Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Biological Research]]> vol. 47 num. lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Biological Research marks its 50th year by joining BioMed Central</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>First report of <i>in vitro</i> selection of RNA aptamers targeted to recombinant <i>Loxosceles laeta</i> spider toxins</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Loxoscelism is the envenomation caused by the bite of Loxosceles spp. spiders. It entails severe necrotizing skin lesions, sometimes accompanied by systemic reactions and even death. There are no diagnostic means and treatment is mostly palliative. The main toxin, found in several isoforms in the venom, is sphingomyelinase D (SMD), a phospholipase that has been used to generate antibodies intended for medical applications. Nucleic acid aptamers are a promising alternative to antibodies. Aptamers may be isolated from a combinatorial mixture of oligonucleotides by iterative selection of those that bind to the target. In this work, two Loxosceles laeta SMD isoforms, Ll1 and Ll2, were produced in bacteria and used as targets with the aim of identifying RNA aptamers that inhibit sphingomyelinase activity. RESULTS: Six RNA aptamers capable of eliciting partial but statistically significant inhibitions of the sphingomyelinase activity of recombinant SMD-Ll1 and SMD-Ll2 were obtained: four aptamers exert ~17% inhibition of SMD-Ll1, while two aptamers result in ~25% inhibition of SMD-Ll2 and ~18% cross inhibition of SMD-Ll1. CONCLUSIONS: This work is the first attempt to obtain aptamers with therapeutic and diagnostic potential for loxoscelism and provides an initial platform to undertake the development of novel anti Loxoscelesvenom agents. <![CDATA[<b>Assessment of changes in the <i>brca2</i> and <i>p53</i> genes in breast invasive ductal carcinoma in northeast Brazil</b>]]> BACKGROUND: BRCA protein interacts with at least 13 different proteins that have been implicated with cancer susceptibility and loss of BRCA function is correlated to sensitivity to DNA crosslinking agents in preclinical models. RESULTS: BRCA2 methylation frequency was 44%, p53 Pro22 allele frequency was 32% and heterozygous frequency of Arg/Pro72 genotype was 60% which could be associated as risk factor for metastasis (p = 0.046 OR = 4.190). Regarding to polymorphism of codon 249 the frequency of Arg249 allele presented 82% which was considered not statistically significant. CONCLUSIONS: There was not statistical significance to BRCA2 promoter methylation with any parameters chosen. However, our findings suggest that patients who present heterozygous genotype at codon 72 of p53 gene may have a major susceptibility to any type of metastasis and this could serve as potential auxiliary biomarker for poor prognosis. <![CDATA[<b>Effects of R219K polymorphism of ATP-binding cassette transporter 1 gene on serum lipids ratios induced by a high-carbohydrate and low-fat diet in healthy youth</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Diets are the important players in regulating plasma lipid profiles. And the R219K polymorphism at the gene of ATP-binding cassette transporter 1(ABCA1) was reported to be associated with the profiles. However, no efforts have been made to investigate the changes of lipid profiles after a high-carbohydrate and low-fat diet in different subjects with different genotypes of this polymorphism. This study was to evaluate the effects of ABCA1 R219K polymorphism on serum lipid and apolipoprotein (apo) ratios induced by a high-carbohydrate/low-fat (high-CHO) diet. After a washout diet of 54.1% carbohydrate for 7 days, 56 healthy young subjects (22.89 ± 1.80 years old) were given a high-CHO diet of 70.1% carbohydrate for 6 days. Height, weight, waist circumference, hip circumference, glucose (Glu), triglyceride (TG), total cholesterol (TC), high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), apoA-1 and apoB-100 were measured on the 1st, 8th and 14th days of this study. Body mass index (BMI), waist-to-hip ratios (WHR), log(TG/HDL-C), TC/HDL-C, LDL-C/HDL-C and apoA-1/apoB-100 were calculated. ABCA1 R219K was analyzed by a PCR-RFLP method. RESULTS: The results indicate that the male subjects of all the genotypes had higher WHR than their female counterparts on the 1st, 8th and 14th days of this study. The male K carriers had higher log(TG/HDL-C) and TC/HDL-C than the female carriers on the 1st and 14th days, and higher LDL-C/HDL-C on the 14th day. When compared with that on the 8th day, TC/HDL-C was decreased regardless of the genotypes and genders on the 14th day. Log(TG/HDL-C) was increased in the males with the RR genotype and the female K carriers. Lowered BMI, Glu and LDL-C/HDL-C were found in the male K carriers, but only lowered BMI in the female K carriers and only lowered LDL-C/HDL-C in the females with the RR genotype. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that ABCA1 R219K polymorphism is associated differently in males and females with elevated log(TG/HDL-C) and decreased LDL-C/HDL-C induced by the high-CHO diet. <![CDATA[<b>Selected spices and their combination modulate hypercholesterolemia-induced oxidative stress in experimental rats</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Effect of aqueous extracts of Allium sativum (garlic), Zingiber officinale (ginger), Capsicum fructensces (cayenne pepper) and their mixture on oxidative stress in rats fed high Cholesterol/high fat diet was investigated. Rats were randomly distributed into six groups (n = 6) and given different dietary/spice treatments. Group 1 standard rat chow (control), group 2, hypercholesterolemic diet plus water, and groups 3, 4, 5, 6, hypercholesterolemic diet with 0.5 ml 200 mg · kg-1 aqueous extracts of garlic, ginger, cayenne pepper or their mixture respectively daily for 4 weeks. RESULTS: Pronounced oxidative stress in the hypercholesterolemic rats evidenced by significant (p < 0.05) increase in MDA levels, and suppression of the antioxidant enzymes system in rat's liver, kidney, heart and brain tissues was observed. Extracts of spices singly or combined administered at 200 body weight significantly (p < 0.05) reduced MDA levels and restored activities of antioxidant enzymes. CONCLUSIONS: It is concluded that consumption of garlic, ginger, pepper, or their mixture may help to modulate oxidative stress caused by hypercholesterolemia in rats. <![CDATA[<b>Acute oral toxicity and anti-inflammatory activity of hydroalcoholic extract from <i>Lampaya medicinalis</i> Phil in rats</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Algesia and inflammation are related with several pathological conditions. It is known that many drugs available for the treatment of these problems cause unwanted side effects. This study was aimed at evaluating acute toxicity and anti-inflammatory activity of Lampaya medicinalis Phil. (Verbenaceae) widely used in the folk medicine of Northern Chile against rheumatism, arthritis and body joints pain. RESULTS: Oral administration of hydroalcoholic extract (HAE) at the highest dose of 3000 mg/ Kg body weight resulted in no mortalities or evidence of significant behavioral changes. Histological examination revealed normal architecture and no significant adverse effects were observed on the liver, kidney, heart, lung or ovaries and testicles. The results suggest that the oral administration of hydroalcoholic extract (HAE) from Lampaya medicinalis did not produce any toxic effect in rats. Hydroalcoholic extract (HAE) significantly inhibited the carrageenan-induced rat paw edema in dose - response relationship, at test doses of 37.5, 75, 150 and 300 mg/Kg body weight. Maximum inhibition (61.98 ± 2.69%) was noted at 300 mg/Kg after 2 h of drug treatment carrageenan induced paw edema, whereas indomethacin produced 47.90 ± 1.16% of inhibition. The inhibitory values of edema at 3 h postcarrageenan were 31.04±0.75%, 40.51 ± 2.36%, 48.97 ± 1.14% and 56.87 ± 0.41% for 37.5, 75, 150, and 300 mg/kg of extract respectively. Indomethacin (10 mg/Kg) gave a percentage inhibition of 49.44 ± 1.44. HAE (300 and 150 mg/kg) induced an anti-inflammatory effect greater than (or comparable) with the effect of indomethacin from 2nd to 4th hours of the experiment. CONCLUSIONS: Our results reveal for first time that compounds contained in the hydroalcoholic extract ofLampaya medicinalis Phil exert anti-inflammatory effect and the oral administration is safe and non toxic up to dose level 3000 mg/kg body weight. The anti-inflammatory activity may be associated with the presence of flavonoids. These findings also justify the traditional use of the plant for treating pain. <![CDATA[<b>Association of serum total bilirubin levels with diastolic dysfunction in heart failure with preserved ejection fraction</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Left ventricular diastolic dysfunction is one of the main characteristics of heart failure patients with a preserved left ventricular ejection fraction. As bilirubin is regarded as an important endogenous antioxidant molecule, serum total bilirubin levels were compared between heart failure patients with a preserved left ventricular ejection fraction and normal controls in this study. We recruited 327 heart failure patients with a preserved left ventricular ejection fraction and 200 healthy controls. Patients were divided into 4 subgroups by their comprehensive echocardiographic manifestations, 1-mild, 2-moderate, 3-severe (reversible restrictive), 4-severe (fixed restrictive). Total bilirubin levels were compared using stepwise multiple regressions adjusted for selected factors. RESULTS: After adjusting for gender, age, smoking, systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, total cholesterol and triglyceride, serum total bilirubin levels were significantly lower in the heart failure group compared with the control group (P < 0.01). Patients in the subgroup (4-severe) showed significantly (P < 0.05) lower levels of total bilirubin when compared with the subgroup (1-mild). CONCLUSIONS: TB level was negatively correlated with left ventricular diastolic dysfunction in heart failure patients with a preserved left ventricular ejection fraction, which might provide a new insight into the complicated mechanisms of heart failure with a preserved left ventricular ejection fraction. <![CDATA[<b>Role of berberine in ameliorating <i>Schistosoma mansoni</i>-induced hepatic injury in mice</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Schistosomiasis is caused by helminth parasites of the genus Schistosoma. Berberine chloride (BER), an isoquinoline alkaloid, has been used in vivo for its antiparasitic, antioxidant and hepatoprotective properties. In this study, the protective effect of BER and praziquantel has been compared for the extent of schistosomiasis-induced oxidative stress in hepatic tissue of mice. RESULTS: S. mansoni was able to induce inflammation and injury to the liver, evidenced (i) by an increase in inflammatory cellular infiltrations, dilated sinusoids and vacuolated hepatocytes, (ii) by decreased levels of alanine and aspartate aminotransferases and increased levels of alkaline phosphatase, γ-glutamyl transferase in the liver homogenate, (iii) by increased production of nitric oxide and thiobarbituric acid reactive substances, and (iv) by lowered glutathione levels and decreased activities of catalase and superoxide dismutase, respectively. All these infection-induced parameters were significantly altered during BER treatment. In particular, berberine counteracted the S. mansoni-induced loss of glutathione and the activities of catalase and superoxide dismutase. CONCLUSION: Based on these results, it is concluded that berberine could ameliorate pre-existing liver damage and oxidative stress conditions due to schistosomiasis. <![CDATA[<b>Evaluation of seasonal antioxidant activity and total phenolic compounds in stems and leaves of some almond (<i>Prunus amygdalus</i> L.) varieties</b>]]> BACKGROUND: This study aimed to determine the seasonal changes of total antioxidant activity and phenolic compounds in samples taken from leaves (April, July, October) and stems (April, July, October, January) of some almond (Prunus amygdalus L.) varieties (Nonpareil, Ferragnes and Texas). RESULTS: It was indicated that antioxidant activity and phenolic compounds in leaves and stems of Nonpareil, Ferragnes and Texas showed seasonal differences. Antioxidant activity IC50 of these varieties reached the highest value in April for leaves whereas in October for stems. The highest level of total phenolic compounds was in January for stems while in October for leaves. CONCLUSIONS: These results showed that total antioxidant activity and phenolics in leaves and stems of almond varieties changed according to season and plant organ. <![CDATA[<b>Estimation of antioxidant, antimicrobial activity and brine shrimp toxicity of plants collected from Oymyakon region of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), Russia</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Several plants are reported to be produced various biological active compounds. Lichens from the extreme environments such as high altitude, high UV, drought and cold are believed to be synthesized unique types of secondary metabolites than the other one. Several human pathogenic bacteria and fungi have been muted into drug resistant strains. Various synthetic antioxidant compounds have posed carcinogenic effects. This phenomenon needs further research for new effective drugs of natural origin. This manuscript aimed to screen new source of biological active compounds from plants of subarctic origin. RESULTS: A total of 114 plant species, including 80 species of higher plants, 19 species of lichens and 15 species of mosses, were collected from Oymyakon region of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), Russia (63˚20′N, 141˚42′E - 63˚15′N, 142˚27′E). Antimicrobial, DPPH free radical scavenging and brine shrimp (Artemia salina) toxicity of all crude extract were evaluated. The obtained result was analyzed and compared with commercial standards. A total of 28 species of higher plants showed very strong antioxidant activity (DPPH IC50, 0.45-5.0 µg/mL), 13 species showed strong activity (DPPH IC50, 5-10 µg/mL), 22 species showed moderate antioxidant activity (DPPH IC50,10-20 µg/mL) and 17 species showed weak antioxidant activity (DPPH IC50 more than 20 µg/mL). Similarly, 3 species of lichen showed strong antioxidant activity, one species showed moderate and 15 species showed weak DPPH reducing activity. In addition, 4 species of mosses showed moderate antioxidant activity and 11 species showed weak antioxidant activity. Similarly, extracts of 51 species of higher plants showed antimicrobial (AM) activity against Staphylococcus aureus and 2 species showed AM activity against Candida albicans. Similarly, 11 species of lichen showed AM activity against S. aureus and 3 species showed AM activity against Escherichia coli. One species of moss showed AM activity against S. aureus. And finally, one species of higher plant Rheum compactum and one species of lichen Flavocetraria cucullata showed the toxicity against Brine shrimp larvae in 100 µg/mL of concentration. CONCLUSION: The experimental results showed that subarctic plant species could be potential sources of various biologically active natural compounds. <![CDATA[<b>Seed germination of <i>Agave</i> species as influenced by substrate water potential</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Plants of Agave spp. perform Crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) and are highly drought-tolerant, but little is known concerning seed germination under low water availability. The aim of this study was to assess the effect of substrate water potential (ΨW) on seed germination and contrast hydrotime parameters of seven valuable and commercially-important Agave species from different geographical distributions and climatic regions of Mexico. Our hypothesis was that seed germination of Agave species is not affected by low water availability independently of seed biomass and the climate of their distribution area. RESULTS: Seed germination (at 25°C and in the dark) between 85 and 100% for all species occurred within 80 - 180 h at -0.03 MPa and 250 - 430 h at -1.0 MPa. Seed germination at -1.5 MPa declined to less than 50% (p < 0.05) for A. asperrima and A. cupreata