Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Biological Research]]> vol. 40 num. 3 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>First description of the immature stages of <i>Hemilucilia segmentaria </i>(Diptera: Calliphoridae)</b>]]> The immature stages oí Hemilucilia segmentaria (Fabricius, 1805) (Diptera: Calliphoridae) are described. Egg morphology and structures such as the cephalopharyngeal skeleton, anterior and posterior spiracles, and the dorsal spines between the prothorax and mesothorax from first, second and third instar larvae are characterized, using light and scanning electron microscopy. This species is abundant in Neotropical forests and, because of its necrophagous behavior, is of substantial medico-legal importance for estimating the postmortem interval in criminal investigations. Information presented herein may be useful to differentiate among eggs and larvae of closely related species and to supplement the database for blowfly identification <![CDATA[<b>Effects of the seed predator <i>Acanthoscelides schrankiae </i>on viability of its host plant <i>Mimosa bimucronata</i></b>]]> Seeds of Mimosa bimucronata are heavily infested (pre-dispersal predation) by the bruchid beetle Acanthoscelides schrankiae in Brazil. In this study, firstly we set up experiments to assess seed germination under seven and six different light and temperature regimes, respectively, and then we evaluated the ability of seeds to germinate after predation. We tested the hypothesis that the non-predated seeds from infested fruits may respond differently when set for germination than those seeds of non-infested fruits. We also hypothesized that predation may increase the production of unviable seeds. Seeds under 18 hours of light presented the highest percentage of germination, and the alternating temperature 20-30 °C was considered as optimum for germination (abnormal seedlings were not considered as a successful germination). Germination of seeds from non-infested fruits was significantly higher than germination of non-predated seeds from infested fruits, and predation also caused a significant increase in the proportion of dead seeds. Our results also show a positive correlation between proportions of unviable seeds and predated seeds. These results demonstrated that seeds of M. bimucronata are strongly affected by predation because predated seeds did not germinate and non-predated seeds had their viability reduced when located in infested fruits, supporting our hypothesis <![CDATA[<b>A micromethod for high throughput RNA extraction in forest trees</b>]]> A large quantity of high quality RNA is often required in the analysis of gene expression. However, RNA extraction from samples taken from woody plants is generally complex, and represents the main limitation to study gene expression, particularly in refractory species like conifers. Standard RNA extraction protocols are available but they are highly time consuming, and not adapted to large scale extraction. Here we present a high-throughput RNA extraction protocol. This protocol was adapted to a micro-scale by modifying the classical cetyltrimethylammonium (CTAB) protocol developed for pine: (i) quantity of material used (100-200 mg of sample), (ii) disruption of samples in microtube using a mechanical tissue disrupter, and (iii) the use of SSTE buffer. One hundred samples of woody plant tissues/organs can be easily treated in two working days. An average of 15 \ig of high quality RNA per sample was obtained. The RNA extracted is suitable for applications such as real time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction, cDNA library construction or synthesis of complex targets for microarray analysis <![CDATA[<b>Effect of vitrification on viability and chromosome abnormalities in 8-cell mouse embryos at various storage durations</b>]]> This study was desµgned to investµgate the effect of vitrification and post-thaw survival and chromosomal aberrations caused by vitrification of vitrified 8-cell mouse embryos in comparison with a controligroup. To this purpose the survival rate and the frequency of chromosomal aberrations were assessed in frozen-thawed 8-cell mouse embryos after various storage durations in the presence of ethyleneiglycol as cryoprotectant. eight-cell mouse embryos were obtained from NMRI mice 3 days after mating. Retrieved embryos were transferred to vitrification solution containing ethyleneiglycol as cryoprotectant, then transferred into a vitrification straw using standard technique, and vitrified in liquid nitrogen. Sixigroups of embryos according to storage duration (24 hours, 1 and 2 weeks, 1-6 months) were frozen. After appropriate storage periods embryos were thawed and studied for their viability 4-6 hours after thawing and intact embryos were transferred to fresh medium containing colcemid. After 48 hours, the embryos were fixed and studied for their chromosome abnormalities using Tarkowsky's drying technique. Results indicate that freezing affects the viability and chromosome structure of embryos when compared with the controligroup. Furthermore increasing the storage duration reduces the viability