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Hepatocytes constitute the majority of hepatic cells, and play a key role in controlling systemic innate immunity, via pattern-recognition receptors (PRRs) and by synthesizing complement and acute phase proteins. Leishmania infantum, a protozoan parasite that causes human and canine leishmaniasis, infects liver by establishing inside the Kupffer cells. The current study proposes the elucidation of the immune response generated by dog hepatocytes when exposed to L. infantum. Additionally, the impact of adding leishmanicidal compound, meglumine antimoniate (MgA), to parasite-exposed hepatocytes was also addressed. L. infantum presents a high tropism to hepatocytes, establishing strong membrane interactions. The possibility of L. infantum internalization by hepatocytes was raised, but not confirmed. Hepatocytes were able to recognize parasite presence, inducing PRRs [nucleotide oligomerization domain (NOD)1, NOD2 and Toll-like receptor (TLR)2] gene expression and generating a mix pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokine response. Reduction of cytochrome P 450s enzyme activity was also observed concomitant with the inflammatory response. Addition of MgA increased NOD2, TLR4 and interleukin 10 gene expression, indicating an immunomodulatory role for MgA. Hepatocytes seem to have a major role in coordinating liver's innate immune response against L. infantum infection, activating inflammatory mechanisms, but always balancing the inflammatory response in order to avoid cell damage.
Our current global food system – from food production to consumption, including manufacture, packaging, transport, retail and associated businesses – is responsible for extensive negative social and environmental impacts which threaten the long-term well-being of society. This has led to increasing calls from science–policy organizations for major reform and transformation of the global food system. However, our knowledge regarding food system transformations is fragmented and this is hindering the development of co-ordinated solutions. Here, we collate recent research across several academic disciplines and sectors in order to better understand the mechanisms that ‘lock-in’ food systems in unsustainable states.
This study evaluated the impact of maternal vaccination against rubella on the levels of specific rubella IgG (rIgG) in 198 newborn cord sera samples. Detailed maternal vaccination data were available. Specific rIgG was measured using a commercial enzyme immunoassay. Most mothers (78.8%) had been vaccinated against rubella at least once in their lives. In 15 (7.6%) cord sera samples, the concentration of specific rIgG was below 11 IU/ml, which was classified as seronegative. Statistical analysis using multiple logistic regression (n = 198) showed that newborns of mothers born between 1986 and 1995, and those born to unvaccinated mothers, were more likely to be seronegative (odds ratio (ORs) 5.2 and 4.9, respectively, adjusted for sex and gestational age). For vaccinated mothers (n = 156), those born between 1986 and 1995 were more likely to have seronegative newborns (OR 11.5 adjusting for sex, gestational age and time since last vaccination). Mothers of the 15 (7.6%) seronegative newborns might have been susceptible to rubella during pregnancy. Checking the vaccination status therefore recommended.
Indium oxide (InOx) and indium tin oxide (ITO) thin films were deposited on glass substrates by plasma enhanced reactive thermal evaporation (PERTE) at different substrate temperatures. The films were then submitted to two etching solutions with different chemical reactivity: i) HNO3 (6%), at room temperature; ii) HCl (35%): (40 °Bé) FeCl3 (1:1), at 40 °C. The dependence of the etchability of the films on the structural and deposition conditions is discussed. Previously to etching, structural characterization was made. X-ray diffraction showed the appearance of a peak around 2θ=31° as the deposition temperature increases from room temperature to 190 °C, both for ITO and InOx. AFM surface topography and SEM micrographs of the deposited films are consistent with the structural properties suggested by X-ray spectra: as the deposition temperature increases, the surface changes from a finely grained structure to a material with a larger-sized grain or/and agglomerate structure of the order of 250-300 nm. The roughness Rq varies from 0.74 nm for the amorphous tissue to a maximum of 10.83 nm for the sample with the biggest crystalline grains. Raman spectra are also presented.
Although a national programme for control of visceral leishmaniosis (VL) is being run in Brazil, the disease continues to spread. This programme is essentially based on culling infected dogs from endemic regions. Thus, there is an urgent need to develop other control measures against VL to deter its advance. Here, a subunit vaccine, a recombinant vaccine, an insecticide-impregnated collar and the associations between these measures were evaluated for reducing the incidence of Leishmania infection in dogs. This was through a cohort study conducted in an endemic region of Brazil, considering the incidence and time of total exposure over a period of 1 year. The incidence of VL was estimated by means of serological and molecular diagnostic tests, 180 and 360 days after the application of the control measures. The estimates of the effectiveness (EF) were not significant in any cohort. The EF of the subunit vaccine, the recombinant vaccine and the collar were 26.4%, 32.8% and 57.7% and the upper limit of the 95% confidence interval for EF were 63.7%, 67.9% and 82.5%, respectively. In conclusion, under the conditions of this study, none of the immunogens for VL control was sufficiently effective to protect dogs against infection. On the other hand, use of collars impregnated with insecticide seems to constitute a method with better prognosis, corroborating other studies in this field.