but did not change significantly for A. americana var. marginata, A. lechuguilla and A. striata, although they showed the lowest mean base water potential (-2.01 to -2.64 MPa). Seed germination of 40% Agave species, from arid and semi-arid climates in this study, was not affected by the lower ΨW. CONCLUSION: Germination of seeds of Agave species is moderately affected by low water availability, is partially dependent of their ecological distribution, and is independent of seed mass. <![CDATA[<b>Compositional studies and Biological activities of <i>Perovskia abrotanoides</i> Kar. oils</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Current study has been designed to evaluate the chemical composition of essential and fixed oils from stem and leaves of Perovskia abrotanoides and antioxidant and antimicrobial activities of these oils. RESULTS: GC-MS analysis of essential oil identified 19 compounds with (E)-9-dodecenal being the major component in stem and hexadecanoic acid in leaves. In contrast, GC-MS analysis of fixed oil showed 40 constituents with α-amyrin the major component in stem and α-copaene in leaves. The antioxidant activity showed the highest value of 76.7% in essential oil from leaves in comparison with fixed oil from stem (45.9%) through inhibition of peroxidation in linoleic acid system. The antimicrobial assay tested on different microorganisms (e.g. E. coli, S. aureus, B. cereus, Nitrospira, S. epidermis, A. niger, A. flavus and C. albicans) showed the higher inhibition zone at essential oil from leaves (15.2 mm on B. cereus) as compared to fixed oil from stem (8.34 mm onS. aureus) and leaves (11.2 mm on S. aureus). CONCLUSIONS: The present study revealed the fact that essential oil analyzed from Perovskia abrotanoides stem and leaves could be a promising source of natural products with potential antioxidant and antimicrobial activities, as compared to fixed oil. <![CDATA[<b>Comparative acute toxicity of gallium(III), antimony(III), indium(III), cadmium(II), and copper(II) on freshwater swamp shrimp (<i>Macrobrachium nipponense</i>)</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Acute toxicity testing were carried out the freshwater swamp shrimp, Macrobrachium nipponense, as the model animal for the semiconductor applied metals (gallium, antimony, indium, cadmium, and copper) to evaluate if the species is an suitable experimental animal of pollution in aquatic ecosystem. RESULTS: The static renewal test method of acute lethal concentrations determination was used, and water temperature was maintained at 24.0 ± 0.5°C. Data of individual metal obtained from acute toxicity tests were determined using probit analysis method. The median lethal concentration (96-h LC50) of gallium, antimony, indium, cadmium, and copper for M. nipponense were estimated as 2.7742, 1.9626, 6.8938, 0.0539, and 0.0313 mg/L, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Comparing the toxicity tolerance of M. nipponense with other species which exposed to these metals, it is obviously that the M. nipponense is more sensitive than that of various other aquatic animals. <![CDATA[<b><i>Sarcophaga (Liosarcophaga) dux</i></b><b> (Diptera: Sarcophagidae)</b>: <b>A flesh fly species of medical importance</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Although tropical climate of Thailand is suitably endowed with biodiversity of insects, flies of medical importance is not well investigated. Using information from literature search, fly survey approach and specialist's experience, we review database of Sarcophaga (Liosarcophaga) dux Thomson (Diptera: Sarcophagidae), one of the priorities flesh fly species of medical importance in Thailand. RESULTS: This review deals with morphology, bionomics and medical involvement. Important morphological characteristics of egg, larva, puparia and adult were highlighted with illustration and/or micrographs. Search pertaining to molecular analysis used for fly identification and developmental rate of larvae were included. Medical involvement of larvae was not only myiasis-producing agent in humans and animals, but associated with human death investigations. CONCLUSIONS: This information will enable us to accurate identify this species and to emphasis the increase medically important scene in Thailand. <![CDATA[<b>Immune enhancement activities of silk lutein extract from <i>Bombyx mori</i> cocoons</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Declining immune function poses an important clinical challenge worldwide and supplementation with natural products that possessing immune enhancing properties is a promising approach for preventing or delaying immune function decline. Cocoons from yellow silkworms are a significant source of lutein, and this unexplored silk extract could be a viable alternative source for dietary lutein. This study assessed immunomodulatory activities of the silk lutein extract. Female BALB/c mice orally received lutein, either as silk or marigold extracts (10 or 20 mg/kg daily), or vehicle only (1% tween 80 in PBS pH 7.4) for 4 weeks. Natural killer (NK) cell activity, specific antibody production, lymphocyte subpopulations, mitogen-induced lymphocyte proliferation, and cytokine production were examined. RESULTS: Silk lutein extract increased NK cell activity, and the effect was dose-related whereas marigold lutein extract was ineffective. Silk lutein extract dose-dependently enhanced antibody production in pre-immunized mice but marigold lutein extract had no effect. Feeding with silk lutein extract increased the populations of CD3+ and CD4 + CD3 + cells. Silk lutein extract also stimulated concanavalin A- and lipopolysaccharide-induced proliferations of T and B lymphocytes, respectively. Moreover, silk lutein extract increased IL-2 and IFN-γ production while the effect of marigold lutein extract was undetectable. CONCLUSIONS: Together, silk lutein extract enhanced both innate and adaptive immune functions. This preparation may prove to be an effective supplement for strengthened immunity. <![CDATA[<b>Robertsonian chromosomes and the nuclear architecture of mouse meiotic prophase spermatocytes</b>]]> BACKGROUND: The nuclear architecture of meiotic prophase spermatocytes is based on higher-order patterns of spatial associations among chromosomal domains from different bivalents. The meiotic nuclear architecture depends on the chromosome characteristics and consequently is prone to modification by chromosomal rearrangements. In this work, we consider Mus domesticus spermatocytes with diploid chromosome number 2n = 40, all telocentric, and investigate a possible modification of the ancestral nuclear architecture due to the emergence of derived Rb chromosomes, which may be present in the homozygous or heterozygous condition. RESULTS: In the 2n = 40 spermatocyte nuclei random associations mediated by pericentromeric heterochromatin among the 19 telocentric bivalents ocurr at the nuclear periphery. The observed frequency of associations among them, made distinguishable by specific probes and FISH, seems to be the same for pairs that may or may not form Rb chromosomes. In the homozygote Rb 2n = 24 spermatocytes, associations also mediated by pericentromeric heterochromatin occur mainly between the three telocentric or the eight metacentric bivalents themselves. In heterozygote Rb 2n = 32 spermatocytes all heterochromatin is localized at the nuclear periphery, yet associations are mainly observed among the three telocentric bivalents and between the asynaptic axes of the trivalents. CONCLUSIONS: The Rb chromosomes pose sharp restrictions for interactions in the 2n = 24 and 2n = 32 spermatocytes, as compared to the ample possibilities for interactions between bivalents in the 2n = 40 spermatocytes. Undoubtedly the emergence of Rb chromosomes changes the ancestral nuclear architecture of 2n = 40 spermatocytes since they establish new types of interactions among chromosomal domains, particularly through centromeric and heterochromatic regions at the nuclear periphery among telocentric and at the nuclear center among Rb metacentric ones. <![CDATA[<b>Physiological and biochemical characterization of egg extract of black widow spiders to uncover molecular basis of egg toxicity</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Black widow spider (L. tredecimguttatus) has toxic components not only in the venomous glands, but also in other parts of the body and its eggs. It is biologically important to investigate the molecular basis of the egg toxicity. RESULTS: In the present work, an aqueous extract was prepared from the eggs of the spider and characterized using multiple physiological and biochemical strategies. Gel electrophoresis and mass spectrometry demonstrated that the eggs are rich in high-molecular-mass proteins and the peptides below 5 kDa. The lyophilized extract of the eggs had a protein content of 34.22% and was shown to have a strong toxicity towards mammals and insects. When applied at a concentration of 0.25 mg/mL, the extract could completely block the neuromuscular transmission in mouse isolated phrenic nerve-hemidiaphragm preparations within 12.0 ± 1.5 min. Using whole-cell patch-clamp technique, the egg extract was demonstrated to be able to inhibit the voltage-activated Na+, K+and Ca2+ currents in rat DRG neurons. In addition, the extract displayed activities of multiple hydrolases. Finally, the molecular basis of the egg toxicity was discussed. CONCLUSIONS: The eggs of black widow spiders are rich in proteinous compounds particularly the high-molecular-mass proteins with different types of biological activity The neurotoxic and other active compounds in the eggs are believed to play important roles in the eggs' toxic actions. <![CDATA[<b>The structure of selective dinucleotide interactions and periodicities in D melanogaster mtDNA</b>]]> BACKGROUND: We found a strong selective 3-sites periodicity of deviations from randomness of the dinucleotide (DN) distribution, where both bases of DN were separated by 1, 2, K sites in prokaryotes and mtDNA. Three main aspects are studied. I) the specific 3 K-sites periodic structure of the 16 DN. II) to discard the possibility that the periodicity was produced by the highly nonrandom interactive association of contiguous bases, by studying the interaction of non-contiguous bases, the first one chosen each I sites and the second chosen J sites downstream. III) the difference between this selective periodicity of association (distance to randomness) of the four bases with the described fixed periodicities of base sequences. RESULTS: I) The 16 pairs presented a consistent periodicity in the strength of association of both bases of the pairs; the most deviated pairs are those where G and C are involved and the least deviated ones are those where A and T are involved. II) we found significant non-random interactions when the first nucleotide is chosen every I sites and the second J sites downstream until I = J = 76. III) we showed conclusive differences between these internucleotide association periodicities and sequence periodicities. CONCLUSIONS: This relational selective periodicity is different from sequence periodicities and indicates that any base strongly interacts with the bases of the residual genome; this interaction and periodicity is highly structured and systematic for every pair of bases. This interaction should be destroyed in few generations by recurrent mutation; it is only compatible with the Synthetic Theory of Evolution and agrees with the Wright's adaptive landscape conception and evolution by shifting balanced adaptive peaks. <![CDATA[<b>Effect of chlorocholine chlorid on phenolic acids accumulation and polyphenols formation of buckwheat plants</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Effect of chlorocholine chloride (CCC) on phenolic acids composition and polyphenols accumulation in various anatomical parts (stems, leaves and inflorescences) of common buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum Moench) in the early stages of vegetation period were surveyed. RESULTS: Treatment of buckwheat seeds with 2% of CCC has been increased content of total phenolics in the stems, leaves and inflorescences. On analyzing the different parts of buckwheat plants, 9 different phenolic acids - vanilic acid, ferulic acid, trans-ferulic acid, chlorogenic acid, salycilic acid, cinamic acid, p-coumaric acid, p-anisic acid, methoxycinamic acid and catechins were identified. The levels of identified phenolic acids varied not only significantly among the plant organs but also between early stages of vegetation period. Same changes as in contents of chlorogenic acid, ferulic acid, trans-ferulic acid were found for content of salycilic acid. The content of these phenolic acids has been significant increased under effect of 2% CCC treatment at the phase I (formation of buds) in the stems and at the phase II (beginning of flowering) in the leaves and then inflorescences respectively. The content of catechins as potential buckwheat antioxidants has been increased at the early stages of vegetation period after treatment with 2% CCC. CONCLUSIONS: The obtained results suggest that influence of CCC on the phenolics composition can be a result of various mechanisms of CCC uptake, transforming and/or its translocation in the buckwheat seedlings. <![CDATA[<b>Methanol extract from Vietnamese <i>Caesalpinia sappan </i>induces apoptosis in HeLa cells</b>]]> BACKGROUND: This study evaluated the cytotoxic activity of extracts from Caesalpinia sappan heartwood against multiple cancer cell lines using an MTT cell viability assay. The cell death though induction of apoptosis was as indicated by DNA fragmentation and caspase-3 enzyme activation. RESULTS: A methanol extract from C. sappan (MECS) showed cytotoxic activity against several of the cancer cell lines. The most potent activity exhibited by the MECS was against HeLa cells with an IC50value of 26.5 ± 3.2 µg/mL. Treatment of HeLa cells with various MECS concentrations resulted in growth inhibition and induction of apoptosis, as indicated by DNA fragmentation and caspase-3 enzyme activation. CONCLUSION: This study is the first report of the anticancer properties of the heartwood of C. sappan native to Vietnam. Our findings demonstrate that C. sappan heartwood may have beneficial applications in the field of anticancer drug discovery. <![CDATA[<b>Organic acids, sugars, vitamin C content and some pomological characteristics of eleven hawthorn species (<i>Crataegus</i> spp.) from Turkey</b>]]> BACKGROUND: The Hawthorn (Crateagus sp.) mostly occurs around the temperate region of the world with a high number of species, producing a fruit with numerous beneficial effects for human health. The aim of the study was to determine organic acid and sugar contents in the fruit of a number of hawthorn species grown in Erzincan province of Turkey. RESULTS: Citric acid was the predominant organic acid in all hawthorn species and C. pseudoheterophylla had the highest citric acid content (23.688 g/100 g). There were not statistically significant differences among hawthorn species (except C. atrosanguinea Pojark) in terms of fumaric acid content. C. pontica C.Koch had a higher content of vitamin C (9.418 mg/100 g) compared to other species. Fructose was the predominant sugar component in all species and C. monogyna subsp. monogyna Joiq had the highest fructose content (18.378 g/100 g). CONCLUSIONS: The high fruit quality of the studied species indicates the importance of this fruit in human nutrition as a natural source. The study revealed that there were differences in terms of fruit characteristics among hawthorn species and thus better quality hawthorn genotypes can be selected within the species. Hence, this study is considered to be a valuable reference for forthcoming studies. The high fruit quality of the studied species indicates the importance of this fruit in human nutrition as a natural source. <![CDATA[<b>A robust HIV-1 viral load detection assay optimized for Indian sub type C specific strains and resource limiting setting</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 (HIV-1) viral load testing at regular intervals is an integral component of disease management in Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) patients. The need in countries like India is therefore an assay that is not only economical but efficient and highly specific for HIV-1 sub type C virus. This study reports a SYBR Green-based