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Chagas disease (CD) is a neglected parasitic condition endemic in the Americas caused by Trypanosoma cruzi. Patients present an acute phase that may or not be symptomatic, followed by lifelong chronic stage, mostly indeterminate, or with cardiac and/or digestive progressive lesions. Benznidazole (BZ) and nifurtimox are the only drugs approved for treatment but not effective in the late chronic phase and many strains of the parasite are naturally resistant. New alternative therapy is required to address this serious public health issue. Repositioning and combination represent faster, and cheaper trial strategies encouraged for neglected diseases. The effect of imatinib (IMB), a tyrosine kinase inhibitor designed for use in neoplasias, was assessed in vitro on T. cruzi and mammalian host cells. In comparison with BZ, IMB was moderately active against different strains and forms of the parasite. The combination IMB + BZ in fixed-ratio proportions was additive. Novel 14 derivatives of IMB were screened and a 3,2-difluoro-2-phenylacetamide (3e) was as potent as BZ on T. cruzi but had low selectivity index. The results demonstrate the importance of phenotypic assays, encourage the improvement of IMB derivatives to reach selectivity and testify to the use of repurposing and combination in drug screening for CD.
Intake, digestibility, nitrogen (N) balance, microbial protein synthesis, weight gain, yields of the main commercial cuts and carcass morphometric measurements were evaluated in lambs fed diets containing different levels of chitosan. Sixty Santa Inês crossbred sheep with an average body weight (BW) of 24 ± 2.2 kg were assigned to three treatments (diets containing 0, 136 or 272 mg chitosan/kg BW) in a completely randomized design. There was no effect of chitosan on dry matter (DM) intake. Ingested and retained N showed a quadratic response, with the highest values estimated at the chitosan levels of 142 and 152 mg/kg BW, respectively. Similar to N balance, microbial protein synthesis showed the same quadratic response, in which the level of 136 mg/kg BW resulted in higher synthesis when compared with the other levels. No effect of chitosan was detected on average daily gain, final weight, or carcass variables (hot carcass weight, cold carcass weight, yield of commercial cuts and morphometric measurements of the carcass). Conformation, visceral fat content and fatness of carcasses were also not altered by the use of chitosan. Chitosan improves the digestibility of DM, crude protein and neutral detergent fibre, and increases N balance and microbial protein synthesis but does not change the production performance of feedlot lambs.
Monosodium l-glutamate (MSG)-induced obesity is a useful model for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) studies. However, there is limited data on its initiation and progression. Thus, this study aimed to characterize the onset of metabolic and histopathological features of NAFLD and its progression to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) in this model. To perform this study, Swiss mice pups were neonatally injected with MSG (4 g/kg/day, s.c.) or equiosmolar saline and followed up to 60, 120 or 180 days old. At each age, blood, liver, as well as periepididymal and retroperitoneal fat pads were collected for morphometric, biochemical and histological analyses, the later according to NAFLD activity score. MSG mice presented hypertriglyceridemia and central obesity at all ages, but peripheral insulin-resistance was verified only in 120- and 180-day-old mice. Hepatic total fat and triglycerides content were higher in MSG mice at all ages. Accordingly, histopathological analysis showed that 60-day-old MSG mice had microvesicular steatosis with occasional ballooning, which evolved into NASH from 120 days old. Retroperitoneal fat accumulation was the only variable to independently correlate with NAFLD activity total score upon multivariate analysis (R2=71.45%). There were no differences in IL-6 and TNF-α serum levels among groups. Overall, this study shows that NAFLD is a precocious outcome in MSG-obese mice, whereas the period comprised between 60 and 120 days old seems to be a crucial metabolic window for comprehending pathophysiological events involved in NAFLD-to-NASH progression in this model.
In Portugal consumers prefer low weight carcasses from kids. Some studies on carcass and meat characteristics were conducted with this type of carcasses (Santos et al., 2007). However, there is little information on the effect of increasing the live weight at slaughter by supplementing the diets fed to kids with concentrate in order to maximize meat production. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of diet, sex and degree of maturity of kids from Serrana breed on carcass composition and in muscle chemical composition.
The interaction between man-animal has a great impact on farm animal welfare and it constitutes an area of dynamic research. Typically the goal this kind of studies is to reach good management practices with lower costs and providing a better welfare to the animals. To evaluate the interaction man-animal many behavioural tests have been developed and applied to different animal species (Pajor et al., 2003; Lansade et al., 2004; Tallet et al., 2006). These tests are used to evaluate relationship between farm animals and their stockperson and how it affects the animal behaviour. The objective of this study is to compare the lamb behaviours of activity and vocalization of two breeds -Île-de-France (IF) and Churra da Terra Quente (CTQ) in a man-animal standard test.
