Publications

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    ABSTRACT: Lack of dystrophin in Duchenne muscle dystrophy (DMD) and in the mutant mdx mouse results in progressive muscle degeneration, structural changes at the neuromuscular junction, and destabilization of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs). One-third of DMD patients also present non-progressive cognitive impairments. Considering the role of the cholinergic system in cognitive functions, the number of nAChR binding sites and the mRNA levels of α4, β2, and α7 subunits were determined in brain regions normally enriched in dystrophin (cortex, hippocampus and cerebellum) of mdx mice using specific ligands and reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction assays, respectively. Membrane preparations of these brain regions were obtained from male control and mdx mice at 4 and 12 months of age. The number of [(3)H]-cytisine (α4β2) and [(125)I]-α-bungarotoxin ([(125)I]-αBGT, α7) binding sites in the cortex and cerebellum was not altered with age or among age-matched control and mdx mice. A significant reduction in [(3)H]-cytisine (48%) and [(125)I]-αBGT (37%) binding sites was detected in the hippocampus of mdx mice at 12 months of age. When compared with the age-matched control groups, the mdx mice did not have significantly altered [(3)H]-cytisine binding in the hippocampus, but [(125)I]-αBGT binding in the same brain region was 52% higher at 4 months and 20% lower at 12 months. mRNA transcripts for the nAChR α4, β2, and α7 subunits were not significantly altered in the same brain regions of all animal groups. These results suggest a potential alteration of the nicotinic cholinergic function in the hippocampus of dystrophin-deficient mice, which might contribute to the impairments in cognitive functions, such as learning and memory, that have been reported in the dystrophic murine model and DMD patients.
    Brain research 09/2012; 1483:96-104. · 2.46 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This work describes for the first time the characterization of the enzymatic features of gyroxin, a serine protease from Crotalus durissus terrificus venom, capable to induce barrel rotation syndrome in rodents. Measuring the hydrolysis of the substrate ZFR-MCA, the optimal pH for proteolytic cleavage of gyroxin was found to be at pH 8.4. Increases in the hydrolytic activity were observed at temperatures from 25 °C to 45 °C, and increases of NaCl concentration up to 1 M led to activity decreases. The preference of gyroxin for Arg residues at the substrate P1 position was also demonstrated. Taken together, this work describes the characterization of substrate specificity of gyroxin, as well as the effects of salt and pH on its enzymatic activity.
    Biochimie 08/2012; · 3.14 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Baccharis trimera (Less.) DC. (Asteraceae) is a species native to South America used in Brazilian folk medicine to treat gastrointestinal and liver diseases, kidney disorders and diabetes. Previous studies from this laboratory confirmed the antacid and antiulcer activities of the plant aqueous extract (AE) in rat and mouse models. To investigate the mechanisms involved in the antacid action of AE and isolated compounds from Baccharis trimera. AE was assayed in vivo in cold-restraint stress gastric ulcers and in pylorus-ligated mice. Nine fractions (F2-F10) previously isolated from AE were assayed in vitro on acid secretion measured as [(14)C]-aminopyrine ([(14)C]-AP) accumulation in rabbit gastric glands, and on gastric microsomal H(+), K(+)-ATPase preparations. Chlorogenic acids (F2, F3, F6, F7), flavonoids (F9), an ent-clerodane diterpene (F8) and a dilactonic neo-clerodane diterpene (F10) have been identified in these fractions. Intraduodenal injection of AE (1.0 and 2.0 g/kg) in 4h pylorus-ligated mice decreased the volume (20 and 50%) and total acidity (34 and 50%) of acid secretion compared to control values. Administered orally at the same doses AE protected against gastric mucosal lesions induced in mice by restraint at 4°C. Exposure of isolated rabbit gastric glands to fractions F8 (10-100 μM) and F9 (10-300 μg/ml) decreased the basal [(14)C]-AP uptake by 50 and 60% of control (Ratio=6.2±1.1), whereas the remaining fractions were inactive. In the presence of the secretagogues F2 and F4 (30-300 μg/ml) decreased the [(14)C]-AP uptake induced by histamine (His) with a 100-fold lower potency than that of ranitidine. F5 and F6 reduced the [(14)C]-AP uptake stimulated by carbachol (CCh), but they were 10 to 20-fold less potent than atropine. F8 (diterpene 2) and F9 (flavonoids) decreased both the His- and CCh-induced [(14)C]-AP uptake, whereas F10 (diterpene 1) was inactive against the [(14)C]-AP uptake stimulated by secretagogues. Diterpene 2 was the most active of all tested compounds being 7-fold less potent than ranitidine and equipotent to atropine in reducing acid secretion in vitro. This compound also reduced the gastric H(+), K(+)-ATPase activity by 20% of control, while the remaining fractions were inactive on the proton pump in vitro. The results indicate that Baccharis trimera presents constituents that inhibit gastric acid secretion by acting mainly on the cholinergic regulatory pathway. The plant extract also contains compounds that exert moderate inhibition of the histaminergic regulatory pathway of acid secretion and the gastric proton pump. Altogether these active constituents appear to provide effective inhibition of acid secretion in vivo, which may explain the reputed antiulcer activity of the plant extract.
