MGMT downregulation in high-grade gliomas (HGG) has been mostly attributed to aberrant promoter methylation and is associated with increased sensitivity to alkylating agent-based chemotherapy. However, HGG harboring 10q deletions also benefit from treatment with alkylating agents. Because the MGMT gene is mapped at 10q26, we hypothesized that both epigenetic and genetic alterations might affect its expression and predict response to chemotherapy. To test this hypothesis, promoter methylation and mRNA levels of MGMT were determined by quantitative methylation-specific PCR (qMSP) or methylation-specific multiplex ligation dependent probe amplification (MS-MLPA) and quantitative RT-PCR, respectively, in a retrospective series of 61 HGG. MGMT/chromosome 10 copy number variations were determined by FISH or MS-MLPA analysis. Molecular findings were correlated with clinical parameters to assess their predictive value. Overall, MGMT methylation ratios assessed by qMSP and MS-MLPA were inversely correlated with mRNA expression levels (best coefficient value obtained with MS-MLPA). By FISH analysis in 68.3% of the cases there was loss of 10q26.1 and in 15% of the cases polysomy was demonstrated; the latter displayed the highest levels of transcript. When genetic and epigenetic data were combined, cases with MGMT promoter methylation and MGMT loss depicted the lowest transcript levels, although an impact in response to alkylating agent chemotherapy was not apparent. Cooperation between epigenetic (promoter methylation) and genetic (monosomy, locus deletion) changes affecting MGMT in HGG is required for effective MGMT silencing. Hence, evaluation of copy number alterations might add relevant prognostic and predictive information concerning response to alkylating agent-based chemotherapy.
The development of Chagas disease is determined by a complex interaction between the genetic traits of both the protozoan parasite, T. cruzi, and the infected host. This process is regulated by multiple genes that control different aspects of the host-parasite interaction. While determination of the relevant genes in humans is extremely difficult, it is feasible to use inbred mouse strains to determine the genes and loci responsible for host resistance to infection. In this study, we investigated the susceptibility of several inbred mouse strains to infection with the highly virulent Y strain of T. cruzi and found a considerable difference in susceptibility between A/J and C57BL/6 mice. We explored the differences between these two mouse strains and found that the A/J strain presented higher mortality, exacerbated and uncontrolled parasitemia and distinct histopathology in the target organs, which were associated with a higher parasite burden and more extensive tissue lesions. We then employed a genetic approach to assess the pattern of inheritance of the resistance phenotype in an F1 population and detected a strong parent-of-origin effect determining the susceptibility of the F1 male mice. This effect is unlikely to result from imprinted genes because the inheritance of this susceptibility was affected by the direction of the parental crossing. Collectively, our genetic approach of using the F1 population suggests that genes contained in the murine chromosome X contribute to the natural resistance against T. cruzi infection. Future linkage studies may reveal the locus and genes participating on the host resistance process reported herein.
Silk-elastin-like polymers (SELPs) are protein-based polymers composed of repetitive amino acid sequence motifs found in silk fibroin (GAGAGS) and mammalian elastin (VPGVG). These polymers are of much interest, both from a fundamental and applied point of view, finding potential application in biomedicine, nanotechnology and as materials. The successful employment of such polymers in such diverse fields, however, requires the ready availability of a variety of different forms with novel enhanced properties and which can be simply prepared in large quantities on an industrial scale. In an attempt to create new polymer designs with improved properties and applicability, we have developed four novel SELPs wherein the elastomer forming sequence poly(VPGVG) is replaced with a plastic-like forming sequence, poly(VPAVG), and combined in varying proportions with the silk motif. Furthermore, we optimised a simplified production procedure for these, making use of an autoinduction medium to reduce process intervention and with the production level obtained being 6-fold higher than previously reported for other SELPs, with volumetric productivities above 150 mg/L. Finally, we took advantage of the known enhanced stability of these polymers in developing an abridged, non-chromatographic downstream processing and purification protocol. A simple acid treatment allowed for cell disruption and the obtention of relative pure SELP in one-step, with ammonium sulphate precipitation being subsequently used to enable improved purity. These simplified production and purification procedures improve process efficiency and reduce costs in the preparation of these novel polymers and enhances their potential for application.
Silk-elastin-like polymers; Recombinant protein expression; Auto induction; Acid-based cell lysis; Ammonium sulphate purification; Non-chromatographic purification
Intensive care mortality of HIV-positive patients has progressively decreased. However, critically ill HIV-positive patients with sepsis present a worse prognosis. To better understand this condition, we propose a study comparing clinical, etiological and inflammatory data, and the hospital course of HIV-positive and HIV-negative patients with severe sepsis or septic shock.
