(1/5266) Metallothionein-null mice absorb less Zn from an egg-white diet, but a similar amount from solutions, although with altered intertissue Zn distribution.

The influence of metallothionein (MT) on Zn transfer into non-gut tissues was investigated in MT-null (MT-/-) and normal (MT+/+) mice 4 h after oral gavage of aqueous 65ZnSO4solution at doses of 154, 385, 770 and 1540 nmol Zn per mouse. Zn transfer was not significantly different between MT+/+ and MT-/- mice and was directly proportional to the oral dose (slope = 0.127, r = 0.991; 0. 146, r = 0.994, respectively). Blood 65Zn and plasma Zn concentrations increased progressively in MT-/- mice at doses >154 nmol Zn, reaching levels of 2.4% of oral dose and 60 micromol/L, respectively, at the 1540 nmol Zn dose. The corresponding values for MT+/+ mice were approximately half, 1.0% and 29 micromol/L. Intergenotypic differences were found in tissue distribution of 65Zn within the body; MT-/- mice had higher 65Zn levels in muscle, skin, heart and brain, whereas MT+/+ mice retained progressively more Zn in the liver, in conjunction with a linear increase in hepatic MT up to the highest Zn dose. MT induction in the small intestine reached its maximum at an oral dose of 385 nmol Zn and did not differ at higher doses. Absorption of a 770 nmol 65Zn dose from a solid egg-white diet was only one fourth (MT+/+) and one eighth (MT-/-) of the Zn absorption from the same dose of 65Zn in aqueous solution. MT+/+ mice had greater (P < 0.05) Zn absorption from the egg-white diet than did MT-/- mice, indicating that gut MT confers an absorptive advantage, but only when Zn is incorporated into solid food.  (+info)

(2/5266) Relationship between supersaturation and calcium oxalate crystallization in normals and idiopathic calcium oxalate stone formers.

BACKGROUND: In an earlier study on recurrent CaOx stone formers with no detectable abnormalities, we found that the urine of these subjects had a lower tolerance to oxalate load than controls and that the removal of urinary macromolecules with a molecular weight greater than 10,000 D improved their tolerance to oxalate. METHODS: The effects on CaOx crystallization of reduced urinary supersaturation of calcium oxalate (CaOx), induced by night water load, were studied in 12 normal males and in 15 male OxCa stone formers who were free from urinary metabolic abnormalities. The effect of the macromolecules, purified and retrieved from the natural and diluted urine, were analyzed in a metastable solution of CaOx. RESULTS: The water load caused an increase in urine volume (from 307 +/- 111 to 572 +/- 322 ml/8 hr, P = 0.014 in normal subjects, and from 266 +/- 92 to 518 +/- 208 ml/8 hr, P = 0.001 in the stone formers) and a concomitant reduction of the relative CaOx supersaturation (from 8.7 +/- 2.5 to 5.1 +/- 2.5 ml/8 hr, P = 0.001 in normal subjects, and from 10.4 +/- 3.5 to 5.0 +/- 2.7 ml/8 hr, P = 0.001 in the stone formers). The decrease in CaOx supersaturation was accompanied by an increase of the permissible increment in oxalate, both in normal subjects (from 43.8 +/- 10.1 to 67.2 +/- 30. 3 mg/liter, P = 0.018) and in the stone formers (from 25.7 +/- 9.4 to 43.7 +/- 17.1 mg/liter, P = 0.0001), without any significant variations of the upper limit of metastability for CaOx (from 21.6 +/- 5.3 to 20.5 +/- 4.2 mg/liter in normal subjects, and from 18.7 +/- 4.5 to 17.1 +/- 3.7 mg/liter in the stone formers). The inhibitory effect of urinary macromolecules with molecular weight greater than 10,000 Daltons did not undergo any change when the latter were recovered from concentrated or diluted urine, either in normal subjects or in the stone formers. CONCLUSIONS: Reduced CaOx supersaturation by means of water load has a protective effect with regards to CaOx crystallization in subjects who do not present any of the common urinary stone risk factors.  (+info)

(3/5266) pH-dependent conformational change of gastric mucin leads to sol-gel transition.

