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The accurate estimation of protein requirements for beef cattle is a key factor in increasing livestock profitability and decreasing the environmental impacts of excessive N excretion due to mismatching between assumed requirements and diet formulation. A meta-analysis was conducted to evaluate and validate a new equation to predict the net protein requirements for growth (NPg) of Zebu beef cattle. For the development of the new approach, a database of 552 observations comprised of bulls, steers, and heifers of different genetic groups (Zebu, beef crossbreed, and dairy crossbreed) was assembled. The new approach was evaluated and compared to current models devised by the international nutrient requirements system committees (Agricultural Research Council, 1980; Beef Cattle Nutrient Requirements Model, 2016; BR-CORTE, 2016) to predict NPg. The model evaluation was performed through the model evaluation system (version 3.1.16) using an independent data set (n = 177 observations). An equation was considered the best estimator of NPg if the following conditions were met: (1) the intercept and slope of the regression between ordinary residues and/or predicted NPg values must have been equal to zero and one, respectively; and (2) the greatest concordance correlation coefficient (CCC) and determination coefficient (R), and lowest mean squared error of prediction (MSEP) were attained. Based on the regression models of the observed v. predicted NPg of Zebu beef cattle, both the new approach and that of the ARC (1980) correctly estimated NPg, since the intercept and slope were not different (P > 0.05) from zero and one, respectively. Additionally, the new approach’s determination coefficient was the greatest and the closest to one. The fact that the new model achieved a higher CCC and lower MSEP than the existing models indicated its superior reproducibility and accuracy. The equations proposed by BR-CORTE (2016) and the BCNRM (2016) did not correctly estimate NPg in that the intercept and slope were different (P < 0.01) from zero and one, respectively. Thus, the equations proposed by the new approach and the ARC (1980) accurately and precisely estimated NPg and are recommended for Zebu cattle. Furthermore, the inclusion of equivalent empty BW (EQEBW) in the new approach improves the estimation of NPg. We suggest the use of the following equation to calculate NPg for Zebu beef cattle: NPg = 176.01 × EBG – 0.381 × EQEBW0.75 × EBG1.035 (R = 0.80 and CCC = 0.75); where NPg = net protein requirements for growth, EBG = empty body gain, and EQEBW = equivalent empty BW.
The rocky shores of the north-east Atlantic have been long studied. Our focus is from Gibraltar to Norway plus the Azores and Iceland. Phylogeographic processes shape biogeographic patterns of biodiversity. Long-term and broadscale studies have shown the responses of biota to past climate fluctuations and more recent anthropogenic climate change. Inter- and intra-specific species interactions along sharp local environmental gradients shape distributions and community structure and hence ecosystem functioning. Shifts in domination by fucoids in shelter to barnacles/mussels in exposure are mediated by grazing by patellid limpets. Further south fucoids become increasingly rare, with species disappearing or restricted to estuarine refuges, caused by greater desiccation and grazing pressure. Mesoscale processes influence bottom-up nutrient forcing and larval supply, hence affecting species abundance and distribution, and can be proximate factors setting range edges (e.g., the English Channel, the Iberian Peninsula). Impacts of invasive non-native species are reviewed. Knowledge gaps such as the work on rockpools and host–parasite dynamics are also outlined.
The search for life in the Universe is a fundamental problem of astrobiology and modern science. The current progress in the detection of terrestrial-type exoplanets has opened a new avenue in the characterization of exoplanetary atmospheres and in the search for biosignatures of life with the upcoming ground-based and space missions. To specify the conditions favourable for the origin, development and sustainment of life as we know it in other worlds, we need to understand the nature of global (astrospheric), and local (atmospheric and surface) environments of exoplanets in the habitable zones (HZs) around G-K-M dwarf stars including our young Sun. Global environment is formed by propagated disturbances from the planet-hosting stars in the form of stellar flares, coronal mass ejections, energetic particles and winds collectively known as astrospheric space weather. Its characterization will help in understanding how an exoplanetary ecosystem interacts with its host star, as well as in the specification of the physical, chemical and biochemical conditions that can create favourable and/or detrimental conditions for planetary climate and habitability along with evolution of planetary internal dynamics over geological timescales. A key linkage of (astro)physical, chemical and geological processes can only be understood in the framework of interdisciplinary studies with the incorporation of progress in heliophysics, astrophysics, planetary and Earth sciences. The assessment of the impacts of host stars on the climate and habitability of terrestrial (exo)planets will significantly expand the current definition of the HZ to the biogenic zone and provide new observational strategies for searching for signatures of life. The major goal of this paper is to describe and discuss the current status and recent progress in this interdisciplinary field in light of presentations and discussions during the NASA Nexus for Exoplanetary System Science funded workshop ‘Exoplanetary Space Weather, Climate and Habitability’ and to provide a new roadmap for the future development of the emerging field of exoplanetary science and astrobiology.