A prospective observational study enrolling patients with severe sepsis or septic shock associated or not with HIV infection, and admitted to intensive care unit (ICU). Clinical, microbiological and inflammatory parameters were assessed, including C-reactive protein (CRP), procalcitonin (PCT), interleukin-6, interleukin-10 and TNF-α. Outcome measures were in-hospital and six-month mortality.
The study included 58 patients with severe sepsis/septic shock admitted to ICU, 36 HIV-positive and 22 HIV-negative. All HIV-positive patients met the criteria for AIDS (CDC/2008). The main foci of infection in HIV-positive patients were pulmonary and abdominal (p=0.001). Fungi and mycobacteria were identified in 44.4% and 16.7% of HIV-positive patients, respectively. In contrast, the main etiologies for sepsis in HIV-negative patients were Gram-negative bacilli (36.4%) and Gram-positive cocci (36.4%) (p=0.001). CRP and PCT admission concentrations were lower in HIV-positive patients (130 vs. 168 mg/dL p=0.005, and 1.19 vs. 4.06 ng/mL p=0.04, respectively), with a progressive decrease in surviving patients. Initial IL-10 concentrations were higher in HIV-positive patients (4.4 pg/mL vs. 1.0 pg/mL, p=0.005), with moderate accuracy for predicting death (area under receiver-operating characteristic curve =0.74). In-hospital and six-month mortality were higher in HIV-positive patients (55.6 vs. 27.3% p=0.03, and 58.3 vs. 27.3% p=0.02, respectively).
The course of sepsis was more severe in HIV-positive patients, with distinct clinical, etiological and inflammatory characteristics.
sepsis; HIV; AIDS; etiology; inflammatory markers; mortality
The aim of this study was to verify the possible interactions between ethanol extracts of Amburana cearensis A. C. Smith and Anadenanthera macrocarpa (Benth.) Brenan, combined with six antimicrobial drugs against multiresistant strains of Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli isolated from humans. The antibacterial activity of the extracts was determined using the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC). The microdilution assay was performed to verify the interactions between the natural products and the antibiotics using a subinhibitory concentration. The activity of amikacin associated with the extract of Anadenanthera macrocarpa against EC 27 was enhanced, demonstrating an MIC reduction from 128 to 4 μg/mL. Among the β-lactams, no potentiation on its activity was observed, with exception to the antagonism of the natural products with ampicillin against S. aureus 358.
The aim was to analyze variation in 12 Brazilian and Moroccan goat populations, and, through principal component analysis (PCA), check the importance of body measures and their indices as a means of distinguishing among individuals and populations. The biometric measurements were wither height (WH), brisket height (BH) and ear length (EL). Thorax depth (WH-BH) and the three indices, TD/WH, EL/TD and EL/WH, were also calculated. Of the seven components extracted, the first three principal components were sufficient to explain 99.5% of the total variance of the data. Graphical dispersion by genetic groups revealed that European dairy breeds clustered together. The Moroccan breeds were separated into two groups, one comprising the Drâa and the other the Zagora and Rhâali breeds. Whereas, on the one side, the Anglo-Nubian and undefined breeds were the closest to one another the goats of the Azul were observed to have the highest variation of all the breeds. The Anglo-Nubian and Boer breeds were similar to each other. The Nambi-type goats remained distinct from all the other populations. In general, the use of graphical representation of PCA values allowed to distinguish genetic groups.
biometrics; genetic resources; goat breeds; morphometrics; population characterization
Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is one of the most common human cancers worldwide. In SCC, tumour development is accompanied by an immune response that leads to massive tumour infiltration by inflammatory cells, and consequently, local and systemic production of cytokines, chemokines and other mediators. Studies in both humans and animal models indicate that imbalances in these inflammatory mediators are associated with cancer development.
We used a multistage model of SCC to examine the involvement of elastase (ELA), myeloperoxidase (MPO), nitric oxide (NO), cytokines (IL-6, IL-10, IL-13, IL-17, TGF-β and TNF-α), and neutrophils and macrophages in tumour development. ELA and MPO activity and NO, IL-10, IL −17, TNF-α and TGF-β levels were increased in the precancerous microenvironment.
ELA and MPO activity and NO, IL-10, IL −17, TNF-α and TGF-β levels were increased in the precancerous microenvironment. Significantly higher levels of IL-6 and lower levels of IL-10 were detected at 4 weeks following 7,12-Dimethylbenz(a)anthracene (DMBA) treatment. Similar levels of IL-13 were detected in the precancerous microenvironment compared with control tissue. We identified significant increases in the number of GR-1+ neutrophils and F4/80+/GR-1- infiltrating cells in tissues at 4 and 8 weeks following treatment and a higher percentage of tumour-associated macrophages (TAM) expressing both GR-1 and F4/80, an activated phenotype, at 16 weeks. We found a significant correlation between levels of IL-10, IL-17, ELA, and activated TAMs and the lesions. Additionally, neutrophil infiltrate was positively correlated with MPO and NO levels in the lesions.
