(1/3703) Voltage sensors in domains III and IV, but not I and II, are immobilized by Na+ channel fast inactivation.

Using site-directed fluorescent labeling, we examined conformational changes in the S4 segment of each domain of the human skeletal muscle sodium channel (hSkM1). The fluorescence signals from S4 segments in domains I and II follow activation and are unaffected as fast inactivation settles. In contrast, the fluorescence signals from S4 segments in domains III and IV show kinetic components during activation and deactivation that correlate with fast inactivation and charge immobilization. These results indicate that in hSkM1, the S4 segments in domains III and IV are responsible for voltage-sensitive conformational changes linked to fast inactivation and are immobilized by fast inactivation, while the S4 segments in domains I and II are unaffected by fast inactivation.  (+info)

(2/3703) Activation of the kallikrein-kinin system in hemodialysis: role of membrane electronegativity, blood dilution, and pH.

BACKGROUND: The kallikrein-kinin system activation by contact with a negatively charged surface has been promulgated to be responsible for hypersensitivity reactions. However, to explain the low frequency and heterogeneity of hypersensitivity reactions, we hypothesized that not only the electronegativity of the membrane, but also other physicochemical parameters could influence the activation of the contact phase system of plasma assessed by the measurement of kallikrein activity and bradykinin concentration. METHODS: Plasma kallikrein activity using chromogenic substrate (S2302) and plasma bradykinin concentration (enzyme immuno assay) were measured during the perfusion of human plasma (2.5 ml/min) through minidialyzers mounted with six different membranes [polyacrylonitrile (PAN) from Asahi (PANDX) and from Hospal (AN69), polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) from Toray, cellulose triacetate (CT) from Baxter, cuprophane (CUP) from Akzo and polysulfone (PS) from Fresenius]. RESULTS: A direct relationship was shown between the electronegativity of the membrane assessed by its zeta potential and the activation of plasma during the first five minutes of plasma circulation. With the AN69 membrane, the detection of a kallikrein activity in diluted plasma but not in undiluted samples confirmed the importance of a protease-antiprotease imbalance leading to bradykinin release during the first five minutes of dialysis. With PAN membranes, the use of citrated versus heparinized plasma and the use of various rinsing solutions clearly show a dramatic effect of pH on the kallikrein activity and the bradykinin concentration measured in plasma. Finally, increasing the zeta potential of the membrane leads to a significant increase of plasma kallikrein activity and bradykinin concentration. CONCLUSIONS: Our in vitro experimental approach evidences the importance of the control of these physicochemical factors to decrease the activation of the contact system.  (+info)

(3/3703) Declining concentrations of dihydroartemisinin in plasma during 5-day oral treatment with artesunate for Falciparum malaria.

Six patients with uncomplicated falciparum malaria received artesunate for 5 days. Plasma concentrations of artesunate and dihydroartemisinin were determined by high-performance liquid chromatography with electrochemical detection. The concentrations of dihydroartemisinin in plasma 2 h after a dose showed a time-dependent decline. Concentrations of artesunate in plasma especially after the last dose, were very low. Despite this, all patients responded with a fast recovery.  (+info)

(4/3703) Evaluation of a new method for the analysis of free catecholamines in plasma using automated sample trace enrichment with dialysis and HPLC.

BACKGROUND: Analysis of urinary free catecholamines was automated recently, but analysis of plasma samples posed special difficulties. The present study was undertaken to evaluate a new method for the automated analysis of plasma catecholamines. METHODS: The procedure is based on an improved sample handling system that includes dialysis and sample clean-up on a strong cation trace-enrichment cartridge. The catecholamines norepinephrine, epinephrine, and dopamine are then separated by reversed-phase ion-pair chromatography and quantified by electrochemical detection. RESULTS: Use of a 740- microL sample is required to give the catecholamine detection limit of 0.05 nmol/L and analytical imprecision (CV) between 1.1% and 9.3%. The assay can be run unattended, although >12 h of analysis time is not recommended without cooling of the autosampler rack. Comparison (n = 68) of the automated cation-exchange clean-up with the well-established manual alumina procedure gave excellent agreement (mean, 3.78 +/- 2.76 and 3.8 +/- 2.89 nmol/L for norepinephrine and 0.99 +/- 1.72 and 1.08 +/- 1.78 nmol/L for epinephrine). Hemodialysis had no clear effect on plasma norepinephrine. Epinephrine concentrations were similar (0.05 < P < 0.1) in chronic renal failure patients (0.24 +/- 0.3 nmol/L; n = 15) and healthy controls (0.5 +/- 0.24 nmol/L; n = 31). Dopamine was not quantified, being usually <0.2 nmol/L. CONCLUSION: The availability of such a fully automated procedure should encourage the more widespread use of plasma catecholamine estimation, e.g., after dialysis, exercise, or trauma/surgery and in the investigation of catecholamine-secreting tumors, particularly in the anuric patient.  (+info)

(5/3703) Interpretation of the spatial charge displacements in bacteriorhodopsin in terms of structural changes during the photocycle.

