Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Biological Research]]> vol. 46 num. 1 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[Exosomes: mediators of communication in eukaryotes]]> In addition to the established mechanisms of intercellular signaling, a new way of communication has gained much attention in the last decade: communication mediated by exosomes. Exosomes are nanovesicles (with a diameter of 40-120 nm) secreted into the extracellular space by the multivesicular endosome after its outer membrane fuses with the plasma membrane. Once released, exosomes modulate the response of the recipient cells that recognize them. This indicates that exosomes operate in a specific manner and participate in the regulation of the target cell. Remarkably, exosomes occur from unicellular organisms to mammals, suggesting an evolutionarily conserved mechanism of communication. In this review we describe the cascade of exosome formation, intracellular traffic, secretion, and internalization by recipient cells, and review their most relevant effects. We also highlight important steps that are still poorly understood. <![CDATA[Expression of resistin, CXCR3, IP-10, CCR5 and MIP-1α in obese patients with different severity of asthma]]> Asthma studies suggest that alteration in the inflammation pattern may be associated with the severity of asthma. The aim of this study was to compare in vitro the expression of chemokines, chemokine receptors and cytokine production from CD4+ T human lymphocytes of asthmatic, both obese and non-obese patients with different severity levels of asthma. Lymphocytes were labeled with monoclonal anti-human CXCR3/IP-10, MIP-1a/CCR5 antibodies and were analyzed by flow cytometry. Cell culture supernatants were used to measure production of interleukin IL-6 and resistin by ELISA. CXCR3/IP-10 expression increased in non-obese patients with mild persistent asthma (2.2%, p<0.05), moderate persistent asthma (3%, p<0.003) and severe persistent asthma (4%, p<0.004); this effect was stronger in obese patients with severe persistent asthma (35%, p<0.004). MIP-1 α / CCR5 increased in non-obese patients with intermittent asthma (0.65%, p<0.05) and severe asthma (1.4%, p<0.03); in obese patients, this expression was greater in intermittent asthma (8%, p<0.05) and severe persistent asthma (12%, p<0.04). Resistin production strongly increased in obese patients with intermittent (976 ng/ml) and severe persistent asthma (795 ng/ml). IL-6 increased in both lean and obese persons; however, the highest value was registered in the group of severe persistent obese asthmatics (992 pg/ml). Obesity per se increased the inflammatory profile of chemokines / cytokines secreted by cells of the blood, increasing the inflammatory status in asthmatic patients. Resistin showed characteristics of a pro-inflammatory cytokine mainly in severely obese asthmatics. <![CDATA[<b>The monthly rhythm of incidence and age at menarche: thirty five years of research</b>: <b>The circa-vacation-study expectancy rhythm of incidence and age at menarche</b>]]> The hypothesis that the vacation-study-expectancy scholar regime produces most of the monthly rhythm of the age at menarche (AaM) was tested. Studies on monthly menarche incidence (MI) refuted climatic factors as a main factor in this rhythm, and indicated that the main factor of this rhythm is the succession of expectancies of study (Stu-months) or vacation (Vac-months) months within a year. Thus the hypothesis of seasonal circa-annual rhythm should be modified to the circa-[vacation (fiesta)]-[study (non-fiesta)]-expectancies rhythm for the MI and age at menarche annual rhythms. In several countries Vac-months had higher MI than Stu-months. The high MI of Vac-months was followed by a large decrease when girls started their studies and a MI increase occurred as vacations approached. The hypothesis proposes that at the end of vacations and at the beginning of the study period the AaM should be lowest, and then the mean of AaM should increase because of the menarche delay of girls whose menarche was arrested by the initiation of school work. This pattern was found in four independent samples, from Chile, Colombia, USA and Brazil. The probability that this result be due to random fluctuation of means is extraordinarily low (P<10-8). I conclude that the influence of the expectancy of vacation and study periods on the monthly rhythm of the age at menarche is a real process that accounts for most of this