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1.  Synthesis of structured triacylglycerols enriched in n-3 fatty acids by immobilized microbial lipase 
Brazilian Journal of Microbiology  2016;47(4):1006-1013.
The search for new biocatalysts has aroused great interest due to the variety of micro-organisms and their role as enzyme producers. Native lipases from Aspergillus niger and Rhizopus javanicus were used to enrich the n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids content in the triacylglycerols of soybean oil by acidolysis with free fatty acids from sardine oil in solvent-free media. For the immobilization process, the best lipase/support ratios were 1:3 (w/w) for Aspergillus niger lipase and 1:5 (w/w) for Rhizopus javanicus lipase using Amberlite MB-1. Both lipases maintained constant activity for 6 months at 4 °C. Reaction time, sardine-free fatty acids:soybean oil mole ratio and initial water content of the lipase were investigated to determine their effects on n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids incorporation into soybean oil. Structured triacylglycerols with 11.7 and 7.2% of eicosapentaenoic acid + docosahexaenoic acid were obtained using Aspergillus niger lipase and Rhizopus javanicus lipase, decreasing the n-6/n-3 fatty acids ratio of soybean oil (11:1 to 3.5:1 and 4.7:1, respectively). The best reaction conditions were: initial water content of lipase of 0.86% (w/w), sardine-free faty acids:soybean oil mole ratio of 3:1 and reaction time of 36 h, at 40 °C. The significant factors for the acidolysis reaction were the sardine-free fatty acids:soybean oil mole ratio and reaction time. The characterization of structured triacylglycerols was obtained using easy ambient sonic-spray ionization mass spectrometry. The enzymatic reaction led to the formation of many structured triacylglycerols containing eicosapentaenoic acid, docosahexaenoic acid or both polyunsaturated fatty acids.
PMCID: PMC5052365  PMID: 27528087
Lipase; Immobilization; Soybean oil; Polyunsaturated fatty acids
2.  HIV-1 Diversity, Transmission Dynamics and Primary Drug Resistance in Angola 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e113626.
To assess HIV-1 diversity, transmission dynamics and prevalence of transmitted drug resistance (TDR) in Angola, five years after ART scale-up.
Population sequencing of the pol gene was performed on 139 plasma samples collected in 2009 from drug-naive HIV-1 infected individuals living in Luanda. HIV-1 subtypes were determined using phylogenetic analysis. Drug resistance mutations were identified using the Calibrated Population Resistance Tool (CPR). Transmission networks were determined using phylogenetic analysis of all Angolan sequences present in the databases. Evolutionary trends were determined by comparison with a similar survey performed in 2001.
47.1% of the viruses were pure subtypes (all except B), 47.1% were recombinants and 5.8% were untypable. The prevalence of subtype A decreased significantly from 2001 to 2009 (40.0% to 10.8%, P = 0.0019) while the prevalence of unique recombinant forms (URFs) increased>2-fold (40.0% to 83.1%, P<0.0001). The most frequent URFs comprised untypable sequences with subtypes H (U/H, n = 7, 10.8%), A (U/A, n = 6, 9.2%) and G (G/U, n = 4, 6.2%). Newly identified U/H recombinants formed a highly supported monophyletic cluster suggesting a local and common origin. TDR mutation K103N was found in one (0.7%) patient (1.6% in 2001). Out of the 364 sequences sampled for transmission network analysis, 130 (35.7%) were part of a transmission network. Forty eight transmission clusters were identified; the majority (56.3%) comprised sequences sampled in 2008–2010 in Luanda which is consistent with a locally fuelled epidemic. Very low genetic distance was found in 27 transmission pairs sampled in the same year, suggesting recent transmission events.
Transmission of drug resistant strains was still negligible in Luanda in 2009, five years after the scale-up of ART. The dominance of small and recent transmission clusters and the emergence of new URFs are consistent with a rising HIV-1 epidemics mainly driven by heterosexual transmission.
PMCID: PMC4257534  PMID: 25479241
3.  Transcriptional profile of Paracoccidioides spp. in response to itraconazole 
BMC Genomics  2014;15:254.
Itraconazole is currently used to treat paracoccidioidomycosis. The mechanism of action of azoles has been elucidated in some fungi, although little is known regarding its mechanism of action in Paracoccidioides spp. The present work focused on identification of regulated transcripts using representational difference analysis of Paracoccidioides spp. yeast cells treated with itraconazole for 1 and 2 h.