HIV-1 real time PCR assay for viral load testing and is designed for enhanced specificity towards HIV-1 sub type C viruses prevalent in India. RESULTS: Linear regression of the observed and reference concentration of standards used in this study generated a correlation coefficient of 0.998 (p < 0.001). Lower limit of detection of the test protocol was 50 copies/ml of plasma. The assay demonstrated 100% specificity when tested with negative control sera. The Spearman coefficient of the reported assay with an US-FDA approved, Taqman probe-based commercial kit was found to be 0.997. No significant difference in viral load was detected when the SYBR Green based assay was used to test infected plasma stored at -20°C and room temperature for 7 days respectively (Wilcoxon signed rank test, p = 0.105). In a comparative study on 90 pretested HIV-1 positive samples with viral loads ranging from 5,000 - 25,000 HIV-1 RNA copies/ml and between two commercial assays it was found that the later failed to amplify in 13.33% and 10% samples respectively while in 7.77% and 4.44% samples the copy number values were reduced by &gt;0.5 log value, a figure that is considered clinically significant by physicians. CONCLUSION: The HIV-1 viral load assay reported in this study was found to be robust, reliable, economical and effective in resource limited settings such as those existing in India. PCR probes specially designed from HIV-1 Subtype C-specific nucleotide sequences originating from India imparted specificity towards such isolates and demonstrated superior results when compared to two similar commercial assays widely used in India. <![CDATA[<b>Compositional studies and biological activities of some mash bean (<i>Vigna mungo</i> (L.) Hepper) cultivars commonly consumed in Pakistan</b>]]> BACKGROUND: In recent years, the desire to adopt a healthy diet has drawn attention to legume seeds and food products derived from them. Mash bean is an important legume crop used in Pakistan however a systematic mapping of the chemical composition of mash bean seeds is lacking. Therefore seeds of four mash bean (Vigna mungo (L.) Hepper, family Leguminoseae) cultivars (NARC-Mash-1, NARC-Mash-2, NARC-Mash-3, NARC-Mash-97) commonly consumed in Pakistan have been analyzed for their chemical composition, antioxidant potential and biological activities like inhibition of formation of advanced glycation end products (AGE) activity and tyrosinase inhibition activity. RESULTS: The investigated cultivars varied in terms of biochemical composition to various extents. Mineral composition indicated potassium and zinc in highest and lowest amounts respectively, in all cultivars. The amino acid profile in protein of these cultivars suggested cysteine is present in lowest quantity in all cultivars while fatty acid distribution pattern indicated unsaturated fatty acids as major fatty acids in all cultivars. All cultivars were found to be rich source of tocopherols and sterols. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) fingerprints of seed flour and extracts indicated major functional groups such as polysaccharides, lipids, amides, amines and amino acids. Results indicated that all investigated cultivars possessed appreciable antioxidant potential. CONCLUSIONS: All cultivars are rich source of protein and possess sufficient content of dietary fiber, a balanced amino acid profile, low saturated fatty acids and antioxidant capacity that rationalizes many traditional uses of seeds of this crop besides its nutritional importance. The collected data will be useful for academic and corporate researchers, nutritionists and clinical dieticians as well as consumers. If proper attention is paid, it may become an important export commodity and may fetch considerable foreign exchange for Pakistan. <![CDATA[<b>Assessment of the phytochemical constituents and antioxidant activity of a bloom forming microalgae <i>Euglena tuba</i></b>]]> BACKGROUND: Unstable generation of free radicals in the body are responsible for many degenerative diseases. A bloom forming algae Euglena tuba growing abundantly in the aquatic habitats of Cachar district in the state of Assam in North-East India was analysed for its phytochemical contents, antioxidant activity as well as free radical scavenging potentials. RESULTS: Based on the ability of the extract in ABTS•+ radical cation inhibition and Fe3+ reducing power, the obtained results revealed the prominent antioxidant activity of the algae, with high correlation coefficient of its TEAC values to the respective phenolic and flavonoid contents. The extract had shown its scavenging activity for different free radicals and 41.89 ± 0.41 µg/ml, 5.83 ± 0.07 µg/ml, 278.46 ± 15.02 µg/ml and 223.25 ± 4.19 µg/ml were determined as the IC50 values for hydroxyl, superoxide, nitric oxide and hypochlorous acid respectively, which are lower than that of the corresponding reference standards. The phytochemical analysis also revealed that the phenolics, flavonoids, alkaloids, tannins and carbohydrates are present in adequate amount in the extract which was confirmed by HPLC analysis. CONCLUSIONS: The results showed that 70% methanol extract of the algae possesses excellent antioxidant and free radical scavenging properties. <![CDATA[<b>Dynamics of tear fluid desiccation on a glass surface</b>: <b>a contribution to tear quality assessment</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Fern-like crystalloids form when a microvolume of tear is allowed to dry out at ambient conditions on a glass surface. Presence of crystalloids in tear "microdesiccates" is used to evaluate patients with Dry-Eye disease. This study aims to examine morphologically the desiccation process of normal tear fluid and to identify changes associated with accelerated tear evaporation. Tear microdesiccates from healthy (Non-Dry Eye) and Dry Eye subjects were produced at ambient conditions. Microdesiccate formation was monitored continuously by dark-field video microscopy. Additionally, accelerated desiccation of tear samples from healthy subjects was conducted under controlled experimental conditions. Particular morphological domains of tear microdesiccates and their progressive appearance during desiccation were compared. RESULTS: In normal tear microdesiccates, four distinctive morphological domains (zones I, II, III and transition band) were recognized. Stepwise formation of those domains is now described. Experimentally accelerated desiccation resulted in marked changes in some of those zones, particularly involving either disappearance or size reduction of fern-like crystalloids of zones II and III. Tear microdesiccates from Dry Eye subjects may also display those differences and be the expression of a more synchronous formation of microdesiccate domains. CONCLUSION: Morphological characteristics of tear microdesiccates can provide insights into the relative rate of tear evaporation. <![CDATA[<b>Morphometric and phytochemical characterization of chaura fruits (<i>Gaultheria pumila</i>)</b>: <b>a native Chilean berry with commercial potential</b>]]> BACKGROUND: For the first time, a morphometric characterization of chaura (Gaultheria pumila) fruits has been conducted between natural populations growing in the Villarrica National Park, Araucania Region, Chile. Chaura is a native Ericaceae from Chile that produces aromatic and tasty fruits which could be of agricultural interest. RESULTS: To influence the decision for a further domestication of G. pumila, both the fruit sizes (indicator of productivity) and the nutritional properties of the fruits have been determined from different subpopulations. Samples were a total of 74 plants and 15 fruits per plant which were randomly harvested following its natural distribution around the Villarrica volcano. Altogether, fresh weight, shape, color, diameter in the pole and the equatorial dimensions were determined as phenotypic traits of the G. pumila fruits. Meanwhile the total soluble solids, anthocyanin and pectin contents were calculated as nutritional traits of the Chaura fruits. Results showed a high phenotypic diversity between the sampled population with three main fruit shapes and three predominant colors. The round shapes were the most abundant, whereas a significant correlation was found among fruit size with weight and color. The highest fresh weight (597.3 mg), pole diameter (7.1 mm) and equatorial diameter (6.5 mm) were estimated in the pink color fruits. CONCLUSIONS: The total amount of anthocyanin was higher in red fruits, while the maximum pectin content was obtained in the round white fruits. Overall results must pave the way for a further domestication and introduction of the Chaura species in the agro-productive system in Chile. <![CDATA[<b>Celecoxib decreases growth and angiogenesis and promotes apoptosis in a tumor cell line resistant to chemotherapy</b>]]> BACKGROUND: During the last few years it has been shown in several laboratories that Celecoxib (Cx), a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agent (NSAID) normally used for pain and arthritis, mediates antitumor and antiangiogenic effects. However, the effects of this drug on a tumor cell line resistant to chemotherapeutical drugs used in cancer have not been described. Herein we evaluate the angiogenic and antitumor effects of Cx in the development of a drug-resistant mammary adenocarcinoma tumor (TA3-MTXR). RESULTS: Cx reduces angiogenesis in the chick embryonic chorioallantoic membrane assay (CAM), inhibits the growth and microvascular density of the murine TA3-MTXR tumor, reduces microvascular density of tumor metastases, promotes apoptosis and reduces vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) production and cell proliferation in the tumor. CONCLUSION: The antiangiogenic and antitumor Cx effects correlate with its activity on other tumor cell lines, suggesting that Prostaglandins (PGs) and VEGF production are involved. These results open the possibility of using Celecoxib combined with other experimental therapies, ideally aiming to get synergic effects. <![CDATA[<b>Characterization of <i>Escherichia coli</i> virulence genes, pathotypes and antibiotic resistance properties in diarrheic calves in Iran</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>Essential oils from two <i>Eucalyptus</i> from Tunisia and their insecticidal action on <i>Orgyia trigotephras</i> (Lepidotera, Lymantriidae)</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Essential oils extracted from aromatic and medicinal plants have many biological properties and are therefore an alternative to the use of synthetic products. The chemical composition of essential oils from two medicinal plants (Eucalyptus globulus and E. lehmannii) was determined and, their insecticidal effects on the third and fourth larval stages of Orgyia trigotephras were assessed. RESULTS: Larvae were collected from Jebel Abderrahmane (North-East of Tunisia), conserved in groups of 50/box (21 × 10 × 10 cm) at a temperature of 25°C. Larvae were tested for larvicidal activities of essential oils. Each oil was diluted in ethanol (96%) to prepare 3 test solutions (S1 = 0.05%, S2 = 0.10% and S3 = 0.50%). Essential oils were used for contact, ingestion and Olfactory actions and compared to reference products (Bacillus thuringiensis and Decis). Olfactory action of essential oils shows that larvae mortality is higher than contact action, lower than ingestion action. MTM and FTM of S3 of E. lehmannii were respectively 1 h 32 min and 1 h 39 min are higher than those of E. globulus (MTM = 51 min and FTM = 1 h 22 min 34 sec). Contact action of E. lehmannii oil shows low insecticidal activity compared to E. globulus. MTM are respectively (1 min 52 sec and 1 min 7 sec), FTM are (2 min 38 sec, 1 min 39 sec), are the shortest recorded for S3, on the third stage of larvae. The fourth stage of larvae, MTM are (2 min 20 sec and 2 min 9 sec), FTM are (3 min 25 sec, 3 min 19 sec). Ingestion action of essential oils is longer than the contact action, since the time of death exceeds 60 minutes for all species. CONCLUSION: Results shows that essential oils have a toxic action on nerves leading to a disruption of vital system of insects. High toxic properties make these plant-derived compounds suitable for incorporation in integrated pest management programs. <![CDATA[<b>Comparative proteomic analysis of different developmental stages of the edible mushroom <i>Termitomyces heimii</i></b>]]> BACKGROUND: Termitomyces heimii is a basidiomycete fungus that has a symbiotic relationship with termites, and it is an edible mushroom with a unique flavour and texture. T. heimii is also one of the most difficult mushrooms to cultivate throughout the world. Little is known about the growth and development of these mushrooms, and the available information is insufficient or poor. The purpose of this study was to provide a base of knowledge regarding the biological processes involved in the development of T. heimii. The proteomic method of 2 dimensional difference gel electrophoresis 2D-DIGE was used to determine and examine the protein profiles of each developmental stage (mycelium, primordium and fruiting body). Total proteins were extracted by TCA-acetone precipitation. RESULTS: A total of 271 protein spots were detected by electrophoresis covering pH 3 - 10 and 10 - 250 kDa. Selected protein spots were subjected to mass spectrometric analyses with matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionisation (MALDI TOF/TOF). Nineteen protein spots were identified based on peptide mass fingerprinting by matching peptide fragments to the NCBI non-redundant database using MASCOT software. The 19 protein spots were categorised into four major groups through KEGG pathway analysis, as follows: carbohydrate metabolism, energy metabolism, amino acid metabolism and response to environmental stress. CONCLUSIONS: The results from our study show that there is a clear correlation between the changes in protein expression that occur during different developmental stages. Enzymes related to cell wall synthesis were most highly expressed during fruiting body formation compared to the mycelium and primordial stages. Moreover, enzymes involved in cell wall component degradation were up-regulated in the earlier stages of mushroom development. <![CDATA[<b>Differential expression and localization of ADAM10 and ADAM17 during rat spermatogenesis suggest a role in germ cell differentiation</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Extracellular metolloproteases have been implied in different process such as cell death, differentiation and migration. Membrane-bound metalloproteases of the ADAM family shed the extracellular domain of many cytokines and receptor controlling auto and para/juxtacrine cell signaling in different tissues. ADAM17 and ADAM10 are two members of this family surface metalloproteases involved in germ cell apoptosis during the first wave of spermatogenesis in the rat, but they have other signaling functions in somatic tissues. RESULTS: In an attempt to further study these two enzymes, we describe the presence and localization in adult male rats. Results showed that both enzymes are detected in germ and Sertoli cells during all the stages of spermatogenesis. Interestingly their protein levels and cell surface localization in adult rats were stage-specific, suggesting activation of these enzymes at particular events of rat spermatogenesis. CONCLUSIONS: Therefore, these results show that ADAM10 and ADAM17 protein levels and subcellular (cell surface) localization are regulated during rat spermatogenesis. <![CDATA[<b><i>In vivo</i></b><b> and <i>in vitro</i> anti-inflammatory activity of<i> Cryptostegia grandiflora</i> Roxb. ex R. Br. leaves</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Despite Cryptostegia grandiflora Roxb. ex R. Br. (Apocynaceae) leaves are widely used in folk Caribbean Colombian medicine for their anti-inflammatory effects, there are no studies that support this traditional use. Therefore, this work aimed to evaluate the effect of the total extract and primary fractions obtained from Cryptostegia grandiflora leaves, using in vivo and in vitromodels of inflammation, and further get new insights on the mechanisms involved in this activity. RESULTS: Ethanolic extract of Cryptostegia grandiflora leaves, and its corresponding ether and dichloromethane fractions, significantly reduced inflammation and myeloperoxidase activity (MPO) in ear