-adrenergic receptors within the central nervous system. Moreover, they suggest the involvement of these receptors in the control of anxiety.
Abstract in English:The efficacy of endothelin receptor antagonists in protecting against myocardial ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury is controversial, and the mechanisms remain unclear. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of CPU0123, a novel endothelin type A and type B receptor antagonist, on myocardial I/R injury and to explore the mechanisms involved. Male Sprague-Dawley rats weighing 200-250 g were randomized to three groups (6-7 per group): group 1, Sham; group 2, I/R + vehicle. Rats were subjected to in vivo myocardial I/R injury by ligation of the left anterior descending coronary artery and 0.5% sodium carboxymethyl cellulose (1 mL/kg) was injected intraperitoneally immediately prior to coronary occlusion. Group 3, I/R + CPU0213. Rats were subjected to identical surgical procedures and CPU0213 (30 mg/kg) was injected intraperitoneally immediately prior to coronary occlusion. Infarct size, cardiac function and biochemical changes were measured. CPU0213 pretreatment reduced infarct size as a percentage of the ischemic area by 44.5% (I/R + vehicle: 61.3 ± 3.2 vs I/R + CPU0213: 34.0 ± 5.5%, P < 0.05) and improved ejection fraction by 17.2% (I/R + vehicle: 58.4 ± 2.8 vs I/R + CPU0213: 68.5 ± 2.2%, P < 0.05) compared to vehicle-treated animals. This protection was associated with inhibition of myocardial inflammation and oxidative stress. Moreover, reduction in Akt (protein kinase B) and endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) phosphorylation induced by myocardial I/R injury was limited by CPU0213 (P < 0.05). These data suggest that CPU0123, a non-selective antagonist, has protective effects against myocardial I/R injury in rats, which may be related to the Akt/eNOS pathway.
Abstract in English:We evaluated the potential neuroprotective effect of 1-100 µM of four organoselenium compounds: diphenyl diselenide, 3’3-ditri-fluoromethyldiphenyl diselenide, p-methoxy-diphenyl diselenide, and p-chloro-diphenyl diselenide, against methylmercury-induced mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress in mitochondrial-enriched fractions from adult Swiss mouse brain. Methylmercury (10-100 µM) significantly decreased mitochondrial activity, assessed by MTT reduction assay, in a dose-dependent manner, which occurred in parallel with increased glutathione oxidation, hydroperoxide formation (xylenol orange assay) and lipid peroxidation end-products (thiobarbituric acid reactive substances, TBARS). The co-incubation with diphenyl diselenide (100 µM) completely prevented the disruption of mitochondrial activity as well as the increase in TBARS levels caused by methylmercury. The compound 3’3-ditrifluoromethyldiphenyl diselenide provided a partial but significant protection against methylmercury-induced mitochondrial dysfunction (45.4 ± 5.8% inhibition of the methylmercury effect). Diphenyl diselenide showed a higher thiol peroxidase activity compared to the other three compounds. Catalase blocked methylmercury-induced TBARS, pointing to hydrogen peroxide as a vector during methylmercury toxicity in this model. This result also suggests that thiol peroxidase activity of organoselenium compounds accounts for their protective actions against methylmercury-induced oxidative stress. Our results show that diphenyl diselenide and potentially other organoselenium compounds may represent important molecules in the search for an improved therapy against the deleterious effects of methylmercury as well as other mercury compounds.
Abstract in English:The objectives of the present study were to describe and compare the body composition variables determined by bioelectrical impedance (BIA) and the deuterium dilution method (DDM), to identify possible correlations and agreement between the two methods, and to construct a linear regression model including anthropometric measures. Obese adolescents were evaluated by anthropometric measures, and body composition was assessed by BIA and DDM. Forty obese adolescents were included in the study. Comparison of the mean values for the following variables: fat body mass (FM; kg), fat-free mass (FFM; kg), and total body water (TBW; %) determined by DDM and by BIA revealed significant differences. BIA overestimated FFM and TBW and underestimated FM. When compared with data provided by DDM, the BIA data presented a significant correlation with FFM (r = 0.89; P < 0.001), FM (r = 0.93; P < 0.001) and TBW (r = 0.62; P < 0.001). The Bland-Altman plot showed no agreement for FFM, FM or TBW between data provided by BIA and DDM. The linear regression models proposed in our study with respect to FFM, FM, and TBW were well adjusted. FFM obtained by DDM = 0.842 x FFM obtained by BIA. FM obtained by DDM = 0.855 x FM obtained by BIA + 0.152 x weight (kg). TBW obtained by DDM = 0.813 x TBW obtained by BIA. The body composition results of obese adolescents determined by DDM can be predicted by using the measures provided by BIA through a regression equation.