Our results indicate an imbalance of inflammatory mediators in precancerous SCC caused by neutrophils and macrophages and culminating in pro-tumour local tissue alterations.
Elastase; Nitric oxide; Myeloperoxidase; Inflammatory cells; Cytokines
FLI1 and ERG, the major ETS transcription factors involved in rearrangements in the Ewing’s sarcoma family of tumors (ESFT) and in prostate carcinomas (PCa), respectively, belong to the same subfamily, having 98% sequence identity in the DNA binding domain. We therefore decided to investigate whether the aberrant transcription factors in both malignancies have some common downstream targets. We crossed a publicly available list of all putative EWSR1-FLI1 target genes in ESFT with our microarray expression data on 24 PCa and 6 non-malignant prostate tissues (NPT) and choose four genes among the top-most differentially expressed between PCa with (PCa ERG+) and without (PCa ETS-) ETS fusion genes (HIST1H4L, KCNN2, ECRG4 and LDOC1), as well as four well-validated direct targets of the EWSR1-FLI1 chimeric protein in ESFT (NR0B1, CAV1, IGFBP3 and TGFBR2). Using quantitative expression analysis in 16 ESFT and seven alveolar rhabdomyosarcomas (ARMS), we were able to validate the four genes previously described as direct targets of the EWSR1-FLI1 oncoprotein, showing overexpression of CAV1 and NR0B1 and underexpression of IGFBP3 and TGFBR2 in ESFT as compared to ARMS. Although none of these four genes showed significant expression differences between PCa ERG+ and PCa ETS-, CAV1, IGFBP3 and TGFBR2 were less expressed in PCa in an independent series of 56 PCa and 15 NPT, as also observed for ECRG4 and LDOC1, suggesting a role in prostate carcinogenesis in general. On the other hand, we demonstrate for the first time that both HIST1H4L and KCNN2 are significantly overexpressed in PCa ERG+ and that ERG binds to the promoter of these genes. Conversely, KCNN2 was found underexpressed in ESFT relative to ARMS, suggesting that the EWSR1-ETS oncoprotein may have the opposite effect of ERG rearrangements in PCa. We conclude that aberrant ETS transcription factors modulate target genes differently in ESFT and PCa.
Among several pharmacological compounds, Phlebotomine saliva contains substances with anti-inflammatory properties. Herein, we demonstrated the therapeutic activity of salivary gland extract (SGE) of Phlebotomus papatasi in an experimental model of arthritis (collagen-induced arthritis [CIA]) and identified the constituents responsible for such activity. Daily administration of SGE, initiated at disease onset, attenuated the severity of CIA, reducing the joint lesion and pro-inflammatory cytokines release. In vitro incubation of dendritic cells (DC) with SGE limited specific CD4+Th17 cell response. We identified adenosine (ADO) and adenosine monophosphate (5′AMP) as the major salivary molecules responsible for anti-inflammatory activities. Pharmacologic inhibition of ADO A2A receptor or enzymatic catabolism of salivary nucleosides reversed the SGE-induced immunosuppressive effect. Importantly, CD73 (ecto-5′nucleotidase enzyme) is expressed on DC surface during stage of activation, suggesting that ADO is also generated by 5′AMP metabolism. Moreover, both nucleosides mimicked SGE-induced anti-inflammatory activity upon DC function in vitro and attenuated establishment of CIA in vivo. We reveal that ADO and 5′AMP are present in pharmacological amounts in P. papatasi saliva and act preferentially on DC function, consequently reducing Th17 subset activation and suppressing the autoimmune response. Thus, it is plausible that these constituents might be promising therapeutic molecules to target immune inflammatory diseases.
Measurements of velocity and salinity near the mouth and head of the Espinheiro channel (Ria de Aveiro lagoon, Portugal) are used to study the local variation of physical water properties and to assess the balance, under steady conditions, between the seaward salt transport induced by river discharge and the landward dispersion induced by various mixing mechanisms. This assessment is made using data sampled during complete tidal cycles. Under the assumption that the estuarine tidal channel is laterally homogeneous and during moderate tidal periods (except for one survey), currents and salinity data were decomposed into various spatial and temporal means and their deviations. Near the channel's mouth, the main contributions to the salt transport are the terms due to freshwater discharge and the tidal correlation. Near the channel's head, this last term is less important than the density driven circulation, which is enhanced by the increase in freshwater discharge. The remaining terms, which are dependent on the deviations from the mean depth have a smaller role in the results of salt transport. The computed salt transport per unit width of a section perpendicular to the mean flow is in close agreement to the sum of the advective and dispersive terms (within or very close to 12%). An imbalance of the salt budget across the sections is observed for all the surveys. Considerations are made on how this approach can inform the management of hazardous contamination and how to use these results to best time the release of environmental flows during dry months.
