(1/4047) Examination of the transverse tubular system in living cardiac rat myocytes by 2-photon microscopy and digital image-processing techniques.

The transverse tubular system (t-system) of cardiac muscle is a structure that allows rapid propagation of excitation into the cell interior. Using 2-photon molecular excitation microscopy and digital image-processing methods, we have obtained a comprehensive overview of the t-system of rat ventricular myocytes in living cells. We show that it is possible to quantify the morphology of the t-system in terms of average local tubule diameter, branching pattern, and local abundance of the t-system by immersing living myocytes in a dextran-linked fluorescein solution. Our data suggest that previous electron microscopic examinations of t-system structure have underestimated both the geometric complexity of the t-system morphology and the fraction of cell volume occupied by the t-system (3.6% in this species). About 40% of tubules occur between Z-lines, and the t-tubule diameter is 255+/-0.85 nm (mean+/-SEM). The t-tubules leave the outer surface of the cell in an approximately rectangular array; however, at some points junctions between the t-tubules and the surface membrane are missing. In view of the complexity of the t-system apparent from our images, we propose that the t-system be renamed the "sarcolemmal Z rete." The methods presented here are generally applicable to the quantification of the sarcolemmal Z rete and other structures within cells by fluorescence microscopy in a variety of cell types.  (+info)

(2/4047) Nuclear chromatin variations in human spermatozoa undergoing swim-up and cryopreservation evaluated by the flow cytometric sperm chromatin structure assay.

The sperm chromatin structure assay (SCSA) is a flow cytometric (FCM) technique which exploits the metachromatic properties of Acridine Orange to monitor the susceptibility of sperm chromatin DNA to in-situ acid denaturation. SCSA was used to study the chromatin structure variations of human spermatozoa in semen, both before and after swim-up and after cryopreservation. Semen samples were provided by 19 healthy normozoospermic subjects attending pre-marriage checks. Each sample was divided into three aliquots: the first aliquot was evaluated without further treatment, the second underwent swim-up, and the third was stored according to standard cryopreservation techniques in liquid nitrogen at -196 degrees C. Samples were also analysed by light and fluorescence microscopy (after Acridine Orange staining to evaluate the number of green fluorescent sperm heads), and by computer-assisted semen analysis. The results showed that post-rise spermatozoa represent a subpopulation characterized by a general improvement of the morphological (reduction of the percentage of abnormal forms and heads, increase of the green head sperm percentage) and kinetic parameters. This subpopulation also exhibited improved chromatin structure properties, confirming that these cells have the best structural and functional characteristics, indicative of optimal fertilizing ability. On the other hand, overall sperm quality deteriorates after cryopreservation. When thawed spermatozoa underwent an additional swim-up round, a general improvement of nuclear maturity was seen in the post-rise spermatozoa.  (+info)

(3/4047) The effect of mannitol versus dimethyl thiourea at attenuating ischemia/reperfusion-induced injury to skeletal muscle.

OBJECTIVE: Mannitol is used as a treatment for skeletal muscle ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury in humans, despite the fact that its effectiveness in vivo is still disputed. The purpose of this study was to determine the efficacy of mannitol in attenuating I/R injury at the microcirculatory level. METHODS: The study was designed as an experimental study with male Wistar rats. The main outcome measures were intravital microscopy, which was used to measure capillary perfusion, capillary and venular red blood cell velocity (VRBC), and leukocyte-endothelial interactions in the extensor digitorum longus muscle of the rat hind limb before and after ischemia. In addition, tissue injury was assessed during reperfusion with the fluorescent vital dyes bisbenzimide and ethidium bromide. Dimethyl thiourea (DMTU), a highly effective therapeutic agent of experimental I/R injury, was used as a positive control. RESULTS: No-flow ischemia (2 hour) resulted in a 40% drop in capillary perfusion, a decline in capillary and venular VRBC, and increased leukocyte venular adherence and tissue infiltration. Tissue injury increased to a constant level during reperfusion. Mannitol attenuated capillary malperfusion during the first 60 minutes of reperfusion and prevented a decline in capillary VRBC. However, mannitol did not reduce tissue injury or leukocyte adherence and infiltration during reperfusion. By comparison, DMTU not only prevented the perfusion deficits and the increases in leukocyte venular adherence and tissue infiltration but significantly reduced the magnitude of tissue injury. CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest that mannitol may be of limited value for the prevention of early reperfusion-induced injury after no-flow ischemia in skeletal muscle. By comparison, DMTU was highly efficacious by not only reducing microvascular perfusion deficits but by also reducing leukocyte-endothelial cell interactions and the incidence of cellular injury.  (+info)

(4/4047) Comparison of a parasite lactate dehydrogenase-based immunochromatographic antigen detection assay (OptiMAL) with microscopy for the detection of malaria parasites in human blood samples.

Microscopic examination of blood smears remains the gold standard for malaria diagnosis, but is labor-intensive and requires skilled operators. Rapid dipstick technology provides a potential alternative. A study was conducted in The Gambia to compare the performance of OptiMAL, an immunochromatographic antigen detection assay for the diagnosis of malaria using parasite lactate dehydrogenase, against standard microscopy in patients with suspected malaria. For initial diagnosis of Plasmodium falciparum, irrespective of stage, this assay had a sensitivity of 91.3%, a specificity of 92%, a positive predictive value of 87.2%, and a negative predictive value of 94.7%. The sensitivity of the test decreased markedly at parasitemias < 0.01%. This assay can be used for the diagnosis of malaria in areas where microscopy is not available and for urgent malaria diagnosis at night and at weekends, when routine laboratories are closed and when relatively inexperienced microscopists may be on duty.  (+info)

(5/4047) Comparison of five methods of malaria detection in the outpatient setting.