tissue of mice treated with 12-O-tetradecanoyl-phorbol-13-acetate (TPA). Histological analysis revealed a reduction of edema and leukocyte infiltration. Complementarily, we demonstrated that extract and fractions reduced nitric oxide (NO•) and prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) production in LPS-stimulated RAW 264.7 macrophages, as well as scavenging activity on DPPH and ABTS radicals. CONCLUSIONS: Our results demonstrated for the first time the anti-inflammatory activity of Cryptostegia grandiflora leaves, supporting its traditional use. This activity was related to inhibition of MPO activity, and PGE2 and NO• production. These mechanisms and its antioxidant activity could contribute, at least in part, to the anti-inflammatory effect showed by this plant. <![CDATA[<b>Protein microarray for complex apoptosis monitoring of dysplastic oral keratinocytes in experimental photodynamic therapy</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Photodynamic therapy is an alternative treatment of muco-cutaneous tumors that uses a light source able to photoactivate a chemical compound that acts as a photosensitizer. The phthalocyanines append to a wide chemical class that encompasses a large range of compounds; out of them aluminium-substituted disulphonated phthalocyanine possesses a good photosensitizing potential. RESULTS: The destructive effects of PDT with aluminium-substituted disulphonated phthalocyanine are achieved by induction of apoptosis in tumoral cells as assessed by flow cytometry analysis. Using protein microarray we evaluate the possible molecular pathways by which photodynamic therapy activates apoptosis in dysplastic oral keratinocytes cells, leading to the tumoral cells destruction. Among assessed analytes, Bcl-2, P70S6K kinase, Raf-1 and Bad proteins represent the apoptosis related biomolecules that showed expression variations with the greatest amplitude. CONCLUSIONS: Up to date, the intimate molecular apoptotic mechanisms activated by photodynamic therapy with this type of phthalocyanine in dysplastic human oral keratinocytes are not completely elucidated. With protein microarray as high-throughput proteomic approach a better understanding of the manner in which photodynamic therapy leads to tumoral cell destruction can be obtained, by depicting apoptotic molecules that can be potentially triggered in future anti-tumoral therapies. <![CDATA[<b>Malignant melanoma in Chile</b>: <b>different site distribution between private and state patients</b>]]> BACKGROUND: The body site location of primary Malignant Melanoma (MM) has been correlated with prognosis and survival. Ethnic, genetics, sun exposure factors are related to the anatomical distribution of MM. Low and high socioeconomic strata in Chile differ in ethnic, genetic and cultural conditions. The purpose of this study was to analyze the anatomical MM distribution in the Chilean population in both strata searching for differences due to their ethno-genetic-cultural differences. Records of 1148 MM, 575cases from state hospitals (Low Socioeconomic Strata, LSS) and 573 cases from private clinics (High Socioeconomic Strata, HSS) were analyzed by body site. RESULTS: Females from LSS showed a higher number of MM in soles, cheeks, and around the eye area. Females from the HSS showed a higher number of MM in dorsal feet and dorsal hands. Males from LSS showed a higher number of MM in soles, around the eye area, and cheeks. However, males from HSS showed a higher number of MM in the trunk, and in the arms. Acral MM was significantly higher in LSS than in the HSS in both sexes. The Chilean population from the HSS and LSS showed differences in the distribution of MM by site. Furthermore, gender differences in the proportion of MM analyzed by anatomical site are observed in both strata. CONCLUSIONS: Results show evidence that differential genetics factors, sun exposure, or other environmental or cultural factors of both strata may account for these differences. <![CDATA[<b>Screening the antifungal activity of essential oils against decay fungi from palmyrah leaf handicrafts</b>]]> BACKGROUND: The whitish tender leaves of Palmyrah are used for making handicrafts. The problem with these articles is discolouration with time and become more brittle due to fungal attack. This could be prevented by some protective coating. Instead of expensive and harmful chemicals we decided to test natural plant essential oils to control fungal attack. Palmyrah leaf article decay fungi were isolated from two different sites of Jaffna peninsula. In this investigation Antifungal Activity of different plant essential oils from neem (Azadirachta indica), castor (Ricinus communis), citronella (Cymbopogon sp) and camphor (Cinnamomum camphora) obtained from local market have been evaluated against isolated fungi. For screening of Antifungal activity, tests and controls were set to determine minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) and Percentage of Growth Inhibition. RESULTS: Morphologically three different types of Palmyrah leaf decay fungi were isolated and characterized asAspergillus niger, Aspergillus flavus and Penicillium sp. Neem and castor oils have recorded no significant (0.05 > P) antifungal activity while citronella and camphor oils showed significantly different antifungal activity compared with control. Camphor oil and Citronella oil showed 100, 58.13% of average growth inhibition for A. niger. 96.38, 51.32% for A.flavus and 84.99, 72.76% forPenicillium sp respectively. Camphor oil showed highest percentage of growth inhibition at lowest minimum inhibitory concentration compared with citronella oil. Camphor oil was found to be highly antifungal and most effective against A niger, and A. flavus, compared with Penicillium sp and gave 100 percentage of growth inhibitions at 5, 1 and 15 ml/dl minimum inhibitory concentration respectively. CONCLUSION: Significantly higher broad-spectrum of antifungal activity was observed in camphor oil than other tested oils because it showed highest percentage of growth inhibition at lowest inhibitory concentration. Therefore it could be used for the development of new environmental friendly antifungal agent for the preservation of leafy handicrafts. Further formulation, field experiments are necessary to achieve this target. <![CDATA[<b>Antioxidant, antimicrobial, toxicity and analgesic properties of ethanol extract of <i>Solena amplexicaulis</i> root</b>]]> BACKGROUND: This study was subjected to investigate different pharmacological properties of ethanol extract ofSolena amplexicaulis root. RESULTS: The extract contains flavonoid, alkaloid, saponin and steroid compounds. The extract exhibited excellent antioxidant activity in DPPH radical scavenging activity. The extract also showed potent activity in brine shrimp lethality bioassay. The LC50 value was found to 44.677 µg/ml. The extract showed better anti-bacterial activity against gram-negative bacteria. In antifungal assay, the maximum 79.31% of anti-mycotic activity was observed against Aspergillus ochraceus while minimum 44.2% against Rhizopus oryzae. MIC value ranged between 1500 - 3000 µg/ml. The extract was found moderately toxic with a 24-hr LD50 value of 81.47 mg/kg in Swiss albino mice. The degree of inhibition by the ethanolic extract of the root was found less than that of standard analgesic drug diclofenac sodium. The extract also showed moderate anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive activity and anti-diabetic property. Reducing power of the extract was comparable with standard ascorbic acid. Moderate in vitro thrombolytic activity, lipid peroxidation inhibition property, metal chelating ability and stress-protective activity was also observed. CONCLUSION: Ethanol extract of Solena amplexicaulis root can be valuable for treatment of different diseases. <![CDATA[<b>Induction of secondary metabolite production by UV-C radiation in <i>Vitis vinifera</i> L. Öküzgözü callus cultures</b>]]> BACKGROUND: The aim of the present work was to examine the role of UV-C irradiation on the production of secondary metabolites (total phenolic, total flavanols, total flavonols, catechin, ferulic acid and trans-resveratrol in phenolic compounds and α-, β-, γ- δ-tocopherols) in callus cultures. Studies on the effects of UV-C treatment on callus culture are seldom and generally focused on UV-B. However UV-C radiation play an important role in accumule secondary metabolites. RESULTS: In this study, callus cultures from Öküzgözü grape cultivar were initiated from leaf petiole explants. Calli formed after 6 weeks on the medium supplemented with 0.5 mg L-1 benzylaminopurine (BA), 0.5 mg L-1 indole acetic acid (IAA) on B5 media. Callus tissues were exposed to UV-C irradiation at 10, 20 and 30 cm distances from the UV source for 5 and 10 minutes and samples were collected at hours 0, 24 and 48. CONCLUSIONS: The greatest total phenolic content (155.14 mg 100 g-1) was detected in calli exposed to UV-C for 5 min from 30 cm distance and sampled after 24 h. 24 h and 48 h incubation times, 30 cm and 5 min were the most appropriate combination of UV-C application in total flavanol content. Maximum total flavonol content (7.12 mg 100 g-1) was obtained on 0 h, 5 min and 20 cm combination. The highest (+)- catechin accumulation (8.89 mg g-1) was found in calli with 10 min UV-C application from 30 cm distance and sampled after 48 h. Ferulic acid content increased 6 fold in Öküzgözü callus cultures (31.37 µg g-1) compared to the control group. The greatest trans-resveratrol content (8.43 µg g-1) was detected in calli exposed to UV-C for 5 min from 30 cm distance and sampled after 24 h. The highest α-tocopherol concentration was found in calli exposed to UV-C for 10 min from 30 cm distance and sampled after 24 h. As a conclusion, it was showed that UV-C radiation had remarkable promoting effects on the accumulation of secondary metabolites in the calli of Öküzgözü grape cultivar. <![CDATA[<b>Apoptosis in HEp-2 cells infected with <i>Ureaplasma diversum</i></b>]]> BACKGROUND: Bacterial pathogens have many strategies for infecting and persisting in host cells. Adhesion, invasion and intracellular life are important features in the biology of mollicutes. The intracellular location ofUreaplasma diversum may trigger disturbances in the host cell. This includes activation or inhibition of pro and anti-apoptotic factors, which facilitate the development of host damage. The aim of the present study was to associate U. diversum infection in HEp-2 cells and apoptosis induction. Cells were infected for 72hs with four U. diversum clinical isolates and an ATCC strain. The U. diversuminvasion was analyzed by Confocal Laser Scanning Microscopy and gentamicin invasion assay. The apoptosis was evaluated using pro-apoptotic and anti-apoptotic gene expression, and FITC Annexin V/Dead Cell Apoptosis Kit. RESULTS: The number of internalized ureaplasma in HEp-2 cells increased significantly throughout the infection. The flow cytometry analysis with fluorochromes to detect membrane depolarization and gene expression for caspase 2, 3 and 9 increased in infected cells after 24 hours. However, after 72 hours a considerable decrease of apoptotic cells was observed. CONCLUSIONS: The data suggests that apoptosis may be initially induced by some isolates in association with HEp-2 cells, but over time, there was no evidence of apoptosis in the presence of ureaplasma and HEp-2 cells. The initial increase and then decrease in apoptosis could be related to bacterial pathogen-associated molecular pattern (PAMPS). Moreover, the isolates of U. diversum presented differences in the studied parameters for apoptosis. It was also observed that the amount of microorganisms was not proportional to the induction of apoptosis in HEp-2 cells. <![CDATA[<b>Ultrastructural changes of erythrocytes in whole blood after exposure to prospective <i>in silico</i>-designed anticancer agents</b>: <b>a qualitative case study</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Novel, in silico-designed anticancer compounds were synthesized in our laboratory namely, 2-ethyl-3-O-sulphamoyl-estra-1,3,5(10),15-tetraen-17-ol (ESE-15-ol) and 2-ethyl-3-O-sulphamoyl-estra-1,3,5(10)16-tetraene (ESE-16). These compounds were designed to have improved bioavailability when compared to their source compound, 2-methoxyestradiol. This theoretically would be due to their increased binding affinity to carbonic anhydrase II, present in erythrocytes. Since the novel compounds under investigation are proposed to be transported within erythrocytes bound to carbonic anhydrase II, the morphological effect which they may exert on whole blood and erythrocytes is of great significance. A secondary outcome included revision of previously reported procedures for the handling of the whole blood sample. The purpose of this study was twofold. Firstly, the ultrastructural morphology of a healthy female's erythrocytes was examined via scanning electron microscopy (SEM) after exposure to the newly in silico-designed compounds. Morphology of erythrocytes following exposure to ESE-15-ol and ESE-16 for 3 minutes and 24 hours at 22°C were described with the use of SEM. The haemolytic activity of the compounds after 24 hours exposure were also determined with the ex vivo haemolysis assay. Secondly, storage conditions of the whole blood sample were investigated by determining morphological changes after a 24 hour storage period at 22°C and 37°C. RESULTS: No significant morphological changes were observed in the erythrocyte morphology after exposure to the novel anticancer compounds. Storage of the whole blood samples at 37°C for 24 hours resulted in visible morphological stress in the erythrocytes. Erythrocytes incubated at 22°C for 24 hours showed no structural deformity or distress. CONCLUSIONS: From this research the optimal temperature for ex vivo exposure of whole blood samples to ESE-15-ol and ESE-16 for 24 hours was determined to be 22°C. Data from this study revealed the potential of these compounds to be applied to ex vivo study techniques, since no damage occurred to erythrocytes ultrastructure under these conditions. As no structural changes were observed in erythrocytes exposed to ESE-15-ol and ESE-16, further ex vivo experiments will be conducted into the potential effects of these compounds on whole blood. Optimal incubation conditions up to 24 hours for whole blood were established as a secondary outcome. <![CDATA[<b>Genetic polymorphisms and asthma</b>: <b>findings from a case - control study in the Madeira island population</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Asthma is a complex disease influenced by multiple genetic and environmental factors. While Madeira has the highest prevalence of asthma in Portugal (14.6%), the effect of both genetic and environmental factors in this population has never been assessed. We categorized 98 asthma patients according to the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) guidelines, established their sensitization profile, and measured their forced expiratory volume in 1second (FEV1) and forced vital capacity (FVC) indexes. Selected single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were analysed as potential markers for asthma susceptibility and severity in the interleukin 4 (IL4), interleukin 13 (IL13), beta-2-adrenergic receptor (ADRB2), a disintegrin and metalloprotease 33 (ADAM33), gasdermin-like (GSDML) and the signal transducer and activator of transcription 6 (STAT6) genes comparatively to a population reference set. RESULTS: Although mites are the major source of allergic sensitization, no significant difference was found amongst asthma severity categories. IL4-590*CT/TT and IL4-RP2*253183/183183 were found to predict the risk (2-fold) and severity (3 to 4-fold) of asthma and were associated with a lower FEV1 index. ADRB2-c.16*AG is a risk factor (3.5-fold), while genotype GSDML-236*TT was protective (4-fold) for moderate-severe asthma. ADAM33-V4*C was associated to asthma and mild asthma by the transmission disequilibrium test (TDT). Finally, ADAM33-V4*CC and STAT6-21*TT were associated with higher sensitization (mean wheal size ≥10mm) to house dust (1.4-fold) and storage mite (7.8-fold). CONCLUSION: In Madeira, IL4-590C/T, IL4-RP2 253/183, GSDML-236C/T and ADAM33-V4C/G SNPs are important risk factors for asthma susceptibility and severity, with implications for asthma healthcare management. <![CDATA[<b>Ethyl acetate