Orally exhaled nitric oxide levels are related to the degree of blood eosinophilia in atopic children with mild-intermittent asthma. (1/3761)

Increased levels of nitric oxide have been found in expired air of patients with asthma, and these are thought to be related to the airway inflammatory events that characterize this disorder. Since, in adults, bronchial inflammatory changes are present even in mild disease, the present study was designed to evaluate whether a significant proportion of children with mild-intermittent asthma could have increased exhaled air NO concentrations. Twenty-two atopic children (aged 11.1+/-0.8 yrs) with mild-intermittent asthma, treated only with inhaled beta2-adrenoreceptor agonists on demand and 22 age-matched controls were studied. NO concentrations in orally exhaled air, measured by chemiluminescence, were significantly higher in asthmatics, as compared to controls (19.4+/-3.3 parts per billion (ppb) and 4.0+/-0.5 ppb, respectively; p<0.01). Interestingly, 14 out of 22 asthmatic children had NO levels >8.8 ppb (i.e. >2 standard deviations of the mean in controls). In asthmatic patients, but not in control subjects, statistically significant correlations were found between exhaled NO levels and absolute number or percentage of blood eosinophils (r=0.63 and 0.56, respectively; p<0.01, each comparison). In contrast, exhaled NO levels were not correlated with forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) or forced expiratory flows at 25-75% of vital capacity (FEF25-75%) or forced vital capacity (FVC), either in control subjects, or in asthmatic patients (p>0.1, each correlation). These results suggest that a significant proportion of children with mild-intermittent asthma may have airway inflammation, as shown by the presence of elevated levels of nitric oxide in the exhaled air. The clinical relevance of this observation remains to be established.  (+info)

Increased exhaled nitric oxide on days with high outdoor air pollution is of endogenous origin. (2/3761)

The aim of this study was to assess the effect of outdoor air pollution on exhaled levels of endogenously released nitric oxide. To exclude bias from exogenous NO in the recovered exhaled air (residual NO or NO in dead volume) an experimental design was used that sampled NO of endogenous origin only. The validity of the presented experimental design was established in experiments where subjects were exposed to high levels of exogenous NO (cigarette smoke or 480 microg x m(-3) synthetic NO). Subsequent 1 min breathing and a final inhalation of NO-free air proved to be sufficient to attain pre-exposure values. Using the presented method detecting only endogenous NO in exhaled air, 18 subjects were sampled on 4 separate days with different levels of outdoor air pollution (read as an ambient NO level of 4, 30, 138 and 246 microg x m(-3)). On the 2 days with highest outdoor air pollution, exhaled NO was significantly (p<0.001) increased (67-78%) above the mean baseline value assessed on 4 days with virtually no outdoor air pollution. In conclusion, the level of endogenous nitric oxide in exhaled air is increased on days with high outdoor air pollution. The physiological implications of this findings need to be investigated further.  (+info)

Induction of reactive oxygen intermediates in human monocytes by tumour cells and their role in spontaneous monocyte cytotoxicity. (3/3761)

The present study examined the ability of human monocytes to produce reactive oxygen intermediates after a contact with tumour cells. Monocytes generated oxygen radicals, as measured by luminol-enhanced chemiluminescence and superoxide anion production, after stimulation with the tumour, but not with untransformed, cells. The use of specific oxygen radical scavengers and inhibitors, superoxide dismutase, catalase, dimethyl sulphoxide and deferoxamine as well as the myeloperoxidase inhibitor 4-aminobenzoic acid hydrazide, indicated that chemiluminescence was dependent on the production of superoxide anion and hydroxyl radical and the presence of myeloperoxidase. The tumour cell-induced chemiluminescent response of monocytes showed different kinetics from that seen after activation of monocytes with phorbol ester. These results indicate that human monocytes can be directly stimulated by tumour cells for reactive oxygen intermediate production. Spontaneous monocyte-mediated cytotoxicity towards cancer cells was inhibited by superoxide dismutase, catalase, deferoxamine and hydrazide, implicating the role of superoxide anion, hydrogen peroxide, hydroxyl radical and hypohalite. We wish to suggest that so-called 'spontaneous' tumoricidal capacity of freshly isolated human monocytes may in fact be an inducible event associated with generation of reactive oxygen intermediates and perhaps other toxic mediators, resulting from a contact of monocytes with tumour cells.  (+info)