Seagrass ecosystems are expected to benefit from the global increase in CO2 in the ocean because the photosynthetic rate of these plants may be Ci-limited at the current CO2 level. As well, it is expected that lower external pH will facilitate the nitrate uptake of seagrasses if nitrate is cotransported with H+ across the membrane as in terrestrial plants. Here, we investigate the effects of CO2 enrichment on both carbon and nitrogen metabolism of the seagrass Zostera noltii in a mesocosm experiment where plants were exposed for 5 months to two experimental CO2 concentrations (360 and 700 ppm). Both the maximum photosynthetic rate (Pm) and photosynthetic efficiency (α) were higher (1.3- and 4.1-fold, respectively) in plants exposed to CO2-enriched conditions. On the other hand, no significant effects of CO2 enrichment on leaf growth rates were observed, probably due to nitrogen limitation as revealed by the low nitrogen content of leaves. The leaf ammonium uptake rate and glutamine synthetase activity were not significantly affected by increased CO2 concentrations. On the other hand, the leaf nitrate uptake rate of plants exposed to CO2-enriched conditions was fourfold lower than the uptake of plants exposed to current CO2 level, suggesting that in the seagrass Z. noltii nitrate is not cotransported with H+ as in terrestrial plants. In contrast, the activity of nitrate reductase was threefold higher in plant leaves grown at high-CO2 concentrations. Our results suggest that the global effects of CO2 on seagrass production may be spatially heterogeneous and depend on the specific nitrogen availability of each system. Under a CO2 increase scenario, the natural levels of nutrients will probably become limiting for Z. noltii. This potential limitation becomes more relevant because the expected positive effect of CO2 increase on nitrate uptake rate was not confirmed.
2 enrichment; glutamine synthetase; growth; nitrate reductase; nitrogen uptake; photosynthesis; seagrasses
Human TWIST1 is a highly conserved member of the regulatory basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factors. TWIST1 forms homo- or heterodimers with E-box proteins, such as E2A (isoforms E12 and E47), MYOD and HAND2. Haploinsufficiency germ-line mutations of the twist1 gene in humans are the main cause of Saethre-Chotzen syndrome (SCS), which is characterized by limb abnormalities and premature fusion of cranial sutures. Because of the importance of TWIST1 in the regulation of embryonic development and its relationship with SCS, along with the lack of an experimentally solved 3D structure, we performed comparative modeling for the TWIST1 bHLH region arranged into wild-type homodimers and heterodimers with E47. In addition, three mutations that promote DNA binding failure (R118C, S144R and K145E) were studied on the TWIST1 monomer. We also explored the behavior of the mutant forms in aqueous solution using molecular dynamics (MD) simulations, focusing on the structural changes of the wild-type versus mutant dimers.
The solvent-accessible surface area of the homodimers was smaller on wild-type dimers, which indicates that the cleft between the monomers remained more open on the mutant homodimers. RMSD and RMSF analyses indicated that mutated dimers presented values that were higher than those for the wild-type dimers. For a more careful investigation, the monomer was subdivided into four regions: basic, helix I, loop and helix II. The basic domain presented a higher flexibility in all of the parameters that were analyzed, and the mutant dimer basic domains presented values that were higher than the wild-type dimers. The essential dynamic analysis also indicated a higher collective motion for the basic domain.
Our results suggest the mutations studied turned the dimers into more unstable structures with a wider cleft, which may be a reason for the loss of DNA binding capacity observed for in vitro circumstances.
Twist1; Transcription factor; bHLH; Comparative modeling; Molecular dynamics simulation; Collective motions
This work aimed to evaluate whether ETS transcription factors frequently involved in rearrangements in prostate carcinomas (PCa), namely ERG and ETV1, regulate specific or shared target genes. We performed differential expression analysis on nine normal prostate tissues and 50 PCa enriched for different ETS rearrangements using exon-level expression microarrays, followed by in vitro validation using cell line models. We found specific deregulation of 57 genes in ERG-positive PCa and 15 genes in ETV1-positive PCa, whereas deregulation of 27 genes was shared in both tumor subtypes. We further showed that the expression of seven tumor-associated ERG target genes (PLA1A, CACNA1D, ATP8A2, HLA-DMB, PDE3B, TDRD1, and TMBIM1) and two tumor-associated ETV1 target genes (FKBP10 and GLYATL2) was significantly affected by specific ETS silencing in VCaP and LNCaP cell line models, respectively, whereas the expression of three candidate ERG and ETV1 shared targets (GRPR, KCNH8, and TMEM45B) was significantly affected by silencing of either ETS. Interestingly, we demonstrate that the expression of TDRD1, the topmost overexpressed gene of our list of ERG-specific candidate targets, is inversely correlated with the methylation levels of a CpG island found at -66 bp of the transcription start site in PCa and that TDRD1 expression is regulated by direct binding of ERG to the CpG island in VCaP cells. We conclude that ETS transcription factors regulate specific and shared target genes and that TDRD1, FKBP10, and GRPR are promising therapeutic targets and can serve as diagnostic markers for molecular subtypes of PCa harboring specific fusion gene rearrangements.