fraction from <i>Angelica sinensis</i> inhibits IL-1β</b><b>-induced rheumatoid synovial fibroblast proliferation and COX-2, PGE2, and MMPs production</b>]]> BACKGROUND: The root of Angelica sinensis (AS), also known as "Dang-gui," was a popular herbal medicine widely used in the treatment of gynecological diseases in China, Korea, and Japan for a long time. This study aimed to determine the effects of ethyl acetate fraction from Angelica sinensis (EAAS) on the interleukin-1β (IL-1β)-induced proliferation of rheumatoid arthritis synovial fibroblasts (RASFs), and production of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), cyclooxygenase (COX) 2, and prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), involved in articular bone and cartilage destruction, by RASFs. RESULTS: RASF proliferation was evaluated with cholecystokinin octapeptide (CCK-8) reagent in the presence of IL-1β with/without EAAS. Expression of MMPs, tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases-1 (TIMP-1), COXs, PGE2, and intracellular mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling molecules, including p-ERK, p-p38, p-JNK, and NF-κB, were examined using immunoblotting or semi-quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. EAAS inhibited IL-1β-induced RASF proliferation; MMP-1, MMP-3, and COX-2 mRNA and protein expressions; and PGE2 production. EAAS also inhibits the phosphorylation of ERK-1/2, p38, and JNK, and activation of NF-κB by IL-1β. CONCLUSION: EAAS might be a new therapeutic modality for rheumatoid arthritis management. <![CDATA[<b>Normalization of the levels of inflammatory molecules in <i>Mycobacterium smegmatis</i>-infected U937 cells by fibrate pretreatment</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Tuberculosis (TB) is a respiratory tract disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection. M. tuberculosis exploits immune privilege to grow and divide in pleural macrophages. Fibrates are associated with the immune response and control lipid metabolism through glycolysis with β-oxidation of fatty acids. RESULTS: In this study, we investigated the effect of fibrate pretreatment on the immune response during M. smegmatis infection in U937 cells, a human leukemic monocyte lymphoma cell line. The protein expression of tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α), an inflammatory marker, and myeloid differentiation primary response gene 88 (MyD88), a toll like receptor adaptor molecule, in the infected group increased at 1 and 6 h after M. smegmatis infection of U937 cells. Acetyl coenzyme A acetyl transferase-1 (ACAT-1), peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-α (PPAR-α), TNF-α, and MyD88 decreased in U937 cells treated with fibrates at 12 and 24 h after treatment. More than a 24 h pretreatment with fibrate resulted in similar expression levels of ACAT-1 and PPAR-α between infected vehicle control and infected groups which were pretreated with fibrate for 24 h. However, upon exposure to M. smegmatis, the cellular expression of the TNF-α and MyD88 in the infected groups pretreated with fibrate for 24 h decreased significantly compared to that in the infected vehicle group. CONCLUSION: These results suggest that fibrate pretreatment normalized the levels of inflammatory molecules in Mycobacterium smegmatis-infected U937 cells. Further studies are needed to confirm the findings on pathophysiology and immune defense mechanism of U937 by fibrates during M. tuberculosis infection. <![CDATA[<b>CDX-2, MUC-2 and B-catenin as intestinal markers in pure mucinous carcinoma of the breast</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Pure mucinous adenocarcinoma of the breast is a rare entity characterized by the production of variable amounts of mucin comprising 1% to 6% of breast carcinomas. Some mucinous adenocarcinomas have shown expression of intestinal differentiation markers such as MUC-2. This study examines the expression of intestinal differentiation markers in this type of breast carcinoma. RESULTS: Twenty-two cases of pure mucinous adenocarcinoma of the breast were assessed. Immunochemistry was performed for beta-catenin, CDX-2 and MUC-2. All cases were positive for B-catenin. MUC-2 positivity was observed in all cases; 63. 6% were 3 plus positive. All cases were negative for CDX-2. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that mucinous breast carcinomas express some markers of intestinal differentiation, such as MUC-2 and beta-catenin; however, future studies with a larger series of cases and using molecular techniques that help affirm these results are needed. <![CDATA[<b>Effect of exogenous nitric oxide on sperm motility <i>in vitro</i></b>]]> BACKGROUND: Nitric oxide (NO) has been shown to be important in sperm function, and the concentration of NO appears to determine these effects. Studies have demonstrated both positive and negative effects of NO on sperm function, but have not been able to provide a clear link between NO concentration and the extent of exposure to NO. To study the relationship between nitric oxide and sperm capacitationin vitro, and to provide a theoretical basis for the use of NO-related preparations in improving sperm motility for in vitro fertilization, we investigated the effects of NO concentration and time duration at these concentrations on in vitro sperm capacitation in both normal and abnormal sperm groups. We manipulated NO concentrations and the time duration of these concentrations using sodium nitroprusside (an NO donor) and NG-monomethyl-L-argenine (an NO synthase inhibitor). RESULTS: Compared to the normal sperm group, the abnormal sperm group had a longer basal time to reach the appropriate concentration of NO (p < 0.001), and the duration of time at this concentration was longer for the abnormal sperm group (p < 0.001). Both the basal time and the duration of time were significantly correlated with sperm viability and percentage of progressive sperm (p < 0.001). The experimental group had a significantly higher percentage of progressive sperm than the control group (p < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: We hypothesize that there is a certain regularity to both NO concentration and its duration of time in regards to sperm capacitation, and that an adequate duration of time at the appropriate NO concentration is beneficial to sperm motility. <![CDATA[<b><i>In vivo</i> antipyretic, antiemetic, <i>in vitro</i> membrane stabilization, antimicrobial, and cytotoxic activities of different extracts from <i>Spilanthes paniculata</i> leaves</b>]]> BACKGROUND: The study was conducted to evaluate the in vitro antimicrobial activity, cytotoxic, and membrane stabilization activities, and in vivo antiemetic and antipyretic potentials of ethanolic extract, n-hexane and ethyl acetate soluble fractions of Spilanthes paniculata leaves for the first time widely used in the traditional treatments in Bangladesh. RESULTS: In antipyretic activity assay, a significant reduction (P < 0.05) was observed in the temperature in the mice tested. At dose 400 mg/kg-body weight, the n-hexane soluble fraction showed the effect (36.7 ± 0.63°C ) as like as the standard (dose 150 mg/kg-body weight) after 5 h of administration. Extracts showed significant (P < 0.001) potential when tested for the antiemetic activity compared to the standard, metoclopramide. At dose 50 mg/kg-body weight, the standard showed 67.23% inhibition, whereas n-hexane and ethyl acetate soluble fractions showed 37.53% and 24.93% inhibition of emesis respectively at dose 400 mg/kg-body weight. In antimicrobial activity assay, the n-hexane soluble fraction (400 µg/disc) showed salient activity against the tested organisms. It exerts highest activity against Salmonella typhi (16.9 mm zone of inhibition); besides, crude, and ethyl acetate extracts showed resistance to Bacillus cereus and Bacillus subtilis, and Vibrio cholera respectively. All the extracts were tested for lysis of the erythrocytes. At the concentration of 1mg/ml, ethanol extract, and n-hexane and ethyl acetate soluble fractions significantly inhibited hypotonic solution induced lysis of the human red blood cell (HRBC) (27.406 ± 3.57, 46.034 ± 3.251, and 30.72 ± 5.679% respectively); where standard drug acetylsalicylic acid (concentration 0.1 mg/ml) showed 77.276 ± 0.321% inhibition. In case of heat induced HRBC hemolysis, the plant extracts also showed significant activity (34.21 ± 4.72, 21.81 ± 3.08, and 27.62 ± 8.79% inhibition respectively). In the brine shrimp lethality bioassay, the n-hexane fraction showed potent (LC50 value 48.978 µg/ml) activity, whereas ethyl acetate fraction showed mild (LC50 value 216.77 µg/ml) cytotoxic activity. CONCLUSIONS: Our results showed that the n-hexane extract has better effects than the other in all trials. In the context, it can be said that the leaves of S. paniculata possess remarkable pharmacological effects, and justify its folkloric use as antimicrobial, antipyretic, anti-inflammatory, and antiemetic agent. Therefore, further research may be suggested to find possible mode of action of the plant part. <![CDATA[<b>Phenolic compounds and vitamins in wild and cultivated apricot (<i>Prunus armeniaca</i> L.) fruits grown in irrigated and dry farming conditions</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Turkey is the main apricot producer in the world and apricots have been produced under both dry and irrigated conditions in the country. In this study, phenolic compounds and vitamins in fruits of one wild (Zerdali) and three main apricot cultivars ('Cataloglu', 'Hacihaliloglu' and 'Kabaasi') grown in both dry and irrigated conditions in Malatya provinces in Turkey were investigated. RESULTS: The findings indicated that higher content of phenolic compounds and vitamins was found in apricot fruits grown in irrigated conditions. Among the cultivars, 'Cataloglu' had the highest rutin contents both in irrigated and dry farming conditions as 2855 µg in irrigated and 6952 µg per 100 g dried weight base in dry conditions and the highest chlorogenic acid content in irrigated and dry farming conditions were measured in fruits of 'Hacıhaliloglu' cultivar as 7542 µg and 15251 µg per 100 g dried weight base. Vitamin C contents in homogenates of fruit flesh and skin was found to be higher than β-caroten, retinol, vitamin E and lycopen contents in apricot fruits both in irrigated and dry farming conditions. CONCLUSION: The results suggested that apricot fruits grown in both dry and irrigated conditions had high health benefits phytochemicals and phytochemical content varied among cultivars and irrigation conditions as well. However, more detailed biological and pharmacological studies are needed for the demonstration and clarification of health benefits of apricot fruits. <![CDATA[<b>The effects of cadmium chloride on secondary metabolite production in <i>Vitis vinifera</i> cv. cell suspension cultures</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Plant secondary metabolites are possess several biological activities such as anti-mutagenic, anti-carcinogenic, anti-aging, etc. Cell suspension culture is one of the most effective systems to produce secondary metabolites. It is possible to increase the phenolic compounds and tocopherols by using cell suspensions. Studies on tocopherols production by cell suspension cultures are seldom and generally focused on seed oil plants. Although fresh grape, grape seed, pomace and grape seed oil had tocopherols, with our best knowledge, there is no research on tocopherol accumulation in the grape cell suspension cultures. In this study, it was aimed to determine the effects of cadmium chloride treatments on secondary metabolite production in cell suspension cultures of grapevine. Cell suspensions initiated from callus belonging to petiole tissue was used as a plant material. Cadmium chloride was applied to cell suspension cultures in different concentration (1.0 mM and 1.5 mM) to enhance secondary metabolite (total phenolics, total flavanols, total flavonols, trans-resveratrol, and α-, β-, γ- δ-tocopherols) production. Cells were harvested at two days intervals until the 6th day of cultures. Amounts of total phenolics, total flavanols and total flavonols; trans-resveratrol and tocopherols (α-, β-, γ- and δ-tocopherols) and dry cell weights were determined in the harvested cells. RESULTS: Phenolic contents were significantly affected by the sampling time and cadmium concentrations. The highest values of total phenolic (168.82 mg/100 g), total flavanol (15.94 mg/100 g), total flavonol (14.73 mg/100 g) and trans-resveratrol (490.76 µg/100 g) were found in cells treated with 1.0 mM CdCl2 and harvested at day 2. Contents of tocopherols in the cells cultured in the presence of 1.0 mM CdCl2 gradually increased during the culture period and the highest values of α, β and γ tocopherols (145.61, 25.52 and 18.56 µg/100 g) were detected in the cell cultures collected at day 6. CONCLUSIONS: As a conclusion, secondary metabolite contents were increased by cadmium chloride application and sampling time, while dry cell weights was reduced by cadmium chloride treatments. <![CDATA[<b>Fruits and barks extracts of <i>Zanthozyllum heitzii</i> a spice from Cameroon induce mitochondrial dependent apoptosis and Go/G1 phase arrest in human leukemia HL-60 cells</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Zanthoxylum heitzii is a spice used to prepare several dishes and to treat tumors, syphilis, malaria, cardiac palpitations, urogenital infections in the west region of Cameroon, but the antitumor mechanisms and chemical composition are not yet investigated. This study was aimed to determine the antiproliferative effects of four extracts from the fruits and barks of Zanthoxyllum heitzii (Rutaceae) on apoptosis in human promyelocytic cells, their mechanisms and the chemical composition. The 3-(4, 5-dimethylthiazole-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay was used to determine the fifty percent inhibition (IC50) concentration of the cell lines after treatment. The effect on morphology was observed using a light or fluorescence microscopy. The rate of apoptosis and the cell cycle were measured using flow cytometry (FCM). The phytochemical analysis of the extract was carried with HPLC/MS methods. RESULTS: The phytochemical analysis of the extracts indicated the presence of four known polyphenols (Syringic acid, Juglon, Luteolin and Myricetin) in both fruits and barks of Z. heitzii but in different quantities. Syringic acid and Myricetin concentrations were between 17-21 fold higher in the fruits than the stem bark. Rhamnetin (393.35 μg/mL) and Oleuropein (63.10 μg/mL) were identified only in the stem barks of Z. heitzii. Among the four extracts tested for cytotoxicity properties, only the methanol extract of fruits and barks significantly inhibited cell proliferation of HL-60 cells with IC50 value of 20 μg/mL and 12 μg/mL respectively. HL-60 cells treated with Z. heitzii extracts significantly produced reactive oxygen species (ROS) with concurrent loss of mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP). Modifications in the DNA distribution and enhanced of G1/G0 phase cell cycle arrest were observed in a concentration dependent manner. CONCLUSIONS: Polyphenols from Z. heitzii plant exert inhibitory effect on HL-60 cells through the reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation, loss of mitochondrial membrane potential and cell cycle destabilization. <![CDATA[<b>Assessment of pharmacological activities of two medicinal plant of Bangladesh</b>: <b><i>Launaea sarmentosa</i> and <i>Aegialitis rotundifolia roxb</i> in the management of pain, pyrexia and inflammation</b>]]> BACKGROUND: The current study aims at evaluating the analgesic, anti-pyretic and anti-inflammatory properties of methanolic extract of the stem, bark and leaves of Launaea sarmentosa and Aegialitis rotundifolia roxb. RESULTS: The AELS and AEAR extract presented a significant (***p < 0.001) dose dependent increase in reaction time in writhing method and showed inhibition of 63.1% and 57.1% respectively at the doses of 400 mg/kg body weight while standard drug showed (P < 0.001) inhibition of 69.23%. In tail immersion method, AELS and AEAR showed maximum time of tail retention at 30 min in hot water i.e. 6.93 sec and 6.54 sec respectively at highest doses of 400 mg/kg body weight than lower dose while standard pentazocine showed reaction time of 7.62 sec. The AELS and AEAR