and increases the chromosome aberrations of embryos (such as aneuploidy and polyploidy). This result mµght indicate that the effects of vitrification on the cytoskeleton or other cellular organelle mµght produce chromosomal alterations leading to cell death <![CDATA[<b>Co-operative effect of glutathione depletion and selenium induced oxidative stress on API and NF</b>k<b>B expression in testicular cells <i>in vitro</i></b>: <b>insights to regulation of spermatogenesis</b>]]> Previous studies have shown that transcription factors, API and NFkB exert important roles in the process by which selenium regulates spermatogenesis. Glutathione, an intracellular thiol, acts as a source of reducing power and aids in maintenance of the cellular redox status. The activities of selenium are closely related to the availability of glutathione. Presently, mouse testicular cells were cultured in the presence of BSO, a known glutathione depletor, to generate oxidative stress. Selenium (Se) was added as sodium selenite to these cells at concentrations of 0.5 µM and 1.5 µM. It was observed that at 1.5 µM, Se acted as a pro-oxidant and significantly decreased the redox ratio. RT PCR analysis revealed that cjun, cfos expression increased in testicular cells cultured with Se compared to control. However, the major outcome was that the combined effect of Se supplementation and GSH depletion resulted in reduced expression of cjun and cfos while p65 expression increased. This suggests that selenium affects both these transcription factors differently. Our study indicates that though low levels of oxidative stress generated by moderate doses of selenium augments the expression of cjun and cfos, a robust increase in the ROS generation caused by the dual effect high levels of selenium and glutathione depletion leads to decrease in the expression of these genes. The present work substantiates our in vivo experiments and indicates the detrimental effect of excess selenium supplementation on male fertility <![CDATA[<b>Apoptosis related genes expressed in cultured Fallopian tube epithelial cells infected <i>in vitro </i>with <i>Neisseria gonorrhoeae</i></b>]]> Background: Infection of the Fallopian tubes (FT) by Neisseria gonorrhoeae (Ngo) can lead to acute salpingitis, an inflammatory condition resulting in damage primarily to the ciliated cells, with loss of ciliary activity and sloughing of the cells from the epithelium. Recently, we have shown that Ngo infection induced apoptosis in FT epithelium cells by a TNF-alpha dependent mechanism that could contribute to the cell and tissue damage observed in gonococcal salpingitis. Aim: To investigate the apoptosis-related genes expressed during apoptosis induction in cultured FT epithelial cells infected in vitro by Ngo. Materials and Methods: In the current study, we used cDNA macroarrays and real time PCR to identify and determine the expression levels of apoptosis related genes during the in vitro gonococci infection of FT epithelial cells. Results: Significant apoptosis was induced following infection with Ngo. Macroarray analysis identified the expression of multiple genes of the TNF receptor family (TNFRSF1B, -4, -6, -10A, -10B and -10D) and the Bcl-2 family (BAK1, BAX, BLK, HRK and MCL-1) without differences between controls and infected cells. This lack of difference was confirmed by RT-PCR of BAX, Bcl-2, TNFRS1A (TNFR-I) and TNFRSF1B (TNFR-II). Conclusion: Several genes related to apoptosis are expressed in primary cultures of epithelial cells of the human Fallopian tube. Infection with Ngo induces apoptosis without changes in the pattern of gene expression of several apoptosis-related genes. Results strongly suggest that Ngo regulates apoptosis in the FT by post-transcriptional mechanisms that need to be further addressed <![CDATA[<b>Prenatal testosterone treatment alters LH and testosterone responsiveness to GnRH agonist in male sheep</b>]]> Although evidence is accumulating that prenatal testosterone (T) compromises reproductive function in the female, the effects of excess T in utero on the postnatal development of male reproductive function has not been studied. The aim of this study was to assess the influence of prenatal T excess on age-related changes in pituitary and gonadal responsiveness to GnRH in the male sheep. We used the GnRH agonist, leuprolide (10 µg/kg), as a pharmacologic challenge at 5, 10, 20 and 30 weeks of age. These time points correspond to early and late juvenile periods and the prepubertal and postpubertal periods of sexual development, respectively. LH and T were measured in blood samples collected before and after GnRH agonist administration. The area under the response curve (AUC) of LH increased progressively in both controls and prenatal T-treated males from 5 to 20 weeks of age (P<0.01). The LH responses in prenatal T-treated males were lower at 20 and 30 weeks of age compared to controls (P<0.05). AUC-T increased progressively in control males from 5 through 30 weeks of age and prenatal T-treated males from 5 to 20 weeks of age. The T response in prenatal T-treated males was higher at 20 weeks compared to controls of same age but similar