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author:("utreras, A")
1.  Abnormal myocardial perfusion and risk of heart failure in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus 
Diabetes is a major risk factor for heart failure (HF), although the pathophysiological processes have not been clarified.
To determine the prevalence of HF and of abnormal myocardial perfusion in diabetic patients evaluated using technetium (99m) sestamibi single-photon emission computed tomography.
An observational cross-sectional study was conducted that included patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus who underwent echocardiography to diagnose HF and a pharmacological stress test with intravenous dipyridamole to examine cardiac scintigraphic perfusion abnormalities. Clinical and biochemical data were also collected.
Of the 160 diabetic patients included, 92 (57.6%) were in HF and 68 (42.5%) were not. When patients were stratified according to the presence of abnormal myocardial perfusion, those with abnormal perfusion had a higher prevalence of HF (93%) than those with normal perfusion (44.4%) (P<0.0001). Patients with HF weighed more (P=0.03), used insulin less frequently (P=0.01), had lower total cholesterol (P=0.05) and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations (P=0.002), and a greater number of their myocardial segments showed abnormal perfusion (P≤0.001). More HF patients had a history of myocardial infarction (P<0.001) compared with those without HF. In a logistic regression analysis, the number of segments exhibiting abnormal myocardial perfusion was an independent risk factor for HF.
The prevalence of HF in diabetic patients was high and HF predominantly occured in association with myocardial ischemia.
PMCID: PMC3716502  PMID: 24294048
Diabetes mellitus; Heart failure; Myocardial perfusion
2.  MMP1, MMP9, and COX2 Expressions in Promonocytes Are Induced by Breast Cancer Cells and Correlate with Collagen Degradation, Transformation-Like Morphological Changes in MCF-10A Acini, and Tumor Aggressiveness 
BioMed Research International  2013;2013:279505.
Tumor-associated immune cells often lack immune effector activities, and instead they present protumoral functions. To understand how tumors promote this immunological switch, invasive and noninvasive breast cancer cell (BRC) lines were cocultured with a promonocytic cell line in a Matrigel-based 3D system. We hypothesized that if communication exists between tumor and immune cells, coculturing would result in augmented expression of genes associated with tumor malignancy. Upregulation of proteases MMP1 and MMP9 and inflammatory COX2 genes was found likely in response to soluble factors. Interestingly, changes were more apparent in promonocytes and correlated with the aggressiveness of the BRC line. Increased gene expression was confirmed by collagen degradation assays and immunocytochemistry of prostaglandin 2, a product of COX2 activity. Untransformed MCF-10A cells were then used as a sensor of soluble factors with transformation-like capabilities, finding that acini formed in the presence of supernatants of the highly aggressive BRC/promonocyte cocultures often exhibited total loss of the normal architecture. These data support that tumor cells can modify immune cell gene expression and tumor aggressiveness may importantly reside in this capacity. Modeling interactions in the tumor stroma will allow the identification of genes useful as cancer prognostic markers and therapy targets.
PMCID: PMC3665169  PMID: 23762835
3.  Is human cytomegalovirus associated with breast cancer progression? 
It has been hypothesized that human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) may be associated with breast cancer progression. However, the role of HCMV infection in breast cancer remains controversial. We aimed to assess whether HCMV genes (UL122 and UL83) could be detected in breast carcinomas and reinvestigated their possible association with breast cancer progression. DNA from paraffin-embedded tissues was analyzed by real-time PCR. We investigated 20 fibroadenomas and 27 primary breast carcinomas (stages II, III, and IV).
Two carcinomas were positive for HCMV, one was positive for two TaqMan viral detection probes, and one was positive for a sole TaqMan viral detection probe (UL83), whereas the remainder of the samples was negative.
Samples studied showed no association between HCMV infection and breast cancer progression.
PMCID: PMC3653765  PMID: 23557440
Breast; Cancer; Progression; Virus; Human cytomegalovirus; Polymerase chain reaction; DNA
4.  Trypanosoma cruzi SSP4 Amastigote Protein Induces Expression of Immunoregulatory and Immunosuppressive Molecules in Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells 
Journal of Tropical Medicine  2012;2012:829139.
