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1.  Time course of pulmonary burden in mice exposed to residual oil fly ash 
Residual oil fly ash (ROFA) is a common pollutant in areas where oil is burned. This particulate matter (PM) with a broad distribution of particle diameters can be inhaled by human beings and putatively damage their respiratory system. Although some studies deal with cultured cells, animals, and even epidemiological issues, so far a comprehensive analysis of respiratory outcomes as a function of the time elapsed after exposure to a low dose of ROFA is wanted. Thus, we aimed to investigate the time course of mechanical, histological, and inflammatory lung changes, as well as neutrophils in the blood, in mice exposed to ROFA until 5 days after exposure. BALB/c mice (25 ± 5 g) were randomly divided into 7 groups and intranasally instilled with either 10 μL of sterile saline solution (0.9% NaCl, CTRL) or ROFA (0.2 μg in 10 μL of saline solution). Pulmonary mechanics, histology (normal and collapsed alveoli, mononuclear and polymorphonuclear cells, and ultrastructure), neutrophils (in blood and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid) were determined at 6 h in CTRL and at 6, 24, 48, 72, 96, and 120 h after ROFA exposure. ROFA contained metal elements, especially iron, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and organochlorines. Lung resistive pressure augmented early (6 h) in the course of lung injury and other mechanical, histological and inflammatory parameters increased at 24 h, returning to control values at 120 h. Blood neutrophilia was present only at 24 and 48 h after exposure. Swelling of endothelial cells with adherent neutrophils was detected after ROFA instillation. No neutrophils were present in the lavage fluid. In conclusion, the exposure to ROFA, even in low doses, induced early changes in pulmonary mechanics, lung histology and accumulation of neutrophils in blood of mice that lasted for 4 days and disappeared spontaneously.
PMCID: PMC4174882  PMID: 25309454
air pollution; residual oil fly ash (ROFA); lung mechanics; pulmonary histology; lung injury; ROFA composition
2.  Dengue Induces Platelet Activation, Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Cell Death through Mechanisms that Involve DC-SIGN and Caspases 
Dengue is the most prevalent human arbovirus disease in the world. Dengue infection may cause a range of clinical manifestation from self-limiting febrile illness through life-threatening syndrome accompanied by bleeding and shock. Thrombocytopenia is frequently observed in mild and severe disease, however the mechanisms involved in DENV-induced platelet activation and thrombocytopenia are incompletely understood.
Patients/ Methods
Freshly-isolated platelets from patients with dengue were evaluated for markers of activation, mitochondrial alterations and activation of cell death pathways. In parallel, we determined whether DENV induced direct activation and apoptosis of platelets that were obtained from healthy subjects.
We found that platelets from DENV-infected patients display increased activation when compared to control subjects. Moreover, platelets from DENV-infected patients exhibited classic signs of the intrinsic pathway of apoptosis that include increased surface phosphatidylserine exposure, mitochondrial depolarization and activation of caspase-9 and 3. Indeed, thrombocytopenia was shown to strongly associate with enhanced platelet activation and cell death in DENV-infected patients. Platelet activation, mitochondrial dysfunction and caspase-dependent phosphatidylserine exposure on platelets were also observed when platelets from healthy subjects were directly exposed to DENV in vitro. DENV-induced platelet activation was shown to occur through mechanisms largely dependent of DC-SIGN.
Together our results demonstrate that platelets from patients with dengue present signs of activation, mitochondrial dysfunction, and activation of apoptosis caspase cascade, which may contribute to the genesis of thrombocytopenia in patients with dengue. Our results also suggest the involvement of DC-SIGN as a critical receptor in DENV-dependent platelet activation.
PMCID: PMC3971842  PMID: 23433144
apoptosis; DC-SIGN; dengue; mitochondrial dysfunction; platelet activation; thrombocytopenia
5.  Lysophosphatidylcholine Triggers TLR2- and TLR4-Mediated Signaling Pathways but Counteracts LPS-Induced NO Synthesis in Peritoneal Macrophages by Inhibiting NF-κB Translocation and MAPK/ERK Phosphorylation 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e76233.