Rapid film-based determination of antibiotic susceptibilities of Mycobacterium tuberculosis strains by using a luciferase reporter phage and the Bronx Box. (4/3761)

Detecting antibiotic resistance in Mycobacterium tuberculosis is becoming increasingly important with the global recognition of drug-resistant strains and their adverse impact on clinical outcomes. Current methods of susceptibility testing are either time-consuming or costly; rapid, reliable, simple, and inexpensive methods would be highly desirable, especially in the developing world where most tuberculosis is found. The luciferase reporter phage is a unique reagent well-suited for this purpose: upon infection with viable mycobacteria, it produces quantifiable light which is not observed in mycobacterial cells treated with active antimicrobials. In this report, we describe a modification of our original assay, which allows detection of the emitted light with a Polaroid film box designated the Bronx Box. The technique has been applied to 25 M. tuberculosis reference and clinical strains, and criteria are presented which allow rapid and simple discrimination among strains susceptible or resistant to isoniazid and rifampin, the major antituberculosis agents.  (+info)

Evidence that halogenated furanones from Delisea pulchra inhibit acylated homoserine lactone (AHL)-mediated gene expression by displacing the AHL signal from its receptor protein. (5/3761)

Acylated homoserine lactone (AHL)-mediated gene expression controls phenotypes involved in colonization, often specifically of higher organisms, in both marine and terrestrial environments. The marine red alga Delisea pulchra produces halogenated furanones which resemble AHLs structurally and show inhibitory activity at ecologically realistic concentrations in AHL bioassays. Evidence is presented that halogenated furanones displace tritiated OHHL [N-3-(oxohexanoyl)-L-homoserine lactone] from Escherichia coli cells overproducing LuxR with potencies corresponding to their respective inhibitory activities in an AHL-regulated bioluminescence assay, indicating that this is the mechanism by which furanones inhibit AHL-dependent phenotypes. Alternative mechanisms for this phenomenon are also addressed. General metabolic disruption was assessed with two-dimensional PAGE, revealing limited non-AHL-related effects. A direct chemical interaction between the algal compounds and AHLs, as monitored by 1H NMR spectroscopy, was shown not to occur in vitro. These results support the contention that furanones, at the concentrations produced by the alga, can control bacterial colonization of surfaces by specifically interfering with AHL-mediated gene expression at the level of the LuxR protein.  (+info)

Reduction of serum cholesterol and hypercholesterolemic atherosclerosis in rabbits by secoisolariciresinol diglucoside isolated from flaxseed. (6/3761)

BACKGROUND: Secoisolariciresinol diglucoside (SDG) is a plant lignan isolated from flaxseed. Lignans are platelet-activating factor-receptor antagonists that would inhibit the production of oxygen radicals by polymorphonuclear leukocytes. SDG is an antioxidant. Antioxidants studied thus far are known to reduce hypercholesterolemic atherosclerosis. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of SDG on various blood lipid and aortic tissue oxidative stress parameters and on the development of atherosclerosis in rabbits fed a high-cholesterol diet. METHODS AND RESULTS: Rabbits were assigned to 4 groups: group 1, control; group 2, SDG control (15 mg. kg body wt-1. d-1 PO); group 3, 1% cholesterol diet; and group 4, same as group 3 but with added SDG (15 mg. kg body wt-1. d-1 PO). Blood samples were collected before (time 0) and after 4 and 8 weeks of experimental diets for measurement of serum triglycerides, total cholesterol (TC), and LDL, HDL, and VLDL cholesterol (LDL-C, HDL-C, and VLDL-C). The aorta was removed at the end of the protocol for assessment of atherosclerotic plaques; malondialdehyde, an aortic tissue lipid peroxidation product; and aortic tissue chemiluminescence, a marker for antioxidant reserve. Serum TC, LDL-C, and the ratios LDL-C/HDL-C and TC/HDL-C increased in groups 3 and 4 compared with time 0, the increase being smaller in group 4 than in group 3. Serum HDL-C decreased in group 3 and increased in group 4 compared with time 0, but changes were lower in group 3 than in group 4. SDG reduced TC and LDL-C by 33% and 35%, respectively, at week 8 but increased HDL-C significantly, by>140%, as early as week 4. It also decreased TC/LDL-C and LDL-C/HDL-C ratios by approximately 64%. There was an increase in aortic malondialdehyde and chemiluminescence in group 3, and they were lower in group 4 than in group 3. SDG reduced hypercholesterolemic atherosclerosis by 73%. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that SDG reduced hypercholesterolemic atherosclerosis and that this effect was associated with a decrease in serum cholesterol, LDL-C, and lipid peroxidation product and an increase in HDL-C and antioxidant reserve.  (+info)