The dietary inclusion of feed additives to improve the carcass characteristics of the final product is of great importance for the pork production chain. The aim of our study was to evaluate the effects of the association of ractopamine (RAC) and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) on the performance traits of finishing pigs during the last 26 days prior to slaughter. In total, 810 commercial hybrid barrows were used. Animals were distributed among treatments according to a randomised block design in a 3 × 3 factorial arrangement, with three RAC levels (0, 5 or 10 ppm) and three CLA levels (0, 0.3 or 0.6%). Pigs fed the diet with 5 ppm RAC had higher average daily feed intake (ADFI) (2.83 kg; P < 0.05) when compared with those fed 10 ppm RAC and the control diet (2.75 and 2.74 kg, respectively). Lower ADFI values (P < 0.01) were observed with the diets containing CLA compared with the control diet with no CLA (2.73 and 2.75 v. 2.85 kg/day, respectively). The average daily weight gain of pigs fed 5 and 10 ppm RAC was +148 and +173 g/dayhigher (P < 0.001), respectively, than those fed the control diet. Dietary RAC levels influenced (P < 0.001) feed conversion ratio (FCR), which was reduced as RAC levels increased, with the pigs fed 10, 5 and 0 ppm RAC presenting FCR values of 2.57, 2.71 and 3.05, respectively. FCR also improved (P < 0.05) with the inclusion of 0.6% CLA relative to the control diet (2.70 v. 2.84, respectively). There was a significant interaction between CLA × RAC levels (P < 0.01) for final BW, loin eye area (LEA) (P < 0.05) and backfat thickness (BT) (P < 0.05). The treatments containing 10 ppm RAC + 0.6% or 0.3% CLA increased LEA and reduced BT. In conclusion, the level of 10 ppm inclusion of RAC increased the overall performance parameters of pigs and therefore improved production efficiency. The combined use of RAC and CLA promoted a lower feed conversion ratio as well as better quantitative carcass traits, as demonstrated by the higher LEA and lower BT. The dietary inclusion of CLA at 0.3% improved feed efficiency, however, without affecting LEA or BT yields.
Kinematic indicators, including certain strain fringes, represent an important group of structures related to the progressive deformation in rocks. The evolution of these fibrous textures can be explained by the combination of multiple mechanisms of deformation and fluid flow, mainly controlled by the orientation of the strain field and the morphology of the grains. In general, the observations are done with an optical microscope and compared with computational models of growth. This work proposes a combination of crystallographic and cathodoluminescence data obtained in rocks from banded iron formations of the Iron Quadrangle in Brazil to represent an example of how complementary analytical techniques can be useful to understand geological problems. The chosen sample exhibits a strain fringe structure of quartz around a clast of magnetite partially transformed into goethite and hematite. Through the crystallographic data it was possible to identify the grain boundary morphology and domains of low deformation areas. On the other hand, the cathodoluminescence signal evidenced the occurrence of grains with a higher concentration of crystalline defects.
Feed efficiency (FE) is one of the most important traits in pig production. However, it is difficult and costly to measure it, limiting the collection of large amount of data for an accurate selection for better FE. Therefore, the identification of single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with FE-related traits to be used in the genetic evaluation is of great interest of pig breeding programs for increasing the prediction accuracy and the genetic progress of these traits. The objective of this study was to identify SNPs significantly associated with FE-related traits: average daily gain (ADG), average daily feed intake (ADFI) and feed conversion ratio (FCR). We also aimed to identify potential candidate genes for these traits. Phenotypic information recorded on a population of 2386 three-way crossbreed pigs that were genotyped for 51 468 SNPs was used. We identified three loci of quantitative trait (QTL) regions associated with ADG and three QTL regions associated with ADFI; however, no significant association was found for FCR. A false discovery rate (FDR) ≤ 0.005 was used as the threshold for declaring an association as significant. The QTL regions associated with ADG on Sus scrofa chromosome (SSC) 1 were located between 177.01 and 185.47 Mb, which overlaps with the QTL regions for ADFI on SSC1 (173.26 and 185.47 Mb). The other QTL region for ADG was located on SSC12 (2.87 and 3.22 Mb). The most significant SNPs in these QTL regions explained up to 3.26% of the phenotypic variance of these traits. The non-identification of genomic regions associated with FCR can be explained by the complexity of this trait, which is a ratio between ADG and ADFI. Finally, the genes CDH19, CDH7, RNF152, MC4R, PMAIP1, FEM1B and GAA were the candidate genes found in the 1 Mb window around the QTL regions identified in this study. Among them, the MC4R gene (SSC1) has a well-known function related to ADG and ADFI. In this study, we identified three QTL regions for ADG (SSC1 and SSC12) and three for ADFI (SSC1). These regions were previously described in purebred pig populations; however, to our knowledge, this is the first study to confirm the relevance of these QTL regions in a crossbred pig population. The potential use of the SNPs and genes identified in this study in prediction models that combine genomic selection and marker-assisted selection should be evaluated for increasing the prediction accuracy of these traits in this population.
