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1.  Methotrexate diethyl ester-loaded lipid-core nanocapsules in aqueous solution increased antineoplastic effects in resistant breast cancer cell line 
Breast cancer is the most frequent cancer affecting women. Methotrexate (MTX) is an antimetabolic drug that remains important in the treatment of breast cancer. Its efficacy is compromised by resistance in cancer cells that occurs through a variety of mechanisms. This study evaluated apoptotic cell death and cell cycle arrest induced by an MTX derivative (MTX diethyl ester [MTX(OEt)2]) and MTX(OEt)2-loaded lipid-core nanocapsules in two MTX-resistant breast adenocarcinoma cell lines, MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231. The formulations prepared presented adequate granulometric profile. The treatment responses were evaluated through flow cytometry. Relying on the mechanism of resistance, we observed different responses between cell lines. For MCF-7 cells, MTX(OEt)2 solution and MTX(OEt)2-loaded lipid-core nanocapsules presented significantly higher apoptotic rates than untreated cells and cells incubated with unloaded lipid-core nanocapsules. For MDA-MB-231 cells, MTX(OEt)2-loaded lipid-core nanocapsules were significantly more efficient in inducing apoptosis than the solution of the free drug. S-phase cell cycle arrest was induced only by MTX(OEt)2 solution. The drug nanoencapsulation improved apoptosis induction for the cell line that presents MTX resistance by lack of transport receptors.
PMCID: PMC3970944  PMID: 24741306
MTX derivative; resistance; apoptotic cell death; cell cycle arrest; nanocarriers; drug delivery; drug targeting
2.  High incidence of oncogenic HPV genotypes found in women from Southern Brazil 
Brazilian Journal of Microbiology  2014;45(2):689-694.
Oncogenic HPV genotypes are strongly associated with premalignant and malignant cervical lesion. The purpose was to determine human papillomavirus (HPV) prevalence and genotypes, and to estimate cervical cancer risk factor associations. Cervical samples were obtained from 251 women seeking gynecological care at the Pelotas School of Medicine Clinic. This is a cross-sectional study. HPV-DNA was amplified by nested-PCR using MY09/11 and GP5/6 primers, and the sequencing was used for genotyping. Sociodemographic and behavioral risk factors were obtained by closed questionnaire, and its relationship to HPV infection prevalence were analyzed. Statistical analyses were performed using SPSS 16.0 software, and differences were considered significant at p < 0.05. As results, the prevalence of HPV infection was 29.9%. The most frequent genotype was HPV-16 (41.3%), followed by HPV-18 (17.3%), and HPV-33 (9.3%). Others nine HPV genotypes were also found. On this population, prevalence of oncogenic HPV genotypes was high, but does not seem to confer relationship with the risk factors investigated. Future investigations in larger populations are necessary, for the proposition of more appropriated monitoring strategies and treatment according to the Brazilian health service reality, as well as patients.
PMCID: PMC4166300  PMID: 25242959
HPV; SDT; molecular epidemiology; cervical cancer
3.  Xanthan Gum as an Adjuvant in a Subunit Vaccine Preparation against Leptospirosis 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:636491.
Leptospiral immunoglobulin-like (Lig) proteins are of great interest due to their ability to act as mediators of pathogenesis, serodiagnostic antigens, and immunogens. Purified recombinant LigA protein is the most promising subunit vaccine candidate against leptospirosis reported to date, however, as purified proteins are weak immunogens the use of a potent adjuvant is essential for the success of LigA as a subunit vaccine. In the present study, we compared xanthan pv. pruni (strain 106), aluminium hydroxide (alhydrogel), and CpG ODN as adjuvants in a LigA subunit vaccine preparation. Xanthan gum is a high molecular weight extracellular polysaccharide produced by fermentation of Xanthomonas spp., a plant-pathogenic bacterium genus. Preparations containing xanthan induced a strong antibody response comparable to that observed when alhydrogel was used. Upon challenge with a virulent strain of L. interrogans serovar Copenhageni, significant protection (Fisher test, P < 0.05) was observed in 100%, 100%, and 67% of hamsters immunized with rLigANI-xanthan, LigA-CpG-xanthan, and rLigANI-alhydrogel, respectively. Furthermore, xanthan did not cause cytotoxicity in Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells in vitro. The use of xanthan as an adjuvant is a novel alternative for enhancing the immunogenicity of vaccines against leptospirosis and possibly against other pathogens.