Lysophosphatidylcholine (LPC) is the main phospholipid component of oxidized low-density lipoprotein (oxLDL) and is usually noted as a marker of several human diseases, such as atherosclerosis, cancer and diabetes. Some studies suggest that oxLDL modulates Toll-like receptor (TLR) signaling. However, effector molecules that are present in oxLDL particles and can trigger TLR signaling are not yet clear. LPC was previously described as an attenuator of sepsis and as an immune suppressor. In the present study, we have evaluated the role of LPC as a dual modulator of the TLR-mediated signaling pathway.
Methodology/Principal Findings
HEK 293A cells were transfected with TLR expression constructs and stimulated with LPC molecules with different fatty acid chain lengths and saturation levels. All LPC molecules activated both TLR4 and TLR2-1 signaling, as evaluated by NF-қB activation and IL-8 production. These data were confirmed by Western blot analysis of NF-қB translocation in isolated nuclei of peritoneal murine macrophages. However, LPC counteracted the TLR4 signaling induced by LPS. In this case, NF-қB translocation, nitric oxide (NO) synthesis and the expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) were blocked. Moreover, LPC activated the MAP Kinases p38 and JNK, but not ERK, in murine macrophages. Interestingly, LPC blocked LPS-induced ERK activation in peritoneal macrophages but not in TLR-transfected cells.
The above results indicate that LPC is a dual-activity ligand molecule. It is able to trigger a classical proinflammatory phenotype by activating TLR4- and TLR2-1-mediated signaling. However, in the presence of classical TLR ligands, LPC counteracts some of the TLR-mediated intracellular responses, ultimately inducing an anti-inflammatory phenotype; LPC may thus play a role in the regulation of cell immune responses and disease progression.
PMCID: PMC3848743  PMID: 24312681
6.  Bacterial Clearance Is Improved in Septic Mice by Platelet-Activating Factor-Acetylhydrolase (PAF-AH) Administration 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e74567.
Current evidence indicates that dysregulation of the host inflammatory response to infectious agents is central to the mortality of patients with sepsis. Strategies to block inflammatory mediators such as PAF have been investigated as adjuvant therapies for sepsis. PAF-AH, the enzyme responsible for PAF degradation, showed positive results in pre-clinical studies and phase II clinical trials, but the results of a phase III study were disappointing. In this study, we investigated the potential protective mechanism of PAF-AH in sepsis using the murine model of cecal ligation and puncture (CLP). Treatment with rPAF-AH increased peritoneal fluid levels of the anti-inflammatory mediators MCP-1/CCL2 after CLP. The numbers of bacteria (CFU) in the peritoneal cavity were decreased in the rPAF-AH-treated group, indicating more efficient bacterial clearance after rPAF-AH treatment. Interestingly, we observed increased levels of nitric oxide (NO) after PAF-AH administration, and rPAF-AH treatment did not decrease CFU numbers either in iNOS-deficient mice or in CCR2-deficient mice. We concluded that administration of exogenous rPAF-AH reduced inflammatory injury, altered cytokine levels and favored bacterial clearance with a clear impact on mortality through modulation of MCP-1/CCL2 and NO levels in a clinically relevant sepsis model.