This paper describes a model of electron energization and cyclotron-maser emission applicable to astrophysical magnetized collisionless shocks. It is motivated by the work of Begelman, Ergun and Rees [Astrophys. J. 625, 51 (2005)] who argued that the cyclotron-maser instability occurs in localized magnetized collisionless shocks such as those expected in blazar jets. We report on recent research carried out to investigate electron acceleration at collisionless shocks and maser radiation associated with the accelerated electrons. We describe how electrons accelerated by lower-hybrid waves at collisionless shocks generate cyclotron-maser radiation when the accelerated electrons move into regions of stronger magnetic fields. The electrons are accelerated along the magnetic field and magnetically compressed leading to the formation of an electron velocity distribution having a horseshoe shape due to conservation of the electron magnetic moment. Under certain conditions the horseshoe electron velocity distribution function is unstable to the cyclotron-maser instability [Bingham and Cairns, Phys. Plasmas 7, 3089 (2000); Melrose, Rev. Mod. Plasma Phys. 1, 5 (2017)].
The objective of this study was to determine the serotype distribution and antibiotic resistance of invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) strains in children from Lima, Peru, before and after the introduction of the 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7), which was introduced in the national immunisation program on 2009. We conducted a prospective, multicentre, passive surveillance IPD study during 2006–2008 and 2009–2011, before and right after the introduction of PCV7 in Peru. The study was performed in 11 hospitals and five private laboratories in Lima, Peru, in patients <18 years old, with sterile site cultures yielding Streptococcus pneumoniae. In total 159 S. pneumoniae isolates were recovered. There was a decrease in the incidence of IPD in children <2 years old after the introduction of PCV7 (18.4/100 000 vs. 5.1/100 000, P = 0.004). Meningitis cases decreased significantly in the second period (P = 0.036) as well as the overall case fatality rate (P = 0.025), including a decreased case fatality rate of pneumonia (16.3% to 0%, P = 0.04). PCV7 serotypes showed a downward trend. Vaccine-preventable serotypes caused 78.9% of IPD cases, mainly 14, 6B, 5, 19F and 23F. A non-significant increase in erythromycin resistance was reported. Our findings suggest that the introduction of PCV7 led to a significant decrease of IPD in children under 2 years old and in the overall case fatality rate.
In the current study, phage-exposed mimotopes as targets against tegumentary leishmaniasis (TL) were selected by means of bio-panning cycles employing sera of TL patients and healthy subjects, besides the immune stimulation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) collected from untreated and treated TL patients and healthy subjects. The clones were evaluated regarding their specific interferon-γ (IFN-γ) and interleukin-4 (IL-4) production in the in vitro cultures, and selectivity and specificity values were calculated, and those presenting the best results were selected for the in vivo experiments. Two clones, namely A4 and A8, were identified and used in immunization protocols from BALB/c mice to protect against Leishmania amazonensis infection. Results showed a polarized Th1 response generated after vaccination, being based on significantly higher levels of IFN-γ, IL-2, IL-12, tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF); which were associated with lower production of specific IL-4, IL-10 and immunoglobulin G1 (IgG1) antibodies. Vaccinated mice presented significant reductions in the parasite load in the infected tissue and distinct organs, when compared with controls. In conclusion, we presented a strategy to identify new mimotopes able to induce Th1 response in PBMCs from TL patients and healthy subjects, and that were successfully used to protect against L. amazonensis infection.