    Journal of ethnopharmacology 06/2011; 136(2):368-73. · 2.32 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: New compounds that target nicotinic receptors (nAChRs) have been sought to correct disorders affecting cholinergic transmission in central and peripheral synapses. A quaternary derivate of l-hyoscyamine, phenthonium (Phen), was shown by our group to enhance the spontaneous acetylcholine (ACh) release without altering the nerve-induced transmitter release at the neuromuscular junction. The effect was unrelated to membrane depolarization, and was not induced by an increase of calcium influx into the nerve terminal. Phen also presented a competitive antimuscarinic activity and blocked noncompetitively the neuromuscular transmission. In this work we re-examined the mechanisms underlying the facilitatory actions of Phen on [(3)H]-ACh release in isolated ganglia of the guinea pig ileal myenteric plexus. Exposure of the preparations to Phen (10-50 microM) increased the release of [(3)H]-ACh by 81 to 68% over the basal. The effect was not affected by the ganglionic nAChR antagonist hexamethonium (1 nM) at a concentration that inhibited the increase of [(3)H]-ACh release induced by the nicotinic agonist dimethylphenylpiperazinium (DMPP, 30 microM). Association of Phen (10 microM) with DMPP potentiated the facilitatory effect of Phen. [(3)H]-ACh release was not altered by the muscarinic antagonists atropine (1 nM) or pirenzepine (1 microM). However, both antagonists inhibited the release of [(3)H]-ACh induced by either the muscarinic M1 agonist McN-343 (10 microM) or Phen (20 microM). The facilitatory effect of Phen was not altered by CdCl(2) (50 mM), but it was potentiated in the presence of tetraethylammonium (40 mM). The results indicate that the facilitatory action of Phen appears to be mediated by an increase of the inwardly rectifying potassium channels conductance probably related to the compound antimuscarinic activity.
    Journal of Molecular Neuroscience 09/2009; 40(1-2):138-42. · 2.89 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Phenthonium (Phen), a quaternary analog of hyoscyamine, is a blocker of muscarinic activity and an allosteric blocker of alpha(1)2betagammaepsilon nicotinic receptors. Specifically, Phenthonium increases the spontaneous release of acetylcholine at the motor endplate without depolarizing the muscle or inhibiting cholinesterase activity. This paper compares Phenthonium's effects on sympathetic transmission and on ganglionic nicotinic receptor activation. Neurotransmitter release and twitch of the rat vas deferens were induced either by electrical stimulation or by 1,1-dimethyl-4-phenylpiperazine (DMPP) activation of nicotinic receptors. Contractions independent of transmitter release were induced by noradrenaline and adenosine 5'-triphosphate (ATP). Phenthonium inhibited transmitter release and depressed twitch without changing the responsiveness to noradrenaline or ATP. Twitch depression did not occur after K(+)-channel blockade with 4-aminopyridine (4-AP) or charybdotoxin. DMPP had a similar effect, but high concentrations induced contraction of non-stimulated organs. Incubation of Phenthonium inhibited further DMPP twitch depression and non-competitively depressed the contractile responses elicited by DMPP. Furthermore, mecamylamine, but neither methyllycaconitine nor atropine, blocked the contraction elicited by DMPP. Phenthonium and DMPP are K(+)-channel openers that primarily inhibit sympathetic transmission. Contraction induced by DMPP was probably mediated by neuronal nicotinic receptor other than the alpha7 subtype. The blockade of DMPP contractile response was unrelated to Phenthonium's antimuscarinic or K(+)-channel opening activities. Since Phenthonium's quaternary chemical structure limits its membrane diffusion, the non-competitive inhibition of DMPP excitatory responses should be linked to allosteric interaction with neuronal nicotinic receptors that putatively qualify Phenthonium as a novel modulator of cholinergic synapses.