Changes in land use/land cover are a major driver of biodiversity change in the Mediterranean region. Understanding how animal populations respond to these landscape changes often requires using landscape mosaics as the unit of investigation, but few previous studies have measured both response and explanatory variables at the land mosaic level. Here, we used a “whole-landscape” approach to assess the influence of regional variation in the land cover composition of 81 farmland mosaics (mean area of 2900 ha) on the population density of a threatened bird, the little bustard (Tetrax tetrax), in southern Portugal. Results showed that ca. 50% of the regional variability in the density of little bustards could be explained by three variables summarising the land cover composition and diversity in the studied mosaics. Little bustard breeding males attained higher population density in land mosaics with a low land cover diversity, with less forests, and dominated by grasslands. Land mosaic composition gradients showed that agricultural intensification was not reflected in a loss of land cover diversity, as in many other regions of Europe. On the contrary, it led to the introduction of new land cover types in homogenous farmland, which increased land cover diversity but reduced overall landscape suitability for the species. Based on these results, the impact of recent land cover changes in Europe on the little bustard populations is evaluated.
There is a growing interest on physical and biogeochemical oceanic hindcasts and forecasts from a wide range of users and businesses. In this contribution we present an operational biogeochemical forecast system for the Portuguese and Galician oceanographic regions, where atmospheric, hydrodynamic and biogeochemical variables are integrated. The ocean model ROMS, with a horizontal resolution of 3 km, is forced by the atmospheric model WRF and includes a Nutrients-Phytoplankton-Zooplankton-Detritus biogeochemical module (NPZD). In addition to oceanographic variables, the system predicts the concentration of nitrate, phytoplankton, zooplankton and detritus (mmol N m−3). Model results are compared against radar currents and remote sensed SST and chlorophyll. Quantitative skill assessment during a summer upwelling period shows that our modelling system adequately represents the surface circulation over the shelf including the observed spatial variability and trends of temperature and chlorophyll concentration. Additionally, the skill assessment also shows some deficiencies like the overestimation of upwelling circulation and consequently, of the duration and intensity of the phytoplankton blooms. These and other departures from the observations are discussed, their origins identified and future improvements suggested. The forecast system is the first of its kind in the region and provides free online distribution of model input and output, as well as comparisons of model results with satellite imagery for qualitative operational assessment of model skill.
Dengue fever is a noncontagious infectious disease caused by dengue virus (DENV). DENV belongs to the family Flaviviridae, genus Flavivirus, and is classified into four antigenically distinct serotypes: DENV-1, DENV-2, DENV-3, and DENV-4. The number of nations and people affected has increased steadily and today is considered the most widely spread arbovirus (arthropod-borne viral disease) in the world. The absence of an appropriate animal model for studying the disease has hindered the understanding of dengue pathogenesis. In our study, we have found that immunocompetent C57BL/6 mice infected intraperitoneally with DENV-1 presented some signs of dengue disease such as thrombocytopenia, spleen hemorrhage, liver damage, and increase in production of IFNγ and TNFα cytokines. Moreover, the animals became viremic and the virus was detected in several organs by real-time RT-PCR. Thus, this animal model could be used to study mechanism of dengue virus infection, to test antiviral drugs, as well as to evaluate candidate vaccines.
Myocardium damage during Chagas' disease results from the immunological imbalance between pro- and production of anti-inflammatory cytokines and has been explained based on the Th1–Th2 dichotomy and regulatory T cell activity. Recently, we demonstrated that IL-17 produced during experimental T. cruzi infection regulates Th1 cells differentiation and parasite induced myocarditis. Here, we investigated the role of IL-17 and regulatory T cell during human Chagas' disease.
First, we observed CD4+IL-17+ T cells in culture of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from Chagas' disease patients and we evaluated Th1, Th2, Th17 cytokine profile production in the PBMC cells from Chagas' disease patients (cardiomyopathy-free, and with mild, moderate or severe cardiomyopathy) cultured with T. cruzi antigen. Cultures of PBMC from patients with moderate and severe cardiomyopathy produced high levels of TNF-α, IFN-γ and low levels of IL-10, when compared to mild cardiomyopathy or cardiomyopathy-free patients. Flow cytometry analysis showed higher CD4+IL-17+ cells in PBMC cultured from patients without or with mild cardiomyopathy, in comparison to patients with moderate or severe cardiomyopathy. We then analyzed the presence and function of regulatory T cells in all patients. All groups of Chagas' disease patients presented the same frequency of CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells. However, CD4+CD25+ T cells from patients with mild cardiomyopathy or cardiomyopathy-free showed higher suppressive activity than those with moderate and severe cardiomyopathy. IFN-γ levels during chronic Chagas' disease are inversely correlated to the LVEF (P = 0.007, r = −0.614), while regulatory T cell activity is directly correlated with LVEF (P = 0.022, r = 0.500).