We present dynamic light scattering (DLS) and hydrophobic dye-binding data in an effort to elucidate a molecular mechanism for the ability of gastric mucin to form a gel at low pH, which is crucial to the barrier function of gastric mucus. DLS measurements of dilute mucin solutions were not indicative of intermolecular association, yet there was a steady fall in the measured diffusion coefficient with decreasing pH, suggesting an apparent increase in size. Taken together with the observed rise in depolarized scattering ratio with decreasing pH, these results suggest that gastric mucin undergoes a conformational change from a random coil at pH >/= 4 to an anisotropic, extended conformation at pH < 4. The increased binding of mucin to hydrophobic fluorescent with decreasing pH indicates that the change to an extended conformation is accompanied by exposure of hydrophobic binding sites. In concentrated mucin solutions, the structure factor S(q, t) derived from DLS measurements changed from a stretched exponential decay at pH 7 to a power-law decay at pH 2, which is characteristic of a sol-gel transition. We propose that the conformational change facilitates cross-links among mucin macromolecules through hydrophobic interactions at low pH, which in turn leads to a sol-gel transition when the mucin solution is sufficiently concentrated.  (+info)

(4/5266) Conformations of Gly(n)H+ and Ala(n)H+ peptides in the gas phase.

High-resolution ion mobility measurements and molecular dynamics simulations have been used to probe the conformations of protonated polyglycine and polyalanine (Gly(n)H and Ala(n)H+, n = 3-20) in the gas phase. The measured collision integrals for both the polyglycine and the polyalanine peptides are consistent with a self-solvated globule conformation, where the peptide chain wraps around and solvates the charge located on the terminal amine. The conformations of the small peptides are governed entirely by self-solvation, whereas the larger ones have additional backbone hydrogen bonds. Helical conformations, which are stable for neutral Alan peptides, were not observed in the experiments. Molecular dynamics simulations for Ala(n)H+ peptides suggest that the charge destabilizes the helix, although several of the low energy conformations found in the simulations for the larger Ala(n)H+ peptides have small helical regions.  (+info)

(5/5266) Effect of salt addition on the fractal structure of aggregates formed by heating dilute BSA solutions.

The fractal dimension, Df, of aggregates in a dilute BSA system with added salt was evaluated by static light scattering (SLS). A fractal structure was observed for the system with NaCl addition. The values of Df increased with increasing heating time and ionic strength. The values of Df were larger than those (Df = 1.8 or 2.1) predicted by the conventional cluster-cluster aggregation model, probably due to a "restructuring" of aggregates during the aggregation process. On the other hand, a fractal structure was not apparent for the system with added CaCl2.  (+info)

(6/5266) Renal and hemodynamic effects of losartan in conscious dogs during controlled mechanical ventilation.

In 12 conscious dogs, we investigated whether the angiotensin II-receptor antagonist losartan increases renal sodium excretion and urine volume during controlled mechanical ventilation (CMV) with positive end-expiratory pressure. In four experimental protocols, the dogs were extracellular volume (ECV) expanded (electrolyte solution, 0.5 ml. kg-1. min-1 iv) or not and received losartan (100 micrograms. kg-1. min-1 iv) or not. They breathed spontaneously during the 1st and 4th hour and received CMV with positive end-expiratory pressure (mean airway pressure 20 cmH2O) during the 2nd and 3rd hours. In the expansion group, dogs with losartan excreted approximately 18% more sodium (69 +/- 7 vs. 38 +/- 5 micromol. min-1. kg-1) and 15% more urine during the 2 h of CMV because of a higher glomerular filtration rate (5.3 +/- 0.3 vs. 4.5 +/- 0.2 ml. min-1. kg-1) and the tubular effects of losartan. In the group without expansion, sodium excretion (2.0 +/- 0.6 vs. 2.6 +/- 1.0 micromol. min-1. kg-1) and glomerular filtration rate (3.8 +/- 0.3 vs. 3.8 +/- 0.4 ml. min-1. kg-1) did not change, and urine volume decreased similarly in both groups during CMV. Plasma vasopressin and aldosterone increased in both groups, and plasma renin activity increased from 4.9 +/- 0.7 to 7.8 +/- 1.3 ng ANG I. ml-1. h-1 during CMV in nonexpanded dogs without losartan. Mean arterial pressure decreased by 10 mmHg in nonexpanded dogs with losartan. In conclusion, losartan increases sodium excretion and urine volume during CMV if the ECV is expanded. If the ECV is not expanded, a decrease in mean arterial blood pressure and/or an increase in aldosterone and vasopressin during CMV attenuates the renal effects of losartan.  (+info)

(7/5266) Conformation and self-association of human recombinant transforming growth factor-beta3 in aqueous solutions.