Reducing the risk of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) transmission is still a public health priority. The development of effective control strategies relies on the quantification of the effects of prophylactic and therapeutic measures in disease incidence. Although several assays can be used to estimate HIV incidence, these estimates are limited by the poor performance of these assays in distinguishing recent from long-standing infections. To address such limitation, we have developed an assay to titrate p24-specific IgG3 antibodies as a marker of recent infection. The assay is based on a recombinant p24 protein capable to detect total IgG antibodies in sera using a liquid micro array and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Subsequently, the assay was optimised to detect and titrate anti-p24 IgG3 responses in a panel of sequential specimens from seroconverters over 24 months. The kinetics of p24-specific IgG3 titres revealed a transient peak in the 4 to 5-month period after seroconversion. It was followed by a sharp decline, allowing infections with less than 6 months to be distinguished from older ones. The developed assay exhibited a mean duration of recent infection of 144 days and a false-recent rate of ca. 14%. Our findings show that HIV-1 p24-specific IgG3 titres can be used as a tool to evaluate HIV incidence in serosurveys and to monitor the efficacy of vaccines and other transmission control strategies.
Minerals are limiting factors in animal production, and the knowledge of mineral requirements for livestock is crucial to the success of a commercial enterprise. Hair sheep may have different mineral requirements than those presents by the international committees. A study was carried to evaluate the net calcium (Ca), phosphorus (P), magnesium (Mg), sodium (Na), potassium (K), zinc (Zn), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn) and copper (Cu) requirements for the growth and maintenance of Brazilian Somali lambs. A total of 48 hair lambs (13.5±1.8 kg) aged 60±15 days were allocated to individual pens. Eight animals were slaughtered at the beginning of the experiment to serve as a reference group to estimate initial empty BW (EBW) and initial body composition. The remaining lambs (n=40) were assigned to a completely randomized design with eight replications in five levels of metabolizable energy (ME; 4.93, 8.65, 9.41, 10.12 and 11.24 MJ/kg DM). When the lambs of a given treatment reached an average BW of 28 kg, they were slaughtered. Initial body composition was used to calculate the retention of minerals. Mineral body composition was fit using a logarithmic equation in the form of a nonlinear model. The maintenance requirements were estimated from regressions of mineral retention in the empty body on mineral intake. The body mineral concentration decreased in lambs with a BW ranging from 15 to 30 kg. The net mineral requirements (100 g/day of average daily gain (ADG)) decreased from 0.52 to 0.51 g for Ca, 0.28 to 0.23 g for P, 0.02 to 0.02 g for Mg, 0.09 to 0.08 g for Na, 0.11 to 0.09 g for K, 1.30 to 1.08 mg for Zn, 3.77 to 3.22 mg for Fe, 0.08 to 0.06 mg for Mn and 0.09 to 0.08 mg for Cu when BW increased from 15 to 30 kg. The daily net requirements for maintenance per kilogram of BW were 30.13 mg of Ca, 27.58 mg of P, 1.26 mg of Mg, 4.12 mg of Na, 8.11 mg of K, 0.133 mg of Zn, 0.271 mg of Fe, 0.002 mg of Mn and 0.014 mg of Cu. The results of this study indicate that the net mineral requirements for weight gain and maintenance in Brazilian Somali lambs are different than the values that are commonly recommended by the main evaluation systems for feed and nutritional requirements for sheep. These results for the nutritional requirements of minerals may help to optimize mineral supply for hair sheep.
The aim of the current study was to evaluate the effect of different forms of soybean lipids on enteric methane emission, intake, performance, digestibility and meat quality of 40 young Nellore bulls (initial body weight (BW) 444 ± 10.2 kg and 24 ± 2.1 months). The dietary treatments were as follows: NF = no dietary additional fat (46.0 g ether extract (EE)/kg diet), SO = soybean oil (62.0 g EE/kg diet), SB = soy beans (without any processing; 62.0 g EE/kg diet) and RPF = rumen-protected fat based on soybean oil (62.0 g EE/kg diet). The intake of dry matter (DM), organic matter (OM), crude protein (CP) and neutral detergent fibre (NDF) was greater in the SO diet than those fed with NF. The SO diet decreased digestibility of NDF when compared with the NF and RPF diets. The diets did not affect digestibility of DM, OM, CP or emission of enteric methane. Animals fed with SO had greater average daily gain and feed efficiency in relation to the other diets tested. The SO diet increased hot and cold carcass weights and subcutaneous fat thickness of carcasses when compared with the NF diet. The proportions of saturated and unsaturated, mono and polyunsaturated, and n-3 and n-6 fatty acids were not affected significantly by treatments. The SO diets were demonstrated to be more beneficial for animal performance compared with diets without supplemental fat.