PMCID: PMC3771912  PMID: 24069320
7.  Identifying Intracellular Sites of Eicosanoid Lipid Mediator Synthesis with EicosaCell Assays 
Eicosanoids, arachidonic acid-derived signaling lipid mediators, are newly formed and nonstorable molecules that have important roles in physiological and pathological processes. EicosaCell is a microscopic assay that enables the intracellular detection and localization of eicosanoid lipid mediator-synthesizing compartments by means of a strategy to covalently cross-link and immobilize eicosanoids at their sites of synthesis followed by immunofluorescent-based localization of the targeted eicosanoid. EicosaCell is a versatile assay which allows analyses of different types of cell preparations, such as cells isolated from humans or harvested cells from in vivo models of inflammation and adherent or suspension cells stimulated in vitro. EicosaCell assays have been successfully used to identify different intracellular compartments of synthesis of prostaglandins and leukotrienes upon cellular activation. This is of particular interest given that over the past decade intracellular compartmentalization of eicosanoid-synthetic machinery has emerged both as a key component in the regulation of eicosanoid synthesis and in delineating functional intracellular and extracellular actions of eicosanoids. This review covers basics of EicosaCell assay including its selection of reagents, immunodetection design as well as some troubleshooting recommendations.
PMCID: PMC3679532  PMID: 21370037
Eicosanoids; EicosaCell; Immunofluorescence detection; Bioactive lipid mediators; Heterobifunctional cross-linker
8.  EicosaCell – An Immunofluorescent-Based Assay to Localize Newly Synthesized Eicosanoid Lipid Mediators at Intracellular Sites 
Eicosanoids (prostaglandins, leukotrienes and lipoxins) are a family of signaling lipids derived from arachidonic acid that have important roles in physiological and pathological processes. Over the past years, it has been established that successful eicosanoid production is not merely determined by arachidonic acid and eicosanoid-forming enzymes availability, but requires sequential interactions between specific biosynthetic proteins acting in cascade and may involve very unique spatial interactions. Direct assessment of specific subcellular locales of eicosanoid synthesis has been elusive, as those lipid mediators are newly formed, not stored and often rapidly released upon cell stimulation. In this chapter, we discuss the EicosaCell protocol for intracellular detection of eicosanoid-synthesizing compartments by means of a strategy to covalently cross-link and immobilize the lipid mediators at their sites of synthesis followed by immunofluorescent-based localization of the targeted eicosanoid.
PMCID: PMC3679533  PMID: 21153792
Eicosanoids; prostaglandin; leukotriene; biosynthesis; compartmentalization; carbodiimide; EDAC (1-ethyl-3-(3-dimethylaminopropyl) carbodiimide); lipid droplets; phagosomes; perinuclear
9.  Imaging Lipid Bodies Within Leukocytes with Different Light Microscopy Techniques 
Lipid bodies, also known as lipid droplets, are present in most eukaryotic cells. In leukocytes, lipid bodies are functionally active organelles with central roles in inflammation and are considered structural markers of inflammatory cells in a range of diseases. The identification of lipid bodies has methodological limitations because lipid bodies dissipate upon drying or dissolve upon fixation and staining with alcohol-based reagents. Here we discuss several techniques to detect and visualize lipid bodies within leukocytes by light microscopy. These techniques include staining with osmium or use of different fluorescent probes such as Nile red, BODIPY, Oil red, P96 and immunofluorescence labeling for adipose differentiation-related protein (ADRP).
PMCID: PMC3659330  PMID: 21153791
Lipid bodies; lipid droplets; leukocytes; bright field and fluorescence microscopy; osmium staining; nile red; oil red O; BODIPY; 1-pyrenedodecanoic acid; adipose differentiation-related protein (ADRP)
10.  Statins Decrease Neuroinflammation and Prevent Cognitive Impairment after Cerebral Malaria 
PLoS Pathogens  2012;8(12):e1003099.