    European journal of pharmacology 07/2009; 616(1-3):229-35. · 2.59 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The absence of dystrophin in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) and in the mutant mdx mouse causes muscle degeneration and disruption of the neuromuscular junction. Based on evidence from the denervation-like properties of these muscles, we assessed the ligand-binding constants of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) and the mRNA expression of individual subunits in membrane preparations of diaphragm muscles from adult (4-month-old) and aged (20-month-old) control and mdx mice. The concentration of nAChRs as determined by the maximal specific [(125)I]-alpha-bungarotoxin binding (Bmax) in the muscle membranes did not change with aging in both animal strains. When compared to age-matched control groups, the Bmax in mdx muscles was increased by 65% in adults, and by 103% in aged mice with no alteration of toxin affinity for nAChRs. Reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction assays showed that mRNA transcripts for the nAChR alpha1, gamma, alpha7, and beta2, but not the epsilon subunits, were more abundant in mdx than in control muscles. The results indicate increased expression of extrajunctional nAChRs in the mdx diaphragm and reflect impairment of nAChR regulation in dystrophin-deficient muscles. These observations may be related to the resistance to nondepolarizing muscle relaxants and the high sensitivity to depolarizing agents reported in DMD patients.
    Muscle & Nerve 01/2009; 38(6):1585-94. · 2.31 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cecropia glazioui Sneth (Cecropiaceae) is used in folk medicine in tropical and subtropical Latin America as cardiotonic, diuretic, hypotensive, anti-inflammatory and anti-asthmatic. The hypotensive/antihypertensive activity of the plant aqueous extract (AE) and isolated butanolic fraction (BuF) has been confirmed and putatively related to calcium channels blockade in vascular smooth musculature [Lapa, A.J., Lima-Landman, M.T.R., Cysneiros, R.M, Borges, A.C.R., Souccar, C., Barreta, I.P., Lima, T.C.M., 1999. The Brazilian folk medicine program to validate medicinal plants - a topic in new antihypertensive drug research. In: Hostettman, K., Gupta, M.P., Marston, A. (Eds.), Proceedings Volume, IOCD/CYTED Symposium, Panamá City, Panamá, 23-26 February 1997. Chemistry, Biological and Pharmacological Properties of Medicinal Plants from the Americas. Harwood Academic Publishers, Amsterdam, pp. 185-196; Lima-Landman, M.T., Borges, A.C., Cysneiros, R.M., De Lima, T.C., Souccar, C., Lapa, A.J., 2007. Antihypertensive effect of a standardized aqueous extract of Cecropia glaziovii Sneth in rats: an in vivo approach to the hypotensive mechanism. Phytomedicine 14, 314-320]. Bronchodilation and antidepressant-like activities of both AE and BuF have been also shown [Delarcina, S., Lima-Landman, M.T., Souccar, C., Cysneiros, R.M., Tanae, M.M., Lapa, A.J., 2007. Inhibition of histamine-induced bronchospasm in guinea pigs treated with Cecropia glaziovi Sneth and correlation with the in vitro activity in tracheal muscles. Phytomedicine 14, 328-332; Rocha, F.F., Lima-Landman, M.T., Souccar, C., Tanae, M.M., De Lima, T.C., Lapa, A.J., 2007. Antidepressant-like effect of Cecropia glazioui Sneth and its constituents -in vivo and in vitro characterization of the underlying mechanism. Phytomedicine 14, 396-402]. This study reports the antiulcer and antisecretory gastric acid activities of the plant AE, its BuF and isolated compounds with the possible mechanism involved. Both AE and BuF were assayed on gastric acid secretion of pylorus-ligated mice, on acute models of gastric mucosal lesions, and on rabbit gastric H(+), K(+)-ATPase preparations. Intraduodenal injection of AE or BuF (0.5-2.0g/kg, i.d) produced a dose-related decrease of the basal gastric acid secretion in 4-h pylorus-ligated mice. At 1.0g/kg, BuF decreased the volume (28%) and total acidity (33%) of the basal acid secretion, and reversed the histamine (2.5mg/kg, s.c.)- or bethanecol (1.0mg/kg, s.c.)-induced acid secretion to basal values, indicating inhibition of the gastric proton pump. Pretreatment of mice with the BuF (0.05-0.5g/kg, p.o.) protected against gastric mucosal lesions induced by 75% ethanol, indomethacin (30mg/kg, s.c.) or restraint at 4 degrees C. BuF also decreased the gastric H(+), K(+)-ATPase activity in vitro proportionately to the concentration (IC(50)=58.8microg/ml). The compounds isolated from BuF, consisting mainly of cathechins, procyanidins and flavonoids [Tanae, M.M., Lima-Landman, M.T.R., De Lima, T.C.M., Souccar, C., Lapa, A.J., 2007. Chemical standardization of the aqueous extract of Cecropia glaziovii Sneth endowed with antihypertensive, bronchodilator, antacid secretion and antidepressant-like activities. Phytomedicine 14, 309-313], inhibited the in vitro gastric H(+), K(+)-ATPase activity at equieffective concentrations to that of BuF. The results indicate that C. glazioui constituents inhibit the gastric proton pump; this effect may account for the effective antisecretory and antiulcer activities of the standardized plant extract.
