(1/369) Cell death during corneal storage at 4 degrees C.

PURPOSE: To evaluate cell death in human donor corneas stored at 4 degrees C, to determine whether terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP-fluorescein nick-end labeling (TUNEL) discriminates between apoptosis and necrosis in corneas stored at 4 degrees C. METHODS: Ten human corneas were stored in Optisol (Chiron Ophthalmics, Irvine, CA) at 4 degrees C for periods ranging from 0 to 21 days and then fixed for histologic examination. Central corneal sections from each cornea were examined by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and by the TUNEL assay. Electron micrographs of at least 15 keratocytes each from the anterior, middle, and posterior stroma were examined by three masked observers who graded each cell as normal, apoptotic, or necrotic. Central sections from the same corneas were processed by the TUNEL assay and evaluated with a laser scanning confocal microscope to determine the percentage of apoptotic cells. RESULTS: By TEM, apoptosis occurred in 23% of the keratocytes and necrosis in 12%. By TUNEL assay, apoptosis occurred in 11% of the keratocytes, with the results in individual corneas being similar to the findings by TEM for apoptosis, rather than for necrosis. By TUNEL assay, apoptosis occurred in 13% of the epithelial cells and in 8% of the endothelial cells. The percentage of apoptotic cells and storage time correlated significantly for the epithelium, but not for the keratocytes or endothelium in this small sample. CONCLUSIONS: Both apoptosis and necrosis occur in cells during corneal storage at 4 degrees C, with apoptosis appearing to predominate. The TUNEL assay identifies cells undergoing apoptosis, but not necrosis, in corneal tissue. Inhibition of apoptosis in corneas stored at 4 degrees C may prolong acceptable storage times.  (+info)

(2/369) Effectiveness of microabrasion technique for improvement of dental aesthetics.

OBJECTIVES: To investigate which types of enamel opacity are effectively treated by the microabrasion technique and whether this technique could be used as a diagnostic aid to determine the aetiology of these defects. MATERIALS AND METHOD: Thirty two patients who had enamel opacities affecting both upper central incisors were selected and the disfigurements were classified into four types: single line, multi-line, patched and diffused. The patient's previous medical history, possible history of fluoride ingestion, presence of taurodontism and family history of similar enamel defects were recorded. Both incisors were treated with Prema abrasive paste mixed with 18% hydrochloric acid. The aesthetic improvements were assessed by the patients and their parents and their satisfaction level after the treatment was recorded. RESULTS: Approximately two-thirds (65.6%) of the patients were satisfied with their appearance after microabrasion. Apart from four patients, the improved appearance was stable and acceptable to the remaining patients at the six month recall. Statistical analysis showed that acceptable improvement was found in patients with single line/patched types of defects but not in multi-line/diffused types (P = 0.03). However, the aesthetic improvement was not related to the patient's fluoride history, presence of taurodontism or the family history of enamel defects. CONCLUSION: Microabrasion using Prema abrasives with 1 8% HCI is effective in improving the appearance of enamel with single-line or patched opacities, indicating that these defects are a surface phenomenon. For the multi-line and diffused types, the defects appear to extend deeper into the enamel. The technique failed to assist in determining the aetiology of these defects.  (+info)

(3/369) GFS, a preparation of Tasmanian Undaria pinnatifida is associated with healing and inhibition of reactivation of Herpes.

BACKGROUND: We sought to assess whether GFS, a proprietary preparation of Tasmanian Undaria pinnatifida, has effects on healing or re-emergence of Herpetic infections, and additionally, to assess effects of GFS in vitro. Undaria is the most commonly eaten seaweed in Japan, and contains sulphated polyanions and other components with potential anti-viral activity. Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) infections have lower reactivation rates and Herpes type 2 (HSV-2) infections have lower incidence in Japan than in the west. METHODS: Patients with active (15 subjects) or latent (6 subjects) Herpetic infections (HSV-1, 2, EBV, Zoster) were monitored for response to ingestion of GFS. GFS extract was tested in vitro for human T cell mitogenicity and anti-Herpes activity. RESULTS: Ingestion of GFS was associated with increased healing rates in patients with active infections. In addition, patients with latent infection remained asymptomatic whilst ingesting GFS. GFS extract inhibited Herpes viruses in vitro and was mitogenic to human T cells in vitro. CONCLUSIONS: Ingestion of GFS has inhibitory effects on reactivation and is associated with increased rate of healing after Herpetic outbreaks. GFS extract potently inhibited Herpes virus in vitro, and had mitogenic effects on human T cells.  (+info)

(4/369) The use of antimicrobial peptides in ophthalmology: an experimental study in corneal preservation and the management of bacterial keratitis.