The transforming growth factors-beta (TGF-beta) are important regulatory peptides for cell growth and differentiation with therapeutic potential for wound healing. Among the several TGF-beta isoforms TGF-beta3 has a particularly low solubility at physiological pH and easily forms aggregates. A spectroscopic structural analysis of TGF-beta3 in solution has thus been difficult. In this study, circular dichroism spectroscopy was used to determine the secondary structural elements of TGF-beta3. In addition, the aggregation of TGF-beta3 was investigated systematically as a function of pH and salt concentration using a rapid screening method. Sedimentation equilibrium and sedimentation velocity analysis revealed that TGF-beta3 exists predominantly in two major forms: (i) monomers in solution at low pH and (ii) large precipitating aggregates at physiological pH. Under acidic conditions (pH < 3.8) the protein was not aggregated. At pH approximately 3.9, a monomer right arrow over left arrow dimer equilibrium could be detected that transformed into larger aggregates at pH > 4.1. Aggregation was pronounced in the pH range of 4.3 < pH < 9.8 with the aggregation maximum between pH 6.5 and 8. 5. The aggregation process was accompanied by a structural change of the protein. The CD spectra were characterized by an isodichroic point at 209.5 nm indicating a two-state equilibrium between TGF-beta3 dissolved in solution and aggregated TGF-beta3. Aggregated TGF-beta3 showed a higher beta-sheet content and lower beta-turn and random coil contributions compared with monomeric TGF-beta3. Both the solution structure and the aggregate structure of TGF-beta3 were different from the crystal structure. This was in contrast to TGF-beta2, which showed very similar crystal and solution structures. Under alkaline conditions (pH > 9.8) the turbidity disappeared and a further conformational change was induced. The pH dependence of the TGF-beta3 conformation in solution in the range of 2.3 < pH < 11. 0 was reversible. Aggregation of TGF-beta3 was, furthermore, influenced by the presence of salt. For pH > 3.8 the addition of salt greatly enhanced the tendency to aggregate, even in the very basic domain. Under physiological conditions (pH 7.4, cNaCl = 164 mM) TGF-beta3 has almost the highest tendency to aggregate and will remain in solution only at nanomolar concentrations.  (+info)

(8/5266) Maximum solubility of cholesterol in phosphatidylcholine and phosphatidylethanolamine bilayers.

In any lipid bilayer membrane, there is an upper limit on the cholesterol concentration that can be accommodated within the bilayer structure; excess cholesterol will precipitate as crystals of pure cholesterol monohydrate. This cholesterol solubility limit is a well-defined quantity. It is a first-order phase boundary in the phospholipid/cholesterol phase diagram. There are many different solubility limits in the literature, but no clear picture has emerged that can unify the disparate results. We have studied the effects that different sample preparation methods can have on the apparent experimental solubility limit. We find that artifactual demixing of cholesterol can occur during conventional sample preparation and that this demixed cholesterol may produce artifactual cholesterol crystals. Therefore, phospholipid/cholesterol suspensions which are prepared by conventional methods may manifest variable, falsely low cholesterol solubility limits. We have developed two novel preparative methods which are specifically designed to prevent demixing during sample preparation. For detection of the cholesterol crystals, X-ray diffraction has proven to be quantitative and highly sensitive. Experiments based on these methods yield reproducible and precise cholesterol solubility limits: 66 mol% for phosphatidylcholine (PC) bilayers and 51 mol% for phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) bilayers. We present evidence that these are true, equilibrium values. In contrast to the dramatic headgroup effect (PC vs. PE), acyl chain variations had no effect on the cholesterol solubility limit in four different PC/cholesterol mixtures.  (+info)