Immunocastration (ImC) has been proposed as an animal welfare-friendly alternative to reduce sexual and aggressive behavior and to increase carcass fat deposition with positive effects on meat quality. The β-adrenergic agonists (β-AA) are known as repartitioning agents that acts increasing lean tissue deposition. The combined use of these technologies can positively affect meat quality and increase retail cuts yield. Thus, this research was conducted to evaluate the combined effects of ImC and β-AA (zilpaterol hydrochloride (ZH) and ractopamine hydrochloride (RH)) on retail cuts, bones, and fat trim of feedlot finished Bos indicus (Nellore) cattle. No interaction was observed between sexual condition and diet for any trait. The ImC decreased cold carcass, hindquarter (HQ), forequarter (FQ) and combined brisket, short ribs and flank (BSF) weights. The ImC also showed smaller weights of retail cuts and bones on the HQ and on the FQ than non-castrated (NoC). Fat trim weights did not differ from ImC and NoC. The most of subprimal cuts were heavier in NoC than in ImC. Feeding β-AA did not affect cold carcass weight; however, animals fed ZH had higher weights of HQ and retail cuts in HQ when compared with RH and control (CO) group, with no differences between RH and CO for both traits. The weights of FQ, BSF, retail cuts in FQ, as well as bones and fat trimmings were not affected by β-AA. In summary, ImC decreases carcass and retail cut weights, whereas ZH supplementation leads to an improvement in carcass lean tissue and retail cuts.
The physical processes driving the chemical evolution of galaxies in the last ~ 11Gyr cannot be understood without directly probing the dust-obscured phase of star-forming galaxies and active galactic nuclei. This phase, hidden to optical tracers, represents the bulk of the star formation and black hole accretion activity in galaxies at 1 < z < 3. Spectroscopic observations with a cryogenic infrared observatory like SPICA, will be sensitive enough to peer through the dust-obscured regions of galaxies and access the rest-frame mid- to far-infrared range in galaxies at high-z. This wavelength range contains a unique suite of spectral lines and dust features that serve as proxies for the abundances of heavy elements and the dust composition, providing tracers with a feeble response to both extinction and temperature. In this work, we investigate how SPICA observations could be exploited to understand key aspects in the chemical evolution of galaxies: the assembly of nearby galaxies based on the spatial distribution of heavy element abundances, the global content of metals in galaxies reaching the knee of the luminosity function up to z ~ 3, and the dust composition of galaxies at high-z. Possible synergies with facilities available in the late 2020s are also discussed.
Primary seed dispersal of many rain-forest seeds occurs through defecation by mammals. Dung beetles are attracted to the defecations and through their dung-processing behaviour these insects change the initial pattern of seed deposition. Final seed deposition patterns, i.e. where and how seeds are deposited after dung beetle activity has taken place, may strongly depend on seed size. In this study we addressed the following question: Do different sizes of seeds have different deposition patterns following dung beetle processing? We conducted a field experiment in lowland Amazonian rain forest in Brazil using 200-g dung-piles containing seed mimics of three sizes: 3.5, 8.6 and 15.5 mm long. Seed deposition condition after dung beetle activity was dependent on seed size. Small seeds were more often buried in beetle tunnels, while medium and large seeds more often remained on the soil surface, either clean or still covered by dung. A low proportion of seeds of all sizes remained on the soil surface covered by loose soil excavated by dung beetles. We speculate that the latter deposition pattern, though not very frequent, might be highly favourable for both seed survival and seedling establishment.
Lychnophora ericoides Mart. (Asteraceae), popularly known as arnica, is a plant species subjected to non-timber forest products extraction. Evidence is mounting that some local populations are on the brink of extinction. However, demographic studies of Lychnophora ericoides are rare. Therefore, as a step towards conservation, a remnant population of Lychnophora ericoides located in an area of the Cerrado (Brazilian Savanna) in Central Brazil was evaluated from 2010 through 2014. Disturbances such as wildfires and harvesting of Lychnophora ericoides were randomly distributed throughout the study period in this area. Four annual transition matrices (A1, A2, A3 and A4) were constructed, based on life stages. The main results of studies of population dynamics for this species are as follows: 1) population growth rates (λ) with 95% confidence intervals indicated a declining population in all periods from 2010 to 2014; 2) stochastic population growth rate considering the four matrices was < 1 with value λ = 0.358 and CI95% = (0.354–0.362); 3) survival with permanence at the same stage of reproductive adult individuals (46–80%) contributed most to population growth rate, based on elasticity analysis; 4) the population is much less likely to have increases in density, compared with reduction, for all intervals from 2010 to 2014, based on transient indices; 5) the low value of λ in the high-mortality year was caused by lower stasis of individuals in the seedling or sapling and juvenile life stages, as well as fecundity in the 2011–2012 and 2012–2013 intervals, as shown by a life table response experiment; and 6) 100% of the population will probably be extinct within 15 years. There is evidence that the main cause for local extinction of Lychnophora ericoides could be the effects of frequent wildfires. Based on these results, it is suggested that the time has come for significant conservation efforts to rescue this population, including monitoring, protection and education as the first steps towards protection of this vulnerable plant species.