    Phytomedicine: international journal of phytotherapy and phytopharmacology 07/2008; 15(6-7):462-9. · 2.97 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The present study aimed to characterize the antidepressant-like effect of a standardized aqueous extract (AE) of Cecropia glazioui Sneth and its purified fractions on in vivo (forced swimming test), ex vivo (hippocampal monoamines levels) and in vitro (serotonin, noradrenaline and dopamine uptake) tests, searching for the active principles and the underlying mechanisms of action. Treatment with AE, or with its butanolic fraction (BuF), the latter rich in catechins, procyanidins and flavonoids, reduced the immobility of rats in the forced swimming test indicating an antidepressant-like effect. Biochemical analysis of the hippocampal neurotransmitters in BuF-treated rats showed significant increase in monoamines levels. BuF and six of its purified constituents inhibited the uptake of [(3)H]-serotonin, [(3)H]-dopamine and [(3)H]-noradrenaline by synaptosomes of different brain regions. Catechin, catechin (4alpha-->8) ent-catechin (Procyanidin B3 isomer) and epicatechin (4beta-->8) epicatechin (Procyanidin B2) were the most active compounds. Comparatively, the uptake of [(3)H]-noradrenaline was the most affected. These results show that the antidepressant-like effect promoted by C. glazioui extract is most likely due to the blockade of the monoamines uptake in the CNS.
    Phytomedicine 06/2007; 14(6):396-402. · 2.97 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To evaluate the effect of the standardized aqueous extract (AE) of Cecropia glaziovii Sneth on the plasma angiotensin I converting enzyme (ACE-EC 3.4.15.1) activity, rats were treated with a single dose of AE (1 g/kg, p.o.) or repeatedly (0.5 g/kg/bid, p.o.) for 60 days. Captopril (50 mg/kg, p.o.) was used as positive control on the same animals. The effects on the blood pressure were recorded directly from the femoral artery (single dose), or indirectly by the tail cuff method (repeated doses) in conscious rats. The plasma ACE activity was determined spectrofluorimetrically using Hypuril-Hystidine-Leucine as substrate. The arterial blood pressure, heart rate and plasma ACE activity were not significantly modified within 24 h after a single dose administration of AE. Comparatively, blood pressure in captopril treated rats was reduced by 7-16% and heart rate was increased by 10-20% from 30 min to 24 h after drug administration. ACE activity after captopril presented a dual response: an immediate inhibition peaking at 30 min and a slow reversal to 32% up-regulation after 24 h. To correlate the drug effects upon repeated administration of either compound, normotensive rats were separated in three groups: animals with high ACE (48.8+/-2.6 nmol/min/ml), intermediate ACE (39.4+/-1.4 nmol/min/ml) and low ACE (23.5+/-0.6 nmol/min/ml) activity, significantly different among them. Repeated treatment with AE reduced the mean systolic blood pressure (121.7+/-0.5 mm Hg) by 20 mm Hg after 14 days. The hypotension was reversed upon washout 60 days afterwards. Likely, repeated captopril administration decreased blood pressure by 20 mm Hg throughout treatment in all groups. After 30 days treatment with AE (0.5 g/kg/bid, p.o.) the plasma ACE activity was unchanged in any experimental group. After captopril (50 mg/kg/bid, p.o.) administration the plasma ACE activity was inhibited by 50% within 1 h treatment but it was up-regulated by 120% after 12 h in all groups. It is concluded that the hypotension produced by prolonged treatment with AE of C. glaziovii is unrelated to ACE inhibition.