We have recently introduced a method, made possible by an improved orienting technique using a combination of electric and magnetic fields, that allows the three-dimensional detection of the intramolecular charge displacements during the photocycle of bacteriorhodopsin. This method generates electric asymmetry, a prerequisite for the detection of electric signal on the macroscopic sample, in all three spatial dimensions. Purple membrane fragments containing bacteriorhodopsin were oriented so that their permanent electric dipole moment vectors were perpendicular to the membrane plane and pointed in the same direction. The resulting cylindrical symmetry was broken by photoselection, i. e., by flash excitation with low intensity linearly polarized light. From the measured electric signals, the three-dimensional motion of the electric charge center in the bacteriorhodopsin molecules was calculated for the first 400 microseconds. Simultaneous absorption kinetic recording provided the time-dependent concentrations of the intermediates. Combining the two sets of data, we determined the discrete dipole moments of intermediates up to M. When compared with the results of current molecular dynamics calculations, the data provided a decisive experimental test for selecting the optimal theoretical model for the proton transport and should eventually lead to a full description of the mechanism of the bacteriorhodopsin proton pump.  (+info)

(6/3703) Chemical transformations in individual ultrasmall biomimetic containers.

Individual phospholipid vesicles, 1 to 5 micrometers in diameter, containing a single reagent or a complete reaction system, were immobilized with an infrared laser optical trap or by adhesion to modified borosilicate glass surfaces. Chemical transformations were initiated either by electroporation or by electrofusion, in each case through application of a short (10-microsecond), intense (20 to 50 kilovolts per centimeter) electric pulse delivered across ultramicroelectrodes. Product formation was monitored by far-field laser fluorescence microscopy. The ultrasmall characteristic of this reaction volume led to rapid diffusional mixing that permits the study of fast chemical kinetics. This technique is also well suited for the study of reaction dynamics of biological molecules within lipid-enclosed nanoenvironments that mimic cell membranes.  (+info)

(7/3703) Local alpha-bungarotoxin-sensitive nicotinic receptors modulate hippocampal norepinephrine release by systemic nicotine.

Previous studies have shown that nicotinic receptors (NAChRs) accessible from the cerebral aqueduct of the brainstem mediate the hippocampal norepinephrine (NE) release induced by i.v. nicotine. The present study was designed to investigate the role of hippocampal NAChRs in this process. Nicotinic antagonists were microinjected or microdialyzed into the hippocampus (HP) before administering nicotine (0.09 mg/kg over 60 s, i.v.) to freely moving rats. alpha-Bungarotoxin (0.3 nmol by microinjection) blocked nicotine-induced hippocampal NE release by 47% (p <.05) and abolished the effect of 0.065 mg/kg nicotine. Methyllycaconitine (1.4-5.6 mM in the dialysate) inhibited the stimulatory effect of nicotine 0.09 mg/kg by 48 to 75% (p <.05). In contrast, mecamylamine (2.9-5.8 mM) and dihydro-beta-erythroidine (7-14 mM) were completely ineffective. The role of hippocampal NAChRs was demonstrated further by selectively desensitizing these receptors before the systemic infusion of nicotine. To do so, the HP was pretreated with nicotine (0.1 mM) delivered through the microdialysis probe; this concentration was calculated to yield tissue concentrations similar to those produced by the systemic infusions of nicotine. Dialyzing this concentration of nicotine into the HP inhibited the NE response to i.v. nicotine by 34% (p <.05), and 1.0 mM nicotine reduced the response by 40%. These studies indicate that alpha-bungarotoxin-sensitive hippocampal NAChRs, probably containing alpha7 subunits, modulate hippocampal NE release because of systemic nicotine.  (+info)

(8/3703) In vivo dopamine clearance rate in rat striatum: regulation by extracellular dopamine concentration and dopamine transporter inhibitors.

Dopamine transporter (DAT) inhibitors are expected to decrease dopamine (DA) clearance from the extracellular space of the brain. However, mazindol and cocaine have been reported to "anomalously" increase DA clearance rate. To better understand in vivo DAT activity both in the absence and presence of DAT inhibitors, clearance of exogenously applied DA was measured in dorsal striata of urethane-anesthetized rats using high-speed chronoamperometry. As higher amounts of DA were ejected, DA signal amplitudes, but not time courses, increased. Clearance rates increased until near maximal rates of 0.3 to 0.5 microM/s were attained. Provided baseline clearance rates were relatively low (< 0.1 microM/s), local application of either nomifensine or cocaine markedly increased exogenous DA signal amplitudes and time courses. Relative to the low baseline group, locally applied nomifensine decreased clearance rate when baseline clearance was high ( approximately 0.4 microM/s). However, even when baseline clearance rates were high, systemic injection of nomifensine, mazindol, GBR 12909, or benztropine increased DA signal amplitudes to a greater extent than time courses, consistent with the observed increases in clearance rates. In contrast, despite low baseline clearance rates, systemic injection of cocaine, WIN 35,428, or d-amphetamine preferentially increased DA signal time course, consistent with the observed decreases in clearance rates. Our results emphasize that as extracellular DA concentrations increase, DAT velocity increases to a maximum, partially explaining the ability of DAT inhibitors to increase DA clearance rates. However, by itself, kinetic activation is not sufficient to explain the ability of certain systemically administered DAT inhibitors to anomalously increase DA clearance.  (+info)