These results indicate that reduced production of the cytokines IL-10 and IL-17 in association with high levels of IFN-γ and TNF-α is correlated with the severity of the Chagas' disease cardiomyopathy, and the immunological imbalance observed may be causally related with deficient suppressor activity of regulatory T cells that controls myocardial inflammation.
Dilated cardiomyopathy is one of the clinical forms of Chagas' disease (CD) after the infection caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi. Even though strategies adopted in most Latin-American countries in the last decades towards vector control have been effective in reducing the incidence of CD, active transmission is maintained in some regions, and secondary prevention approaches are still required for the infected patients, mostly because the specific anti-parasitic medications are toxic and perhaps of limited efficacy in chronically infected individuals. Moreover, there are no markers to predict the risk of developing dilated cardiomyopathy in asymptomatic, chronically infected patients, although the failure in the mechanisms that control the immune response can be involved in the development of Chagas' heart disease. In this study we show that preserved activity of regulatory T cells and the production of the cytokine IL-17 are connected with a more benign evolution of the disease, which brings a new understanding on the mechanisms associated with progression of CD.
T. cruzi strains have been divided into six discrete typing units (DTUs) according to their genetic background. These groups are designated T. cruzi I to VI. In this context, amastigotes from G strain (T. cruzi I) are highly infective in vitro and show no parasitemia in vivo. Here we aimed to understand why amastigotes from G strain are highly infective in vitro and do not contribute for a patent in vivo infection.
Our in vitro studies demonstrated the first evidence that IFN-γ would be associated to the low virulence of G strain in vivo. After intraperitoneal amastigotes inoculation in wild-type and knockout mice for TNF-α, Nod2, Myd88, iNOS, IL-12p40, IL-18, CD4, CD8 and IFN-γ we found that the latter is crucial for controlling infection by G strain amastigotes.
Our results showed that amastigotes from G strain are highly infective in vitro but did not contribute for a patent infection in vivo due to its susceptibility to IFN-γ production by host immune cells. These data are useful to understand the mechanisms underlying the contrasting behavior of different T. cruzi groups for in vitro and in vivo infection.
Trypanosoma cruzi, an obligate intracellular protozoan, is the etiological agent of Chagas disease that represents an important public health burden in Latin America. The infection with this parasite can lead to severe complications in cardiac and gastrointestinal tissue depending on the strain of parasite and host genetics. Currently, six genetic groups (T. cruzi I to VI) have been identified in this highly genetic and diverse parasite.The majority of published data concerning host immune response has been obtained from studying T. cruzi II to VI-infected mice, and the genetic differences between T. cruzi II to VI and T. cruzi I strains are large. Here we aimed to understand how amastigotes from T. cruzi I G strain are highly infective in vitro and do not contribute for a patent parasitemia in vivo. Our results showed that amastigotes from G strain are highly susceptible to IFN-γ treatment in vitro and secretion by immune cells in vivo. This information may represent important findings to design novel immune strategies to control pathology that may be caused by different strains in the same host.
Controversies surround a diagnosis of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). The objective of this study was to evaluate the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) for the prediction of adverse gestational and perinatal outcomes in pregnant women with a positive screening test for diabetes mellitus and a negative diagnosis, i.e. a normal 3-hour OGTT.
This validation study evaluated 409 pregnant women who tested positive for diabetes mellitus at screening. Perinatal and maternal outcomes were considered. Sensitivity and specificity were calculated for each of the values of the OGTT as a diagnostic test, with the gold standard being perinatal outcome.
The most frequent risk factors were obesity, arterial hypertension and advanced maternal age. The most common neonatal outcomes were large-for-gestational-age infants, Cesarean delivery and preterm birth. A fasting blood glucose level of 87 mg/dL was the most powerful predictor of adverse perinatal outcome.
At the cut-off level adopted by the American Diabetes Association, gestational OGTT was able to successfully identify in which pregnant women outcome would be unfavorable.
Gestational diabetes mellitus; Risk factors for gestational diabetes mellitus; Perinatal; Outcomes in gestational diabetes mellitus; Prenatal care
AIM: To investigate whether, under the influence of polypectomy, the incidence of adenoma decreases with age.