rhythm. <![CDATA[Regional density of glial cells in the rat corpus callosum]]> Axons and glial cells are the main components of white matter. The corpus callosum (CC) is the largest white matter tract in mammals; in rodents, 99% of the cells correspond to glia after postnatal day 5 (P5). The area of the CC varies through life and regional differences related to the number of axons have been previously described. Whether glial cell density varies accordingly is unknown; thus the aim of this study was to estimate glial cell density for the genu, body and splenium -the three main regions of CC-, of P6 and P30 rats. Here we report that the density of CC glial cells reduced by ~10% from P6 to P30. Even so, the density of astrocytes showed a slight increase (+6%), probably due to differentiation of glioblasts. Interestingly, glial cell density decreased for the genu (-21%) and the body (-13%), while for the splenium a minor increase (+5%) was observed. The astrocyte/glia ratio increased (from P6 to P30) for the genu (+27%), body (+17%) and splenium (+4%). Together, our results showed regional differences in glial cell density of the CC. Whether this pattern is modified in some neuropathologies remains to be explored. <![CDATA[Protective role of vitamins C and E in diclorvos-induced oxidative stress in human erythrocytes <i>in vitro</i>]]> Organophosphate (OP) pesticides such as dichlorvos (DDVP) intoxication has been shown to produce oxidative stress due to the generation of free radicals, which alter the antioxidant defense system in erythrocytes. In this study, the effects of DDVP (1, 10, 100 µM) or DDVP + vitamin C (VC; 10 µM) or vitamin E (VE; 30 µM), on the levels of malondialdehyde (MDA), superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) activities in human erythrocytes were examined in vitro. There were no statistical differences between all groups for 1 µM concentration of DDVP. Treatment with DDVP alone produced an increase in the level of MDA and decreased activities of antioxidant enzymes (P < 0.05). Groups treated with vitamins and DDVP showed protective effects of vitamins against DDVP-induced changes in antioxidant enzyme activity and lipid peroxidation (LPO) (10 µM). At 100 µM concentration of DDVP vitamins had no effect on DDVP-induced toxicity. The results show that administration of DDVP resulted in the induction of erythrocyte LPO and alterations in antioxidant enzyme activities, suggesting that reactive oxygen species (ROS) may be involved in the toxic effects of DDVP. Also the data show that the plasma level of VC and VE may ameliorate OP-induced oxidative stress by decreasing LPO in erythrocytes at certain doses of OP pesicides. <![CDATA[Protective effect of silk lutein on ultraviolet B-irradiated human keratinocytes]]> Carotenoids are efficient antioxidants that are of great importance for human health. Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotinoids present in high concentrations in the human retina which are involved in the photoprotection of the human eye. Lutein may also protect the skin from ultraviolet (UV)-induced damage. The present study investigated the protective effect of lutein extracted from yellow silk cocoons of Bombyx mori on human keratinocytes against UVB irradiation. A human keratinocyte cell line and primary human keratinocytes were used to investigate the UVB protection effects of silk lutein and plant lutein. Silk lutein showed no cytotoxicity to keratinocytes. Treatment with silk lutein prior to UVB irradiation enhanced cell viability and cell proliferation, and reduced cell apoptosis. The protective effects of silk lutein may be superior to those of plant lutein. Silk lutein may have a benefit for protection of keratinocytes against UVB-irradiation. <![CDATA[A simple and effective pressure culture system modified from a transwell cell culture system]]> Mechanical pressure plays an important role in many physiological and pathological processes. Mimicking the mechanical pressure present in vitro is necessary for related research, but usually requires expensive and complicated equipment. In this study we created a simple pressure culture system based on the transwell culture system. By cutting off the top rim of the transwell insert, the cells were compressed between the insert membrane and the well floor. The new pressure culture system was proven effective in that it induced cell morphological change, integrin β1 upregulation, actin polymerization and growth change in rat