The acute phase of Chagas' disease in mice and human is marked by states of immunosuppression, in which Trypanosoma cruzi replicates extensively and releases immunomodulatory molecules that delay parasite-specific responses mediated by effector T cells. This mechanism of evasion allows the parasite to spread in the host. Parasite molecules that regulate the host immune response during Chagas' disease have not been fully identified, particularly proteins of the amastigote stage. In this work, we evaluated the role of the GPI anchored SSP4 protein of T. cruzi as an immunomodulatory molecule in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). rMBP::SSP4 protein was able to stimulate nitric oxide (NO) production. Likewise, rMBP::SSP4 induced the expression of genes and production of molecules involved in the inflammatory process, such as, cytokines, chemokines, and adhesion molecules (CAMs) as determined by RT-PCR and ELISA. These results suggest that the amastigote SSP4 molecule could play a key role in the immunoregulatory and/or immunosuppressive process observed in the acute phase of infection with T. cruzi.
PMCID: PMC3503440  PMID: 23209478
5.  The Delicate Pygmy Rice Rat (Oligoryzomys delicatus) Is the Principal Host of Maporal Virus (Family Bunyaviridae, Genus Hantavirus) 
Choclo virus (CHOV) and Maporal virus (MAPV) are enzootic in Panama and western Venezuela, respectively. The results of previous studies suggested that the fulvous pygmy rice rat (Oligoryzomys fulvescens) is the principal host of both viruses. The results of an analysis of nucleotide sequence data in this study indicated that the rodent associated with CHOV is the Costa Rican pygmy rice rat (Oligoryzomys costaricensis) and that the rodent associated with MAPV is the delicate pygmy rice rat (Oligoryzomys delicatus). As such, MAPV is ecologically distinct from CHOV and should be considered a species separate from CHOV.
PMCID: PMC3115418  PMID: 21548760
Bunyaviridae; Choclo virus; Hantavirus; Maporal virus; Oligoryzomys costaricensis; Oligoryzomys delicatus; Oligoryzomys fulvescens; Pygmy rice rat
6.  Transmission of Guanarito and Pirital Viruses among Wild Rodents, Venezuela 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2011;17(12):2209-2215.
Secretions and excretions from virus-infected cane mice and cotton rats might transmit disease to humans.
Samples from rodents captured on a farm in Venezuela in February 1997 were tested for arenavirus, antibody against Guanarito virus (GTOV), and antibody against Pirital virus (PIRV). Thirty-one (48.4%) of 64 short-tailed cane mice (Zygodontomys brevicauda) were infected with GTOV, 1 Alston’s cotton rat (Sigmodon alstoni) was infected with GTOV, and 36 (64.3%) of 56 other Alston’s cotton rats were infected with PIRV. The results of analyses of field and laboratory data suggested that horizontal transmission is the dominant mode of GTOV transmission in Z. brevicauda mice and that vertical transmission is an important mode of PIRV transmission in S. alstoni rats. The results also suggested that bodily secretions and excretions from most GTOV-infected short-tailed cane mice and most PIRV-infected Alston’s cotton rats may transmit the viruses to humans.
PMCID: PMC3311192  PMID: 22172205
viruses; Guanarito virus; Pirital virus Arenaviridae; Venezuelan hemorrhagic fever; Sigmodon alstoni; Zygodontmys brevicauda; rodents; cane mice; cotton rats; zoonoses; research
7.  Natural Host Relationships of Hantaviruses Native to Western Venezuela 
Strains of Caño Delgadito virus (CADV) and Maporal virus (MAPV) were isolated from 25 (8.9%) of the 280 rodents captured on farms in 1997 in western Venezuela. The results of analyses of laboratory and zoographic data indicated that Alston's cotton rat (Sigmodon alstoni) is the principal host of CADV, horizontal virus transmission is the dominant mode of CADV transmission in Alston's cotton rat in nature, a pygmy rice rat (Oligoryzomys sp.) is the principal host of MAPV, and the natural host relationships of CADV and MAPV are highly specific.
