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  • 1
    ISSN: 1365-2958
    Source: Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
    Topics: Biology , Medicine
    Notes: A haem peroxidase different from other microbial, plant and animal peroxidases is described. The enzyme is secreted as two isoforms by dikaryotic Pleurotus eryngii in peptone-containing liquid medium. The corresponding gene, which presents 15 introns and encodes a 361-amino-acid protein with a 30-amino-acid signal peptide, was isolated as two alleles corresponding to the two isoforms. The alleles differ in three amino acid residues and in a seven nucleotide deletion affecting a single metal response element in the promoter. When compared with Phanerochaete chrysosporium peroxidases, the new enzyme appears closer to lignin peroxidase (LiP) than to Mn-dependent peroxidase (MnP) isoenzymes (58–60% and 55% identity respectively). The molecular model built using crystal structures of three fungal peroxidases as templates, also showed high structural affinity with LiP (Cα-distance 1.2 Å). However, this peroxidase includes a Mn2+ binding site formed by three acidic residues (E36, E40 and D175) near the haem internal propionate, which accounts for the ability to oxidize Mn2+. Its capability to oxidize aromatic substrates could involve interactions with aromatic residues at the edge of the haem channel. Another possibility is long-range electron transfer, e.g. from W164, which occupies the same position of LiP W171 recently reported as involved in the catalytic cycle of LiP.
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  • 2
    ISSN: 1460-9568
    Source: Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
    Topics: Medicine
    Notes: The presence of multimodal association in the telencephalon of reptiles has been investigated by tracing the afferent connections to the posterior dorsal ventricular ridge (PDVR) of the lizard Podarcis hispanica. The PDVR receives telencephalic afferents from the lateral (olfactory) and dorsal cortices, and from the three unimodal areas of the anterior dorsal ventricular ridge, in a convergent manner. From the diencephalon, it receives afferents from the dorsomedial anterior and medial posterior thalamic nuclei, and from several hypothalamic nuclei. Brainstem afferents to the PDVR originate in the dorsal interpeduncular nucleus, the nucleus of the lateral lemniscus and parabrachial nucleus. The afferents to the thalamic nuclei that project to the PDVR have also been studied. The dorsomedial anterior thalamic nucleus receives projections mainly from limbic structures, whereas the medial posterior thalamic nucleus is the target of projections from structures with a clear sensory significance (optic tectum, torus semicircularis, nuclei of the lateral and spinal lemniscus, superior olive and trigeminal complex). As a result, the PDVR appears as an associative centre that receives visual, auditory, somatosensory and olfactory information from several telencephalic and non-telencephalic centres, and a multimodal projection from the medial posterior thalamic nucleus. This pattern of afferents of the PDVR is similar to that of the caudal neostriatum in birds and the basolateral division of the mammalian amygdala. These results indicate that a multimodal amygdala is already present in reptiles, and has probably played a key role in the evolution of the vertebrate brain.
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  • 3
    ISSN: 1365-2222
    Source: Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
    Topics: Medicine
    Notes: Background Pollen allergy is a common disease causing hayfever in 15% of the population in Europe. Medical studies report that a prior knowledge of pollen content in the air can be useful in the management of pollen-related diseases.Objectives The aim of this work was to forecast daily Poaceae pollen concentrations in the air by using meteorological data and pollen counts from previous days as independent variables.Methods Linear regression models and co-evolutive neural network models were used for this study. Pollen was monitored by a Hirst-type spore trap using standard techniques. The data were obtained from the Spanish Aerobiology Network database, University of Cordoba Monitoring Unit. The set of data includes a series of 20 years, from 1982 to 2001. A classification of the years according to their allergenic potential was made using a K-mean cluster analysis with pollen and meteorological parameters. Statistical analysis was applied to all the years of each class with the exception of the most recent year, which was used for model validation.Results It was observed that cumulative variables and pollen values from previous days are the most important factors in the models. In general, neural network equations produce better results than linear regression equations.Conclusion Co-evolutive neural network models, which obtain the best forecasts (an almost 90%“good” classification), make it possible to predict daily airborne Poaceae pollen concentrations. This new system based on neural network models is a step toward the automation of the pollen forecast process.
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  • 4
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    Oxford BSL : Blackwell Science Ltd
    ISSN: 1365-2222
    Source: Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
    Topics: Medicine
    Notes: Allergic reactions to lettuce (Lactuca sativa) are not too frequent and few cases of systemic adverse reactions after its ingestion have been described.〈section xml:id="abs1-2"〉〈title type="main"〉ObjectiveWe report a case of clinical sensitization to lettuce on a patient who presented mucocutaneous manifestations after its ingestion, with positive skin tests, histamine release test and serum specific-IgE to lettuce. The allergens responsible for this sensitization were also characterized by means of SDS-PAGE immunoblotting.〈section xml:id="abs1-3"〉〈title type="main"〉Materials and methodsWe performed skin tests, histamine release test, serum specific IgE determination and CAP inhibition with lettuce and mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) extracts. An aqueous and enriched lettuce (from loose leaf type) extract was subjected to SDS-PAGE immunoblotting for determination of its IgE-binding components.〈section xml:id="abs1-4"〉〈title type="main"〉Resultsand Conclusions CAP inhibition showed antigenic community between lettuce and mugwort. Four protein bands from the lettuce extracts with molecular weights of 50, 43, 39 and 16 kDa exhibited IgE-binding properties.