retinal ganglion cells, human nasopharyngeal carcinoma cells and mice embryonic fibroblasts. Though the pressure value is immeasurable and inhomogeneous, the easily available culture system still provides a choice for the laboratories that do not have access to the better, but much more expensive pressure culture equipment. <![CDATA[The pioneering use of ISSR (Inter Simple Sequence Repeat) in Neotropical anurans: preliminary assessment of genetic diversity in populations of <i>Physalaemus cuvieri</i> (Amphibia, Leiuperidae)]]> The greatest diversity of anurans in the world is in Brazil and one of the major challenges is to reconcile the accelerated economic development with strategies that aim to maintain this diversity in forest fragments, often representing ESUs of some biomes. This study aimed to obtain data that will support conservation projects through the pioneering use of ISSR analysis in Neotropical anurans, estimating the intra- and interpopulation genetic diversity of four populations of P. cuvieri (Paraná and São Paulo regions). Of the 65 loci scored 58 were polymorphic, with 0.797 intrapopulation variation and 0.203 interpopulation variation. The index of interpopulation genetic differentiation (Fst) proved to be high among the population of Marmeleiro-PR and the three populations of SP (Fst > 0.288); genetic dissimilarity was related to the geographical distance. The ISSR proved to be efficient and useful molecular markers in comparison with other markers most widely used for preliminary diagnosis of genetic diversity in populations of amphibians, and could be applied as a tool for future conservation projects, since they could identify potential ESUs and influence decisions on the preservation of fragments. <![CDATA[<b>Acclimatization to chronic intermittent hypoxia in mine workers</b>: <b>a challenge to mountain medicine in Chile</b>]]> In the past two decades, Chile has developed intense mining activity in the Andes mountain range, whose altitude is over 4,000 meters above sea level. It is estimated that a workforce population of over 55,000 is exposed to high altitude hypobaric hypoxia. The miners work under shift systems which vary from 4 to 20 days at the worksite followed by rest days at sea level, in a cycle repeated for several years. This Chronic Intermittent Hypoxia (CIH) constitutes an unusual condition for workers involving a series of changes at the physiological, cellular and molecular levels attempting to compensate for the decrease in the environmental partial pressure of oxygen (PO2). The mine worker must become acclimatized to CIH, and consequently undergoes an acute acclimatization process when he reaches the worksite and an acute reverse process when he reaches sea level. We have observed that after a period of 3 to 8 years of CIH exposure workers acclimatize well, and evidence from our studies and those of others indicates that CIH induces acute and chronic multisystem adjustments which are effective in offsetting the reduced availability of oxygen at high altitudes. The aims of this review are to summarize findings of the physiological responses to CIH exposure, highlighting outstanding issues in the field. <![CDATA[Quantitative analysis of nucleolar chromatin distribution in the complex convoluted nucleoli of <i>Didinium nasutum</i> (Ciliophora)]]> We have earlier shown that the typical Didinium nasutum nucleolus is a complex convoluted branched domain, comprising a dense fibrillar component located at the periphery of the nucleolus and a granular component located in the central part. Here our main interest was to study quantitatively the spatial distribution of nucleolar chromatin structures in these convoluted nucleoli. There are no "classical" fibrillar centers in D.nasutum nucleoli. The spatial distribution of nucleolar chromatin bodies, which play the role of nucleolar organizers in the macronucleus of D.nasutum, was studied using 3D reconstructions based on serial ultrathin sections. The relative number of nucleolar chromatin bodies was determined in macronuclei of recently fed, starved D.nasutum cells and in resting cysts. This parameter is shown to correlate with the activity of the nucleolus. However, the relative number of nucleolar chromatin bodies in different regions of the same convoluted nucleolus is approximately the same. This finding suggests equal activity in different parts of the nucleolar domain and indicates the existence of some molecular mechanism enabling it to synchronize