Kefir is a fermented milk obtained by the activity of kefir grains which are composed of lactic and acetic acid bacteria, and yeasts. Many beneficial health effects have been associated with kefir consumption such as stimulation of the immune system and inhibition of pathogenic microorganisms. The biological activity of kefir may be attributed to the presence of a complex microbiota as well as the microbial metabolites that are released during fermentation. The aim of this work was to characterise the non-microbial fraction of kefir and to study its antagonism against Escherichia coli, Salmonella spp. and Bacillus cereus. During milk fermentation there was a production of organic acids, mainly lactic and acetic acid, with a consequent decrease in pH and lactose content. The non-microbial fraction of kefir added to nutrient broth at concentrations above 75% v/v induced a complete inhibition of pathogenic growth that could be ascribed to the presence of un-dissociated lactic acid. In vitro assays using an intestinal epithelial cell model indicated that pre-incubation of cells with the non-microbial fraction of kefir did not modify the association/invasion of Salmonella whereas pre-incubation of Salmonella with this fraction under conditions that did not affect their viability significantly decreased the pathogen's ability to invade epithelial cells. Lactate exerted a protective effect against Salmonella in a mouse model, demonstrating the relevance of metabolites present in the non-microbial fraction of kefir produced during milk fermentation.
Euthanasia of infected dogs is one of the measures adopted in Brazil to control visceral leishmaniasis (VL) in endemic areas. To detect infected dogs, animals are screened with the rapid test DPP® Visceral Canine Leishmaniasis for detection of antibodies against K26/K39 fusion antigens of amastigotes (DPP). DPP-positives are confirmed with an immunoenzymatic assay probing soluble antigens of promastigotes (ELISA), while DPP-negatives are considered free of infection. Here, 975 dogs from an endemic region were surveyed by using DPP, ELISA and real-time PCR (qPCR) for the diagnosis of VL. When DPP-negative dogs were tested by qPCR applied in blood and lymph node aspirates, 174/887 (19·6%) were positive in at least one sample. In a second sampling using 115 cases, the DPP-negative dogs were tested by qPCR in blood, lymph node and conjunctival swab samples, and 36/79 (45·6%) were positive in at least one sample. Low-to-moderate pairwise agreement was observed between all possible pair of tests. In conclusion, the official diagnosis of VL in dogs in Brazilian endemic areas failed to accuse an expressive number of infected animals and the impact of the low accuracy of serological tests in the success of euthanasia-based measure for VL control need to be assessed.
Representative compounds of the new family of magnetic materials Gd5−xNdxSi4 were analyzed by X-ray diffraction at the XRD1 beamline at Laboratório Nacional de Luz Síncrotron. To reduce X-ray absorption, thin layers of the powder samples were mounted outside the capillaries and measured in Debye–Scherrer geometry as usual. The XRD analyses and the magnetometry results indicate that the behavior of the magnetic transition temperature as a function of Nd content may be directly related to the average of the four smallest interatomic distances between different rare earth sites of the majority phase of each compound. The quality and consistency of the results show that the XRD1 beamline is able to perform satisfactory XRD experiments on high-absorption materials even off the best conditions.
This article offers a critical analysis of scholarship produced about Brazil's Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social (BNDES) since its founding, in 1952, to 2013. BNDES has performed an important, if changing and sometimes controversial, role in Brazil's economic development over the past 60 years, especially as provider of long-term finance. This analysis of almost 1,000 texts highlights discussions about its initial organisation and mission and how the role and activities of the bank changed over time, guided by turbulent national political and economic contexts. In spite of the bank's institutional importance, however, the literature is more narrative than analytical and of limited scholarly impact, dominated as it is by the bank's authorship. We argue for independent, evidence-driven, critical analyses of the effectiveness of this important institution in promoting Brazil's economic and social development.