PMCID: PMC4033433  PMID: 24895594
4.  A Conserved Region of Leptospiral Immunoglobulin-Like A and B Proteins as a DNA Vaccine Elicits a Prophylactic Immune Response against Leptospirosis 
The leptospiral immunoglobulin-like (Lig) proteins LigA and LigB possess immunoglobulin-like domains with 90-amino-acid repeats and are adhesion molecules involved in pathogenicity. They are conserved in pathogenic Leptospira spp. and thus are of interest for use as serodiagnostic antigens and in recombinant vaccine formulations. The N-terminal amino acid sequences of the LigA and LigB proteins are identical, but the C-terminal sequences vary. In this study, we evaluated the protective potential of five truncated forms of LigA and LigB proteins from Leptospira interrogans serovar Canicola as DNA vaccines using the pTARGET mammalian expression vector. Hamsters immunized with the DNA vaccines were subjected to a heterologous challenge with L. interrogans serovar Copenhageni strain Spool via the intraperitoneal route. Immunization with a DNA vaccine encoding LigBrep resulted in the survival of 5/8 (62.5%) hamsters against lethal infection (P < 0.05). None of the control hamsters or animals immunized with the other vaccine preparations survived. The vaccine induced an IgG antibody response and, additionally, conferred sterilizing immunity in 80% of the surviving animals. Our results indicate that the LigBrep DNA vaccine is a promising candidate for inclusion in a protective leptospiral vaccine.
PMCID: PMC3647749  PMID: 23486420
5.  Protection against Lethal Leptospirosis after Vaccination with LipL32 Coupled or Coadministered with the B Subunit of Escherichia coli Heat-Labile Enterotoxin 
Leptospirosis, a worldwide zoonosis, lacks an effective, safe, and cross-protective vaccine. LipL32, the most abundant, immunogenic, and conserved surface lipoprotein present in all pathogenic species of Leptospira, is a promising antigen candidate for a recombinant vaccine. However, several studies have reported a lack of protection when this protein is used as a subunit vaccine. In an attempt to enhance the immune response, we used LipL32 coupled to or coadministered with the B subunit of the Escherichia coli heat-labile enterotoxin (LTB) in a hamster model of leptospirosis. After homologous challenge with 5× the 50% lethal dose (LD50) of Leptospira interrogans, animals vaccinated with LipL32 coadministered with LTB and LTB::LipL32 had significantly higher survival rates (P < 0.05) than animals from the control group. This is the first report of a protective immune response afforded by a subunit vaccine using LipL32 and represents an important contribution toward the development of improved leptospirosis vaccines.
PMCID: PMC3346321  PMID: 22379066
6.  Subunit Approach to Evaluation of the Immune Protective Potential of Leptospiral Antigens ▿ 
Clinical and Vaccine Immunology : CVI  2011;18(12):2026-2030.
Leptospirosis is the most widespread zoonosis in the world. Current vaccines are based on whole-cell preparations that cause severe side effects and do not induce satisfactory immunity. In light of the leptospiral genome sequences recently made available, several studies aimed at identification of protective recombinant immunogens have been performed; however, few such immunogens have been identified. The aim of this study was to evaluate 27 recombinant antigens to determine their potential to induce an immune response protective against leptospirosis in the hamster model. Experiments were conducted with groups of female hamsters immunized with individual antigen preparations. Hamsters were then challenged with a lethal dose of Leptospira interrogans. Thirteen antigens induced protective immune responses; however, only recombinant proteins LIC10325 and LIC13059 induced significant protection against mortality. These results have important implications for the development of an efficacious recombinant subunit vaccine against leptospirosis.