PMCID: PMC2979332  PMID: 20055578
Alston's cotton rat; Bunyaviridae; Caño Delgadito virus; Hantavirus; Maporal virus; Oligoryzomys; Pygmy rice rat; Short-tailed cane mouse; Sigmodon alstoni; Venezuela; Zygodontomys brevicauda
8.  Does opening a milk bank in a neonatal unit change infant feeding practices? A before and after study 
Donor human milk banks are much more than simple centers for collection, storage, processing, and distribution of donor human milk, as they cover other aspects and represent a real opportunity to promote and support breastfeeding. The aim of our study is to assess the impact that opening a human milk bank has had on the proportion of infants receiving exclusive breast milk at discharge and other aspects related to feeding children with birth weight < or = 1500 g or < 32 weeks gestation admitted to the neonatal unit.
The study included babies of < or = 1500 g or < 32 weeks gestation. Fifty infants born from February to July in 2006, before the opening of the human milk bank, and 54 born from February to July in 2008, after its opening, met inclusive criteria. We collected data about days of hospital stay, hours of life when feeding was started, hours of life when full enteral feeding was attained, the type of milk received during admission, and the type of feeding on discharge.
Children born in 2008 commenced feeding 16 hours earlier than those born in 2006 (p = 0.00). The proportion of infants receiving exclusive breast milk at discharge was 54% in 2006 and 56% in 2008 (p = 0.87). The number of days they received their mother's own milk during the first 28 days of life was 24.2 days in 2006, compared to 23.7 days in 2008 (p = 0.70). In 2006, 60% of infants received infant formula at least once in the first 28 days of life, compared to 37% in 2008 (p = 0.01).
The opening of a donor human milk bank in a neonatal unit did not reduce the proportion of infants exclusively fed with breast milk at discharge, but did reduce the proportion of infants that received infant formula during the first four weeks of life. Also, having donor human milk available enables commencement of enteral feeding earlier.
PMCID: PMC2852385  PMID: 20211005
9.  Genetic characterization of rabies field isolates from Venezuela. 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  1996;34(6):1553-1558.
Twenty samples from cases of rabies in humans and domestic animals diagnosed in Venezuela between 1990 and 1994 and one sample from a vampire bat collected in 1976 were characterized by reactivity to monoclonal antibodies against the viral nucleoprotein and by patterns of nucleotide substitution in the nucleoprotein gene. Three antigenic variants were found: 1, 3, and 5. Antigenic variant 1 included all samples from dogs and humans infected by contact with rabid dogs. Unique substitutions permitted identification of two separate outbreaks of dog rabies in the Maracaibo Depression and Los Llanos region and in the Andean region of Venezuela. Samples from the vampire bat and two head of cattle were characterized as antigenic variant 3 and showed a nucleotide sequence homology of 96 to 98% to each other and to samples of vampire bat-associated rabies throughout Latin America. Ten of the remaining 12 samples were characterized as antigenic variant 5. Genetic studies indicated that 11 of these samples formed a highly homologous and distinctive group but were closely related to samples of vampire bat-associated rabies. The 12th sample of variant 5 (from a cat) showed only 78 to 80% genetic homology to samples of rabies associated with vampire bats. The application of antigenic and genetic typing to rabies surveillance in Latin America is essential to improve control programs. Recognition of the source of outbreaks of dog rabies and identification of wildlife species maintaining sylvatic cycles of rabies transmission permit better utilization of public health resources.
PMCID: PMC229062  PMID: 8735118
10.  Gas1-induced growth suppression requires a transactivation-independent p53 function. 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  1995;15(12):7152-7160.
In normal cells, induction of quiescence is accompanied by the increased expression of growth arrest-specific genes (gas). One of them, gas1, is regulated at the transcriptional level and codes for a membrane-associated protein (Gas1) which is down regulated during the G0-to-S phase transition in serum-stimulated cells. Gas1 is not expressed in growing or transformed cells, and when overexpressed in normal fibroblasts, it blocks the G0-to-S phase transition. Moreover, Gas1 blocks cell proliferation in several transformed cells with the exception of simian virus 40- or adenovirus-transformed cell lines. In this paper, we demonstrate that overexpression of Gas1 blocks cell proliferation in a p53-dependent manner and that the N-terminal domain-dependent transactivating function of p53 is dispensable for Gas1-induced growth arrest. These data therefore indicate that the other intrinsic transactivation-independent functions of p53, possibly related to regulation of apoptosis, should be involved in mediating Gas1-induced growth arrest.
PMCID: PMC230971  PMID: 8524283

Results 1-10 (10)