Cerebral malaria (CM) is the most severe manifestation of Plasmodium falciparum infection in children and non-immune adults. Previous work has documented a persistent cognitive impairment in children who survive an episode of CM that is mimicked in animal models of the disease. Potential therapeutic interventions for this complication have not been investigated, and are urgently needed. HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins) are widely prescribed for cardiovascular diseases. In addition to their effects on the inhibition of cholesterol synthesis, statins have pleiotropic immunomodulatory activities. Here we tested if statins would prevent cognitive impairment in a murine model of cerebral malaria. Six days after infection with Plasmodium berghei ANKA (PbA) mice displayed clear signs of CM and were treated with chloroquine, or chloroquine and lovastatin. Intravital examination of pial vessels of infected animals demonstrated a decrease in functional capillary density and an increase in rolling and adhesion of leukocytes to inflamed endothelium that were reversed by treatment with lovastatin. In addition, oedema, ICAM-1, and CD11b mRNA levels were reduced in lovastatin-treated PbA-infected mice brains. Moreover, HMOX-1 mRNA levels are enhanced in lovastatin-treated healthy and infected brains. Oxidative stress and key inflammatory chemokines and cytokines were reduced to non-infected control levels in animals treated with lovastatin. Fifteen days post-infection cognitive dysfunction was detected by a battery of cognition tests in animals rescued from CM by chloroquine treatment. In contrast, it was absent in animals treated with lovastatin and chloroquine. The outcome was similar in experimental bacterial sepsis, suggesting that statins have neuroprotective effects in severe infectious syndromes in addition to CM. Statin treatment prevents neuroinflammation and blood brain barrier dysfunction in experimental CM and related conditions that are associated with cognitive sequelae, and may be a valuable adjuvant therapeutic agent for prevention of cognitive impairment in patients surviving an episode of CM.
Author Summary
Cerebral malaria (CM) is the direst consequence of Plasmodium falciparum infection. Cognitive impairment is a common sequela in children surviving CM. Identification of adjunctive therapies that reduce the complications of CM in survivors is a priority. Statins have been suggested for the treatment of neuroinflammatory disorders due to their pleiotropic effects. Here, we examined the effects of lovastatin on neuroinflammation in experimental CM, and its effect on the prevention of cognitive impairment. Lovastatin reduced adhesion and rolling of leukocytes in brain vessels, inhibited blood-brain barrier disruption, and reversed decreases in cerebral capillary density. Lovastatin also inhibited ICAM-1 and CD11b mRNA expression while increasing HMOX-1 mRNA levels. Proinflammatory cytokines and markers of oxidative stress were lower in the brains of infected mice treated with lovastatin. Lovastatin administered together with antimalarial drugs during the acute phase of the disease-protected survivors from impairment in both contextual and aversive memory 15 days after infection. Similar results were observed in a model of bacterial sepsis. Our findings support the possibility that statins may be valuable pharmacologic tools in treatment of patients with neuroinflammation associated with severe systemic inflammatory syndromes. Clinical trials with statins in CM and sepsis should be speedily considered to examine this point.
PMCID: PMC3531520  PMID: 23300448
11.  Dengue Virus Capsid Protein Binding to Hepatic Lipid Droplets (LD) Is Potassium Ion Dependent and Is Mediated by LD Surface Proteins 
Journal of Virology  2012;86(4):2096-2108.
Dengue virus (DENV) affects millions of people, causing more than 20,000 deaths annually. No effective treatment for the disease caused by DENV infection is currently available, partially due to the lack of knowledge on the basic aspects of the viral life cycle, including the molecular basis of the interaction between viral components and cellular compartments. Here, we characterized the properties of the interaction between the DENV capsid (C) protein and hepatic lipid droplets (LDs), which was recently shown to be essential for the virus replication cycle. Zeta potential analysis revealed a negative surface charge of LDs, with an average surface charge of −19 mV. The titration of LDs with C protein led to an increase of the surface charge, which reached a plateau at +13.7 mV, suggesting that the viral protein-LD interaction exposes the protein cationic surface to the aqueous environment. Atomic force microscopy (AFM)-based force spectroscopy measurements were performed by using C protein-functionalized AFM tips. The C protein-LD interaction was found to be strong, with a single (un)binding force of 33.6 pN. This binding was dependent on high intracellular concentrations of potassium ions but not sodium. The inhibition of Na+/K+-ATPase in DENV-infected cells resulted in the dissociation of C protein from LDs and a 50-fold inhibition of infectious virus production but not of RNA replication, indicating a biological relevance for the potassium-dependent interaction. Limited proteolysis of the LD surface impaired the C protein-LD interaction, and force measurements in the presence of specific antibodies indicated that perilipin 3 (TIP47) is the major DENV C protein ligand on the surface of LDs.