In Portugal, the recommended age for the second dose of MMR (MMR2) was changed from 10–13 years to 5–6 years for those born in 1994 and afterwards. This study aimed to assess if MMR schedule and time elapsed from the last dose are associated with the concentration of rubella and mumps IgG antibodies. Three Portuguese birth cohorts (convenience samples) were selected for this study (66, 59 and 41 participants born respectively in 1990–1993, 1994–1995 and 2001–2003). Geometric mean concentrations (GMC) for mumps IgG were respectively 36, 30 and 38 RU/ml (P = 0·236) and for rubella IgG were 18, 20 and 17 IU/ml (P = 0·641). For both specific antibodies, no differences were observed with time since MMR2. Receiving MMR2 at 5–6 or 10–13 years was not associated with concentration of both antibodies. The GMC of rubella IgG was lower in males (P = 0·029). Taking into account previous evidence and the logistics needed to change vaccination schedules, it seems reasonable that sustaining very high coverage with two doses of MMR is currently the most pragmatic way to control mumps and rubella rather than any changes to the schedule.
Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a major public health problem and its incidence is rising dramatically. The brain, particularly the cerebral cortex, is very susceptible to glucose fluctuations and hyperglycaemia-induced oxidative stress. Tea (Camellia sinensis (L.)) is widely consumed; however, the antidiabetic properties of white tea remain largely unexplored. In the present study, we investigated the effects of daily consumption of white tea on the cerebral cortex of prediabetic rats. The cerebral cortex metabolic profile was evaluated, and the expression levels of GLUT, phosphofructokinase-1, lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) and monocarboxylate transporter 4 were assessed. LDH activity was also determined. The cerebral cortex oxidative profile was determined by evaluating its antioxidant power, lipid peroxidation and protein oxidation levels. Catalase, glutathione, glutamate, N-acetylaspartate, aspartate, choline, γ-aminobutyric acid, taurine and valine contents were determined. Daily consumption of white tea ameliorated glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity. Moreover, white tea altered the cortex glycolytic profile, modulating GLUT expression and lactate and alanine contents. Finally, white tea consumption restored protein oxidation and lipid peroxidation levels and catalase expression, and improved antioxidant capacity. In conclusion, daily consumption of white tea improved the cerebral cortex metabolic and oxidative profile in prediabetic rats, suggesting it as a good, safe and inexpensive strategy to prevent DM-related effects in the cerebral cortex.
The objective of the present study was to determine the knowledge and practices among Trinidad and Tobago school-attending adolescents towards energy drinks (ED), alcohol combined with energy drinks (AwED), weight-altering supplements (WAS) and vitamin/mineral supplements (VMS) and their experience of adverse effects associated with such use.
A cross-sectional, proportionate, stratified sampling strategy was adopted using a self-administered, de novo questionnaire.
Secondary schools throughout Trinidad and Tobago.
Students aged 15–19 years.
Five hundred and sixty-one students participated, an 84 % response rate; 43·0 % were male, 40·5 % East Indian and 34·1 % mixed race. VMS, ED, WAS and anabolic steroids were used by 52·4 %, 44·0 %, 8·9 % and 1·4 % of students, respectively, with 51·6 % of ED users using AwED. Predictors of use of AwED were males and students who played sport for their school (OR = 1·9; 95 % CI 1·2, 3·2 and OR = 2·6; 95 % CI 1·4, 4·7, respectively). Predictors of ED use were males and attendees of government secondary schools (OR = 1·7; 95 % CI 1·1, 2·4 and OR = 1·7; 95 % CI 1·2, 2·4, respectively). Side-effects, mainly palpitations, headaches and sleep disturbances, were reported in 20·7 % of dietary supplement users.
Many adolescent students in Trinidad and Tobago use dietary supplements, including ED and AwED, and about one-fifth of users experience side-effects. Identification of students at risk for ED, AwED and WAS use and education of students about the dangers of using dietary supplements need to be instituted to prevent potential adverse events.
This paper reports the effects of BnSP-7 toxin, a catalytically inactive phospholipase A2 from Bothrops pauloensis snake venom, on Leishmania (Leishmania) amazonensis. BnSP-7 presented activity against promastigote parasite forms both in the MTT assay, with IC50 of 58·7 μg mL−1 of toxin, and a growth curve, inhibiting parasite proliferation 60–70% at concentrations of 50–200 μg mL−1 of toxin 96 h after treatment. Also, the toxin presented effects on amastigotes, reducing parasite viability by 50% at 28·1 μg mL−1 and delaying the amastigote–promastigote differentiation process. Ultrastructural studies showed that BnSP-7 caused severe morphological changes in promastigotes such as mitochondrial swelling, nuclear alteration, vacuolization, acidocalcisomes, multiflagellar aspects and a blebbing effect in the plasma membrane. Finally, BnSP-7 interfered with the infective capacity of promastigotes in murine peritoneal macrophages, causing statistically significant infectivity-index reductions (P < 0·05) of 20–35%. These data suggest that the BnSP-7 toxin is an important tool for the discovery of new parasite targets that can be exploited to develop new drugs for treating leishmaniasis.