    Phytomedicine 06/2007; 14(5):321-7. · 2.97 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cecropia glaziovii Sneth is a common tree at the Southeastern Brazilian coast. As many other species of the genus, it shares the reputed folk use to treat heart failure, cough, asthma and bronchitis. The plant has been cultivated under controlled conditions and the 2% aqueous extract (AE) prepared with the dried leaves was standardized by its chemical contents on catechins, flavonoids and procyanidins. The present paper reports the antihypertensive activity of AE and of n-butanol fraction (BuF), an enriched semi-purified butanolic fraction used to isolate the main chemical constituents. Oral administration of AE and BuF induced hypotension in normotensive rats. The effect of AE (0.5 g/kg/bi, p.o.) was time and dose-dependent peaking at 2-3 weeks after daily administration. BuF was faster but not more active than AE. Both extracts decreased the hypertension of spontaneous hypertensive rats, the hypertension induced in rats by L-NAME treatment and that induced by constriction of one renal artery. The antihypertensive effect was maintained for as long as 60 days of treatment and was reversible upon drug washout at the same rate of its establishment. Acute i.v. administration of BuF to anesthetized rats induced a fast short-lasting hypotension and inhibited the pressor responses to noradrenaline, angiotensin I and angiotensin II by 40%. These results were indirect indications that the hypotension induced by AE is not related to ACE inhibition, increased NO synthesis, or specific blockade of alpha1 and AT1 receptors. It can be suggested that BuF interferes with the calcium handling mechanisms in smooth muscle cells and neurons. Intravenous injection of five out of nine compounds isolated from BuF produced immediate but short-lasting hypotension that does not correlate with the onset of the hypotension after oral treatment. This finding suggests that they may not be the compounds directly responsible for the delayed and sustained hypotension after per os administration of AE. The many compounds isolated from AE are under evaluation to determine its pharmacokinetics, mechanisms of action and interactions necessary to yield the plant effect. Although its mechanism is still unknown, AE seems to be an effective and safe antihypertensive phytomedicine.
    Phytomedicine 06/2007; 14(5):314-20. · 2.97 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This study reports the extraction process and standardization of the aqueous extract (AE) of a Cecropia species aiming its pharmacological characterization as a phytomedicine to be used in primary health care. The plant was originally collected in its environment, and was thereafter specially cultivated for the present work. To standardize the plant AE, several 2.0% tea of the dried leaves were prepared under controlled conditions and freeze dried. The AE (20% yield) was partitioned with n-butanol yielding the butanolic fraction (BuF; 1% yield). The activity of AE on vital organ functions (cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal and central nervous system) was determined in vivo. The effects of AE were compared to those of BuF in the same models and the relative potency determined. BuF was further evaluated in representative in vitro models to assess possible mechanisms of action. Chemical constituents of BuF were isolated in preparative HPLC columns yielding 10 highly purified compounds chemically identified as catechins (2), procyanidins (4), flavonoids (2), mixed sugars (1) and chlorogenic acid. All the compounds were identified by chemical analytic instrumentation (13C-NMR, 1H-NMR, LC-MS). Their relative concentrations in AE were ca 12% catechins, 19% procyanidins and 19% flavonoids. The pharmacological activity of the standardized AE is reported in accompanying papers.
    Phytomedicine 06/2007; 14(5):309-13. · 2.97 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A standardized aqueous extract (AE) and a purified fraction (BuF) of Cecropia glaziovi Sneth leaves were tested in unrestrained guinea pigs challenged with histamine. Changes of the respiratory pressure and rate were recorded in a whole body plethysmograph before and after treatment. The concentration of histamine necessary to produce bronchospasm was increased by five-fold following administration of AE (1.0 g/kg p.o.), and by two-fold after treatment with the semi-purified procyanidin/flavonoids enriched BuF (0.1 g/kg p.o.). Both effects were blocked by previous treatment with propranolol (10.0 mg/kg i.p.). In vitro incubation of BuF (0.1-1.0 mg/ml) decreased by 13-55% the maximal response of guinea pig tracheal muscle to histamine, without significant change of EC50. The results confirmed old reports on the useful pulmonary effects of Cecropia extracts. The bronchodilation observed in vivo seems to be related to beta-adrenergic activity observed in vitro only with high concentrations of the purified extract.