In eastern Africa where 90% of the malaria is due to Plasmodium falciparum, the accuracy of malaria diagnosis at the outpatient level is becoming increasingly important due to problems of drug resistance and use of alternative, costly antimalarial drugs. The quantitative buffy coat (QBC) technique, acridine orange staining with an interference filter system, and the ParaSight-F test have been introduced as alternative methods to conventional microscopy for the diagnosis of malaria. Two hundred thirteen outpatients were tested using these alternative methods and conventional microscopy by five experienced technologists; two were randomly allocated to read the results of each test. Paired results showed the highest level of agreement with the ParaSight-F test (99%), followed by Field stain (92%). The results of the QBC technique showed the least agreement (73%). Using conventional microscopy as the reference standard, the ParaSight-F test had a sensitivity range of 90-92% and a specificity of 99%, staining with acridine orange had a sensitivity range of 77-96% and a specificity range of 81-98% and the QBC technique had a sensitivity range of 88-98% and a specificity range of 58-90%. All microscopic tests showed lower sensitivities (as low as 20% using staining with acridine orange) in detecting low parasitemias (< or = 320/microl) than the ParaSight-F test (70%). Due to the high cost of the ParaSight-F test, Field-stained blood films remain the most appropriate method for diagnosis of P. falciparum in eastern Africa. The ParaSight-F test may be used in situations where no trained microscopists are available, or where malaria is strongly suspected and the results of microscopy are negative.  (+info)

(6/4047) Semi-nested, multiplex polymerase chain reaction for detection of human malaria parasites and evidence of Plasmodium vivax infection in Equatorial Guinea.

A semi-nested, multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) based on the amplification of the sequences of the 18S small subunit ribosomal RNA (ssrRNA) gene was tested in a field trial in Equatorial Guinea (a hyperendemic focus of malaria in west central Africa). The method uses a primary PCR amplification reaction with a universal reverse primer and two forward primers specific for the genus Plasmodium and to mammals (the mammalian-specific primer was included as a positive control to distinguish uninfected cases from inhibition of the PCR). The second amplification is carried out with the same Plasmodium genus-specific forward primer and four specific reverse primers for each human Plasmodium species. The PCR amplified products are differentiated by fragment size after electrophoresis on a 2% agarose gel. Four villages from three regions of the island of Bioko (Equatorial Guinea) and two suspected Plasmodium vivax-P. ovale infections from the hospital of Malabo were tested by microscopy and PCR. The PCR method showed greater sensitivity and specificity than microscopic examination and confirmed the existence of a focus of P. vivax infections in Equatorial Guinea suspected by microscopic examination. It also provided evidence of several mixed infections, mainly P. falciparum and P. malariae, the two predominant species causing malaria in Equatorial Guinea.  (+info)

(7/4047) Rapid dendritic morphogenesis in CA1 hippocampal dendrites induced by synaptic activity.

Activity shapes the structure of neurons and their circuits. Two-photon imaging of CA1 neurons expressing enhanced green fluorescent protein in developing hippocampal slices from rat brains was used to characterize dendritic morphogenesis in response to synaptic activity. High-frequency focal synaptic stimulation induced a period (longer than 30 minutes) of enhanced growth of small filopodia-like protrusions (typically less than 5 micrometers long). Synaptically evoked growth was long-lasting and localized to dendritic regions close (less than 50 micrometers) to the stimulating electrode and was prevented by blockade of N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors. Thus, synaptic activation can produce rapid input-specific changes in dendritic structure. Such persistent structural changes could contribute to the development of neural circuitry.  (+info)

(8/4047) Mound-cell movement and morphogenesis in Dictyostelium.

To examine the mechanisms of cell locomotion within a three-dimensional (3-D) cell mass, we have undertaken a systematic 3-D analysis of individual cell movements in the Dictyostelium mound, the first 3-D structure to form during development of the fruiting body. We used time-lapse deconvolution microscopy to examine two strains whose motion represents endpoints on the spectrum of motile behaviors that we have observed in mounds. In AX-2 mounds, cell motion is slow and trajectories are a combination of random and radial, compared to KAX-3, in which motion is fivefold faster and most trajectories are rotational. Although radial or rotational motion was correlated with the optical-density wave patterns present in each strain, we also found small but significant subpopulations of cells that moved differently from the majority, demonstrating that optical-density waves are at best insufficient to explain all motile behavior in mounds. In examining morphogenesis in these strains, we noted that AX-2 mounds tended to culminate directly to a fruiting body, whereas KAX-3 mounds first formed a migratory slug. By altering buffering conditions we could interchange these behaviors and then found that mound-cell motions also changed accordingly. This demonstrates a correlation between mound-cell motion and subsequent development, but it is not obligatory. Chimeric mounds composed of only 10% KAX-3 cells and 90% AX-2 cells exhibited rotational motion, suggesting that a diffusible molecule induces rotation, but many of these mounds still culminated directly, demonstrating that rotational motion does not always lead to slug migration. Our observations provide a detailed analysis of cell motion for two distinct modes of mound and slug formation in Dictyostelium.  (+info)