PMCID: PMC3302401  PMID: 22130547
12.  PPARγ Expression and Function in Mycobacterial Infection: Roles in Lipid Metabolism, Immunity, and Bacterial Killing 
PPAR Research  2012;2012:383829.
Tuberculosis continues to be a global health threat, with drug resistance and HIV coinfection presenting challenges for its control. Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the etiological agent of tuberculosis, is a highly adapted pathogen that has evolved different strategies to subvert the immune and metabolic responses of host cells. Although the significance of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ) activation by mycobacteria is not fully understood, recent findings are beginning to uncover a critical role for PPARγ during mycobacterial infection. Here, we will review the molecular mechanisms that regulate PPARγ expression and function during mycobacterial infection. Current evidence indicates that mycobacterial infection causes a time-dependent increase in PPARγ expression through mechanisms that involve pattern recognition receptor activation. Mycobacterial triggered increased PPARγ expression and activation lead to increased lipid droplet formation and downmodulation of macrophage response, suggesting that PPARγ expression might aid the mycobacteria in circumventing the host response acting as an escape mechanism. Indeed, inhibition of PPARγ enhances mycobacterial killing capacity of macrophages, suggesting a role of PPARγ in favoring the establishment of chronic infection. Collectively, PPARγ is emerging as a regulator of tuberculosis pathogenesis and an attractive target for the development of adjunctive tuberculosis therapies.
PMCID: PMC3407650  PMID: 22851964
13.  Cognitive Dysfunction Is Sustained after Rescue Therapy in Experimental Cerebral Malaria, and Is Reduced by Additive Antioxidant Therapy 
PLoS Pathogens  2010;6(6):e1000963.
Neurological impairments are frequently detected in children surviving cerebral malaria (CM), the most severe neurological complication of infection with Plasmodium falciparum. The pathophysiology and therapy of long lasting cognitive deficits in malaria patients after treatment of the parasitic disease is a critical area of investigation. In the present study we used several models of experimental malaria with differential features to investigate persistent cognitive damage after rescue treatment. Infection of C57BL/6 and Swiss (SW) mice with Plasmodium berghei ANKA (PbA) or a lethal strain of Plasmodium yoelii XL (PyXL), respectively, resulted in documented CM and sustained persistent cognitive damage detected by a battery of behavioral tests after cure of the acute parasitic disease with chloroquine therapy. Strikingly, cognitive impairment was still present 30 days after the initial infection. In contrast, BALB/c mice infected with PbA, C57BL6 infected with Plasmodium chabaudi chabaudi and SW infected with non lethal Plasmodium yoelii NXL (PyNXL) did not develop signs of CM, were cured of the acute parasitic infection by chloroquine, and showed no persistent cognitive impairment. Reactive oxygen species have been reported to mediate neurological injury in CM. Increased production of malondialdehyde (MDA) and conjugated dienes was detected in the brains of PbA-infected C57BL/6 mice with CM, indicating high oxidative stress. Treatment of PbA-infected C57BL/6 mice with additive antioxidants together with chloroquine at the first signs of CM prevented the development of persistent cognitive damage. These studies provide new insights into the natural history of cognitive dysfunction after rescue therapy for CM that may have clinical relevance, and may also be relevant to cerebral sequelae of sepsis and other disorders.
