Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Biological Research]]> vol. 45 num. 4 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[A light- and electron microscopic study of primordial germ cells in the zebra fish (Danio rerio)]]> In sexually reproducing organisms, primordial germ cells (PGCs) give rise to the cells of the germ line, the gametes. In many animals, PGCs are set apart from somatic cells early during embryogenesis. This study explores the origin of primordial germ cells (PGCs) of the zebra fish and examines their morphology during early development (1st day-15th day). PGCs were selectively stained by the alkaline phosphatase histochemical reaction and viewed by light and electron microscopy from the time they are first detectable in the yolk sac endoderm. PGCs occurred in the subendodermal space on the syncytial periblast; differing from the surrounding endodermal cells. Later the PGCs moved to between the blastoderm and yolk sac and transferred to the dorsal mesentery where they formed gonadal anlage with mesoderm cells. PGCs were easily distinguished from somatic cells by their morphology and low electron density of their nuclei. Under light microscopy, PCGs were rounded with a distinct cytoplasmic membrane. <![CDATA[Malnutrition affects the pressor response to microinjection of L-glutamate into the RVLM of awake rats]]> Post-weaning protein malnutrition is often related to the development of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases in humans, as well to changed content of neurotransmitters in the central nervous system under experimental conditions. The rostral ventrolateral medulla (RVLM) is a bulbar region that contains sympathetic premotor neurons; the excitatory amino acid L-glutamate seems to be the main neurotransmitter at this level. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the possible change in the L-glutamate sensitivity of the RVLM neurons of malnourished animals. Male Fischer rats were divided into two groups: control (n = 15) and malnourished (n = 19). Four days before the experiments, guide cannulas were implanted bilaterally in direction of the RVLM for microinjection of L-glutamate. Twenty-four hours before the experiments, the femoral artery was cannulated for cardiovascular recordings. The results showed that the baseline heart rate increased in malnourished compared to control animals (412.18 ± 16.03 bpm vs. 370.74 ± 9.59 bpm, respectively). Malnourished animals presented a dissimilar concentration-dependent pressor response curve to L-glutamate and an attenuated baroreflex gain. Our results suggest that post-weaning protein restriction affects glutamatergic neurotransmission of the baroreflex at the RVLM level. <![CDATA[Effects of simvastatin on bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis in female rats]]> Statins reduce cholesterol levels by inhibiting 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase and have a major place in the treatment of atherosclerotic disease. Recent studies have shown anti-inflammatory properties of statins. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the anti-inflammatory effect of simvastatin on bleomycin (BLM)-induced pulmonary fibrosis in rats. A total of 31 female Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into four groups: (1) intratracheal (IT) phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) + intraperitoneal (IP) PBS (n=7); (2) IT BLM + IP PBS (n=8); (3) IT BLM + low dose (LD) simvastatin (1 mg/kg daily, n=8); (4) IT BLM + high dose (HD) simvastatin (5 mg/kg daily, n=8). Simvastatin was administered IP for 15 days, beginning 1 day prior to IT BLM. The effect of simvastatin on pulmonary fibrosis was studied by measurements of IL-13, PDGF, IFN-γ, TGF-p1 levels in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid and lung tissue hydroxyproline (HPL) content and by histopathological examination (Ashcroft score). BLM caused significant change in BAL fluid cytokine levels and increased both HPL content and histopathological score (p<0.001 for all). While LD simvastatin had no effect on cytokine levels, HD significantly reduced IL-13 (15.12 ±7.08 pg/ml vs. 4.43±2.34 pg/mL; p<0.05) and TGF-β1 levels (269.25 ±65.42 pg/mL vs. 131.75±32.65 pg/mL; p<0.05). Neither HD nor LD simvastatin attenuated HPL content or Ashcroft score. In conclusion, this study showed that LD simvastatin had no effect on a BLM-induced pulmonary fibrosis model, while the high dose caused partial improvement in profibrotic cytokine levels. <![CDATA[IGF2 expression in blood is not associated with its imprinting status in healthy pregnant Chinese women]]> Loss of Imprinting (LOI) of IGF2 and over-expressed IGF2 are associated with tumorigenesis. Our previous epidemiological study found a relatively high frequency of IGF2 LOI in healthy mid-gestation pregnant women. The aim of this study is to determine whether the expression of IGF2 is associated with its imprinting status in healthy Chinese pregnant women. The IGF2 imprinting status of 300 pregnant women was analyzed. 