extract also exhibited promising anti-inflammatory effect as demonstrated by statistically significant inhibition of paw volume by 32.48% and 26.75% respectively at the dose of 400 mg/kg body weight while the value at the dose of 200 mg/kg body weight were linear to higher dose at the 3rd hour of study. On the other hand, Standard indomethacin inhibited 40.13% of inflammation (***P < 0.001). In Cotton-pellet granuloma method, AELS and AEAR extract at the dose of 400 mg/kg body weight exhibited inhibition of inflammation of 34.7% and 29.1% respectively while standard drug showed (P < 0.001) inhibition of 63.22%. Intraperitoneal administration of AELS and AEAR showed dose dependent decrease in body temperature in brewer's yeast induced hyperthermia in rats at both doses. However, AELS significantly decreased body temperature (***p < 0.001) at 400 mg/kg compared to control. CONCLUSIONS: Present work propose that the methanolic extract of Launaea sarmentosa and Aegialitis rotundifolia roxb possesses dose dependent pharmacological action which supports its therapeutic use in folk medicine possibly mediated through the inhibition or blocking of release of prostaglandin and/or actions of vasoactive substances such as histamine, serotonin and kinins. <![CDATA[<i><b>In vivo</b></i><b> analgesic, antipyretic, and anti-inflammatory potential in Swiss albino mice and <i>in vitro</i> thrombolytic activity of hydroalcoholic extract from <i>Litsea glutinosa</i>leaves</b>]]> BACKGROUND: The study was conducted to evaluate the in vitro thrombolytic activity, and in vivo analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antipyretic potentials of different hydrocarbon soluble extracts of Litsea glutinosaleaves for the first time widely used in the folkloric treatments in Bangladesh. This work aimed to create new insights on the fundamental mechanisms of the plant extracts involved in these activities. RESULTS: In thrombolytic activity assay, a significant clot disruption was observed at dose of 1 mg/mL for each of the extracts (volume 100 μL) when compared to the standard drug streptokinase. The n-hexane, ethyl acetate, chloroform, and crude methanolic extracts showed 32.23 ± 0.26, 37.67 ± 1.31, 43.13 ± 0.85, and 46.78 ± 0.9% clot lysis, respectively, whereas the positive control streptokinase showed 93.35 ± 0.35% disruption at the dose of 30,000 I.U. In hot plate method, the highest pain inhibitory activity was found at a dose of 500 mg/kg of crude extract (15.54 ± 0.37 sec) which differed significantly (P <0.01 and P <0.001) with that of the standard drug ketorolac (16.38 ± 0.27 sec). In acetic acid induced writhing test, the crude methanolic extract showed significant (P <0.01 and P <0.001) analgesic potential at doses 250 and 500 mg/kg body weight (45.98 and 56.32% inhibition, respectively), where ketorolac showed 64.36% inhibition. In anti-inflammatory activity test, the crude methanolic extract showed significant (P <0.001) potential at doses 250 and 500 mg/kg body weight (1.51 ± 0.04 and 1.47 ± 0.03 mm paw edema, respectively), where ketorolac showed 1.64 ± 0.05 mm edema after 3 h of carrageenan injection. In antipyretic activity assay, the crude extract showed notable reduction in body temperature (32.78 ± 0.46°C) at dose of 500 mg/kg-body weight, when the standard (at dose 150 mg/kg-body weight) exerted 33.32 ± 0.67°C temperature after 3 h of administration. CONCLUSIONS: Our results yield that the crude hydroalcoholic extract has better effects than the other in all trials. In the context, it can be said that the leaves of L. glutinosa possess remarkable pharmacological effects, and justify its traditional use as analgesic, antipyretic, anti-inflammatory, and thrombolytic agent. <![CDATA[<b>Phytochemical and toxicological investigations of crude methanolic extracts, subsequent fractions and crude saponins of <i>Isodon rugosus</i></b>]]> BACKGROUND: Isodon rugosus is used traditionally in the management of hypertension, rheumatism, tooth-ache and pyrexia. Present study was arranged to investigate I. rugosus for phytoconstituents, phytotoxic and cytotoxic activities to explore its toxicological, pharmacological potentials and to rationalize its ethnomedicinal uses. Briefly, qualitative phytochemical analysis of the plant extracts were carried out for the existence of alkaloids, flavonoids, saponins, oils, glycosides, anthraquinones, terpenoids, sterols and tannins. Plant crude methanolic extract (Ir.Cr), its subsequent fractions; n-hexane (Ir.Hex), chloroform (Ir.Chf), ethyl acetate (Ir.EtAc), aqueous (Ir.Aq) and saponins (Ir.Sp) in different concentrations were tested for phytotoxic and cytotoxic activities using radish seeds and brine shrimps (Artemia salina) respectively. The phytotoxic activity was determined by percent root length inhibition (RLI) and percent seeds germination inhibition (SGI) while the cytotoxicity was obtained with percent lethality of the brine shrimps. RESULTS: Ir.Cr was tested positive for the presence of alkaloids, glycosides, flavonoids, oils, terpenoids, saponins, tannins and anthraquinones. Among different fractions Ir.Sp, Ir.Chf, Ir.EtAc, and Ir.Cr were most effective causing 93.55, 89.32, 81.32 and 58.68% inhibition of seeds in phytotoxicity assay, with IC50 values of 0.1, 0.1, 0.1 and 52 μg/ml respectively. Similarly, among all the tested samples, Ir.Sp exhibited the highest phytotoxic effect causing 91.33% root length inhibition with IC50 of 0.1 μg/ml. Ir.Sp and Ir.Chf were most effective against brine shrimps showing 92.23 and 76.67% lethality with LC50 values of 10 and 12 μg/ml respectively. CONCLUSIONS: It may be inferred from the current investigations that I. rugosus contains different secondary metabolites and is a potential source for the isolation of natural anticancer and herbicidal drug molecules. Different fractions exhibited phytotoxic and cytotoxic activities, thus providing pharmacological basis for ethnomedicinal uses of this plant. <![CDATA[<b>Diabetic retinopathy</b>: <b>could the alpha-1 antitrypsin be a therapeutic option?</b>]]> Diabetic retinopathy is one of the most important causes of blindness. The underlying mechanisms of this disease include inflammatory changes and remodeling processes of the extracellular-matrix (ECM) leading to pericyte and vascular endothelial cell damage that affects the retinal circulation. In turn, this causes hypoxia leading to release of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) to induce the angiogenesis process. Alpha-1 antitrypsin (AAT) is the most important circulating inhibitor of serine proteases (SERPIN). Its targets include elastase, plasmin, thrombin, trypsin, chymotrypsin, proteinase 3 (PR-3) and plasminogen activator (PAI). AAT modulates the effect of protease-activated receptors (PARs) during inflammatory responses. Plasma levels of AAT can increase 4-fold during acute inflammation then is so-called acute phase protein (APPs). Individuals with low serum levels of AAT could develop disease in lung, liver and pancreas. AAT is involved in extracellular matrix remodeling and inflammation, particularly migration and chemotaxis of neutrophils. It can also suppress nitric oxide (NO) by nitric oxide sintase (NOS) inhibition. AAT binds their targets in an irreversible way resulting in product degradation. The aim of this review is to focus on the points of contact between multiple factors involved in diabetic retinopathy and AAT resembling pleiotropic effects that might be beneficial. <![CDATA[<b>Proteomic analysis of the regenerating liver following 2/3 partial hepatectomy in rats</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Liver regeneration (LR) after 2/3 partial hepatectomy (PH) is one of the most studied models of cell, organ, and tissue regeneration. Although the transcriptional profile analysis of regenerating liver has been carried out by many reserachers, the dynamic protein expression profile during LR has been rarely reported up to date. Therefore, this study aims to detect the global proteomic profile of the regenerating rat liver following 2/3 hepatectomy, thereby gaining some insights into hepatic regeneration mechanism. RESULTS: Protein samples extracted from the sham-operated and the regenerating rat livers at 6, 12, 24, 72, 120 and 168 h after PH were separated by IEF/SDS-PAGE and then analyzed by MALDI-TOF/TOF mass spectrometry. Compared to sham-operated groups, there were totally 220 differentially expressed proteins (including 156 up-regulated, 62 down-regulated, and 2 up/down-regulated ones) identified in the regenerating rat livers, and most of them have not been previously related to liver regeneration. According to the expression pattern analysis combined with gene functional analysis, it showed that lipid and carbohydrate metabolism were enhanced at the early phase of LR and continue throughout the regeneration process. Ingenuity Pathway Analysis indicated that YWHAE protein (one of members of the 14-3-3 protein family) was located at the center of pathway networks at all the timepoints after 2/3 hepatectomy under our experimental conditions, maybe suggesting a central role of this protein in regulating liver regeneration. Additionally, we also revealed the role of Cdc42 (cell division cycle 42) in the termination of LR. CONCLUSIONS: For the first time, our proteomic analysis suggested an important role of YWHAE and pathway mediated by this protein in liver regeneration, which might be helpful in expanding our understanding of LR amd unraveling the mechanisms of LR. <![CDATA[<b>Growth differentiation factor 9 and bone morphogenetic protein 15 expression in previtellogenic oocytes and during early embryonic development of Yellow-tail Kingfish <i>Seriola lalandi</i></b>]]> BACKGROUND: During fish oocyte maturation, specific molecules are expressed and accumulated within oocyte until fertilization and embryo development. Special attention have been paid in members of the transforming growth factor (TGF-β) superfamily; growth differentiation factor 9 (GDF9/gdf9) and bone morphogenetic protein 15 (BMP15/bmp15), which exert regulatory functions during oocyte maturation and follicle development. However, little attention has been paid to the involvement of these molecules during embryogenesis considering its importance for the formation of a good quality egg and subsequent embryo survival. The purpose of this study was to analyze the expression of gdf9 andbmp15 in previtellogenic oocytes and during early embryonic development in Seriola lalandi, a pelagic fish with increasing prospect for its aquaculture development, which however, show high mortality at embryo and larval stages. RESULTS: Through RT-qPCR it was found that gdf9 expression was higher in previtellogenic oocytes decreasing after ovulation. This expression profile agrees with its participation in early stages of the follicular development. The transcripts for bmp15 also showed the highest levels in previtellogenic oocytes, however this expression was lower than obtained with gdf9. Conversely, in recently spawned oocytes mRNA bmp15 levels were highest than observed to gdf9. This, is consequent with the main role proposed for this growth factor at the final fish oocyte maturation: avoid the ovulation of an immature oocyte. During embryo development, low levels of mRNA were detected to gdf9, with an increase in 48 H post-fertilization embryos. The bmp15 expression did not change throughout development and was higher than gdf9 at 16 cells, blastula and appearance embryos stages. CONCLUSIONS: Both (gdf9 and bmp15) expression profiles in previtellogenic oocytes and newly spawned eggs are consistent with the described functions for these growth factors in vertebrate ovarian physiology in early and late stages of the follicular development. So, these genes could be considered as quality biomarkers at these stages. However, further studies of these proteins throughout folliculogenesis, are necessaries to fully understand their functions during the oocyte formation. In addition, the persistent expression of these growth factors during development, allows us to speculate possible roles in embryonic processes, which must also be addressed. <![CDATA[<b>Expression of TRF2 and its prognostic relevance in advanced stage cervical cancer patients</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Telomeres are protective caps consisted of specific tandem repeats (5′-TTAGGG-3′). Shortening of telomeres at each cell division is known as "mitotic clock" of the cells, which renders telomeres as important regulators of lifespan. TRF2 is one of the critical members of shelterin complex, which is a protein complex responsible from the preservation of cap structure, and loss or mutation of TRF2 results in DNA damage, senescence or apoptosis. Since cancer is frequently associated with aberrant cell cycle progression, defective DNA repair or apoptosis pathways, TRF2 could be one likely candidate for cancer therapy. Here we investigated the prognostic role of TRF2 levels in cervical cancer patients. Fold-induction rates were evaluated with respect to median values after real-time PCR analysis. Overall survival, distant disease-free and local recurrence-free survival rates were calculated using Kaplan-Meier long rank test. RESULTS: Both five year overall- and disease-free survival rates were longer in patients with higher TRF2 expression compared to lower expression, but results were not statistically significant (69.2% vs 28.9%, respectively). Mean local recurrence-free survivals (LRF) were very close ( 58.6, CI: 44.3-72.9 vs 54.5, CI: 32.1-76.9 months) for high and low expressions, respectively. Cumulative proportion of LRF at the end of five year period was 76.9% for high and 57.1% for low TRF2 expression (P = 0.75). Statistically significant difference was found between survival ratios and Bcl-xL and p53 gene expressions, but not with TRF2. A respectable correlation between TRF2 expression and apoptosis along with distant metastasis was noted (P = 0.045 and 0.036, respectively). Additionally, high TRF2 expression levels had a positive impact in five year survival rate of stage IIIB-IVA patients (P = 0.04). CONCLUSIONS: Our results support the role of TRF2 in apoptosis and imply a positive relation with distant metastases and survival in advanced stage patients. The remarkable difference in survival periods of patients with different TRF2 expressions suggest that TRF2 may be a candidate factor to estimate survival for cervical cancer, a preliminary observation which should further be verified with a larger cohort. <![CDATA[<b>Biomarkers for screening of lung cancer and pre-neoplastic lesions in a high risk Chilean population</b>]]> BACKGROUND: The mortality of lung cancer (LC), increases each year in the world, in spite of any advances, in development of new drugs to advance stages of LC. The high incidence of LC has been associated with smoking habit, genetic diversity and environmental pollution. Antofagasta region has been reported to have the highest LC mortality rate in Chile and its inhabitants were exposed to arsenic in their drinking water in concentrations as high as 870 μg/L. Non-invasive techniques such as biomarkers (Automatic Quantitative Cytometry: AQC and DR70) and Auto Fluorescence Bronchoscopy (AFB) might be potentially useful as a supplementary diagnostic approach and early detection. Early detection is one of the most important factors to intervene and prevent cancer progression in LC. This is a work of an ongoing prospective bimodality cancer surveillance study in high risk LC volunteers. Enrolment was done in subjects from Antofagasta and Metropolitan regions. In addition, we enrolled subjects who were suspected of having lung cancer. AQC, DR70 and AFB were used as tools in the detection of pre-neoplastic (PNL) and neoplastic lesions (NL). RESULTS: Half of the samples, classified as suspicious by AFB, were confirmed as metaplasia or dysplasia by histopathology. For LC, DR70 showed a higher sensitivity (95.8%) and specificity (91.9%) than AQC. However, for PNL AQC showed a higher sensitivity (91.9%) than DR70 (27.3%), although both with low PPV values. As a pre screener, both biomarkers might be employed as complementary tools to detect LC, especially as serially combined tests, with a sensitivity of 60% and a PPV of 65.2%. Additionally, the use of parallel combined tests might support the detection of PNL (sensitivity 91.2%; PPV 49.1%). CONCLUSION: This work adds information on cellular and