Author Summary
Cerebral malaria (CM) is a deadly consequence of Plasmodium falciparum infection. Severe neurologic deficits are frequent during CM. Although most resolve within 6 months, several retrospective studies have described high frequencies of long-lasting cognitive impairment after an episode of CM. We developed behavioral tests to identify cognitive impairment due to experimental CM. During infection with Plasmodium berghei ANKA (PbA), mice susceptible to CM (C57BL/6) developed long-lasting cognitive impairment in contextual and aversive memory. The same profile was seen in Swiss Webster mice infected with Plasmodium yoelii XL, a lethal strain that also induces neurological dysfunctions in susceptible mice strains, confirming that the cognitive dysfunction is closely associated to the development of CM. Reactive oxygen species are described as mediators of neurological and cognitive impairment associated to sepsis and Alzheimer's disease. Here we found enhanced production of malondialdeyde and conjugated dienes in brains of PbA-infected C57BL/6 mice, indicating oxidative stress. Antioxidant therapy with N-acetylcisteine and desferroxamine, as an additive to chloroquine, prevented the cognitive impairment, confirming the importance of oxidative stress in CM-associated cognitive sequellae. Administration of additive antioxidants may be a successful therapeutic strategy to control long-lasting consequences of CM and in other severe systemic inflammatory syndromes with neurological involvement.
PMCID: PMC2891838  PMID: 20585569
14.  Leukocyte lipid bodies - biogenesis and functions in inflammation 
Biochimica et biophysica acta  2009;1791(6):540-551.
Lipid body accumulation within leukocytes is a common feature in both clinical and experimental infectious, neoplasic and other inflammatory conditions. Here, we will review the contemporary evidence related to the biogenesis and structure of leukocyte lipid bodies (also known as lipid droplets) as inflammatory organelles. Studies of leukocyte lipid bodies are providing functional, ultrastructural and protein compositional evidences that lipid bodies are not solely storage depots of neutral lipid. Over the past years substantial progresses have been made to demonstrate that lipid body biogenesis is a highly regulated process, that culminate in the compartmentalization of a specific set of proteins and lipids, that place leukocyte lipid bodies as inducible cytoplasmic organelles with roles in cell signaling and activation, regulation of lipid metabolism, membrane trafficking and control of the synthesis and secretion of inflammatory mediators. Pertinent to the roles of lipid bodies in inflammation and cell signaling, enzymes involved in eicosanoid synthesis are localized at lipid bodies and lipid bodies are sites for eicosanoid generation. Collectively, lipid bodies in leukocytes are emerging as critical regulators of different inflammatory diseases, key markers of leukocyte activation and attractive targets for novel anti-inflammatory therapies.
PMCID: PMC2693476  PMID: 19416659
Lipid droplets; inflammation; foam cell; eicosanoids; leukocytes; eosinophils; neutrophils
15.  Dengue Virus Capsid Protein Usurps Lipid Droplets for Viral Particle Formation 
PLoS Pathogens  2009;5(10):e1000632.
Dengue virus is responsible for the highest rates of disease and mortality among the members of the Flavivirus genus. Dengue epidemics are still occurring around the world, indicating an urgent need of prophylactic vaccines and antivirals. In recent years, a great deal has been learned about the mechanisms of dengue virus genome amplification. However, little is known about the process by which the capsid protein recruits the viral genome during encapsidation. Here, we found that the mature capsid protein in the cytoplasm of dengue virus infected cells accumulates on the surface of ER-derived organelles named lipid droplets. Mutagenesis analysis using infectious dengue virus clones has identified specific hydrophobic amino acids, located in the center of the capsid protein, as key elements for lipid droplet association. Substitutions of amino acid L50 or L54 in the capsid protein disrupted lipid droplet targeting and impaired viral particle formation. We also report that dengue virus infection increases the number of lipid droplets per cell, suggesting a link between lipid droplet metabolism and viral replication. In this regard, we found that pharmacological manipulation of the amount of lipid droplets in the cell can be a means to control dengue virus replication. In addition, we developed a novel genetic system to dissociate cis-acting RNA replication elements from the capsid coding sequence. Using this system, we found that mislocalization of a mutated capsid protein decreased viral RNA amplification. We propose that lipid droplets play multiple roles during the viral life cycle; they could sequester the viral capsid protein early during infection and provide a scaffold for genome encapsidation.