Paracoccidioides Pb01 genes up-regulated by itraconazole included genes involved in cellular transport, metabolism/energy, transcription, cell rescue, defense and virulence. ERG11, ERG6, ERG3, ERG5 and ERG25 were up-regulated at multiple time points. In vivo infection experiments in mice corroborated the in vitro results. Ergosterol levels and distribution were evaluated in Paracoccidioides Pb18 yeast cells, and the results demonstrate that both factors were changed in the fungus treated with itraconazole.
To our knowledge, this is the first transcriptional analysis of Paracoccidioides spp. exposed to a triazole drug. Here acetyl seems to be intensively produced from different metabolic pathways to produce ergosterol by the action of ergosterol synthesis related enzymes, which were also affected in other fungi. Among the genes affected, we identified genes in common with other fungi, as well as genes unique to Paracoccidioides Pb01. Those genes could be considered target to new drugs. Voltage-gated Ca2+ alpha subunit (CAV), Tetracycline resistance protein (TETA) and Hemolisyn-iii channel protein (HLYiii) were found only here and a probably involvement with resistence to itraconazole could be investigated in the future. However our findings do not permit inference to current clinical practice.
PMCID: PMC3975141  PMID: 24690401
Paracoccidioides spp.; Transcriptional response; Itraconazole; Ergosterol
4.  Predictors of Attrition and Immunological Failure in HIV-1 Patients on Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy from Different Healthcare Settings in Mozambique 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e82718.
In Mozambique, the evaluation of retention in HIV care and ART programmes is limited. To assess rate and predictors of attrition (no retention in care) and HAART effectiveness in HIV-1 infected patients who pay for medication and laboratory testing in Mozambique, we conducted a multicenter survey of HIV-1-infected patients who started HAART during 2002–2006. Cox proportional hazard models were used to assess risk of attrition and of therapy failure. Overall, 142 patients from 16 healthcare centers located in the capital city Maputo were followed-up for 22.2 months (12.1–46.7). The retention rate was 75%, 48% and 37% after one, two and three years, respectively. Risk of attrition was lower in patients with higher baseline CD4 count (P = 0.022) and attending healthcare center 1 (HCC1) (P = 0.013). The proportion of individuals with CD4 count ≤200 cells/µL was 55% (78/142) at baseline and decreased to 6% (3/52) at 36 months. Among the patients with available VL, 86% (64/74) achieved undetectable VL levels. The rate of immunologic failure was 17.2% (95% CI: 12.6–22.9) per 100 person-years. Risk of failure was associated to higher baseline CD4 count (P = 0.002), likely reflecting low adherence levels, and decreased with baseline VL ≥10,000 copies/mL (P = 0.033). These results suggest that HAART can be effective in HIV-1 infected patients from Mozambique that pay for their medication and laboratory testing. Further studies are required to identify the causes for low retention rates in patients with low CD4 counts and to better understand the association between healthcare setting and attrition rate.
PMCID: PMC3869714  PMID: 24376569
5.  Transcriptional profile of Paracoccidioides induced by oenothein B, a potential antifungal agent from the Brazilian Cerrado plant Eugenia uniflora 
BMC Microbiology  2013;13:227.
The compound oenothein B (OenB), which is isolated from the leaves of Eugenia uniflora, a Brazilian Cerrado plant, interferes with Paracoccidioides yeast cell morphology and inhibits 1,3-β-D-glucan synthase (PbFKS1) transcript accumulation, which is involved in cell wall synthesis. In this work we examined the gene expression changes in Paracoccidioides yeast cells following OenB treatment in order to investigate the adaptive cellular responses to drug stress.
We constructed differential gene expression libraries using Representational Difference Analysis (RDA) of Paracoccidioides yeast cells treated with OenB for 90 and 180 min. Treatment for 90 min resulted in the identification of 463 up-regulated expressed sequences tags (ESTs) and 104 down-regulated ESTs. For the 180 min treatment 301 up-regulated ESTs and 143 down-regulated were identified. Genes involved in the cell wall biosynthesis, such as GLN1, KRE6 and FKS1, were found to be regulated by OenB. Infection experiments in macrophages corroborated the in vitro results. Fluorescence microscopy showed increased levels of chitin in cells treated with OenB. The carbohydrate polymer content of the cell wall of the fungus was also evaluated, and the results corroborated with the transcriptional data. Several other genes, such as those involved in a variety of important cellular processes (i.e., membrane maintenance, stress and virulence) were found to be up-regulated in response to OenB treatment.
The exposure of Paracoccidioides to OenB resulted in a complex altered gene expression profile. Some of the changes may represent specific adaptive responses to this compound in this important pathogenic fungus.