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  • 5
    ISSN: 1365-2222
    Source: Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
    Topics: Medicine
    Notes: Tetranychus urticae (TU) is a macroscopic mite which infests a large number of plants of economic interest worldwide. It has recently been described as a cause of occupational allergic disease in greenhouse workers. However, there are no epidemiological data concerning the prevalence of TU allergy in an unselected exposed population.〈section xml:id="abs1-2"〉〈title type="main"〉ObjectiveThe aims were to study the prevalence of TU sensitization among greenhouse workers and its relationship to the working environment and to personal factors.〈section xml:id="abs1-3"〉〈title type="main"〉MethodsWe studied 246 consecutive greenhouse workers, recruited directly from the field. A clinical and epidemiological questionnaire, a skin-prick test (SPT) to TU and common allergens and TU-specific IgE (RAST) determinations were performed. Seventy-five healthy volunteers and 152 atopic patients were used as a control group.〈section xml:id="abs1-4"〉〈title type="main"〉ResultsThe prevalence of a positive SPT to TU was of 25%. Forty-five workers (19%) were TU-allergic, occurring more often in atopic greenhouse workers (P 〈 0.0001). Seven per cent showed asymptomatic sensitization. The time of exposure to TU was significantly greater in the TU-allergic patients (P 〈 0.05). The probability of sensitization to TU was 3.7 times greater in exposed than in non-exposed subjects (P 〈 0.0001).〈section xml:id="abs1-5"〉〈title type="main"〉ConclusionsIn this study, the prevalence of TU sensitization was 25%. There were significant associations with TU allergy and atopy and the time of exposure to TU.
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  • 6
    ISSN: 1365-2958
    Source: Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
    Topics: Biology , Medicine
    Notes: Bordetella pertussis and Bordetella bronchiseptica contain nearly identical BvgAS signal-transduction systems that mediate a biphasic transition between virulent (Bvg+) and avirulent (Bvg–) phases. In the Bvg+ phase, the two species express a similar set of adhesins and toxins, and in both organisms the transition to the Bvg– phase occurs in response to the same environmental signals (low temperature or the presence of nicotinic acid or sulphate anion). These two species differ, however, with regard to Bvg–-phase phenotypes, host specificity, the severity and course of the diseases they cause, and also potentially in their routes of transmission. To investigate the contribution of the virulence-control system to these phenotypic differences, we constructed a chimeric B. bronchiseptica strain containing bvgAS from B. pertussis and compared it with wild-type B. bronchisepticain vitro and in vivo. The chimeric strain was indistinguishable from the wild type in its ability to express Bvg+- and Bvg–-phase-specific factors. However, although the chimeric strain responded to the same signals as the wild type, it differed dramatically in sensitivity to these signals; significantly more nicotinic acid or MgSO4 was required to modulate the chimeric strain compared with the wild-type strain. Despite this difference in signal sensitivity, the chimeric strain was indistinguishable from the wild type in its ability to cause respiratory-tract infections in rats, indicating that the bvgAS loci of B. pertussis and B. bronchiseptica are functionally interchangeable in vivo. By exchanging discrete fragments of bvgAS, we found that the periplasmic region of BvgS determines signal sensitivity.
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  • 7
    ISSN: 1471-4159
    Source: Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
    Topics: Medicine
    Notes: We investigated the relative contribution of COX-1 and/or COX-2 to oxidative damage, prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) production and hippocampal CA1 neuronal loss in a model of 5 min transient global cerebral ischemia in gerbils. Our results revealed a biphasic and significant increase in PGE2 levels after 2 and 24–48 h of reperfusion. The late increase in PGE2 levels (24 h) was more potently reduced by the highly selective COX-2 inhibitor rofecoxib (20 mg/kg) relative to the COX-1 inhibitor valeryl salicylate (20 mg/kg). The delayed rise in COX catalytic activity preceded the onset of histopathological changes in the CA1 subfield of the hippocampus. Post-ischemia treatment with rofecoxib (starting 6 h after restoration of blood flow) significantly reduced measures of oxidative damage (glutathione depletion and lipid peroxidation) seen at 48 h after the initial ischemic episode, indicating that the late increase in COX-2 activity is involved in the delayed occurrence of oxidative damage in the hippocampus after global ischemia. Interestingly, either selective inhibition of COX-2 with rofecoxib or inhibition of COX-1 with valeryl salicylate significantly increased the number of healthy neurons in the hippocampal CA1 sector even when the treatment began 6 h after ischemia. These results provide the first evidence that both COX isoforms are involved in the progression of neuronal damage following global cerebral ischemia, and have important implications for the potential therapeutic use of COX inhibitors in cerebral ischemia.