Author Summary
Dengue virus is the single most significant arthropod-borne virus pathogen in humans. In spite of the urgent medical need to control dengue infections, vaccines are still unavailable, and many aspects of dengue virus biology and pathogenesis remain elusive. We discovered a link between dengue virus replication and ER-derived organelles known as lipid droplets (LDs). Dengue infection increases the amount of LDs per cell and pharmacological inhibition of LD formation greatly reduces dengue virus replication. In addition, we have found that the viral capsid protein in infected cells accumulates on the surface of LDs. Manipulation of infectious clones and generation of new reporter dengue viruses allowed us to define the molecular basis of capsid protein association to LDs. Specific amino acids on the α2 helix, located in the center of the capsid protein, were found to be crucial for both accumulation of capsid protein on LDs and dengue virus infectious particle formation. We propose that LDs facilitate viral replication providing a platform for nucleocapsid formation during encapsidation. Our findings begin to unravel the complex mechanism by which dengue virus usurps cellular organelles to coordinate different steps of the viral life cycle.
PMCID: PMC2760139  PMID: 19851456
16.  Intravenous glutamine decreases lung and distal organ injury in an experimental model of abdominal sepsis 
Critical Care  2009;13(3):R74.
The protective effect of glutamine, as a pharmacological agent against lung injury, has been reported in experimental sepsis; however, its efficacy at improving oxygenation and lung mechanics, attenuating diaphragm and distal organ injury has to be better elucidated. In the present study, we tested the hypothesis that a single early intravenous dose of glutamine was associated not only with the improvement of lung morpho-function, but also the reduction of the inflammatory process and epithelial cell apoptosis in kidney, liver, and intestine villi.
Seventy-two Wistar rats were randomly assigned into four groups. Sepsis was induced by cecal ligation and puncture surgery (CLP), while a sham operated group was used as control (C). One hour after surgery, C and CLP groups were further randomized into subgroups receiving intravenous saline (1 ml, SAL) or glutamine (0.75 g/kg, Gln). At 48 hours, animals were anesthetized, and the following parameters were measured: arterial oxygenation, pulmonary mechanics, and diaphragm, lung, kidney, liver, and small intestine villi histology. At 18 and 48 hours, Cytokine-Induced Neutrophil Chemoattractant (CINC)-1, interleukin (IL)-6 and 10 were quantified in bronchoalveolar and peritoneal lavage fluids (BALF and PLF, respectively).
CLP induced: a) deterioration of lung mechanics and gas exchange; b) ultrastructural changes of lung parenchyma and diaphragm; and c) lung and distal organ epithelial cell apoptosis. Glutamine improved survival rate, oxygenation and lung mechanics, minimized pulmonary and diaphragmatic changes, attenuating lung and distal organ epithelial cell apoptosis. Glutamine increased IL-10 in peritoneal lavage fluid at 18 hours and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid at 48 hours, but decreased CINC-1 and IL-6 in BALF and PLF only at 18 hours.
In an experimental model of abdominal sepsis, a single intravenous dose of glutamine administered after sepsis induction may modulate the inflammatory process reducing not only the risk of lung injury, but also distal organ impairment. These results suggest that intravenous glutamine may be a potentially beneficial therapy for abdominal sepsis.
PMCID: PMC2717436  PMID: 19454012
17.  Multiplex cytokine profile from dengue patients: MIP-1beta and IFN-gamma as predictive factors for severity 
Dengue virus pathogenesis is not yet fully understood and the identification of patients at high risk for developing severe disease forms is still a great challenge in dengue patient care. During the present study, we evaluated prospectively the potential of cytokines present in plasma from patients with dengue in stratifying disease severity.