    Phytomedicine 06/2007; 14(5):328-32. · 2.97 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This work assessed the mechanism underlying the antisecretory gastric acid effect of Plectranthus barbatus Andrews (Lamiaceae) and active constituents. Popularly known as "false-boldo", this plant is used in Brazilian folk medicine to treat gastrointestinal and hepatic ailments. The plant aqueous extract (AE) and isolated compounds were assayed in vivo in pylorus-ligated mice, and in vitro on acid secretion measured as [(14)C]-aminopyrine ([(14)C]-AP) accumulation in rabbit gastric glands and gastric H(+),K(+)-ATPase preparations. Injected into the duodenal lumen, the AE of the plant leaves (0.5 and 1.0 g/kg) decreased the volume (62 and 76%) and total acidity (23 and 50%) of gastric acid secretion in pylorus-ligated mice. Bioguided purification of the AE yielded an active fraction (IC(50)=24 microg/ml) that inhibited acid secretion in rabbit gastric glands with a potency 10 to 18 times greater than that of the originating extract, on both the basal and stimulated acid secretion by histamine (His) (1 microM) or bethanechol (100 microM). At the same concentrations the gastric H(+),K(+)-ATPase activity was also inhibited. The active constituent was chemically identified as the abietanoid dienedione plectrinone A which reduced the H(+),K(+)-ATPase activity with IC(50)=171 microM. The results indicate that inhibition of the gastric proton pump by this diterpenoid may account for the antisecretory acid effect and reputed anti ulcer activity of Plectranthus barbatus.
    Journal of Ethnopharmacology 05/2007; 111(1):1-7. · 2.76 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Clibadium surinamense L, popularly known as cunambi, is a native plant from the Northern region of Brazil illegally used for predatory fishing. Previous results from our laboratory have demonstrated that the oral treatment of mice with the ethanolic extract (EE) of the leaves of the plant induced generalized tonic-clonic seizures followed by death within 30 min. The aims of the present paper were to characterize the convulsant effect of the hexanic extract (HE) of the stems and leaves of C. surinamense and, by bioguided purification, to identify the active principle and its mechanism of action. The leaves and stems were extracted with hexane (100 g/L) in Soxhlet for 36 h (yield of 2.4%), the solvent was evaporated and the powder dissolved in 1.5% saline/Tween 80. Male mice (30-35 g) treated with HE (22.5-360 mg/kg, p.o.) showed behavioral alterations consistent with CNS stimulation. The intensity and duration of the effect were proportional to the administered doses. The behavioral alterations, measured with a graded score of seizure severity, revealed that pretreatment with carbamazepine (30 mg/kg, i.p., 60 min) or phenytoin (50 mg/kg, i.p., 30 min) did not alter the HE convulsive effect. In contrast, phenobarbital (30 mg/kg, i.p., 60 min) or diazepam (2 mg/kg, i.p., 30 min) reduced the HE effect, increasing the ED(50) for clonic seizures from 64.4 to 89.8 mg/kg and 168.9 mg/kg, respectively. Purification of the HE in a silica gel column eluted with a hexane/ethyl acetate gradient yielded a single fraction with convulsant effect in which cunaniol acetate was identified by (1)H NMR as the main active compound. These results indicated that inhibition of GABAergic transmission by cunaniol acetate might be responsible for the convulsant effects of C. surinamense L in mice, but do not exclude a direct cunaniol action labilizing neuronal excitability.
    Neurotoxicology and Teratology 01/2006; 28(3):349-53. · 3.18 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Muscle necrosis in Duchenne muscle dystrophy (DMD) and in the mdx mouse has been related to abnormal calcium homeostasis associated with the lack of dystrophin. We have previously shown that the testosterone- dependent levator ani (LA) muscle of the mdx mouse develops a mild muscle wasting and fiber degeneration compared to the less hormone sensitive diaphragm (DIA) muscle, suggesting a protective effect of androgens. This study assessed the calcium handling mechanisms and cytosolic calcium concentration ((Ca2+)i) in LA muscles of mdx mice at critical stages of muscle disease. Muscle contractures induced by caffeine and 4- chloro-m-cresol (4-CmC), two activators of ryanodine channels, were recorded in LA and DIA muscles of prepubertal (1 month-old), adult (4 month-old) and aged (18 month-old) wild-type (wt) and mdx mice. (Ca2+)i was estimated with the fura-2 fluorescent dye in enzymatically dissociated LA muscle fibers of the same wt and mdx groups. Tetanus tension (TT) in the LA increased proportionately to the muscle weight (4 to 5-fold), but specific TT (TT/mg) did not differ among age-matched wt and mdx groups. Muscle contractures induced by caffeine (3-100 mM) or 4-CmC (0.1-5.0 mM) in the LA were greater in prepubertal than in adult and aged mice, but they did not differ among age-matched wt and mdx groups. The resting (Ca2+)i in mdx LA muscle fibers was not significantly affected at any age. Comparatively, dystrophic DIA presented reduced muscle strength in adult (40%) and aged (45%) mice, whereas the muscle responses to caffeine increased with age (63 to 82%), indicating changes in the Ca2+ handling mechanisms. The results indicated that muscle