to controls and prenatal T-treated males at 30 weeks of age (P <0.05). Our findings suggest that prenatal T treatment advances the developmental trajectory of gonadal responsiveness to GnRH in male offspring <![CDATA[<b>Antagonism of morphine-induced central respiratory depression by donepezil in the anesthetized rabbit</b>]]> Morphine is often used in cancer pain and postoperative analgesic management but induces respiratory depression. Therefore, there is an ongoing search for drug candidates that can antagonize morphine-induced respiratory depression but have no effect on morphine-induced analgesia. Acetylcholine is an excitatory neurotransmitter in central respiratory control and physostigmine antagonizes morphine-induced respiratory depression. However, physostigmine has not been applied in clinical practice because it has a short action time, among other characteristics. We therefore asked whether donepezil (a long-acting acetylcholinesterase inhibitor used in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease) can antagonize morphine-induced respiratory depression. Using the anesthetized rabbit as our model, we measured phrenic nerve discharge as an index of respiratory rate and amplitude. We compared control indices with discharges after the injection of morphine and after the injection of donepezil. Morphine-induced depression of respiratory rate and respiratory amplitude was partly antagonized by donepezil without any effect on blood pressure and end-tidal C0(2). In the other experiment, apneic threshold PaC0(2) was also compared. Morphine increased the phrenic nerve apnea threshold but this was antagonized by donepezil. These findings indicate that systemically administered donepezil partially restores morphine-induced respiratory depression and morphine-deteriorated phrenic nerve apnea threshold in the anesthetized rabbit <![CDATA[<b>Volatile Organic Compounds Produced by Human Skin Cells</b>]]> Skin produces volatile organic compounds (VOCs) released to the environment with emission patterns characteristic of climatic conditions. It could be thought that these compounds are intermediaries in cell metabolism, since many intermediaries of metabolic pathways have a volatile potential. In this work, using gas chromatography, we answered the question of whether VOC profiles of primary cultures of human dermal fibroblasts were affected by the type of culture conditions. VOCs were determined for different types of culture, finding significant differences between skin cells grown in classical monolayer culture -2D- compared with 3D matrix immobilized cultures. This indicates that VOC profiles could provide information on the physiological state of skin cells or skin <![CDATA[<b>A pilot study on genetic variation in purine-rich elements in the nephrin gene promoter in type 2 diabetic patients</b>]]> Diabetic nephropathy (DN) is one of the major complications of type 2 diabetes and is associated with coronary disease. Nephrin, a protein mainly expressed in glomeruli, is decreased in DN and other kidney diseases. Since insulin levels are misregulated in type 2 diabetes, a possible connection between DN and its decreased nephrin expression could be the presence of regulatory elements responsive to insulin in the nephrin gene (NPHS1) promoter region. In this work, using bioinformatic tools, we identified a purine-rich GAGA element in the nephrin gene promoter and conducted a genomic study in search of the presence of polymorphisms in this element and its possible association with DN in type 2 diabetic patients. We amplified and sequenced a 514 bp promoter region of 100 individuals and found no genetic variants in the purine-rich GAGA-box of the nephrin gene promoter between groups of patients with diabetes type 2 with and without renal and coronary complications, control patients without diabetes and healthy controls <![CDATA[<b>High frequency of p 16 promoter methylation in non-small cell lung carcinomas from Chile</b>]]> The inactivation of tumour suppressor genes by aberrant methylation of promoter regions has been described as a frequent event in neoplasia development, including lung cancer. The p16 gene is a tumour suppressor gene involved in the regulation of cell cycle progression that has been reported to be inactivated by promoter methylation in lung carcinomas at variable frequencies around the world in a smoking habit dependent manner. The purpose of this study was to investigate the methylation status of the promoter region of the p16 gene in 74 non-small cell lung carcinomas from Chile. The frequency of p16 gene inactivation by promoter methylation was determined as 79.7% (59/74). When we considered histological type, we observed that p16 promoter methylation was significantly higher in squamous cell carcinomas (30/33, 91%) compared with adenocarcinomas (21/30, 70%) (p=0.029). In addition, no association between p16 promoter methylation and gender, age or smoking habit was found (p=0.202, 0.202 and 0.147 respectively). Our results suggest that p16 promoter hypermethylation is a very frequent event in non-small cell lung carcinomas from Chile and could be smoking habit-independent