PMCID: PMC3232701  PMID: 22030369
7.  High yield expression of leptospirosis vaccine candidates LigA and LipL32 in the methylotrophic yeast Pichia pastoris 
Leptospirosis, a zoonosis caused by Leptospira spp., is recognized as an emergent infectious disease. Due to the lack of adequate diagnostic tools, vaccines are an attractive intervention strategy. Recombinant proteins produced in Escherichia coli have demonstrated promising results, albeit with variable efficacy. Pichia pastoris is an alternative host with several advantages for the production of recombinant proteins.
The vaccine candidates LigANI and LipL32 were cloned and expressed in P. pastoris as secreted proteins. Large-scale expression resulted in a yield of 276 mg/L for LigANI and 285 mg/L for LipL32. The recombinant proteins were glycosylated and were recognized by antibodies present in the sera of patients with severe leptospirosis.
The expression of LigANI and LipL32 in P. pastoris resulted in a significant increase in yield compared to expression in E. coli. In addition, the proteins were secreted, allowing for easy purification, and retained the antigenic characteristics of the native proteins, demonstrating their potential application as subunit vaccine candidates.
PMCID: PMC3004844  PMID: 21134266
Vaccine  2008;26(31):3892-3896.
Effort has been made to identify protective antigens in order to develop a recombinant vaccine against leptospirosis. Several attempts failed to conclusively demonstrate efficacy of vaccine candidates due to the lack of an appropriate model of lethal leptospirosis. The purposes of our study were: (i) to test the virulence of leptospiral isolates from Brazil, which are representative of important serogroups that cause disease in humans and animals; and (ii) to standardize the lethal dose 50% (LD50) for each of the virulent strains using a hamster (Mesocricetus auratus) model. Five of seven Brazilian isolates induced lethality in a hamster model, with inocula lower than 200 leptospires. Histopathological examination of infected animals showed typical lesions found in both natural and experimental leptospirosis. Results described here demonstrated the potential use of Brazilian isolates as highly virulent strains in challenge experiments using hamster as an appropriate animal model for leptospirosis. Furthermore these strains may be useful in heterologous challenge studies which aim to evaluate cross-protective responses induced by subunit vaccine candidates.
PMCID: PMC2519131  PMID: 18547690
Leptospira; leptospirosis; lethal dose; isolation; animal model; virulence
9.  Leptospira noguchii and Human and Animal Leptospirosis, Southern Brazil 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2009;15(4):621-623.
PMCID: PMC2671420  PMID: 19331754
Zoonoses; Leptospira noguchii; leptospirosis; isolation; taxonomy; letter
10.  Characterization of a virulent Leptospira interrogans strain isolated from an abandoned swimming pool 
Brazilian Journal of Microbiology  2013;44(1):165-170.
Pathogenic Leptospira spp. are the etiological agents of leptospirosis, an important disease of both humans and animals. In urban settings, L. interrogans serovars are the predominant cause of disease in humans. The purpose of this study was to characterize a novel Leptospira isolate recovered from an abandoned swimming pool. Molecular characterization through sequencing of the rpoB gene revealed 100% identity with L. interrogans and variable-number tandem-repeat (VNTR) analysis resulted in a banding pattern identical to L. interrogans serogroup Icterohaemorrhagiae, serovar Copenhageni or Icterohaemorrhagiae. The virulence of the strain was determined in a hamster model of lethal leptospirosis. The lethal dose 50% (LD50) was calculated to be two leptospires in female hamsters and a histopathological examination of infected animals found typical lesions associated with severe leptospirosis, including renal epithelium degeneration, hepatic karyomegaly, liver-plate disarray and lymphocyte infiltration. This highly virulent strain is now available for use in further studies, especially evaluation of vaccine candidates.
PMCID: PMC3804194  PMID: 24159300
Leptospira; Leptospirosis; Virulent; VNTR; rpoB

Results 1-10 (10)