20 cases of IGF2 LOI and 20 cases of IGF2 retention of imprinting (ROI) were selected randomly for IGF2 expression analysis. The expression pattern of IGF2 between the group with IGF2 ROI and group with IGF2 LOI in healthy Chinese pregnant women was evaluated by real time PCR and western blot. The result showed no significant differences between IGF2 ROI and LOI groups in mRNA and protein levels. These results imply that IGF2 imprinting status has no obvious impact on its expression. There may be some unknown important factors other than imprinting status driving IGF2 expression. <![CDATA[Effect of neuroserpin in a neonatal hypoxic-ischemic injury model <i>ex vivo</i>]]> Hypoxia-ischemia (HI) occurring in immature brains stimulates the expression of tissue-type plasminogen activator (tPA). Neuroserpin is a selected inhibitor of tPA in the central nerves system. However, the role that neuroserpin plays and the possible mechanisms involved during neonatal HI are poorly defined. In this study, an oxygen-glucose deprivation and reoxygenation (OGD/R) model was generated with cultured rat cortical neurons mimicking neonatal HI injury ex vivo, and an acute neuronal excitatory injury was induced by exposure to a high concentration of N-methyl-D-aspartic acid (NMDA). Cells received either neuroserpin or MK-801, an antagonist of the NMDA receptor, during OGD/R, and were incubated with or without neuroserpin after NMDA exposure. Cell viability and morphology were detected by a Cell Counting Kit-8 and immunohistochemical staining, respectively. TPA expression and activity were also assessed. We found that MK-801 alleviated injuries induced by OGD/R, suggesting an excitatory damage involvement. Neuroserpin provided a dose-dependent neuroprotective effect in both OGD/R and acute excitatory injuries by inhibiting the activity of tPA, without affecting neuronal tPA expression. Neuroserpin protected neurons against OGD/R even after a delayed administration of 3h. Collectively, our data indicate that neuroserpin protects neurons against OGD/R. mainly by inhibiting tPA-mediated acute neuronal excitotoxicity. <![CDATA[Assessment of allelopathic properties of Aloe ferox Mill. on turnip, beetroot and carrot]]> Turnip (Brassica rapa var. rapa L.), beetroot (Beta vulgaris L.) and carrot (Daucus carota L.) are common vegetables in South Africa. The allelopathic potential of aqueous leaf and root extracts of Aloe ferox Mill.- a highly valued medicinal plant- was evaluated against seed germination and seedling growth of the three vegetables in Petri dish experiments. The extracts were tested at concentrations of 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10 mg/mL. Leaf extract concentrations above 4 mg/mL inhibited the germination of all the crops, while the root extract had no significant effect on germination irrespective of concentration. Interestingly, the lowest concentration of leaf extract stimulated root length elongation of beetroot by 31.71%. Other concentrations significantly inhibited both root and shoot growth of the vegetable crops except the turnip shoot. The most sensitive crop was carrot, with percentage inhibition ranging from 29.15 to 100% for root and shoot lengths. Lower percentage inhibition was observed for the root extract than the leaf extract against shoot growth of beetroot and carrot. The results from this study suggested the presence of allelochemicals mostly in the leaves of A. ferox that could inhibit the growth of the turnip, beetroot and carrot. <![CDATA[lnterleukin-8 gene polymorphism and susceptibility to gastric cancer in a brazilian population]]> BACKGROUND: Studies have demonstrated that some polymorphisms in different interleukin genes may increase the risk of cancer. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between the IL-8 (rs4073) -251A/T gene polymorphism and the risk of gastric cancer (GC). PATIENTS AND METHODS: A case-control study was conducted on patients with noncardia gastric cancer. DNA was extracted from leukocytes and the IL-8 (rs4073) -251A/T polymorphism was analyzed by PCR-RFLP. Infection with Helicobacter pylori was investigated in the serum by ELISA. RESULTS: The sample consisted of 104 patients with GC and 196 controls. Cigarette smoking (P=0.007) and high fat intake (P=0.01) were more frequent in patients with GC. The proportion of patients infected with H. pylori was similar in the two groups (P=0.101). The frequency of the genotype A/T was higher in the cancer group (P=0.008). An increased risk of GC was found in subjects carrying the genotype A/T (OR=2.50, CI: 1.27-4.90), subjects with high fat intake (OR=1.92, CI: 1.17-3.15), and smokers (OR=2.00, CI: 1.203.31). CONCLUSIONS: Subjects with the heterozygous A/T genotype, high fat intake and smokers or ex-smokers presented an increased risk of GC. Individuals with A/A genotype may have protective effect for GC. <![CDATA[Biological screening of selected flora of Pakistan]]> Methanolic extracts of different parts of five medicinal plants, Ferula assafoetidaL. resin, Grewia asiaticaL. leaves, Ipomoea hederaceaJacq. seeds, Lepidium sativumL. seeds and Terminalia chebulaRetz. fruits were tested in vitrofor their cytotoxic, phytotoxic, insecticidal, nematicidal and anthelmintic activities. Ipomoea hederaceashowed very significant phytotoxic and cytotoxic activity, with 100% inhibition of Lemna minorgrowth and 100% death of Artemia salinaat concentrations of 1000 and 100 µg mL-1. Grewia asiaticaexhibited very weak activities while Lepidium sativumand Ferula assafoetidashowed moderate to good potential in all three bioassays. The results suggest screening of Ipomoea hederaceaseeds further for isolation of bioactive compounds that may be responsible for its toxic potential. <![CDATA[Age-related changes in quality and fertility of porcine semen]]> The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of boar age on quality traits and fertility of liquid-stored semen. Boars were allocated into 3 age groups: 7-10 months (young), 18-33 months (mature), 51-61 months (old). Ejaculates of &gt; 200x10(6) sperm/ml and 85% total motile sperm were extended to 30x10(6) sperm/ml, stored at 17-18 °C and used within 12-24 h for artificial insemination (AI) of 2062 multiparous sows. After 24 h of storage, aliquots of diluted semen were assessed for sperm progressive motility (SPM), incidence of sperm chromatin instability (SCI), proportion of live morphologically normal sperm (LMNS) and head morphometry of LMNS. The results showed that young boars had higher percentages of SCI and lower proportions of LMNS than those of the mature (p < 0.05) and old (p < 0.001) boars, respectively. Sperm head dimensions of young and old boars were greater (p < 0.03-0.001) than those of mature boars. The farrowing rate of young boars (65%) was significantly lower (p < 0.001; χ2= 30-61) than those of the mature (87.2%) and old (84.7%) boars. The relationship between sperm head dimensions and boar fertility was non-significant. In conclusion, boar age is an important physiological factor contributing to the success of swine AI. <![CDATA[Antioxidant, Antibacterial activity and Brine shrimp toxicity test of some Mountainous Lichens from Nepal]]> A total of twenty four lichen species belonging to six families were collected from mountainous region of Nepal. The methanol extracts of each species were tested for antimicrobial and antioxidant activitiesin vitro. It was found that extracts of twenty one lichen species were active againstB. subtilis and seven species were active againstS. aureus. Similarly, in DPPH assay, three speciesPeltigera sp.,Cladonia sp., andCanoparmelia sp. showed comparable activity with commercial standard, BHA. In ABTS+ assay, extracts ofParmoterma sp.,Ramalina sp.,Peltigera sp. andCladonia sp. showed stronger activity than ascorbic acid. The observed data after comparison with previously published reports indicated that the high altitude lichens contain stronger antioxidant and antibacterial constituents. Similarly, the methanol extracts ofHeterodermia sp. andRamalina sp. showed comparable toxicity effect with commercial standard berberine