PURPOSE: Bacterial keratitis is an ocular infection with the potential to cause significant visual impairment. Increasing patterns of antibiotic resistance have necessitated the development of new antimicrobial agents for use in bacterial keratitis and other serious ocular infections. With a view to exploring the use of novel antimicrobial peptides in the management of ocular infection, we performed a series of experiments using synthetic antimicrobial peptides designed for the eradication of common and serious ophthalmic pathogens. METHODS: Experiments were performed with three clinical ocular isolates--Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus, and Staphylococcus epidermidis--in three experimental settings: (1) in vitro in a controlled system of 10 mM sodium phosphate buffer, (2) in vitro in modified chondroitin sulfate-based corneal preservation media (Optisol), and (3) in an in vivo animal model (rabbit) simulating bacterial keratitis. In all cases, outcomes were measured by quantitative microbiological techniques. RESULTS: The candidate peptides (CCI A, B, and C and COL-1) produced a total reduction of the test pathogens in phosphate buffered saline. In modified Optisol, the peptides were effective against S epidermidis at all temperatures, demonstrated augmented activity at 23 degrees C against the gram-positive organisms, but were ineffective against P aeruginosa. The addition of EDTA to the medium augmented the killing of P aeruginosa but made no difference in the reduction of gram-positive organisms. In an in vivo rabbit model of Pseudomonas keratitis, COL-1 demonstrated neither clinical nor microbicidal efficacy and appeared to have a very narrow dosage range, outside of which it appeared to be toxic to the ocular surface. CONCLUSION: Our data indicate that the antimicrobial peptides we tested were effective in vitro but not in vivo. In an age of increasing antibiotic resistance, antimicrobial peptides, developed over millions of years as innate defense mechanisms by plants and animals, may have significant potential for development as topical agents for the management of severe bacterial keratitis. However, modifications of the peptides, the drug delivery systems, or both, will be necessary for effective clinical application.  (+info)

(5/369) Crude extracts of bacterially expressed dsRNA can be used to protect plants against virus infections.

BACKGROUND: Double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) is a potent initiator of gene silencing in a diverse group of organisms that includes plants, Caenorhabditis elegans, Drosophila and mammals. We have previously shown and patented that mechanical inoculation of in vitro-transcribed dsRNA derived from viral sequences specifically prevents virus infection in plants. The approach required the in vitro synthesis of large amounts of RNA involving high cost and considerable labour. RESULTS: We have developed an in vivo expression system to produce large amounts of virus-derived dsRNAs in bacteria, with a view to providing a practical control of virus diseases in plants. Partially purified bacterial dsRNAs promoted specific interference with the infection in plants by two viruses belonging to the tobamovirus and potyvirus groups. Furthermore, we have demonstrated that easy to obtain, crude extracts of bacterially expressed dsRNAs are equally effective protecting plants against virus infections when sprayed onto plant surfaces by a simple procedure. Virus infectivity was significantly abolished when plants were sprayed with French Press lysates several days before virus inoculation. CONCLUSION: Our approach provides an alternative to genetic transformation of plant species with dsRNA-expressing constructs capable to interfere with plant viruses. The main advantage of this mode of dsRNA production is its simplicity and its extremely low cost compared with the requirements for regenerating transgenic plants. This approach provides a reliable and potential tool, not only for plant protection against virus diseases, but also for the study of gene silencing mechanisms in plant virus infections.  (+info)

(6/369) Protein stability in mixed solvents: a balance of contact interaction and excluded volume.

