Marília Brinati Malta

Instituto Butantan, San Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil

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Publications (5)18.14 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Drug abuse is a concerning health problem in adults and has been recognized as a major problem in adolescents. Induction of immediate-early genes (IEG), such as c-Fos or Egr-1, is used to identify brain areas that become activated in response to various stimuli, including addictive drugs. It is known that the environment can alter the response to drugs of abuse. Accordingly, environmental cues may trigger drug-seeking behavior when the drug is repeatedly administered in a given environment. The goal of this study was first to examine for age differences in context-dependent sensitization and then evaluate IEG expression in different brain regions. For this, groups of mice received i.p. ethanol (2.0 g/kg) or saline in the test apparatus, while other groups received the solutions in the home cage, for 15 days. One week after this treatment phase, mice were challenged with ethanol injection. Acutely, ethanol increased both locomotor activity and IEG expression in different brain regions, indistinctly, in adolescent and adult mice. However, adults exhibited a typical context-dependent behavioral sensitization following repeated ethanol treatment, while adolescent mice presented gradually smaller locomotion across treatment, when ethanol was administered in a paired regimen with environment. Conversely, ethanol-treated adolescents expressed context-independent behavioral sensitization. Overall, repeated ethanol administration desensitized IEG expression in both adolescent and adult mice, but this effect was greatest in the nucleus accumbens and prefrontal cortex of adolescents treated in the context-dependent paradigm. These results suggest developmental differences in the sensitivity to the conditioned and unconditioned locomotor effects of ethanol.
    Brain research 09/2008; 1239:127-40. · 2.46 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Centipedes have a venom gland connected to a pair of forceps, which are used to arrest preys. Human victims bitten by centipedes usually manifest burning pain, paresthesia and edema, which may develop into superficial necrosis. The aim of this work was to characterize and compare toxic activities found in venoms of three species of Brazilian centipedes-Otostigmus pradoi, Cryptops iheringi and Scolopendra viridicornis. By SDS-PAGE (4-20%), important differences were noticed among venoms (between 7 and 205kDa). Few bands showed feeble caseinolytic, fibrinogenolytic and gelatinolytic activities by zymography, but strong hyaluronidase activity was observed in S. viridicornis and O. pradoi venoms. In addition, such activities could be inhibited by o-phenanthroline, indicating that these enzymes are metalloproteinases. All venoms induced nociception, edema and myotoxicity in mice, but only S. viridicornis induced mild hemorrhagic activity. No coagulant activity was detected in centipede venoms. Low phospholipase A(2) activity was observed exclusively in S. viridicornis and O. pradoi venoms, but these venoms had intense direct hemolytic activity on human erythrocytes. Cross-reactivity among venoms was observed using species-specific sera raised in rabbits. Differences were noticed among centipede venoms, but S. viridicornis is indeed the most toxic venom and thereby it could induce a more severe envenomation.
    Toxicon 07/2008; 52(2):255-63. · 2.92 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Stingrays are elasmobranchs found along the seacoast and in some rivers of Brazil. Pain is the most conspicuous symptom observed in patients wounded by the bilaterally retroserrate stingers located in the tail, which are covered by glandular and integument tissues. In addition, cutaneous necrosis is commonly observed in injuries caused by freshwater stingrays. The aim of this work was to characterize and compare certain properties of tissue extracts obtained from the glandular tissues covering the stinger apparatus of Potamotrygon falkneri and Dasyatis guttata stingrays. By sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE), tissue extracts have similar bands above 80 kDa, but most differences were observed below this molecular mass. Lethal, dermonecrotic and myotoxic activities were detected only in P. falkneri tissue extract. Edematogenic activity was similar and dose dependent in both tissue extracts. Nociceptive activity was verified in both tissue extracts, but P. falkneri presented a two-fold higher activity than D. guttata tissue extract. No direct hemolysis, phospholipase A2 and coagulant activities were observed in both tissue extracts. Antigenic cross-reactivity was noticed by ELISA and Western blotting, using antisera raised in rabbits. Species-specific sera reacted with several components of both tissue extracts, noticeably above 22kDa. Both tissue extracts presented gelatinolytic, caseinolytic and fibrinogenolytic activities, which were not caused by the action of metalloproteinases. Hyaluronidase activity was detected only in P. falkneri tissue extract. Our experimental observations suggest that P. falkneri tissue extract is more toxic than D. guttata tissue extract. These results may explain why injuries caused by freshwater stingrays are more severe in human accidents.
    Toxicon 11/2007; 50(5):676-87. · 2.92 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The ability of IgG(T) and IgGa subclasses--isolated by liquid chromatography from equine arachnidic antivenom (AAV)-to neutralize toxic activities of Loxosceles gaucho, Phoneutria nigriventer and Tityus serrulatus venoms as well as to remove venom toxins from circulation was investigated. These subclasses showed similar antibody titers against L. gaucho, P. nigriventer and T. serrulatus venoms, and by immunoblotting few differences were observed in the recognition pattern of venom antigens. IgG(T) and IgGa neutralized 100% lethality induced by L. gaucho and 50% of P. nigriventer venom, but IgGa failed to neutralize T. serrulatus venom, in contrast to IgG(T). Both subclasses neutralized local reactions and dermonecrosis induced by L. gaucho venom in rabbits. In mice, IgG(T) and IgGa partially neutralized the edematogenic activity induced by P. nigriventer and T. serrulatus venoms, but only IgG(T) neutralized (ca. 81%) the nociceptive activity induced by T. serrulatus venom. Both subclasses failed to neutralize nociceptive activity induced by P. nigriventer venom. IgG(T) reduced the serum venom levels of animals injected with L. gaucho, P. nigriventer or T. serrulatus venoms, while IgGa solely reduced L. gaucho and P. nigriventer venoms levels. Our results demostrate that IgG(T) and IgGa subclasses neutralize toxic activities induced by P. nigriventer, T. serrulatus and L. gaucho venoms with different efficacies, as well as depurate these venoms from circulation.
    Toxicon 12/2006; 48(6):649-61. · 2.92 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Although the anti-inflammatory actions of glucocorticoids (GCs) are well established in the periphery, these stress hormones can increase inflammation under some circumstances in the brain. The transcription factor nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB), which is inhibited by GCs, regulates numerous genes central to inflammation. In this study, the effects of stress, GCs, and NMDA receptors on lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced activation of NF-kappaB in the brain were investigated. One day after chronic unpredictable stress (CUS), nonstressed and CUS rats were treated with saline or LPS and killed 2 h later. CUS potentiated the increase in LPS-induced activation of NF-kappaB in frontal cortex and hippocampus but not in the hypothalamus. This stress effect was blocked by pretreatment of rats with RU-486, an antagonist of the GC receptor. MK-801 [(+)-5-methyl-10,11-dihydro-5H-dibenzo [a,d] cyclohepten-5,10-imine maleate], an NMDA receptor antagonist, also reduced the effect of LPS in all three brain regions. However, the combined antagonism of both GC and NMDA receptors produced no further reduction in NF-kappaB activation when compared with the effect of each treatment alone. Our results indicate that stress, via GC secretion, can increase LPS-induced NF-kappaB activation in the frontal cortex and hippocampus, agreeing with a growing literature demonstrating proinflammatory effects of GCs.
    Journal of Neuroscience 05/2006; 26(14):3813-20. · 6.91 Impact Factor