chloride indicating a potent source of anticancer drugs. <![CDATA[<b>Sporogenesis and development of gametophytes in an endangered plant,</b> <b>Tetracentron sinense</b> <b>Oliv</b>]]> The sporogenesis and development of gametophytes in Tetracentron sinense Oliv. were studied with light microscopy. The anther has four microsporangia; its primary anther wall consists of an epidermis, an endothecium, one or two middle layers and one glandular tapetum. Simultaneous cytokinesis follows meiosis, forming a tetrahedral tetrad. Mature pollen grains are two-celled at the time of anther dehiscence. Its ovule is anatropous, bitegmic and crassinucellate; the development of the female gametophyte is of the monosporic 8-nucleate Polygonum type. Significantly, some striking features were first found in T. sinense: (1) anther dehiscence occurs soon after the endothecium fibrously thickens and the intersporangial septum degenerates; (2) tapetum degeneration is retarded, persisting up to the stage of two-celled pollen grain; (3) a few cellular events such as the vacuolization and the contraction and deformation of the pollen mother cell (PMC) and microspore are not normal at the PMC, dyad and tetrad stages. The abnormalities during male reproduction might be one of important factors resulting in the poor natural regeneration of T. sinense. <![CDATA[Leishmanicidal activity of carvacrol-rich essential oil from Lippia sidoides Cham]]> Leishamaniasis is a disease that affects more than 2 million people worldwide, whose causative agent is Leishmania spp. The current therapy for leishmaniasis is far from satisfactory. All available drugs, including pentavalent antimony, require parenteral administration and are potentially toxic. Moreover, an increase in clinical resistance to these drugs has been reported. In this scenario, plant essential oils used traditionally in folk medicine are emerging as alternative sources for chemotherapeutic compounds. In this study, in vitro leishmanicidal effects of a thymol- and a carvacrol-rich essential oil from leaves of Lippia sidoides Cham. were investigated. The essential oils were extracted and their constituents were characterized by gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry (GC/MS). Both essential oils showed significant activity against promastigote forms of Leishmania chagasi. However, we found that carvacrol-rich essential oil was more effective, with IC50/72 h of 54.8 μg/mL compared to 74.1 μg/mL for thymol-rich oil. Carvacrol also showed lower IC50 than thymol. Our data suggest that L. sidoides essential oils are indeed promising sources of leishmanicidal compounds. <![CDATA[<i>Gastrodia elata</i> Blume and its pure compounds protect BV-2 microglial-derived cell lines against β-amyloid: The involvement of GRP78 and CHOP]]> Objectives: Gastrodia elata (GE) Blume (Orchidaceae) has been previously known for its therapeutic benefits against neurodegenerative diseases. Microglial activation and death have been implicated in the pathogenesis of a variety of neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's disease. In this study, GE and its pure components, gastrodin and 4-hydroxybenzyl alcohol (4HBA), were applied to β-amyloid-induced BV2 mouse microglial cells. Materials and Methods Cell viability was assessed by the MTT assay and Western blotting was also performed. Results: β-amyloid-induced cell death was shown to be induced time- and dose-dependently. To examine the cell death mechanism, we confirmed the involvement of ER stress signaling. C/EBP homologous protein (CHOP), a pro-apoptotic ER stress protein, was expressed at high levels but glucose-regulated protein 78 (GRP78), an anti-apoptotic ER stress protein with chaperone activity, was only slightly affected by treatment with β-amyloid. However, pretreatment with GE and its components inhibited the expression of CHOP but increased that of GRP78 in β-amyloid-treated cells. This study also showed that a single treatment with GE extracts, gastrodin, or 4HBA induced the expression of GRP78, a marker for enhanced protein folding machinery, suggesting a protective mechanism for GE against β-amyloid. Conclusions: This study reveals the protective effects of GE against β-amyloid-induced cell death, possibly through the enhancement of protein folding machinery of a representative protein, GRP78, and the regulation of CHOP in BV2 mouse microglial cells.