molecular biomarkers to complement imaging techniques for early detection of LC in Latin America that might contribute to formulate policies concerning screening of LC. Supported by INNOVA-CORFO, Chile. <![CDATA[<b>Stress tolerant virulent strains of <i>Cronobacter sakazakii</i> from food</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Cronobacter sakazakii is considered as an emerging foodborne pathogen. The aim of this study was to isolate and characterize virulent strains of Cronobacter sakazakii from food samples of Bangladesh. RESULT: Six (6) Cronobacter sakazakii was isolated and identified from 54 food samples on the basis of biochemical characteristics, sugar fermentation, SDS-PAGE of whole cell protein, plasmid profile and PCR of Cronobacter spp. specific genes (esak, gluA, zpx, ompA, ERIC, BOX-AIR) and sequencing. These strains were found to have moderately high antibiotic resistance against common antibiotics and some are ESBL producer. Most of the C. sakazakii isolates were capable of producing biofilm (strong biofilm producer), extracellular protease and siderophores, curli expression, haemolysin, haemagglutinin, mannose resistant haemagglutinin, had high cell surface hydrophobicity, significant resistance to human serum, can tolerate high concentration of salt, bile and DNase production. Most of them produced enterotoxins of different molecular weight. The isolates pose significant serological cross-reactivity with other gram negative pathogens such as serotypes of Salmonella spp., Shigella boydii, Shigella sonnei, Shigella flexneri and Vibrio cholerae. They had significant tolerance to high temperature, low pH, dryness and osmotic stress. CONCLUSION: Special attention should be given in ensuring hygiene in production and post-processing to prevent contamination of food with such stress-tolerant virulent Cronobacter sakazakii. <![CDATA[<b>Neutral space analysis for a Boolean network model of the fission yeast cell cycle network</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Interactions between genes and their products give rise to complex circuits known as gene regulatory networks (GRN) that enable cells to process information and respond to external stimuli. Several important processes for life, depend of an accurate and context-specific regulation of gene expression, such as the cell cycle, which can be analyzed through its GRN, where deregulation can lead to cancer in animals or a directed regulation could be applied for biotechnological processes using yeast. An approach to study the robustness of GRN is through the neutral space. In this paper, we explore the neutral space of a Schizosaccharomyces pombe (fission yeast) cell cycle network through an evolution strategy to generate a neutral graph, composed of Boolean regulatory networks that share the same state sequences of the fission yeast cell cycle. RESULTS: Through simulations it was found that in the generated neutral graph, the functional networks that are not in the wildtype connected component have in general a Hamming distance more than 3 with the wildtype, and more than 10 between the other disconnected functional networks. Significant differences were found between the functional networks in the connected component of the wildtype network and the rest of the network, not only at a topological level, but also at the state space level, where significant differences in the distribution of the basin of attraction for the G1 fixed point was found for deterministic updating schemes. CONCLUSIONS: In general, functional networks in the wildtype network connected component, can mutate up to no more than 3 times, then they reach a point of no return where the networks leave the connected component of the wildtype. The proposed method to construct a neutral graph is general and can be used to explore the neutral space of other biologically interesting networks, and also formulate new biological hypotheses studying the functional networks in the wildtype network connected component. <![CDATA[<b>Extraction of saponins and toxicological profile of <i>Teucrium stocksianum</i> boiss extracts collected from District Swat, Pakistan</b>]]> BACKGROUND: The current era is facing challenges in the management of neoplasia and weeds control. The currently available anti-cancer and herbicidal drugs are associated with some serious side effects. Therefore numerous researchers are trying to discover and develop plant based alternative particularly for the rational management of cancer and weed control. Teucrium stocksianum possess antioxidant and analgesic activities. The current study was designed to evaluate crude saponins (CS), methanolic extract and sub-fractions of T. stocksianum for cytotoxic and phytotoxic potentials. CS, methanolic extract and sub-fractions were extracted from powdered plant material using different solvents. Cytotoxic potential of the extracts at a dose of 10, 100 and 1000 μg/ml were evaluated against Brine shrimp's nauplii. Phytotoxic assay also performed at the same concentration against Lemna minor. Etoposide and Paraquat were used as positive controls in cytotoxic and phytotoxic assays respectively. RESULTS: The percent yield of crude saponins was (5%). CS demonstrated tremendous brine shrimp lethality showing < 10 μg/ml LC50. The n-hexane (HF) and chloroform fractions (CF) demonstrated excellent cytotoxicity with 80 and 55 μg/ml LC50 respectively. Whereas the methanolic extract (TSME), ethyl acetate (EAF) and aqueous fractions (AF) revealed moderate cytotoxicity showing 620, 860 and 1000 μg/ml LC50 values respectively. In phytotoxic assay profound inhibition was displayed by HF (96.67%) and TSME (95.56%, 30 μg/ml LC50) against the growth of Lemna minor at 1000 μg/ml respectively. Both CF and EAF demonstrated profound phytoxicity (93.33%) respectively at highest concentration (1000 μg/ml), while AF and CS demonstrated weak phytotoxicity with 1350 and 710 μg/ml LC50 values respectively. CONCLUSION: Cytotoxicity and phytotoxicity assays indicated that the crude saponins, n-hexane and chloroform fractions of T. stocksianum could play a vital role in the treatment of neoplasia and as potential natural herbicides. Therefore these sub-fractions are recommended for further investigation with the aim to isolate novel anti-cancer and herbicidal compounds. <![CDATA[<b>Cancer stem cells - the current status of an old concept</b>: <b>literature review and clinical approaches</b>]]> As regards their morphology and biology, tumours consist of heterogeneous cell populations. The cancer stem cell (CSC) hypothesis assumes that a tumour is hierarchically organized and not all of the cells are equally capable of generating descendants, similarly to normal tissue. The only cells being able to self-renew and produce a heterogeneous tumour cell population are cancer stem cells. CSCs probably derive from normal stem cells, although progenitor cells may be taken into consideration as the source of cancer stem cells. CSCs reside in the niche defined as the microenvironment formed by stromal cells, vasculature and extracellular matrix. The CSC assays include FACS sorting, xenotransplantation to immunodeficient mice (SCID), incubation with Hoechst 33342 dye, cell culture in non-adherent conditions, cell culture with bromodeoxyuridine. CSCs have certain properties that make them resistant to anticancer therapy, which suggests they may be the target for potential therapeutic strategies. <![CDATA[<b><i>Acidobacteria</i></b><b> appear to dominate the microbiome of two sympatric Caribbean Sponges and one Zoanthid</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Marine invertebrate-associated microbial communities are interesting examples of complex symbiotic systems and are a potential source of biotechnological products. RESULTS: In this work, pyrosequencing-based assessment from bacterial community structures of sediments, two sponges, and one zoanthid collected in the Mexican Caribbean was performed. The results suggest that the bacterial diversity at the species level is higher in the sediments than in the animal samples. Analysis of bacterial communities' structure showed that about two thirds of the bacterial diversity in all the samples belongs to the phyla Acidobacteria and Proteobacteria. The genus Acidobacteriumappears to dominate the bacterial community in all the samples, reaching almost 80% in the sponge Hyrtios. CONCLUSIONS: Our evidence suggests that the sympatric location of these benthonic species may lead to common bacterial structure features among their bacterial communities. The results may serve as a first insight to formulate hypotheses that lead to more extensive studies of sessile marine organisms' microbiomes from the Mexican Caribbean. <![CDATA[<b>Pesticidal and pest repellency activities of a plant derived triterpenoid 2</b><b>α</b><b>,3</b><b>β</b><b>,21</b><b>β</b><b>,23,28-penta hydroxyl 12-oleanene against <i>Tribolium castaneum</i></b>]]> BACKGROUND: Tribolium castaneum (Herbst) is a major pest of stored grain-based products, and cause severe damage to cereal grains throughout the world. The present investigation was aimed to determine the pesticidal and pest repellent activities of 2α,3β,21β,23,28-penta hydroxyl 12-oleanene against T. castaneum. The compound 2α,3β,21β,23,28-penta hydroxyl 12-oleanene is a triterpenoid which was isolated from the roots of Laportea crenulata Gaud. Surface film technique was used for pesticidal screening, whereas, pest repellency property of the triterpenoid was determined by filter paper disc method. RESULTS: At 24 hours of exposure duration, significant mortality records (80% and 86%) were observed at doses 0.88 and 1.77 mg/cm². No significant change in mortality records was observed when duration of exposure was increased up to 48 hours. The triterpenoid showed significant repellency activity at doses 0.47 and 0.94 mg/cm². CONCLUSION: These data suggest that the triterpenoid 2α,3β,21β,23,28-penta hydroxyl 12-oleanene possess both pesticidal and pest repellency activities against T. castaneum and can be used in controlling the pest of grain-based products. <![CDATA[<b>Preventive effect of <i>Ligularia fischeri</i> on inhibition of nitric oxide in lipopolysaccharide-stimulated RAW 264.7 macrophages depending on cooking method</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Ligularia fischeri (common name Gomchwi) is known for its pharmaceutical properties and used in the treatment of jaundice, scarlet-fever, rheumatoidal arthritis, and hepatic diseases; however, little is known about its anti-inflammatory effect. In this study the influence of blanching and pan-frying on the anti-inflammatory activity of Ligularia fischeri (LF) was evaluated. RESULTS: Fresh LF and cooked LF showed no significant effect on the viability of macrophages after 24 h incubation. Fresh LF was found to be the most potent inhibitor of nitric oxide (NO) production at 100 μg/ml, while pan-fried LF showed little inhibitory effect on lipoloysaccharide (LPS) stimulated murine machrophage RAW264.7 cells. In contrast with its effect on NO production, pan-fried LF showed significant attenuation of the expression of inducible nitiric oxide synthase (iNOS) compared with fresh LF. In the cooking method of LF, PGE2 production was not affected in the LPS-induced RAW 264.7 cells. In LPS-induced RAW 264.7 cells, pretreatment by fresh and cooked LF increased COX2 mRNA expression. The 3-O-caffeoylquinic acid content of blanching and pan-frying LF increased by 4.92 and 9.7 fold with blanching and pan-frying respectively in comparison with uncooked LF. CONCLUSIONS: Regardless of the cooking method, Ligularia fischeri exhibited potent inhibition of NO production through expression of iNOS in LPS-induced RAW264.7 cells. <![CDATA[<b>Simultaneous silencing of VEGF and KSP by siRNA cocktail inhibits proliferation and induces apoptosis of hepatocellular carcinoma Hep3B cells</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is involved in the growth of new blood vessels that feed tumors and kinesin spindle protein (KSP) plays a critical role in mitosis involving in cell proliferation. Simultaneous silencing of VEGF and KSP, an attractive and viable approach in cancer, leads on restricting cancer progression. The purpose of this study is to examine the therapeutic potential of dual gene targeted siRNA cocktail on human hepatocellular carcinoma Hep3B cells. RESULTS: The predesigned siRNAs could inhibit VEGF and KSP at mRNA level. siRNA cocktail showed a further downregulation on KSP mRNA and protein levels compared to KSP-siRNA or VEGF-siRNA, but not on VEGF expression. It also exhibited greater suppression on cell proliferation as well as cell migration or invasion capabilities and induction of apoptosis in Hep3B cells than single siRNA simultaneously. This could be explained by the significant downregulation of Cyclin D1, Bcl-2 and Survivin. However, no sigificant difference in the mRNA and protein levels of ANG2, involving inhibition of angiogenesis was found in HUVECs cultured with supernatant of Hep3B cells treated with siRNA cocktail, compared to that of VEGF-siRNA. CONCLUSION: Silencing of VEGF and KSP plays a key role in inhibiting cell proliferation, migration, invasion and inducing apoptosis of Hep3B cells. Simultaneous silencing of VEGF and KSP using siRNA cocktail yields promising results for eradicating hepatocellular carcinoma cells, a new direction for liver cancer treatment. <![CDATA[<b>Influence of rootstocks on growth, yield, fruit quality and leaf mineral element contents of pear cv. 'Santa Maria' in semi-arid conditions</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Rootstocks play an essential role to determining orchard performance of fruit trees. Pyrus communisand Cydonia oblonga are widely used rootstocks for European pear cultivars. The lack of rootstocks adapted to different soil conditions and different grafted cultivars is widely acknowledged in pear culture. Cydonia rootstocks (clonal) and Pyrus rootstocks (seedling or clonal) have their advantages and disadvantages. In each case, site-specific environmental characteristics, specific cultivar response and production objectives must be considered before choosing the best rootstock. In this study, the influence of three Quince (BA 29, Quince A = MA, Quince C = MC) and a local European pear seedling rootstocks on the scion yield, some fruit quality characteristics and leaf macro (N, P, K, Ca and Mg) and micro element (Fe, Zn, Cu, Mn and B) content of 'Santa Maria' pear (Pyrus communis L.) were investigated. RESULTS: Trees on seedling rootstock had the highest annual yield, highest cumulative yield (kg tree−1), largest trunk cross-sectional area (TCSA), lowest yield efficiency and lowest cumulative yield (ton ha−1) in the 10th year after planting. The rootstocks had no significant effect on average fruit weight and fruit volume. Significantly higher fruit firmness was obtained on BA 29 and Quince A. The effect of rootstocks on the mineral element accumulation (N, K, Ca, Mg, Fe, Zn, Cu, Mn and B) was significant. Leaf analysis showed that rootstocks used had different mineral uptake efficiencies throughout the early season. CONCLUSION: The results showed that the rootstocks strongly affected fruit yield, fruit quality and leaf mineral element uptake of 'Santa Maria' pear cultivar. Pear seedling and BA 29 rootstock found to be more prominent in terms of several characteristics for 'Santa Maria' pear cultivar that is grown in highly calcareous soil in semi-arid climate conditions. We determined the highest N, P (although insignificant), K, Ca, Mg, Fe and Cu mineral element concentrations on the pear seedling and BA 29 rootstocks. According to the results, we recommend the seedling rootstock for normal density plantings (400 trees ha−1) and BA 29 rootstock for high-density plantings (800 trees ha−1) for 'Santa Maria' pear cultivar in semi-arid conditions. <![CDATA[<b>Expression of non-neuronal cholinergic system in maxilla of rat <i>in vivo</i></b>]]> BACKGROUND: Acetylcholine (ACh) is known to be a key neurotransmitter in the central and peripheral nervous systems, which is also produced in a variety of non-neuronal tissues and cell. The existence of ACh in maxilla in vivo and potential regulation role for osteogenesis need further study. RESULTS: Components of the cholinergic system (ACh, esterase, choline acetyltransferase, high-affinity choline uptake, n- and mAChRs) were determined in maxilla of rat