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1.  The Spleen Revisited: An Overview on Magnetic Resonance Imaging 
Despite being well visualized by different cross-sectional imaging techniques, the spleen is many times overlooked during the abdominal examination. The major reason is the low frequency of splenic abnormalities, the majority consisting of incidental findings. There has been a steady increase in the number of performed abdominal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies; therefore, it is important to be familiar to the major MRI characteristics of disease processes involving the spleen, in order to interpret the findings correctly, reaching whenever possible the appropriate diagnosis. The spleen may be involved in several pathologic conditions like congenital diseases, trauma, inflammation, vascular disorders and hematologic disorders, benign and malignant tumors, and other disease processes that focally or diffusely affect the spleen. This paper presents a description and representative MRI images for many of these disorders.
doi:10.1155/2013/219297
PMCID: PMC3859258  PMID: 24377046
2.  Effects of low-frequency noise on cardiac collagen and cardiomyocyte ultrastructure: an immunohistochemical and electron microscopy study 
Introduction: Low-frequency noise (LFN) leads to the development of tissue fibrosis. We previously reported the development of myocardial and perivascular fibrosis and a reduction of cardiac connexin43 in rats, but data is lacking concerning the affected type of collagen as well as the ultrastructural myocardial modifications. Objectives: The aim of this study was to quantify cardiac collagens I and III and to evaluate myocardial ultrastructural changes in Wistar rats exposed to LFN. Methods: Two groups of rats were considered: A LFN-exposed group with 8 rats continuously submitted to LFN during 3 months and a control group with 8 rats. The hearts were sectioned and the mid-ventricular fragment was selected. After immunohistochemical evaluation, quantification of the collagens and muscle were performed using the image J software in the left ventricle, interventricular septum and right ventricle and the collagen I/muscle and collagen III/muscle ratios were calculated. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) was used to analyze mid-ventricular samples taken from each group. Results: The collagen I/muscle and collagen III/muscle ratios increased in totum respectively 80% (p<0.001) and 57.4% (p<0.05) in LFN-exposed rats. TEM showed interstitial collagen deposits and changes in mitochondria and intercalated discs of the cardiomyocytes in LFN-exposed animals. Conclusions: LFN increases collagen I and III in the extracellular matrix and induces ultrastructural alterations in the cardiomyocytes. These new morphological data open new and promising paths for further experimental and clinical research regarding the cardiac effects of low-frequency noise.
PMCID: PMC3816801  PMID: 24228094
Low-frequency noise; collagen I and III; myocardial ultrastructure; immunohistochemistry; transmission electron microscopy
3.  Crosstalk between Helicobacter pylori and Gastric Epithelial Cells Is Impaired by Docosahexaenoic Acid 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(4):e60657.
H. pylori colonizes half of the world's population leading to gastritis, ulcers and gastric cancer. H. pylori strains resistant to antibiotics are increasing which raises the need for alternative therapeutic approaches. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) has been shown to decrease H. pylori growth and its associated-inflammation through mechanisms poorly characterized. We aimed to explore DHA action on H. pylori-mediated inflammation and adhesion to gastric epithelial cells (AGS) and also to identify bacterial structures affected by DHA. H. pylori growth and metabolism was assessed in liquid cultures. Bacterial adhesion to AGS cells was visualized by transmission electron microscopy and quantified by an Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay. Inflammatory proteins were assessed by immunoblotting in infected AGS cells, previously treated with DHA. Bacterial total and outer membrane protein composition was analyzed by 2-dimensional gel electrophoresis. Concentrations of 100 µM of DHA decreased H. pylori growth, whereas concentrations higher than 250 µM irreversibly inhibited bacteria survival. DHA reduced ATP production and adhesion to AGS cells. AGS cells infected with DHA pre-treated H. pylori showed a 3-fold reduction in Interleukin-8 (IL-8) production and a decrease of COX2 and iNOS. 2D electrophoresis analysis revealed that DHA changed the expression of H. pylori outer membrane proteins associated with stress response and metabolism and modified bacterial lipopolysaccharide phenotype. As conclusions our results show that DHA anti-H. pylori effects are associated with changes of bacteria morphology and metabolism, and with alteration of outer membrane proteins composition, that ultimately reduce the adhesion of bacteria and the burden of H. pylori-related inflammation.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0060657
PMCID: PMC3618039  PMID: 23577140
4.  Genetic characterization of an insect-specific flavivirus isolated from Culex theileri mosquitoes collected in southern Portugal 
Virus Research  2012;167(2):152-161.
Highlights
► A new insect flavivirus (CTFV) was isolated from Culex theileri mosquitoes. ► CTFV does not replicate in Vero cells. ► Phylogenetic analyses place CTFV among Culex-associated flaviviruses. ► CTFV seems to be dispersed in the Iberian Peninsula. ► CTFV sequences were not found in theirs hosts’ genome.
We describe the full genetic characterization of an insect-specific flavivirus (ISF) from Culex theileri (Theobald) mosquitoes collected in Portugal. This represents the first isolation and full characterization of an ISF from Portuguese mosquitoes. The virus, designated CTFV, for Culex theileri flavivirus, was isolated in the C6/36 Stegomyia albopicta (=Aedes albopictus) cell line, and failed to replicate in vertebrate (Vero) cells in common with other ISFs. The CTFV genome encodes a single polyprotein with 3357 residues showing all the features expected for those of flaviviruses. Phylogenetic analyses based on all ISF sequences available to date, place CTFV among Culex-associated flaviviruses, grouping with recently published NS5 partial sequences documented from mosquitoes collected in the Iberian Peninsula, and with Quang Binh virus (isolated in Vietnam) as a close relative. No CTFV sequences were found integrated in their host's genome using a range of specific PCR primers designed to the prM/E, NS3, and NS5 region.
doi:10.1016/j.virusres.2012.04.010
PMCID: PMC3919203  PMID: 22579596
Insect-specific flavivirus; Phylogenetic analysis; Iberian Peninsula; Portugal; Complete genomic sequence
5.  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.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0035072
PMCID: PMC3328494  PMID: 22529974

Results 1-5 (5)