Immunomodulatory properties of Alternanthera tenella Colla aqueous extracts in mice.
Plants from the genus Alternanthera are thought to possess antimicrobial and antiviral properties. In Brazilian folk medicine, the aqueous extract of A. tenella Colla is used for its anti-inflammatory activity. The present study investigated the immunomodulatory property of A. tenella extract by evaluating the antibody production in male albino Swiss mice weighing 20-25 g (10 per group). The animals received standard laboratory diet and water ad libitum. The effect of A. tenella extract (5 and 50 mg/kg, ip) was evaluated in mice immunized with sheep red blood cells (SRBC 10%, ip) as T-dependent antigen, or in mice stimulated with mitogens (10 micro g, Escherichia coli lipopolysaccharide, LPS, ip). The same doses (5 and 50 mg/kg, ip) of A. tenella extract were also tested for antitumor activity, using the Ehrlich ascites carcinoma as model. The results showed that 50 mg/kg A. tenella extract ip significantly enhanced IgM (64%) and IgG2a (50%) antibody production in mice treated with LPS mitogen. The same dose had no effect on IgM-specific response, whereas the 5 mg/kg treatment caused a statiscally significant reduction of anti-SRBC IgM-specific antibodies (82%). The aqueous extract of A. tenella (50 mg/kg) increased the life span (from 16 +/- 1 to 25 +/- 1 days) and decreased the number of viable tumor cells (59%) in mice with Ehrlich ascites carcinoma. The present findings are significant for the development of alternative, inexpensive and perhaps even safer strategies for cancer treatment. (+info)
Pfaffia paniculata-induced changes in plasma estradiol-17beta, progesterone and testosterone levels in mice.
The present study undertook chemical analysis of components of Pfaffia paniculata roots. In addition, an animal experiment was conducted in which mice had ad libitum access to water enriched with powdered P. paniculata root for 30 days. Changes in plasma concentrations of estradiol-17beta and progesterone in female mice and of testosterone in male mice were ascertained. The results revealed that P. paniculata roots contain two types of phytosteroids, beta-sitosterol and stigmasterol, in addition to other compounds such as pfaffic acid, allantoin, saponins, beta-sitosteryl-beta-D-glucoside, and stigmasteryl-beta-D-glucoside. Regarding changes in plasma concentrations of hormones, levels of the sex hormones estradiol-17beta, progesterone and testosterone were clearly higher for mice that drank P. paniculata root-enriched water than for mice that drank plain water. Powdered P. paniculata root is easily dissolved in feed or water, and as no adverse reactions were seen in mice within 30 days of oral intake, consumption of P. paniculata for long periods of time appears safe. (+info)
Construction and differential screening of a cDNA library specific to osmotic stress of Haloxylon ammodendron seedlings.
A subtracted cDNA library specific to osmotic stress of Haloxylon ammodendron (Mey.) Bge seedlings was constructed by suppression subtractive hybridization (SSH) and T/A cloning. SSH was performed between two groups of H. ammodendron seedlings, one was cultivated in Hoagland (H) solution as a driver and the other group was treated with osmotic stress of the Hoagland solution by the addition of 400 mM mannitol (M), as a tester. The library consisted of about 400 recombinant clones, with the average size being of 500 bp, ranging from 300 bp to 1500 bp. Using a PCR-select differential screening kit, 100 recombinant clones were randomly chosen from the subtracted cDNA library and hybridized with forward, reverse subtracted and unsubtracted probes for two rounds. As a result, 21 positive clones specific to osmotic stress were obtained and some of them were verified by Northern blot analysis. The sequencing analysis of 6 positive clones and the following homology comparison to GenBank [blastx] non-redundant databases characterized that two sequences obtained in this experiment may contribute to novel drought-related genes. (+info)
Antimicrobial screening and quantitative determination of benzoic acid derivative of Gomphrena celosioides by TLC-densitometry.
The antimicrobial activity of ethanolic extract and pure compounds of Gomphrena celosioides have been screened by Kirby-Bauer method. Quantitative determination of 4-hydroxy-3-methoxy-benzoic acid in stems, leaves, flowers and roots was established by TLC-densitometry. Results showed significant activity against Staphylococcus aureus and Salmonella typhi. There were no significant differences in the determined benzoic acid derivative. (+info)
Seed germination and seedling emergence of three annuals growing on desert sand dunes in China.
BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Information on the initial growth characteristics of annuals found in Chinese deserts is very limited. The aim of this study was to investigate seed germination and interactive effects of irrigation and seed burial depth in sand on seedling emergence and seedling survival in three annuals (Agriophyllum squarrosum, Bassia dasyphylla and Aristida adscensionis) commonly growing on sand dunes in these regions. METHODS: Effects of temperature, light and polyethylene glycol-6000 on seed germination were examined by irrigating seeds sown on filter paper in Petri dishes. Seedling emergence was examined for seeds sown on the surface of, or at different depths (5, 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 mm) in, sand-filled pots, which were irrigated under different regimes. For seeds buried at a depth of 50 mm, seed viability was examined after irrigation of the pots. KEY RESULTS: Seeds of three species germinated at most temperatures recorded between spring and autumn in their native habitats. No seed dormancy was found in any species. For all three species, seedling emergence was most favoured when seeds were buried at a depth of 10 mm. When seeds sown on the sand surface were irrigated, seed germination was considerably suppressed due to water deficiency, but many seeds remained viable. For A. squarrosum and B. dasyphylla, many seeds that were deeply buried and irrigated remained ungerminated but viable, while for A. adscensionis deeply buried seeds germinated, but the seedlings did not emerge due to unfavourable seedling growth in deep sand. CONCLUSIONS: Precipitation is the most crucial factor in determining the seasonal emergence of seedlings of the three tested species in the field. The vertical distribution of seeds in sand determines the proportion of seeds that germinate after precipitation and acts to maintain seed banks over multiple years. (+info)
The p92 polymerase coding region contains an internal RNA element required at an early step in Tombusvirus genome replication.
The replication of positive-strand RNA viral genomes involves various cis-acting RNA sequences. Generally, regulatory RNA sequences are present at or near genomic termini; however, internal replication elements (IREs) also exist. Here we report the structural and functional characterization of an IRE present in the readthrough portion of the p92 polymerase gene of Tomato bushy stunt virus. Analysis of this element in the context of a noncoding defective interfering RNA revealed a functional core structure composed of two noncontiguous segments of sequence that interact with each other to form an extended helical conformation. IRE activity required maintenance of several base-paired sections as well as two distinct structural features: (i) a short, highly conserved segment that can potentially form two different and mutually exclusive structures and (ii) an internal loop that contains a critical CC mismatch. The IRE was also shown to play an essential role within the context of the viral genome. In vivo analysis with novel RNA-based temperature-sensitive genomic mutants and translationally active subgenomic viral replicons revealed the following about the IRE: (i) it is active in the positive strand, (ii) it is dispensable late in the viral RNA replication process, and (iii) it is functionally inhibited by active translation over its sequence. Together, these results suggest that IRE activity is required in the cytosol at an early step in the viral replication process, such as template recruitment and/or replicase complex assembly. (+info)
Vertical distribution of the free-living amoeba population in soil under desert shrubs in the Negev desert, Israel.
A field study was designed to examine the effect of desert shrubs on the dynamics of free-living amoebae in arid soil. Soil samples from 0- to 50-cm depths were collected at 10-cm intervals in each of the four seasons. The vertical distributions of the four main morphological types of amoebae, grouped according to their mobility, and of small flagellate populations were measured under the canopies of Hammada scoparia and Atriplex halimus, shrubs belonging to the chloride-absorbing xerohalophytes. The result obtained from the field study demonstrated that the total number of protozoa was significantly higher during the wet seasons (winter and spring) than during the dry seasons. The protozoan population was more diverse under the canopy of H. scoparia during the wet seasons, reaching 8,000 individuals per 1 g of dry soil, whereas during the dry seasons, the populations were higher under the canopy of A. halimus, with a mean of 250 individuals. The protozoan population in the deeper layers (40 to 50 cm) was found to be as active as that in the upper layers, demonstrating that, in the desert, soil columns below 20 cm are fertile and worth studying. The type 1 amoebae (e.g., Acanthamoeba and Filamoeba spp.) were the most abundant throughout the study period, and their numbers were significantly higher than those of the other amoeba types. (+info)
Haloxylines A and B, antifungal and cholinesterase inhibiting piperidine alkaloids from Haloxylon salicornicum.
Haloxylines A (1) and B (2), new piperidine alkaloids, have been isolated from the chloroform soluble fraction of Haloxylon salicornicum and their structures elucidated by spectroscopic techniques including 2D-NMR. Both the compounds displayed antifungal and cholinesterase enzymes inhibitory potentials. (+info)