It is a general believe that the local sheep breed Churra da Terra Quente (CTQ), reared in the Northeast of Portugal is well adapted to the conditions of its production system. However, there are large gaps on our knowledge to allow understanding of such claimed adaptation. Several researchers have found differences in digestibility between sheep breeds (e.g. Givens and Moss, 1994; López et al., 2001), suggesting that those fed natural resources can have an improved ability to digest fibre. This experiment was designed to compare digestibility coefficients of a high– and a low–roughage diet measured on sheep from CTQ and Ile-de-France (IF) breeds at the same degree of maturity.
In Northeast of Portugal sheep is reared under extensive systems. These systems frequently involve expressive body composition changes due to the storing and mobilization of body reserves, mainly fat. Body condition score (BCS) is the most common way to assess these reserves and the nutritional status of ewes. However due to the subjective nature of BCS, their quality has been questioned and other alternatives has been studied. For cattle there are some studies that use the real time ultrasonography (RTU) to evaluate the BCS (Schwager-Suter et al., 2000; Broring et al., 2003), but this approach was not tested in ewes. Therefore the aim of the present study was to establish a relationship between the BCS and ultrasound subcutaneous fat (SF) and Longissimus thoracis et lumborum muscle (LM) measurements.
The control of dengue constitutes a great challenge for public health; however, the methods normally used have shown themselves to be insufficient to keep the indices of infestation of Aedes aegypti under control. Recently, beyond the large number of cases and deaths associated with dengue, new risks have arisen such as those represented by chikungunya fever and Zika. In the light of the great significance of these problems within the public health context, two areas in a municipality in the interior of the State of São Paulo, Brazil were selected in 2014. One of them, Bairro Cidade Nova, was submitted to the conventional method of nebulization with portable equipment, and the other, Bairro Jardim Europa, received the application of the insecticide by means of heavy-equipment coupled to the vehicle. During the project, 1355 mosquito eggs were collected, 1105 of them in Bairro Cidade Nova and 205 in Bairro Jardim Europa. After the applications with heavy-equipment in the months of March and April, the number of cases of the disease reported in the month of April for Bairro Jardim Europa was less than half that of Bairro Cidade Nova, which had received the conventional treatment. The nebulization with the heavy-equipment may constitute a viable and effective strategy for achieving better results in the control of Ae. aegypti.
Known life cycles of myxosporean parasites have two hosts, but very few life cycles have been disclosed, especially in the marine environment. Sphaerospora dicentrarchi Sitjà-Bobadilla and Álvarez-Pellitero, 1992 is a systemic parasite from the European seabass, Dicentrarchus labrax (Linnaeus, 1758), a highly valuable commercial fish. It affects its health, leading to aquaculture production losses. During 2013 and 2014, an actinospore survey was conducted in a total of 5942 annelids collected from a fish farm in Algarve and from the Aveiro Estuary, in Portugal. A new tetractinomyxon actinospore was found in a capitellid polychaete, belonging to the genera Capitella collected at the fish farm. The tetractinomyxons were pyriform measuring 11·1 ± 0·7 µm in length and 7·2 ± 0·4 µm in width, and presented three rounded polar capsules measuring 2·4 ± 0·3 µm in diameter. The molecular analysis of the 18S rRNA gene sequences from the tetractinomyxons revealed a similarity of 100% with the DNA sequences deposited in the GenBank from S. dicentrarchi myxospores collected from the European seabass and the spotted seabass in the same fish farm and 99·9% similarity with the DNA sequence obtained from the myxospores found infecting the European seabass in the Aveiro Estuary. Therefore, the new tetractinomyxons are inferred to represent the actinospore phase of the S. dicentrarchi life cycle.
The precocious interruption of lactation is a prime factor for developmental plasticity. Here we analyzed whether flour or flaxseed oil treatment contributes to body and brain mass in male rats subjected to early weaning. Pups were weaned for separation from their mother at 14 (early weaning, EW) and 21 days (control, C). At 21 days, some of the pups were evaluated (C21 v. EW21). After 21 days, control pups (C60) were fed a control diet. EW pups were divided into those fed a control diet (EWC60), those given flaxseed flour (EWFF60), and those given flaxseed oil (EWFO60) until 60 days. EW21 showed lower body and absolute brain mass and higher relative brain mass. At 60 days, EWC60 and EWFO60 had lower body mass. With regard to relative brain mass, EWC60 was heavier; EWFO60 had lower values compared with EWC60 and higher values compared with C60 and EWFF60. These results indicated that flaxseed flour, in comparison with flaxseed oil, contributes to brain development after EW.