METHODS: Consecutive patients with colonic adenomas identified at index colonoscopy were retrospectively selected if they had undergone three or more complete colonoscopies, at least 24 mo apart. Patients who had any first-degree relative with colorectal cancer were excluded. Data regarding number of adenomas at each colonoscopy, their location, size and histological classification were recorded. The monthly incidence density of adenomas after the index examination was estimated for the study population, by using the person-years method. Baseline adenomas were excluded from incidence calculations but their characteristics were correlated with recurrence at follow-up, using the χ2 test.
RESULTS: One hundred and fifty-six patients were included (109 male, mean age at index colonoscopy 56.8 ± 10.3 years), with follow-up that ranged from 48 to 232 mo. No significant correlations were observed between the number, the presence of villous component, or the size of adenomas at index colonoscopy and the presence of adenomas at subsequent colonoscopies (P = 0.49, 0.12 and 0.78, respectively). The incidence of colonic adenomas was observed to decay from 1.4% person-months at the beginning of the study to values close to 0%, at 12 years after index colonoscopy.
CONCLUSION: Our results suggest the sporadic formation of adenomas occurs within a discrete period and that, when these adenomas are removed, all neoplasia-prone clones may be extinguished.
Colorectal cancer; Colorectal adenoma; Incidence; Age; Polypectomy
Onabotulinumtoxin A (OnabotA) injection has been investigated as a novel treatment for benign prostatic enlargement caused by benign prostatic hyperplasia. An OnabotA - induced volume reduction caused by sympathetic fibers impairment has been proposed as a potential mechanism of action. Our aim was to investigate the expression of apoptosis-regulating proteins in the rat prostate following OnabotA intraprostatic injection.
Adult Wistar rats were injected in the ventral lobes of the prostate with 10 U of OnabotA or saline. A set of OnabotA-injected animals was further treated with 0.5 mg/kg of phenylephrine (PHE) subcutaneously daily. All animals were sacrificed after 1 week and had their prostates harvested. Immunohistochemical staining was performed for Bax, Bcl-xL and caspase-3 proteins and visualized by the avidin-biotin method. The optical density of the glandular cells was also determined, with measurement of differences between average optical densities for each group.
Saline-treated animals showed intense epithelial staining for Bcl-xL and a faint labelling for both Bax and Caspase-3. OnabotA-treated rats showed a reduced epithelial staining of Bcl-xL and a consistently increased Bax and Caspase-3 staining when compared with saline-treated animals. PHE-treated animals showed a stronger Bcl-xL staining and reduced staining of both Bax and Caspase-3 when compared to the OnabotA group. Mean signal intensity measurements for each immunoreaction confirmed a significant decrease of the signal intensity for Bcl-xL and a significant increase of the signal intensity for Bax and Caspase 3 in OnabotA-injected animals when compared with the control group. In OnabotA+PHE treated animals mean signal intensity for Bcl-xL, Bax and Caspase 3 immunoreactions was identical to that of the control animals.
These results support the hypothesis that OnabotA activates apoptotic pathways in the rat prostate through a mechanism that involves sympathetic outflow impairment.
Botulinum toxin; prostate; apoptosis
to evaluate mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) rates and related factors in HIV-infected pregnant women from a tertiary hospital between 2000 and 2009.
Subjects and method
cohort of 452 HIV-infected pregnant women and their newborns. Data was collected from recorded files and undiagnosed children were enrolled for investigation. Statistical analysis: qui-square test, Fisher exact test, Student t test, Mann-Whitney test, ANOVA, risk ratio and confidence intervals.
MTCT occurred in 3.74%. The study population displayed a mean age of 27 years; 86.5% were found to have acquired HIV through sexual contact; 55% were aware of the diagnosis prior to the pregnancy; 62% were not using HAART. Mean CD4 cell-count was 474 cells/ml and 70.3% had undetectable viral loads in the third trimester. HAART included nevirapine in 35% of cases and protease inhibitors in 55%; Zidovudine monotherapy was used in 7.3%. Mean gestational age at delivery was 37.2 weeks and in 92% by caesarian section; 97.2% received intravenous zidovudine. Use of AZT to newborn occurred in 100% of them. Factors identified as associated to MTCT were: low CD4 cell counts, elevated viral loads, maternal AIDS, shorter periods receiving HAART, other conditions (anemia, IUGR (intra uterine growth restriction), oligohydramnium), coinfecctions (CMV and toxoplasmosis) and the occurrence of labor. Use of HAART for longer periods, caesarian and oral zidovudine for the newborns were associated with a decreased risk. Poor adhesion to treatment was present in 13 of the 15 cases of transmission; in 7, coinfecctions were diagnosed (CMV and toxoplasmosis).
Use of HAART and caesarian delivery are protective factors for mother-to-child transmission of HIV. Maternal coinfecctions and other conditions were risk factors for MTCT.