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    ABSTRACT: Over the last 50 years deep hypothermia (23 degrees C) has demonstrated to be an excellent neuroprotective agent in cerebral ischemic injury. Mild hypothermia (31-33 degrees C) has proven to have the same neuroprotective properties without the detrimental effects of deep hypothermia. Mechanisms of injury that are exaggerated by moderate hyperthermia and ameliorated by hypothermia include, reduction of oxygen radical production, with peroxidase damage to lipids, proteins and DNA, microglial activation and ischemic depolarization, decrease in cerebral metabolic demand for oxygen and reduction of glycerin and excitatory amino acid (EAA) release. Studies have demonstrated that inflammation potentiates cerebral ischemic injury and that hypothermia can reduce neutrophil infiltration in ischemic regions. To further elucidate the mechanisms by which mild hypothermia produces neuroprotection in ischemia by attenuating the inflammatory response, we provoked inflammatory reaction, in brains of rats, dropping a substance that provokes a heavy inflammatory reaction. Two groups of ten animals underwent the same surgical procedure: the skull bone was partially removed, the duramater was opened and an inflammatory substance (5% carrageenin) was topically dropped. The scalp was sutured and, for the group that underwent neuroprotection, an ice bag was placed covering the entire skull surface, in order to maintain the brain temperature between 29.5-31 degrees C during 120 minutes. After three days the animals were sacrificed and their brains were examined. The group protected by hypothermia demonstrated a remarkable reduction of polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNL) infiltration, indicating that mild hypothermia can have neuroprotective effects by reducing the inflammatory reaction.
    Arquivos de Neuro-Psiquiatria 10/2005; 63(3B):779-84. · 0.83 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Accidents caused by the venomous fish Thalassophryne nattereri are characterized by edema, intense pain and necrosis at the site of the sting. This study assessed the nociceptive and edematogenic activities of T. nattereri venom after injection into the mouse hindpaw and determination of the paw licking duration and weight. Subplantar injections of the venom (0.1-6 microg) induced a dose-related increase of the paw licking time and paw swelling with maximal values at 3 microg (209.5 +/- 57.5 s and 135.0 +/- 6.8 mg, respectively). Pretreatment of mice with either indomethacin (10 mg/kg, i.p.), a cyclooxygenase inhibitor, dexamethasone (1 mg/kg, s.c.), a steroid anti-inflammatory agent, cyproheptadine (1 mg/kg, i.p.), antagonist of serotonin receptors or L-NAME (100 mg/kg, s.c.), inhibitor of nitric oxide syntase, did not affect the venom-induced nociceptive and edematogenic responses. Injection of the opioid analgesic fentanyl (0.1 mg/kg, s.c.) reduced the paw licking time induced by 1 microg venom by 84% of control, without affecting the paw swelling. Both nociceptive and edematogenic responses were reduced after treatment with a specific tissue kallikrein inhibitor (TKI, 100 mg/kg, i.p.) by 78% and 24% from control values, respectively. Administration of a specific plasma kallikrein inhibitor (PKSI(527,) 100 mg/kg, s.c.) did not affect the venom-induced nociceptive response, but it decreased the paw edema by 15% from control. After injection of the angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor captopril (100 mg/kg, i.p.) the venom-induced nociceptive end edematogenic responses were increased by two-fold. The role of kallikreins possibly present in the venom was further assessed by hydrolysis of human kininogen and kininogen-derived synthetic peptides, showing the release of kallidin (Lys-bradykinin). The hydrolysis was inhibited by metal chelating agents but not by serino-, aspartyl- or cysteino-proteinase inhibitors. The data suggest that a protease with tissue-kallikrein-like activity plays a major role in nociception and edema induced by T. nattereri venom and this should be considered to achieve efficient treatments for human accidents with this venom.
    Biochemical Pharmacology 01/2005; 68(11):2151-7. · 4.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The pharmacological effects of Bothrops neuwiedi pauloensis venom on mouse phrenic nerve-diaphragm (PND) preparations were studied. Venom (20 mug/ml) irreversibly inhibited indirectly evoked twitches in PND preparations (60 ? 10% inhibition, mean ? SEM; p<0.05; n=6). At 50 mug/ml, the venom blocked indirectly and directly (curarized preparations) evoked twitches in mouse hemidiaphragms. In the absence of Ca2+, venom (50 mug/ml), produced partial blockade only after an 80 min incubation, which reached 40.3 ? 7.8% (p<0.05; n=3) after 120 min. Venom (20 mug/ml) increased (25 ? 2%, p< 0.05) the frequency of giant miniature end-plate potentials in 9 of 10 end-plates after 30 min and the number of miniature end-plate potentials which was maximum (562 ? 3%, p<0.05) after 120 min. During the same period, the resting membrane potential decreased from - 81 ? 1.4 mV to - 41.3 ? 3.6 mV 24 fibers; p<0.01; n=4) in the end-plate region and from - 77.4 ? 1.4 to -44.6 ? 3.9 mV (24 fibers; p<0.01; n=4) in regions distant from the end-plate. These results indicate that B. n. pauloensis venom acts primarily at presynaptic sites. They also suggest that enzymatic activity may be involved in this pharmacological action.
    Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins including Tropical Diseases 01/2005; · 0.55 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Freeze-dried aqueous extracts (AEs, 0.1-1g/kg body wt., p.o.) obtained from entire or selected parts of Stachytarpheta cayennensis were tested for their effects on gastric secretion, gastric motility, inflammation and pain in rodents, with the purpose of validating the plant's ethnomedical uses. The AE-Total, AE-Flowers and AE-Leaves but not AE-Stems inhibited the gastric acid secretion in pylorus-ligated rats with varying potency. Purification of AEs yielded the semipurifed fractions EtFs rich in iridoids. All the EtFs with exception of EtF-Stems inhibited gastric acid secretion of pylorus ligated mice. While AE-Total stimulated the intestinal transit of mice by 43%, AE-Leaves delayed it by 38%. These effects on intestinal transit were not observed when the EtFs were tested. Only AE-Leaves and AE-Flowers altered the gastric emptying of semisolids, increasing it by 45% and 69%, respectively. These results indicate that the compounds related to inhibition of gastric acid secretion and gastrointestinal motility are different. The AE-Total reduced abdominal writhing induced by acetic acid potently (ED50 value = 700 mg/kg, p. o.) without altering the writhes induced by acetylcholine. Attempts to identify the mechanism of analgesia were unsuccessful since the AE-Total did not show analgesic effects when tested in different models of pain such as formalin and capsaicin or the tail-flick test. Pretreatment of animals with AE-Total did not show antiinflammatory activity in any of the acute (paw edema induced by carrageenin, dextran or histamine, pleurisy induced by carrageenin and capsaicin-induced mouse ear edema) or chronic (air pouch) models used. No toxic signs were observed after administration of the different extracts up to 2 g/kg body wt., p.o. Collectively, the results confirmed folk information indicating presence of analgesic, mild laxative and potent inhibition of gastric secretion activities in the aqueous extracts of S. cayennensis. The results do not, however confirm the folk use of the plant as an antiinflammatory medicine.
    Phytomedicine 12/2004; 11(7-8):616-24. · 2.97 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Direct or receptor-dependent activation of adenylyl cyclase (AC) induces a transient increase in the synthesis of skeletal muscle acetylcholinesterase that is associated to a parallel increase in the generation of cyclic AMP (cAMP)(Costa-Jr et al., Brit. J. Pharmacol., 133:229, 2001). In order to analyze the mechanisms involved in the regulation of intracellular cAMP (cAMPi) in the skeletal muscle, rat skeletal muscle cultures were stimulated for 5-60 min with β-adrenoceptor agonist isoproterenol (ISO, 30 µM), calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP, 10 nM) or the AC activator forskolin (FORSK, 10 µM), in the presence of non-selective phosphodiesterase inhibitor IBMX (1 mM). After 5 min, ISO, CGRP and FORSK increased the basal cAMPi (25.0 ± 3.9 pmol/mg protein) by 11.3, 1.5 and 15.2 folds, respectively. These effects were followed by a time-dependent decrease in cAMPi, initiated after 10-15 min onset stimulation. The reduction of cAMPi from peak levels was correlated to a progressive increase in the extracellular cAMP, for up 6h. Pre-treatment of cells with FORSK for 24h impaired the generation of cAMP induced by a second challenge with FORSK. The inability of forskolin to increase the intracellular cyclic AMP after continuous stimulation of AC was not related to a higher egress of cyclic nucleotide from cells, but associated to a reduction on 3H-forskolin binding sites. Treatment of cultured muscle cells with 0.1, 1 or 10 µM FORSK for 24h reduced the 3H-forskolin specific binding by 36%, 65% and 54%, respectively. Taken together, our results suggest that in addition to the degradation of cyclic nucleotide, short-term regulation of cAMP signaling in skeletal muscle cells involves the cAMP transport to the extracellular compartment, whereas persistent activation of skeletal muscle AC impairs the generation of cyclic AMP by a reduced expression of AC. Supported by FAPESP, CAPES and CNPq
    Neuroscience 2003; 01/2003

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