Different dietary interventions have been identified as potential modifiers of adiponectin concentrations, and they may be influenced by lipid intake. We identified studies investigating the effect of dietary lipids (type/amount) on adiponectin concentrations in a systematic review with meta-analysis. A literature search was conducted until July 2013 using databases such as Medline, Embase and Scopus (MeSH terms: ‘adiponectin’, ‘dietary lipid’, ‘randomized controlled trials (RCT)’). Inclusion criteria were RCT in adults analysing adiponectin concentrations with modification of dietary lipids. Among the 4930 studies retrieved, fifty-three fulfilled the inclusion criteria and were grouped as follows: (1) total dietary lipid intake; (2) dietary/supplementary n-3 PUFA; (3) conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) supplementation; (4) other dietary lipid interventions. Diets with a low fat content in comparison to diets with a high-fat content were not associated with positive changes in adiponectin concentrations (twelve studies; pooled estimate of the difference in means: − 0·04 (95 % CI − 0·82, 0·74) μg/ml). A modest increase in adiponectin concentrations with n-3 PUFA supplementation was observed (thirteen studies; 0·27 (95 % CI 0·07, 0·47) μg/ml). Publication bias was found by using Egger's test (P= 0·01) and funnel plot asymmetry. In contrast, CLA supplementation reduced the circulating concentrations of adiponectin compared with unsaturated fat supplementation (seven studies; − 0·74 (95 % CI − 1·38, − 0·10) μg/ml). However, important sources of heterogeneity were found as revealed by the meta-regression analyses of both n-3 PUFA and CLA supplementation. Results of new RCT would be necessary to confirm these findings.
The main objective of this study was to develop a polymeric drug delivery system for tamoxifen (TMX), intended to be injectable Eudragit® nanoparticles (NP) for breast cancer treatment. TMX-Eudragit-NP were characterized in terms of particle size, surface morphology, drug physical state by using photon correlation spectrometry (PCS), scanning electron microscope (SEM) and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). The entrapment efficiency (%EE) and in vitro drug release studies were estimated spectrophotometrically by UV-vis technique. The cell toxicity assay was performed in 4T1 cell line using MTT test. TMX-Eudragit-NP showed a maximum entrapment efficient of 23%. The size measurements were compared with the empty nanoparticles and showed values of TMX-Eudragit-NP = 133 ± 30 nm nm, and empty- NP = 273± 50 nm. The zeta potential of particles was +65 and +38 mV for TMX-Eudragit-NP and empty-NP respectively. FTIR studies did not indicate changes in chemical structure or polymer-drug interaction. The cytotoxicity against the 4T1 cells was affected significantly by the released amount of TMX, while empty-NP exhibit no significant cytotoxicity against mouse breast cancer cells (4T1 cell line).
The current research was carried out to evaluate the use of crude protein and fibre components in faeces for estimating intake and digestibility in sheep fed with pearl millet (Pennisetum americanum (L.) Leeke). The equations were developed from four trials in metabolism cages with 16 sheep in each trial. Each animal received a different quantity of millet leaves in the diet: 0·015, 0·020 and 0·025 dry matter (DM) as a proportion of live weight (LW) and ad libitum with at least 0·2 of daily feed refusals. Organic matter intake (OMI, g/day) was measured, through the difference between offer and refusals; total faeces were collected for 5 days, which was used to determine faecal crude protein (CPf, g/day and g/kg of organic matter (OM)), faecal neutral detergent fibre (NDFf, g/day and g/kg OM), faecal acid detergent fibre (ADFf, g/day and g/kg OM) and OM digestibility (OMD). Linear regression equations were calculated to determine the relationship between OMI and CPf (P<0·001, R2=0·90, relative prediction error (RPE=14·02%). A multiple linear equation was generated for OMI including CPf and NDFf (P<0·001, R2=0·94; RPE=9·25%). Hyperbolic (single and multiple) and exponential models were tested to estimate OMD, where the hyperbolic multiple model including CPf and NDFf showed lower RPE (3·90%). These equations for estimating OMI and OMD were evaluated on sheep grazing P. americanum fertilized with increasing levels of nitrogen (N) (50, 100, 200 and 400 kg N/ha), comparing measured and estimated OMI. The intake estimated by multiple regression (CP and NDFf) showed a higher R2 (0·98) and lower RPE (5·25%) than the simple (CPf only) linear equation (R2=0·94; RPE=20·45%). The results demonstrated the feasibility of using the faecal index generated in metabolism cages for estimating intake and digestibility in sheep grazing P. americanum.