this activity in D. nasutum nucleoli. Our data show that D. nasutum nucleoli display bipartite structure. All nucleolar chromatin bodies are shown to be located outside of nucleoli, at the periphery of the fibrillar component. <![CDATA[High gender -specific susceptibility to curare- a neuromuscular blocking agent]]> Curare, a selective skeletal muscle relaxant, has been used clinically to reduce shivering and as an anesthetic auxiliary in abdominal surgery. It is also widely used in animal experiments to block neuromuscular junction activity. Effective doses of curare diminish muscle contraction without affecting brain function, but at higher doses it is known to be lethal. However, the exact dose of curare initiating muscle relaxation vs. lethal effect has not been fully characterized in mice. In this study we carefully examined the dose-response for achieving muscle inactivity over lethality in both male and female mice (C57BL6/J). The most striking finding of this study is that female mice were highly susceptible to curare; both the EDm and LDm were at least 3-fold lower than male littermates. This study shows that gender-specific differences can be an important factor when administering skeletal muscle relaxants, particularly curare or other analogous agents targeted to the neuromuscular junction. <![CDATA[Physiological behavior of bean <i>(phaseolus vulgaris</i> l.) Seedlings under metal stress]]> The effects of nickel, cobalt, chromium and zinc on the content of vitamins A, E and C, malondialdehyde (MDA), chlorophyll and carotenoids were investigated in bean seedlings (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) grown in Hoagland solution Control and heavy metal-treated plants were grown for ten days in Hoagland solution. Vitamin A, E, and C content were measured in primary leaves by high performance liquid chromatographic (HPLC). MDA, chlorophyll and carotenoids were measured in leaves by spectrophotometer. In heavy metal treated plants, the levels of MDA, vitamins A, E and C and carotenoids significantly increased, while chlorophyll content decreased in leaves of seedlings. The results indicate that heavy metals caused an oxidative stress in bean plants. The strongest effect on vitamins A, E and C, MDA, chlorophyll and carotenoids was found in plants exposed to nickel, followed by the sequence cobalt > chromium> zinc. <![CDATA[Antitumor function and mechanism of phycoerythrin from <i>Porphyra haitanensis</i>]]> The anti-tumor effect of R-Phycoerythrin (R-PE) from Porphyra haitanensis was studied using cell line HeLa as an in vitro model and Sarcoma-180 (S180) tumor-bearing mice as an in vivo model. The results showed that the combination treatment of R-PE and photodynamic therapy PDT) significantly inhibited the growth of HeLa cells up to 81.5%, with a fair dose-effect relationship, but did not inhibit endothelial cells. The annexin v-fitc/PI fluorescence staining experiments demonstrated that at doses between 0~60µg/mL, apoptosis cells and later stage apoptosis cells or necrosis cells increased significantly as the R-PE dosage increased. DNA electrophoresis showed that after R-PE+PDT treatment of HeLa cells for 24 hours, a light "smear" band between 100~400bp appeared to indicate the degradation of genomic DNA. The QRT-PCR results showed that R-PE+PDT treatment increased caspase-3 and caspase-10 gene expression and decreased the Bcl-2 gene expression level significantly as the R-PE dose increased, implying that R-PE promoted HeLa cell apoptosis. Compared with untreated S180 tumor-bearing mice, R-PE injection significantly inhibited the growth of S180 in tumor-bearing mice up to 41.3% at a dose of 300mg-kg-1. Simultaneously, the significant increase of superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity in serum (p < 0.01) and the decrease of the malondialdehyde (MDA) level in liver suggests that R-PE improved the anti-oxidant ability of the S180 tumor-bearing mice, which may related to its antitumor effect. In addition, the R-PE caused a significant increase (p < 0.05) in the spleen index and thymus index, and a significant increase (p < 0.01) in lymphocyte proliferation, NK cell kill activity and the TNF-α level in the serum of S180 tumor-bearing mice. These results strongly suggest that the antitumor effect of R-PE from Porphyra haitanensis functioned by increasing the immunity and antioxidant ability of S180 tumor-bearing mice, promoting apoptosis by increasing protease gene expression and TNF-α secretion.