Seventeen-cytokine multiplex fluorescent microbead immunoassay was used for the simultaneous detection in 59 dengue patients. GLM models using bimodal or Gaussian family were determined in order to associate cytokines with clinical manifestations and laboratory diagnosis.
IL-1β, IFN-γ, IL-4, IL-6, IL-13, IL-7 and GM-CSF were significantly increased in patients with severe clinical manifestations (severe dengue) when compared to mild disease forms (mild dengue). In contrast, increased MIP-1β levels were observed in patients with mild dengue. MIP-1β was also associated with CD56+NK cell circulating rates. IL-1β, IL-8, TNF-α and MCP-1 were associated with marked thrombocytopenia. Increased MCP-1 and GM-CSF levels correlated with hypotension. Moreover, MIP-1β and IFN-γ were independently associated with both dengue severity and disease outcome.
Our data demonstrated that the use of a multiple cytokine assay platform was suitable for identifying distinct cytokine profiles associated with the dengue clinical manifestations and severity. MIP-β is indicated for the first time as a good prognostic marker in contrast to IFN-γ that was associated with disease severity.
PMCID: PMC2474613  PMID: 18578883
18.  Eosinophil Lipid Bodies: Specific, Inducible Intracellular Sites for Enhanced Eicosanoid Formation  
The specific intracellular sites at which enzymes act to generate arachidonate-derived eicosanoid mediators of inflammation are uncertain. We evaluated the formation and function of cytoplasmic lipid bodies. Lipid body formation in eosinophils was a rapidly (<1 h) inducible response which was platelet-activating factor (PAF) receptor–mediated, involved signaling through protein kinase C, and required new protein synthesis. In intact and enucleated eosinophils, the PAF-induced increases in lipid body numbers correlated with enhanced production of both lipoxygenase- and cyclooxygenase-derived eicosanoids. All principal eosinophil eicosanoid-forming enzymes, 5-lipoxygenase, leukotriene C4 synthase, and cyclooxygenase, were immunolocalized to native as well as newly induced lipid bodies in intact and enucleated eosinophils. Thus, lipid bodies are structurally distinct, inducible, nonnuclear sites for enhanced synthesis of paracrine eicosanoid mediators of inflammation.
PMCID: PMC2199047  PMID: 9294145
19.  Mycobacterium leprae intracellular survival relies on cholesterol accumulation in infected macrophages: a potential target for new drugs for leprosy treatment 
Cellular Microbiology  2014;16(6):797-815.
We recently showed that Mycobacterium leprae (ML) is able to induce lipid droplet formation in infected macrophages. We herein confirm that cholesterol (Cho) is one of the host lipid molecules that accumulate in ML-infected macrophages and investigate the effects of ML on cellular Cho metabolism responsible for its accumulation. The expression levels of LDL receptors (LDL-R, CD36, SRA-1, SR-B1, and LRP-1) and enzymes involved in Cho biosynthesis were investigated by qRT-PCR and/or Western blot and shown to be higher in lepromatous leprosy (LL) tissues when compared to borderline tuberculoid (BT) lesions. Moreover, higher levels of the active form of the sterol regulatory element-binding protein (SREBP) transcriptional factors, key regulators of the biosynthesis and uptake of cellular Cho, were found in LL skin biopsies. Functional in vitro assays confirmed the higher capacity of ML-infected macrophages to synthesize Cho and sequester exogenous LDL-Cho. Notably, Cho colocalized to ML-containing phagosomes, and Cho metabolism impairment, through either de novo synthesis inhibition by statins or depletion of exogenous Cho, decreased intracellular bacterial survival. These findings highlight the importance of metabolic integration between the host and bacteria to leprosy pathophysiology, opening new avenues for novel therapeutic strategies to leprosy.
PMCID: PMC4262048  PMID: 24552180

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