Obesity is characterised by chronic low-grade inflammation, and lycopene has been reported to display anti-inflammatory effects. However, it is not clear whether lycopene supplementation modulates adipokine levels in vivo in obesity. To determine whether lycopene supplementation can regulate adipokine expression in obesity, male Wistar rats were randomly assigned to receive a control diet (C, n 6) or a hyperenergetic diet (DIO, n 12) for 6 weeks. After this period, the DIO animals were randomised into two groups: DIO (n 6) and DIO supplemented with lycopene (DIO+L, n 6). The animals received maize oil (C and DIO) or lycopene (DIO+L, 10 mg/kg body weight (BW) per d) by oral administration for a 6-week period. The animals were then killed by decapitation, and blood samples and epididymal adipose tissue were collected for hormonal determination and gene expression evaluation (IL-6, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), TNF-α, leptin and resistin). There was no detectable lycopene in the plasma of the C and DIO groups. However, the mean lycopene plasma concentration was 24 nmol in the DIO+L group. Although lycopene supplementation did not affect BW or adiposity, it significantly decreased leptin, resistin and IL-6 gene expression in epididymal adipose tissue and plasma concentrations. Also, it significantly reduced the gene expression of MCP-1 in epididymal adipose tissue. Lycopene affects adipokines by reducing leptin, resistin and plasma IL-6 levels. These data suggest that lycopene may be an effective strategy in reducing inflammation in obesity.
The aim of the present study was to evaluate the Mini Nutritional Assessment (MNA), the Nutritional Risk Screening (NRS) 2002 and the American Society of Anesthesiologists Physical Status Score (ASA) as predictors of gait status and mortality 6 months after hip fracture. A total of eighty-eight consecutive patients over the age of 65 years with hip fracture admitted to an orthopaedic unit were prospectively evaluated. Within the first 72 h of admission, each patient's characteristics were recorded, and the MNA, the NRS 2002 and the ASA were performed. Gait status and mortality were evaluated 6 months after hip fracture. Of the total patients, two were excluded because of pathological fractures. The remaining eighty-six patients (aged 80·2 (sd 7·3) years) were studied. Among these patients 76·7 % were female, 69·8 % walked with or without support and 12·8 % died 6 months after the fracture. In a multivariate analysis, only the MNA was associated with gait status 6 months after hip fracture (OR 0·773, 95 % CI 0·663, 0·901; P= 0·001). In the Cox regression model, only the MNA was associated with mortality 6 months after hip fracture (hazard ratio 0·869, 95 % CI 0·757, 0·998; P= 0·04). In conclusion, the MNA best predicts gait status and mortality 6 months after hip fracture. These results suggest that the MNA should be included in the clinical stratification of patients with hip fracture to identify and treat malnutrition in order to improve the outcomes.
In this article, the sol-gel methodology was used for coating an acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) polymer prepared by the rapid prototyping technology with a colloid containing the europium III dipicolinic complex, which presents high emission when excited in the ultraviolet region. Either acid or base was used for treatment of the ABS polymer, with a view to activating its surface. The thermal analysis evidenced a residual mass after 600 °C, which indicated that the coating adhered to the substrate. X-ray diffraction analysis showed that the structure of the ABS polymer was not affected by the sol-gel treatment. The large band centered at 287 nm, ascribed to ligand-metal charge transfer, can be used to excite the europium III dipicolinic complex in the ultraviolet C and ultraviolet B regions. The emission appears in the characteristic red region of the electromagnetic spectrum. These results indicate that the obtained material is a candidate for use as ultraviolet sensor.
The squid Loligo vulgaris has an extended spawning season within the upwelling system off north-west Portugal, and its paralarvae may thus develop under a wide range of environmental conditions. Both temperature and salinity are expected to affect the metabolism of young squid and we tested their effects on growth during the embryonic and post-hatching phase, based on measurements of growth increments in statoliths of juveniles and adults, using generalized additive models. There was no evidence that statolith increments representing early growth become unreadable in adult statoliths. Variability in the statolith size at hatching was weakly but significantly related to the variables in the model. On the other hand, the effects on statolith growth of both sea surface temperature and of sea bottom temperature were significant during early post-hatching life. Thicker increments are deposited in the statoliths of squid living under higher temperatures, which results in summer hatchers having larger statoliths at the age of 90 days. Inspection of the statolith accretion pattern, using a piecewise linear regression method, revealed an ontogenetic shift in increment width, which may be an indication of the age of transition from paralarva to juvenile. On this basis, it is suggested that the planktonic stage lasts 60 or 90 days, depending on whether the paralarvae lived at higher (>15°C) or lower (<15°C) sea surface temperatures. The life strategy under warmer conditions potentially favours survival by reducing the duration of the vulnerable planktonic phase.