in vivo, by means of Real-Time PCR and immunohistochemistry. Results showed RNA for CarAT, carnitine/acylcarnitine translocase member 20 (Slc25a20), VAChT, OCTN2, OCT1, OCT3, organic cation transporter member 4 (Slc22a4), AChE, BChE, nAChR subunits α1, α2, α3, α5, α7, α10, β1, β2, β4, γ and mAChR subunits M1, M2, M3, M4, M5 were detected in rat's maxilla. RNA of VAChT, AChE, nAChR subunits α2, β1, β4 and mAChR subunits M4 had abundant expression (2-ΔCt > 0.03). Immunohistochemical staining was conducted for ACh, VAChT, nAChRα7 and AChE. ACh was expressed in mesenchymal cells, chondroblast, bone and cartilage matrix and bone marrow cells, The VAChT expression was very extensively while ACh receptor α7 was strongly expressed in newly formed bone matrix of endochondral and bone marrow ossification, AchE was found only in mesenchymal stem cells, cartilage and bone marrow cells. CONCLUSIONS: ACh might exert its effect on the endochondral and bone marrow ossification, and bone matrix mineralization in maxilla. <![CDATA[<b>Activation of group II metabotropic glutamate receptors blocks zinc release from hippocampal mossy fibers</b>]]> BACKGROUND: The hippocampal CA3 area contains large amounts of vesicular zinc in the mossy fiber terminals which is released during synaptic activity, depending on presynaptic calcium. Another characteristic of these synapses is the presynaptic localization of high concentrations of group II metabotropic glutamate receptors, specifically activated by DCG-IV. Previous work has shown that DCG-IV affects only mossy fiber-evoked responses but not the signals from associational-commissural afferents, blocking mossy fiber synaptic transmission. Since zinc is released from mossy fibers even for single stimuli and it is generally assumed to be co-released with glutamate, the aim of the work was to investigate the effect of DCG-IV on mossy fiber zinc signals. RESULTS: Studies were performed using the membrane-permeant fluorescent zinc probe TSQ, and indicate that DCG-IV almost completely abolishes mossy fiber zinc changes as it does with synaptic transmission. CONCLUSIONS: Zinc signaling is regulated by the activation of type II metabotropic receptors, as it has been previously shown for glutamate, further supporting the corelease of glutamate and zinc from mossy fibers. <![CDATA[<b>Curcumin restores mitochondrial functions and decreases lipid peroxidation in liver and kidneys of diabetic <i>db/db</i> mice</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Nitrosative and oxidative stress play a key role in obesity and diabetes-related mitochondrial dysfunction. The objective was to investigate the effect of curcumin treatment on state 3 and 4 oxygen consumption, nitric oxide (NO) synthesis, ATPase activity and lipid oxidation in mitochondria isolated from liver and kidneys of diabetic db/db mice. RESULTS: Hyperglycaemia increased oxygen consumption and decreased NO synthesis in liver mitochondria isolated from diabetic mice relative to the control mice. In kidney mitochondria, hyperglycaemia increased state 3 oxygen consumption and thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances (TBARS) levels in diabetic mice relative to control mice. Interestingly, treating db/db mice with curcumin improved or restored these parameters to normal levels; also curcumin increased liver mitochondrial ATPase activity in db/db mice relative to untreated db/db mice. CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that hyperglycaemia modifies oxygen consumption rate, NO synthesis and increases TBARS levels in mitochondria from the liver and kidneys of diabetic mice, whereas curcumin may have a protective role against these alterations. <![CDATA[<b>Simultaneous application of BrdU and WST-1 measurements for detection of the proliferation and viability of airway smooth muscle cells</b>]]> BACKGROUND: BrdU is a commonly used reagent in cell proliferation assays, and WST-1 measurement is widely used to detect cell viability. However, no previous study has formally reported the combination of the two assays, which may be used to detect the proliferation and viability simultaneously. In this study, we examined the effect of adding BrdU 2 h prior to the WST-1 assay and tried to test the possibility of the combined detection using rat airway smooth muscle cells. RESULTS: The WST-1 measurements obtained from the combined detection were consistent with those obtained from the separate detection, which suggested that the addition of BrdU 2 h prior to the WST-1 analysis did not affect the WST-1 results. The BrdU measurements obtained from the combined detection also demonstrated the same trend as that obtained from the separate detection, and dosages of 200, 400 and 800 ng/ml testing reagent significantly inhibited the proliferation of rat airway smooth muscle cells. CONCLUSIONS: Our study suggests that the BrdU and WST-1 measurements can be applied simultaneously without mutual interference, which may increase the efficacy and consistency of these measurements to a certain extent. <![CDATA[<b>Investigations of anticholinestrase and antioxidant potentials of methanolic extract, subsequent fractions, crude saponins and flavonoids isolated from <i>Isodon rugosus</i></b>]]> BACKGROUND: Based on the ethnomedicinal uses and the effective outcomes of natural products in various diseases, this study was designed to evaluate Isodon rugosus as possible remedy in oxidative stress, alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases. Acetylecholinestrase (AChE) and butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) inhibitory activities of crude methanolic extract (Ir.Cr), resultant fractions (n-hexane (Ir.Hex), chloroform (Ir.Cf), ethyl acetate (Ir.EtAc), aqueous (Ir.Aq)), flavonoids (Ir.Flv) and crude saponins (Ir.Sp) of I. rugosus were investigated using Ellman's spectrophotometric method. Antioxidant potential of I. rugosus was determined using DPPH, H2O2 and ABTS free radicals scavenging assays. Total phenolic and flavonoids contents of plant extracts were determined and expressed in mg GAE/g dry weight and mg RTE/g of dry sample respectively. RESULTS: Among different fractions Ir.Flv and Ir.Cf exhibited highest inhibitory activity against AChE (87.44 ± 0.51, 83.73 ± 0.64%) and BChE (82.53 ± 0.71, 88.55 ± 0.77%) enzymes at 1 mg/ml with IC50 values of 45, 50 for AChE and 40, 70 μg/ml for BChE respectively. Activity of these fractions were comparable to galanthamine causing 96.00 ± 0.30 and 88.61 ± 0.43% inhibition of AChE and BChE at 1 mg/ml concentration with IC50 values of 20 and 47 μg/ml respectively. In antioxidant assays, Ir.Flv, Ir.Cf, and Ir.EtAc demonstrated highest radicals scavenging activities in DPPH and H2O2 assays which were comparable to ascorbic acid. Ir.Flv was found most potent with IC50 of 19 and 24 μg/ml against DPPH and H2O2 radicals respectively. Whereas antioxidant activates of plant samples against ABTS free radicals was moderate. Ir.Cf, Ir.EtAc and Ir.Cr showed high phenolic and flavonoid contents and concentrations of these compounds in different fractions correlated well to their antioxidant and anticholinestrase activities. CONCLUSION: It may be inferred from the current investigations that the Ir.Sp, Ir.Flv and various fractions of I. rugosus are good sources of anticholinesterase and antioxidant compounds. Different fractions can be subjected to activity guided isolation of bioactive compounds effective in neurological disorders. <![CDATA[<b>Effects of crowding and sex on fecal cortisol levels of captive forest musk deer</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Restricted space and close contact with conspecifics in captivity may be stressful for musk deer, as they are highly territorial and solitary in the wild. So we tested the effects of crowding on stress of forest musk deer (Moschus berezovskii) in heterosexual groups, using fecal cortisol analysis as a non-invasive method. 32 healthy adults during non-breeding seasons were chose as our experimental objects. Group 1 was defined as higher crowding condition, with 10-15 m²/deer (6 enclosures, 10♀ and 6♂); group 2 was defined as lower crowding condition, with 23-33 m²/deer (6 enclosures, 10♀ and 6♂). Every enclosure contained 1 male and 3 female. These patterns had been existed for years. RESULTS: The results showed that females in lower crowding condition (217.1 ± 9.5 ug/g) had significantly higher fecal cortisol levels than those in higher crowding condition (177.2 ± 12.1 ug/g). Interestingly, crowding seemed have no effect on male fecal cortisol levels (148.1 ± 9.1 ug/g and 140.5 ± 13.3 ug/g, respectively). At both groups, cortisol was significantly lower in males than in females. CONCLUSIONS: These results showed that chronic crowding may affect stress status of captive forest musk deer. The captive environment should consider the space need for musk deer. <![CDATA[<b>Protective effect of bixin on carbon tetrachloride-induced hepatotoxicity in rats</b>]]> BACKGROUND: The liver is an important organ for its ability to transform xenobiotics, making the liver tissue a prime target for toxic substances. The carotenoid bixin present in annatto is an antioxidant that can protect cells and tissues against the deleterious effects of free radicals. In this study, we evaluated the protective effect of bixin on liver damage induced by carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) in rats. RESULTS: The animals were divided into four groups with six rats in each group. CCl4 (0.125 mL kg-1 body wt.) was injected intraperitoneally, and bixin (5.0 mg kg-1 body wt.) was given by gavage 7 days before the CCl4 injection. Bixin prevented the liver damage caused by CCl4, as noted by the significant decrease in serum aminotransferases release. Bixin protected the liver against the oxidizing effects of CCl4 by preventing a decrease in glutathione reductase activity and the levels of reduced glutathione and NADPH. The peroxidation of membrane lipids and histopathological damage of the liver was significantly prevented by bixin treatment. CONCLUSION: Therefore, we can conclude that the protective effect of bixin against hepatotoxicity induced by CCl4 is related to the antioxidant activity of the compound. <![CDATA[<b>Arctiin blocks hydrogen peroxide-induced senescence and cell death though microRNA expression changes in human dermal papilla cells</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Accumulating evidence indicates that reactive oxygen species (ROS) are an important etiological factor for the induction of dermal papilla cell senescence and hair loss, which is also known alopecia. Arctiin is an active lignin isolated from Arctium lappa and has anti-inflammation, anti-microbial, and anti-carcinogenic effects. In the present study, we found that arctiin exerts anti-oxidative effects on human hair dermal papilla cells (HHDPCs). RESULTS: To better understand the mechanism, we analyzed the level of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2)-induced cytotoxicity, cell death, ROS production and senescence after arctiin pretreatment of HHDPCs. The results showed that arctiin pretreatment significantly inhibited the H2O2-induced reduction in cell viability. Moreover, H2O2-induced sub-G1 phase accumulation and G2 cell cycle arrest were also downregulated by arctiin pretreatment. Interestingly, the increase in intracellular ROS mediated by H2O2 was drastically decreased in HHDPCs cultured in the presence of arctiin. This effect was confirmed by senescence associated-beta galactosidase (SA-β-gal) assay results; we found that arctiin pretreatment impaired H2O2-induced senescence in HHDPCs. Using microRNA (miRNA) microarray and bioinformatic analysis, we showed that this anti-oxidative effect of arctiin in HHDPCs was related with mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and Wnt signaling pathways. CONCLUSIONS: Taken together, our data suggest that arctiin has a protective effect on ROS-induced cell dysfunction in HHDPCs and may therefore be useful for alopecia prevention and treatment strategies. <![CDATA[<b>Pesticidal and pest repellency activities of rhizomes of <i>Drynaria quercifolia</i> (J. Smith) against <i>Tribolium castaneum </i>(Herbst)</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Tribolium castaneum (Herbst) is a harmful pest of stored grain and flour-based products in tropical and subtropical region. In the present study, rhizome of Drynaria quercifolia (J. Smith) was evaluated for pesticidal and pest repellency activities against T. castaneum, using surface film method and filter paper disc method, respectively. In addition, activity of the isolated compound 3,4-dihydroxybenzoic acid was evaluated against the pest. RESULTS: Chloroform soluble fraction of ethanol extract of rhizome of D. quercifolia showed significant pesticidal activity at doses 0.88 to 1.77 mg/cm² and significant pest repellency activity at doses 0.94 to 0.23 mg/cm². No pesticidal and pest repellency activity was found for petroleum ether, ethyl acetate and methanol soluble fractions of ethanol extract as well as for 3,4-dihydroxybenzoic acid. CONCLUSION: Considering our findings it can be concluded that chloroform soluble fraction of rhizome of D. quercifoliais useful in controlling T. castaneum of stored grain and flour-based products. <![CDATA[<b>Human testis-expressed sequence 101 is limitedly distributed in germinal epithelium of testis and disappears in seminoma</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Testis-expressed sequence 101 (TEX101) was found to be highly expressed in testis and involved in acrosome reaction in previous studies. Recently, the metastasis suppressor function of TEX101 in cancer was disclosed, but the comprehensive investigation of its expression has rarely been reported. In this study, the expression features of TEX101 in normal human organs and seminoma were systematically analyzed. RESULTS: Immunohistochemistry demonstrated intense staining of TEX101 in human testis tissues; however, its expression in 27 other types of normal human organs, including the ovary, was negligible. Higher expression of TEX101 was observed in the spermatocytes and spermatids of the testis, but relatively lower staining was detected in spermatogonia. Western blotting showed a single TEX101 band of 38 kDa in human testis, but it did not correspond to the predicted molecular weight of its mature form at 21 KDa. Furthermore, we examined seminoma tissues by immunohistochemistry and found that none of the 36 samples expressed TEX101. CONCLUSIONS: Our data confirmed TEX101 to be a testis protein that could be related to the maturation process of male germ cells. The lack of TEX101 in seminoma indicated its potential role in tumor progression. This characteristic expression of TEX101 could provide a valuable reference for understanding its biological functions. <![CDATA[<b>Loop-mediated isothermal amplification assays for screening of bacterial integrons</b>]]> BACKGROUND: The occurrence and prevalence of integrons in clinical microorganisms and their role played in antimicrobial resistance have been well studied recently. As screening and detection of integrons are concerned, current diagnostic methodologies are restricted by significant drawbacks and novel methods are required for integrons detection. RESULTS: In this study, three loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) assays targeting on class 1, 2 and 3 integrons were implemented and evaluated. Optimization of these detection assays were performed, including studing on the reaction temperature, volume, time, sensitivity and specificity (both primers and targets). Application of the established LAMP assays were further verified on a total of 1082 isolates (previously identified to be 397 integron-positive and 685 integron-negative strains). According to the results, the indispensability of each primer had been confirmed and the optimal reaction temperature, volume and time were found to be 65°C, 45 min and 25 µL, respectively. As application was concerned, 361, 28 and 8 isolates carrying intI1, intI2 and intI3 yielded positive amplicons, respectively. Other 685 integron-negative bacteria were negative for the integron-screening LAMP assays, totaling the detection rate and specificity to be 100%. CONCLUSIONS: The intI1-, intI2- and intI3-LAMP assays established in this study were demonstrated to be the valid and rapid detection methodologies for the screening of bacterial integrons.