Recent studies with Nile tilapia have shown divergent results regarding the possibility of selecting on morphometric measurements to promote indirect genetic gains in fillet yield (FY). The use of indirect selection for fillet traits is important as these traits are only measurable after harvesting. Random regression models are a powerful tool in association studies to identify the best time point to measure and select animals. Random regression models can also be applied in a multiple trait approach to analyze indirect response to selection, which would avoid the need to sacrifice candidate fish. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the genetic relationships between several body measurements, weight and fillet traits throughout the growth period and to evaluate the possibility of indirect selection for fillet traits in Nile tilapia. Data were collected from 2042 fish and was divided into two subsets. The first subset was used to estimate genetic parameters, including the permanent environmental effect for BW and body measurements (8758 records for each body measurement, as each fish was individually weighed and measured a maximum of six times). The second subset (2042 records for each trait) was used to estimate genetic correlations and heritabilities, which enabled the calculation of correlated response efficiencies between body measurements and the fillet traits. Heritability estimates across ages ranged from 0.05 to 0.5 for height, 0.02 to 0.48 for corrected length (CL), 0.05 to 0.68 for width, 0.08 to 0.57 for fillet weight (FW) and 0.12 to 0.42 for FY. All genetic correlation estimates between body measurements and FW were positive and strong (0.64 to 0.98). The estimates of genetic correlation between body measurements and FY were positive (except for CL at some ages), but weak to moderate (−0.08 to 0.68). These estimates resulted in strong and favorable correlated response efficiencies for FW and positive, but moderate for FY. These results indicate the possibility of achieving indirect genetic gains for FW and by selecting for morphometric traits, but low efficiency for FY when compared with direct selection.
High-precision abundances of elements have been derived from HARPS-N spectra of F and G main-sequence stars having ages determined from oscillation frequencies delivered by the Kepler mission. The tight relations between abundance ratios of refractory elements, e.g., [Mg/Fe] and [Y/Mg], and stellar age previously found for solar twin stars are confirmed. These relations provide new information on nucleosynthesis and Galactic evolution. Abundance ratios between volatile and refractory elements, e.g., [C/Fe] and [O/Fe], show on the other hand a significant scatter at a given age, which may be related to planet-star interactions. This is a potential problem for chemical tagging studies.
American tegumentary leishmaniasis is caused by different species of Leishmania. This protozoan employs several mechanisms to subvert the microbicidal activity of macrophages and, given the limited efficacy of current therapies, the development of alternative treatments is essential. Animal venoms are known to exhibit a variety of pharmacological activities, including antiparasitic effects. Crotoxin (CTX) is the main component of Crotalus durissus terrificus venom, and it has several biological effects. Nevertheless, there is no report of CTX activity during macrophage – Leishmania interactions. Thus, the main objective of this study was to evaluate whether CTX has a role in macrophage M1 polarization during Leishmania infection murine macrophages, Leishmania amazonensis promastigotes and L. amazonensis-infected macrophages were challenged with CTX. MTT [3-(4,5dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyl tetrasodium bromide] toxicity assays were performed on murine macrophages, and no damage was observed in these cells. Promastigotes, however, were affected by treatment with CTX (IC50 = 22·86 µg mL−1) as were intracellular amastigotes. Macrophages treated with CTX also demonstrated increased reactive oxygen species production. After they were infected with Leishmania, macrophages exhibited an increase in nitric oxide production that converged into an M1 activation profile, as suggested by their elevated production of the cytokines interleukin-6 and tumour necrosis factor-α and changes in their morphology. CTX was able to reverse the L. amazonensis-mediated inhibition of macrophage immune responses and is capable of polarizing macrophages to the M1 profile, which is associated with a better prognosis for cutaneous leishmaniasis treatment.