Expression of T lymphocyte p56(lck), a zinc-finger signal transduction protein, is elevated by dietary zinc deficiency and diet restriction in mice. (7/3761)

Compromised immune function is common to Zn deficiency, protein and energy malnutrition; however, the causative mechanisms at the molecular level have not been elucidated. The T lymphocyte signal transduction pathway contains several Zn-finger proteins, and it is possible that the in vivo functioning of these proteins could be affected by dietary deficiency of Zn and amino acids. Thus, the objective was to investigate the effects, on expression of the T lymphocyte signal transduction proteins p56(lck), phospholipase Cgamma1 (PLCgamma1) and protein kinase C (PKCalpha), of dietary Zn deficiency (ZnDF, < 1 mg Zn/kg diet) and protein-energy malnutrition syndromes [2% protein deficiency (LP), combined Zn and 2% protein deficiency (ZnDF+LP), and diet restriction (DR, body weight equal to ZnDF)] compared with control (C) mice. Indices of nutritional status and splenocyte counts were also determined. Based on serum albumin and liver lipid concentrations, the ZnDF+LP and LP groups had protein-type malnutrition, whereas the ZnDF and DR groups had energy-type malnutrition. For Western immunoblotting of the signal transduction proteins, mouse splenic T lymphocytes were isolated by immunocolumns. The expression of T lymphocyte p56(lck) was significantly elevated in the ZnDF+LP, ZnDF and DR groups compared to the C group. In contrast, the expression of PLCgamma1 and PKC was unaffected. There was a significant negative correlation between T lymphocyte p56(lck) expression and serum Zn (r= -0.65, P = 0.0007) or femur Zn (r = -0.73, P = 0.0001) concentrations. We propose that elevated T lymphocyte p56(lck) may contribute to altered thymoctye maturation, apoptosis and lymphopenia in Zn deficiency and protein-energy malnutrition syndromes.  (+info)

Intracellular trafficking pathways in the assembly of connexins into gap junctions. (8/3761)

Trafficking pathways underlying the assembly of connexins into gap junctions were examined using living COS-7 cells expressing a range of connexin-aequorin (Cx-Aeq) chimeras. By measuring the chemiluminescence of the aequorin fusion partner, the translocation of oligomerized connexins from intracellular stores to the plasma membrane was shown to occur at different rates that depended on the connexin isoform. Treatment of COS-7 cells expressing Cx32-Aeq and Cx43-Aeq with brefeldin A inhibited the movement of these chimera to the plasma membrane by 84 +/- 4 and 88 +/- 4%, respectively. Nocodazole treatment of the cells expressing Cx32-Aeq and Cx43-Aeq produced 29 +/- 16 and 4 +/- 7% inhibition, respectively. In contrast, the transport of Cx26 to the plasma membrane, studied using a construct (Cx26/43T-Aeq) in which the short cytoplasmic carboxyl-terminal tail of Cx26 was replaced with the extended carboxyl terminus of Cx43, was inhibited 89 +/- 5% by nocodazole and was minimally affected by exposure of cells to brefeldin A (17 +/-11%). The transfer of Lucifer yellow across gap junctions between cells expressing wild-type Cx32, Cx43, and the corresponding Cx32-Aeq and Cx43-Aeq chimeras was reduced by nocodazole treatment and abolished by brefeldin A treatment. However, the extent of dye coupling between cells expressing wild-type Cx26 or the Cx26/43T-Aeq chimeras was not significantly affected by brefeldin A treatment, but after nocodazole treatment, transfer of dye to neighboring cells was greatly reduced. These contrasting effects of brefeldin A and nocodazole on the trafficking properties and intercellular dye transfer are interpreted to suggest that two pathways contribute to the routing of connexins to the gap junction.  (+info)