Changes in excluded volume and contact interaction with the surface of a protein have been suggested as mechanisms for the changes in stability induced by cosolvents. The aim of the present paper is to present an analysis that combines both effects in a quantitative manner. The result is that both processes are present in both stabilizing and destabilizing interactions and neither can be ignored. Excluded volume was estimated using accessible surface area calculations of the kind introduced by Lee and Richards. The change in excluded volume on unfolding, deltaX, is quite large. For example, deltaX for ribonuclease is 6.7 L in urea and approximately 16 L in sucrose. The latter number is greater than the molar volume of the protein. Direct interaction with the protein is represented as the solvent exchange mechanism, which differs from ordinary association theory because of the weakness of the interaction and the high concentrations of cosolvents. The balance between the two effects and their contribution to overall stability are most simply presented as bar diagrams as in Fig. 3. Our finding for five proteins is that excluded volume contributes to the stabilization of the native structure and that contact interaction contributes to destabilization. This is true for five proteins and four cosolvents including both denaturants and osmolytes. Whether a substance stabilizes a protein or destabilizes it depends on the relative size of these two contributions. The constant for the cosolvent contact with the protein is remarkably uniform for four of the proteins, indicating a similarity of groups exposed during unfolding. One protein, staphylococcus nuclease, is anomalous in almost all respects. In general, the strength of the interaction with guanidinium is about twice that of urea, which is about twice that of trimethylamine-N-oxide and sucrose. Arguments are presented for the use of volume fractions in equilibrium equations and the ignoring of activity coefficients of the cosolvent. It is shown in the Appendix that both the excluded volume and the direct interaction can be extracted in a unified way from the McMillan-Mayer formula for the second virial coefficient.  (+info)

(7/369) Solvation of nucleosides in aqueous mixtures of organic solvents: relevance to DNA open basepairs.

Toward the goal of understanding how open basepairs in DNA interact with their heterogeneous environment, we have studied the steady-state intrinsic fluorescence properties of the purine and pyrimidine deoxynucleosides in organic solvents in the presence of small amounts of water. The organic solvents used in the present study were: n-butanol, acetonitrile, methanol, n-propanol, isopropanol, and isobutanol. For n-butanol and acetonitrile, which have a high degree of amphiphilicity and weak hydrogen bonding ability, respectively, the fluorescence spectral properties of the purines are found to depend on the sequence of steps in which the aqueous mixtures were formed. By contrast, no such dependence was observed in the mixtures with any of the other solvents used in the present study. Moreover, no such dependence was observed for the pyrimidines. These findings suggest that the final solvation network around the purines is dependent on the nature of the environment to which they were initially exposed. This would tend to present an impediment to the closing of AT or GC basepairs in DNA that become open as a result of structural fluctuations, DNA bending, or protein-DNA interactions.  (+info)

(8/369) Egg hatching, larval movement and larval survival of the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae in desiccating habitats.

BACKGROUND: Although the effects of rainfall on the population dynamics of the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae have been studied in great detail, the effects of dry periods on its survival remain less clear. METHODS: The effects of drying conditions were simulated by creating desiccated habitats, which consisted of trays filled with damp soil. Experiments were performed in these trays to (i) test the ability of An. gambiae sensu stricto eggs to hatch on damp soil and for larvae to reach an artificial breeding site at different distances of the site of hatching and (ii) to record survival of the four larval stages of An. gambiae s.s. when placed on damp soil. RESULTS: Eggs of An. gambiae s.s. hatched on damp soil and emerging larvae were capable of covering a distance of up to 10 cm to reach surface water enabling further development. However, proportions of larvae reaching the site decreased rapidly with increasing distance. First, second and third-instar larvae survived on damp soil for an estimated period of 64, 65 and 69 hrs, respectively. Fourth-instar larvae survived significantly longer and we estimated that the maximum survival time was 113 hrs. CONCLUSION: Short-term survival of aquatic stages of An. gambiae on wet soil may be important and adaptive when considering the transient nature of breeding sites of this species in sub-Saharan Africa. In addition, the results suggest that, for larval vector control methods to be effective, habitats should remain drained for at least 5 days to kill all larvae (e.g. in rice fields) and habitats that recently dried up should be treated as well, if larvicidal agents are applied.  (+info)