Lipid droplets (LD) in porcine oocytes form a dark mass reaching almost all cytoplasm. Herein we investigated changes in fat areas, cytoplasmic tone and LD morphology during in vitro maturation (IVM) of porcine oocytes cultured with 100 μM trans-10, cis-12 conjugated linoleic acid (t10,c12 CLA) or 10 μM forskolin at different time periods. Four groups were constituted: control, excipient, t10,c12 CLA and forskolin, with drugs being supplemented during 44 to 48 h and the initial 22 to 24 h in Experiments 1 and 2, respectively. In Experiment 3, forskolin was supplemented for the first 2 h. Matured oocytes were inseminated with frozen-thawed boar semen and cleavage rate recorded. Before and during IVM, samples of oocytes were evaluated for LD, total and fat areas and fat gray value or for meiotic progression. Results showed that forskolin supplementation during 44 to 48 h or 22 to 24 h inhibits oocyte maturation (exp. 1: forskolin = 5.1 ± 8.0%, control = 72.6 ± 5.0%; exp. 2: forskolin = 24.3 ± 7.4%, control = 71.6 ± 5.6%) and cleavage (exp. 1: forskolin = 0.0 ± 0.0%, control = 55.4 ± 4.1%; exp. 2: forskolin = 8.3 ± 3.3%, control = 54.5 ± 3.0%). Forskolin also reduced oocyte and fat areas. In Experiment 3, forskolin negative effect on oocyte maturation and cleavage disappeared, although minor (P ⩽ 0.03) LD and oocyte fat areas were identified at 22 to 24 h of IVM. Oocytes supplemented with t10,c12 CLA during 44 to 48 h presented a lighter (P ⩽ 0.04) colour tone cytoplasm than those of control and forskolin. In conclusion, t10,c12 CLA and forskolin were capable of modifying the distribution and morphology of cytoplasmic LD during porcine oocyte maturation, thus reducing its lipid content in a time-dependent manner.
This study investigated the structure, diversity and composition of the regenerating shrub-tree species community along a stretch of riparian vegetation in relation to environmental heterogeneity. In the Environmental Protection Area of Pandeiros River, southeastern Brazil, the regenerating stratum on 70 plots (25 m2) divided into four groups according to their soil characteristics and natural barriers was sampled. For each plot observations were made of variables related to several soil properties, canopy openness and flooding regime. In addition to the traditional calculation of phytosociological parameters and diversity, a canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) to examine the existing relationships between environmental variables and species distribution was performed. The families with the highest species richness were Fabaceae and Myrtaceae and the species with the highest importance value indices were Zygia latifolia, Tapirira guianensis, Butia capitata, Bauhinia rufa and Hirtella gracilipes. The CCA largely confirmed the groups that were originally proposed. The stretch of riparian vegetation studied was highly heterogeneous with regard to both the abiotic variables tested and floristic structure and composition.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the activity of delta-aminolevulinate dehydratase (δ-ALA-D) in red blood cells of rats infected with Trypanosoma evansi and establish its association with haematocrit, serum levels of iron and zinc and lipid peroxidation. Thirty-six male rats (Wistar) were divided into 2 groups with 18 animals each. Group A was non-infected while Group B was intraperitoneally infected, receiving 7·5×106 trypomastigotes per animal. Each group was divided into 3 subgroups of 6 rats and blood was collected during different periods post-infection (p.i.) as follows: day 5 (A1 and B1), day 15 (A2 and B2) and day 30 PI (A3 and B3). Blood samples were collected by cardiac puncture to estimate red blood cell parameters (RBC), δ-ALA-D activity and serum levels of iron, zinc and thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS). Rats in group B showed a significant (P<0·05) reduction of RBC count, haemoglobin concentration and haematocrit at days 5 and 15 p.i. The activity of δ-ALA-D in blood was significantly (P<0·001) increased at days 15 and 30 p.i. δ-ALA-D activity in blood had a significant (P<0·05) negative correlation with haematocrit (r=−0·61) and haemoglobin (r=−0·70) at day 15 p.i. There was a significant (P<0·05) decrease in serum iron and zinc levels and an increase in TBARS levels (P<0·05) during infection. The δ-ALA-D activity in blood was negatively correlated with the levels of iron (r=−0·68) and zinc (r=−0·57) on day 30 p.i. It was concluded that the increased activity of δ-ALA-D in blood might have occurred in response to the anaemia in remission as heme synthesis was enhanced.