PMCID: PMC3852496  PMID: 24119145
Paracoccidioides; Antifungal; Oenothein B; Transcriptome; Cell wall
6.  Glycogen Storage Disease type 1a – a secondary cause for hyperlipidemia: report of five cases 
Background and aims
Glycogen storage disease type Ia (GSD Ia) is a rare metabolic disorder, caused by deficient activity of glucose-6-phosphatase-α. It produces fasting induced hypoglycemia and hepatomegaly, usually manifested in the first semester of life. Besides, it is also associated with growth delay, anemia, platelet dysfunction, osteopenia and sometimes osteoporosis. Hyperlipidemia and hyperuricemia are almost always present and hepatocellular adenomas and renal dysfunction frequent late complications.
The authors present a report of five adult patients with GSD Ia followed in internal medicine appointments and subspecialties.
Four out of five patients were diagnosed in the first 6 months of life, while the other one was diagnosed in adult life after the discovery of hepatocellular adenomas. In two cases genetic tests were performed, being identified the missense mutation R83C in one, and the mutation IVS4-3C > G in the intron 4 of glucose-6-phosphatase gene, not previously described, in the other. Growth retardation was present in 3 patients, and all of them had anemia, increased bleeding tendency and hepatocellular adenomas; osteopenia/osteoporosis was present in three cases. All but one patient had marked hyperlipidemia and hyperuricemia, with evidence of endothelial dysfunction in one case and of brain damage with refractory epilepsy in another case. Proteinuria was present in two cases and end-stage renal disease in another case. There was a great variability in the dietary measures; in one case, liver transplantation was performed, with correction of the metabolic derangements.
Hyperlipidemia is almost always present and only partially responds to dietary and drug therapy; liver transplantation is the only definitive solution. Although its association with premature atherosclerosis is rare, there have been reports of endothelial dysfunction, raising the possibility for increased cardiovascular risk in this group of patients. Being a rare disease, no single metabolic center has experience with large numbers of patients and the recommendations are based on clinical experience more than large scale studies.
PMCID: PMC3688353  PMID: 23738826
Glycogen storage disease type Ia; Glucose-6-phosphatase-α; Hypoglycemia; Hyperlactacidemia; Hyperlipidemia; Hyperuricemia
7.  Green Tea Extract Supplementation Induces the Lipolytic Pathway, Attenuates Obesity, and Reduces Low-Grade Inflammation in Mice Fed a High-Fat Diet 
Mediators of Inflammation  2013;2013:635470.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of green tea Camellia sinensis extract on proinflammatory molecules and lipolytic protein levels in adipose tissue of diet-induced obese mice. Animals were randomized into four groups: CW (chow diet and water); CG (chow diet and water + green tea extract); HW (high-fat diet and water); HG (high-fat diet and water + green tea extract). The mice were fed ad libitum with chow or high-fat diet and concomitantly supplemented (oral gavage) with 400 mg/kg body weight/day of green tea extract (CG and HG, resp.). The treatments were performed for eight weeks. UPLC showed that in 10 mg/mL green tea extract, there were 15 μg/mg epigallocatechin, 95 μg/mg epigallocatechin gallate, 20.8 μg/mg epicatechin gallate, and 4.9 μg/mg gallocatechin gallate. Green tea administered concomitantly with a high-fat diet increased HSL, ABHD5, and perilipin in mesenteric adipose tissue, and this was associated with reduced body weight and adipose tissue gain. Further, we observed that green tea supplementation reduced inflammatory cytokine TNFα levels, as well as TLR4, MYD88, and TRAF6 proinflammatory signalling. Our results show that green tea increases the lipolytic pathway and reduces adipose tissue, and this may explain the attenuation of low-grade inflammation in obese mice.
PMCID: PMC3569937  PMID: 23431242
8.  Potential Applications of Carbohydrases Immobilization in the Food Industry 
Carbohydrases find a wide application in industrial processes and products, mainly in the food industry. With these enzymes, it is possible to obtain different types of sugar syrups (viz. glucose, fructose and inverted sugar syrups), prebiotics (viz. galactooligossacharides and fructooligossacharides) and isomaltulose, which is an interesting sweetener substitute for sucrose to improve the sensory properties of juices and wines and to reduce lactose in milk. The most important carbohydrases to accomplish these goals are of microbial origin and include amylases (α-amylases and glucoamylases), invertases, inulinases, galactosidases, glucosidases, fructosyltransferases, pectinases and glucosyltransferases. Yet, for all these processes to be cost-effective for industrial application, a very efficient, simple and cheap immobilization technique is required. Immobilization techniques can involve adsorption, entrapment or covalent bonding of the enzyme into an insoluble support, or carrier-free methods, usually based on the formation of cross-linked enzyme aggregates (CLEAs). They include a broad variety of supports, such as magnetic materials, gums, gels, synthetic polymers and ionic resins. All these techniques present advantages and disadvantages and several parameters must be considered. In this work, the most recent and important studies on the immobilization of carbohydrases with potential application in the food industry are reviewed.