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  • 8
    ISSN: 1460-9568
    Source: Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
    Topics: Medicine
    Notes: Adult female mice are innately attracted to non-volatile pheromones contained in male-soiled bedding. In contrast, male-derived volatiles become attractive if associated with non-volatile attractive pheromones, which act as unconditioned stimulus in a case of Pavlovian associative learning. In this work, we study the chemoinvestigatory behaviour of female mice towards volatile and non-volatile chemicals contained in male-soiled bedding, in combination with the analysis of c-fos expression induced by such a behaviour to clarify: (i) which chemosensory systems are involved in the detection of the primary attractive non-volatile pheromone and of the secondarily attractive volatiles; (ii) where in the brain male-derived non-volatile and volatile stimuli are associated to induce conditioned attraction for the latter; and (iii) whether investigation of these stimuli activates the cerebral reward system (mesocorticolimbic system including the prefrontal cortex and amygdala), which would support the view that sexual pheromones are reinforcing. The results indicate that non-volatile pheromones stimulate the vomeronasal system, whereas air-borne volatiles activate only the olfactory system. Thus, the acquired preference for male-derived volatiles reveals an olfactory-vomeronasal associative learning. Moreover, the reward system is differentially activated by the primary pheromones and secondarily attractive odorants. Exploring the primary attractive pheromone activates the basolateral amygdala and the shell of nucleus accumbens but neither the ventral tegmental area nor the orbitofrontal cortex. In contrast, exploring the secondarily attractive male-derived odorants involves activation of a circuit that includes the basolateral amygdala, prefrontal cortex and ventral tegmental area. Therefore, the basolateral amygdala stands out as the key centre for vomeronasal-olfactory associative learning.
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  • 9
    ISSN: 1460-9568
    Source: Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
    Topics: Medicine
    Notes: In the brain, nitric oxide acts as an atypical messenger in cellular nonsynaptic transmission. In the olfactory bulb, this gas is produced at the level of the olfactory glomeruli by a subpopulation of periglomerular cells that participates in the first synaptic relay of the olfactory information between the olfactory nerve and the dendritic tufts of principal cells. It has been proposed that nitric oxide modulates intraglomerular synaptic integration of sensory inputs, but its specific role in the glomerular circuitry remains to be understood. In this article, we demonstrate that, in the glomerular circuits, a specific subset of periglomerular cells, most of them expressing the calcium binding protein calbindin D-28 k, expresses the β1 subunit of the soluble guanylyl cyclase. These cells could be the targets for the action of nitric oxide at the glomerular level via activation of soluble guanylyl cyclase and production of cGMP.
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  • 10
    ISSN: 1460-9568
    Source: Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
    Topics: Medicine
    Notes: Known effects of neurotrophins in the developing central nervous system include induction or regulation of peptide expression. Hypothalamic postmitotic thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH)-producing neurons may require neurotrophins for survival and/or differentiation. This issue was investigated using primary cell cultures derived from 17-day-old fetal rat hypothalamus seeded in serum-free medium and analysed up to 4 days in vitro culture. Neurotrophin receptor (TrkB and TrkC) mRNA expression was detected by RT–PCR in fetal hypothalamus and throughout the culture period. Western blots confirmed the expression of the full-length proteins in vitro. Semi-quantitative RT–PCR showed that the addition of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) increases TRH mRNA levels while the addition of neurotrophin-3 does not. TRH cell content was not modified. Studies on the effect of cell density or homologous conditioned medium demonstrated that endogenous factors probably contribute to determine TRH mRNA levels. One of these factors was BDNF because basal TRH mRNA levels were reduced by the addition of a Trk inhibitor or anti-BDNF. TrkB mRNA was expressed in 27% of cells and TRH mRNA in 2% of cells. The number of TRH+ cells was not affected by BDNF treatment. Forty-eight per cent of TRH neurons contained TrkB mRNA; these neurons had higher amounts of TRH mRNA than TrkB– neurons. Only TrkB+ cells responded to BDNF by increasing their TRH mRNA levels suggesting that BDNF may directly affect TRH biosynthesis. In conclusion, fetal hypothalamic TRH neurons are probably heterogeneous in regard to the neurotrophic factors enhancing peptide and mRNA levels. BDNF enhances TRH mRNA levels in a population of TrkB+ fetal hypothalamic TRHergic neurons in primary culture. However, additional influences may be necessary for the establishment of peptide phenotype in the TrkB+ neurons.
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