Trypanosoma cruzi infection causes intense myocarditis, leading to cardiomyopathy and severe cardiac dysfunction. Protective adaptive immunity depends on balanced signaling through a T cell receptor and coreceptors expressed on the T cell surface. Such coreceptors can trigger stimulatory or inhibitory signals after binding to their ligands in antigen-presenting cells (APC). T. cruzi modulates the expression of coreceptors in lymphocytes after infection. Deregulated inflammation may be due to unbalanced expression of these molecules. Programmed death cell receptor 1 (PD-1) is a negative T cell coreceptor that has been associated with T cell anergy or exhaustion and persistent intracellular infections. We aimed to study the role of PD-1 during T. cruzi-induced acute myocarditis in mice. Cytometry assays showed that PD-1 and its ligands are strongly upregulated in lymphocytes and APC in response to T. cruzi infection in vivo and in vitro. Lymphocytes infiltrating the myocardium exhibited high levels of expression of these molecules. An increased cardiac inflammatory response was found in mice treated with blocking antibodies against PD-1, PD-L1, and to a lesser extent, PD-L2, compared to that found in mice treated with rat IgG. Similar results in PD-1−/− mice were obtained. Moreover, the PD-1 blockade/deficiency led to reduced parasitemia and tissue parasitism but increased mortality. These results suggest the participation of a PD-1 signaling pathway in the control of acute myocarditis induced by T. cruzi and provide additional insight into the regulatory mechanisms in the pathogenesis of Chagas' disease.
Background. This study evaluated whether large venous-arterial CO2 gap (PCO2 gap) preoperatively is associated to poor outcome. Method. Prospective study which included adult high-risk surgical patients. The patients were pooled into two groups: wide [P(v-a)CO2] versus narrow [P(v-a)CO2]. In order to determine the best value to discriminate hospital mortality, it was applied a ROC (receiver operating characteristic) curve for the [P(v-a)CO2] values collected preoperatively, and the most accurate value was chosen as cut-off to define the groups. Results. The study included 66 patients. The [P(v-a)CO2] value preoperatively that best discriminated hospital mortality was 5.0 mmHg, area = 0.73. Preoperative patients with [P(v-a)CO2] more than 5.0 mmHg presented a higher hospital mortality (36.4% versus 4.5% P = 0.004), higher prevalence of circulatory shock (56.8% versus 22.7% P = 0.01) and acute renal failure postoperatively (27.3% versus 4.5% P = 0.02), and longer hospital length of stays 20.0 (14.0–30.0) versus 13.5 (9.0–25.0) days P = 0.01. Conclusions. The PCO2 gap values more than 5.0 mmHg preoperatively were associated with worse postoperatively outcome.
In human malaria, the naturally-acquired immune response can result in either the elimination of the parasite or a persistent response mediated by cytokines that leads to immunopathology. The cytokines are responsible for all the symptoms, pathological alterations and the outcome of the infection depends on the reciprocal regulation of the pro and anti-inflammatory cytokines. IL-10 and IFN-gamma are able to mediate this process and their production can be affected by single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) on gene of these cytokines. In this study, the relationship between cytokine IL-10/IFN-gamma levels, parasitaemia, and their gene polymorphisms was examined and the participation of pro-inflammatory and regulatory balance during a natural immune response in Plasmodium vivax-infected individuals was observed.
The serum levels of the cytokines IL-4, IL-12, IFN-gamma and IL-10 from 132 patients were evaluated by indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA). The polymorphism at position +874 of the IFN-gamma gene was identified by allele-specific polymerase chain reaction (ASO-PCR) method, and the polymorphism at position -1082 of the IL-10 gene was analysed by PCR-RFLP (PCR-Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism).
The levels of a pro- (IFN-gamma) and an anti-inflammatory cytokine (IL-10) were significantly higher in P. vivax-infected individuals as compared to healthy controls. The IFN-gamma levels in primoinfected patients were significantly higher than in patients who had suffered only one and more than one previous episode. The mutant alleles of both IFN-gamma and IL-10 genes were more frequent than the wild allele. In the case of the IFNG+874 polymorphism (IFN-gamma) the frequencies of the mutant (A) and wild (T) alleles were 70.13% and 29.87%, respectively. Similar frequencies were recorded in IL-10-1082, with the mutant (A) allele returning a frequency of 70.78%, and the wild (G) allele a frequency of 29.22%. The frequencies of the alleles associated with reduced production of both IFN-gamma and IL-10 were high, but this effect was only observed in the production of IFN-gamma.
This study has shown evidence of reciprocal regulation of the levels of IL-10 and IFN-gamma cytokines in P. vivax malaria, which is not altered by the presence of polymorphism in the IL-10 gene.