PMCID: PMC3565324  PMID: 23344046
carbohydrases immobilization; amylases; invertases; inulinases; galactosidases; glucosidases; fructosyltransferases; pectinases; glucosyltransferases
9.  Docosahexaenoic Acid Inhibits Helicobacter pylori Growth In Vitro and Mice Gastric Mucosa Colonization 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(4):e35072.
H. pylori drug-resistant strains and non-compliance to therapy are the major causes of H. pylori eradication failure. For some bacterial species it has been demonstrated that fatty acids have a growth inhibitory effect. Our main aim was to assess the ability of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) to inhibit H. pylori growth both in vitro and in a mouse model. The effectiveness of standard therapy (ST) in combination with DHA on H. pylori eradication and recurrence prevention success was also investigated. The effects of DHA on H. pylori growth were analyzed in an in vitro dose-response study and n in vivo model. We analized the ability of H. pylori to colonize mice gastric mucosa following DHA, ST or a combination of both treatments. Our data demonstrate that DHA decreases H. pylori growth in vitro in a dose-dependent manner. Furthermore, DHA inhibits H. pylori gastric colonization in vivo as well as decreases mouse gastric mucosa inflammation. Addition of DHA to ST was also associated with lower H. pylori infection recurrence in the mouse model. In conclusion, DHA is an inhibitor of H. pylori growth and its ability to colonize mouse stomach. DHA treatment is also associated with a lower recurrence of H. pylori infection in combination with ST. These observations pave the way to consider DHA as an adjunct agent in H. pylori eradication treatment.
PMCID: PMC3328494  PMID: 22529974
10.  Soybean and fish oil mixture increases IL-10, protects against DNA damage and decreases colonic inflammation in rats with dextran sulfate sodium (DSS) colitis 
It was investigated whether dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) could influence colonic injury, tissue DNA damage, cytokines and myeloperoxidase activity (MPO) and plasma corticosterone in DSS-induced colitis rats. Male weaning Wistar rats were fed for 47 days with an AIN-93 diet with control (C), fish (F) or a mixture of fish and soybean oil (SF). The colitis was induced from day 36 until day 42 by 3% DSS in drinking water. On day 48, blood samples were collected for corticosterone determination. The distal colon was excised for histological analysis and to quantify the cytokine (IL-4, IL-10 and INF-γ), MPO and DNA damage. The disease activity index (DAI) was recorded daily during colitis induction. The DAI, MPO, histological analyses showed decreases only in the SF group compared with the C group. IL-10 was increased and DNA damage was reduced in the groups F and SF, and an inverse correlation between these variables was found. There were no differences in corticosterone, IFN-γ and IL-4 levels. Soybean and fish oil mixture may be effective in improving colonic injury and DNA damage, and it could be an important complementary therapy in UC to reduce the use of anti-inflammatory drugs and prevent colorectal cancer.
PMCID: PMC2909993  PMID: 20615224
11.  Mycotic aneurysm of the femoral artery complicating Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia: a case report 
Cases Journal  2009;2:9386.
Staphylococcus aureus is the major cause of bacteremia, with the potential for some complications, namely mycotic aneurysms, defined as irreversible dilatation of an artery due to destruction of the vessel wall by infection.
Case presentation
The authors present the case of a 52 year-old-Caucasian male, admitted with Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia and mycotic aneurysm of the right superficial femoral artery, associated with advanced atherosclerotic process.
Mycotic aneurysms are rare, and a high index of suspicion is needed, because appropriate treatment will certainly affect the outcome, as they are associated with high morbidity and mortality.
PMCID: PMC2806398  PMID: 20072682
12.  Dementia in a patient with Thymoma and hypogammaglobulinaemia (Good's syndrome) 
Cases Journal  2008;1:90.
Good's syndrome is extremely rare and refers to an acquired B and T cell immunodeficiency in thymoma patients. The authors of this article present a case report of a 75-year-old, caucasian male patient previously subjected to examinations for secondary dementia and recurrent infections, which revealed paraneoplastic syndrome arose from thymoma. He underwent thymectomy, while his immunodeficiency syndrome sustained with frequent opportunistic infections, constantly requiring intravenous immunoglobulin treatment.
PMCID: PMC2527547  PMID: 18700970

Results 1-12 (12)