Abstract in English:Sarcopenic obesity is the combination of reduced fat-free mass (FFM) and increased fat mass (FM) with advancing age but there is lack of clear criteria for its identification. The purposes of the present investigation were: 1) to determine the prevalence of postmenopausal women with reduced FFM relative to their FM and height, and 2) to examine whether there are associations between the proposed classification and health-related variables. A total of 607 women were included in this cross-sectional study and were separated into two subsets: 258 older women with a mean age of 66.8 ± 5.6 years and 349 young women aged 18-40 years (mean age, 29.0 ± 7.5 years). All volunteers underwent body composition assessment by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. The FFM index relative to FM and height was calculated and the cutoff value corresponded to two standard deviations below the mean of the young reference group. To examine the clinical significance of the classification, all older participants underwent measurements of quadriceps strength and cardiorespiratory fitness. Values were compared between those who were classified as low FFM or not, using an independent samples t-test and correlations were examined. The cutoff corresponded to a residual of -3.4 and generated a sarcopenic obesity prevalence of 19.8% that was associated with reduced muscle strength and aerobic fitness among the older participants. Also, the index correlated significantly with the health-related fitness variables. The results demonstrated reduced functional capacity for those below the proposed cutoff and suggested applicability of the approach as a definition for sarcopenic obesity.
Abstract in English:The aim of this study was to determine the impact of antiretroviral therapy on the lipid profile of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) patients before and after the initiation of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). This was a cross-sectional analysis of patients receiving HAART at a reference center in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, on the basis of medical records from 2002 to 2006. Patients were included if they had at least one lipid test or a clinical or laboratory diagnosis of dyslipidemia/lipodystrophy. Among the 692 patients, 620 met the eligibility criteria. The majority were males (66.5%), middle age (average 39 years), had a low educational level (60.4%), and low income (51.0%). HAART duration ranged from 11 days to 4.6 years, with a mean of 28.6 months (SD = ± 470.19 days). The prevalence of dyslipidemia/lipodystrophy nearly tripled (11.3% pre- and 32.4% post-HAART). Dyslipidemia was associated with older age (P = 0.007), nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI) + protease inhibitor (PI) regimens (P = 0.04), NRTI + non-NRTI (NNRTI) regimens (P = 0.026), the use of stavudine (d4T) in any regimen (P = 0.002) or in NRTI-based regimens (P = 0.006), and longer exposure to HAART (P < 0.000). In addition, there was no correlation between dyslipidemia and gender (P = 0.084). Only 2.0% of the patients received treatment for dyslipidemia during the trial. These results show a need for continuous monitoring of patients under antiretroviral therapy, particularly those using NRTI-based regimens, especially when combined with d4T and PIs. Secondly, interventions should be developed to correct metabolic changes.
Abstract in English:Our objective was to compare the pattern of organ dysfunctions and outcomes of critically ill patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) with patients with other systemic rheumatic diseases (SRD). We studied 116 critically ill SRD patients, 59 SLE and 57 other-SRD patients. The SLE group was younger and included more women. Respiratory failure (61%) and shock (39%) were the most common causes of ICU admission for other-SRD and SLE groups, respectively. ICU length-of-stay was similar for the two groups. The 60-day survival adjusted for the groups’ baseline imbalances was not different (P = 0.792). Total SOFA scores were equal for the two groups at admission and during ICU stay, although respiratory function was worse in the other-SRD group at admission and renal and hematological functions were worse in the SLE group at admission. The incidence of severe respiratory dysfunction (respiratory SOFA >2) at admission was higher in the other-SRD group, whereas severe hematological dysfunction (hematological SOFA >2) during ICU stay was higher in the SLE group. SLE patients were younger and displayed a decreased incidence of respiratory failure compared to patients with other-SRDs. However, the incidences of renal and hematological failure and the presence of shock at admission were higher in the SLE group. The 60-day survival rates were similar.