Publications by authors named "Pedro Oliveira"

634 Publications

Melatonin as an adjunctive treatment on dental procedures: A systematic Review.

Oral Dis 2021 Jun 21. Epub 2021 Jun 21.

São Paulo State University (Unesp), Department of Dental Materials and Prosthodontics, School of Dentistry, Araçatuba, SP, Brazil.

The systematic review tried to answer the following question: Does the melatonin administered systemic or topic ameliorate patients involved with oral health conditions or dental procedures? The systematic review has been registered in the PROSPERO (2021CRD42021095959). Eligibility criteria included only randomized controlled clinical trials (RCTs) with at least 10 participants that compared patients that received melatonin as a treatment before and/or after their oral intervention topically or systemic, with control patients. A search was performed in PubMed/MEDLINE, Web of Science, Cochrane Library, and Academic Google databases for articles up to February 2021. The Cochrane risk of bias tool for randomized clinical trials was used and reveled that the studies included presented low risk of bias for the majority of criteria assessed. It was selected 25 articles, of which only six did not demonstrate positive effects and three presented nulls effects with the use of melatonin. Melatonin has improved the inflammatory response in periodontal disease, dental surgeries and mucositis of head neck oncologic irradiated patients. In addition, it showed anxiolytic potential in patients that were submitted to dental procedures. In conclusion, Melatonin favored the treatment of oral changes when used topically and systemically.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/odi.13941DOI Listing
June 2021

Enzymatic interesterification effect on the physicochemical and technological properties of cupuassu seed fat and inaja pulp oil blends.

Food Res Int 2021 Jul 5;145:110384. Epub 2021 May 5.

Physical Measurement Laboratory, Postgraduate Program in Food Science and Technology, Federal University of Pará (UFPA), Belém 66075-110, PA, Brazil.

The objective of this work was to evaluate the effect of enzymatic interesterification process in blends with different proportions (w:w) of cupuassu fat and inaja oil (80:20, 70:30, 60:40, 50:50 and 40:60). The interesterification reaction was carried out at 65 °C, agitation at 150 rpm, and enzyme concentration of 5% (w/w), for 6 h. Acidity index, melting point, consistency and solid fat content of the blends were characterized before and after the interesterification process. Fatty acid content was characterized in cupuassu fat and inaja oil and, nutritional quality indexes of atherogenicity (AI) and thrombogenicity (TI) were calculated. Enzymatic interesterification promoted a decrease in acidity (<0.6%) and changes in the blends' properties, making them suitable for food product preparation. All esterified blends (cupuassu seed fat:inaja pulp oil) presented suitable consistency properties, plasticity and spreadability to be used for the preparation of functional, table and soft table types of margarine and used in food preparation such as special fats.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.foodres.2021.110384DOI Listing
July 2021

Visceral Adipose Tissue Displays Unique Metabolomic Fingerprints in Obesity, Pre-Diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes.

Int J Mol Sci 2021 May 27;22(11). Epub 2021 May 27.

Endocrine and Metabolic Research, Unit for Multidisciplinary Research in Biomedicine (UMIB), University of Porto, 4050-313 Porto, Portugal.

Visceral adipose tissue (VAT) metabolic profiling harbors the potential to disentangle molecular changes underlying obesity-related dysglycemia. In this study, the VAT exometabolome of subjects with obesity and different glycemic statuses are analyzed. The subjects ( = 19) are divided into groups according to body mass index and glycemic status: subjects with obesity and euglycemia (Ob+NGT, = 5), subjects with obesity and pre-diabetes (Ob+Pre-T2D, = 5), subjects with obesity and type 2 diabetes under metformin treatment (Ob+T2D, = 5) and subjects without obesity and with euglycemia (Non-Ob, = 4), used as controls. VATs are incubated in culture media and extracellular metabolite content is determined by proton nuclear magnetic resonance (H-NMR). Glucose consumption is not different between the groups. Pyruvate and pyroglutamate consumption are significantly lower in all groups of subjects with obesity compared to Non-Ob, and significantly lower in Ob+Pre-T2D as compared to Ob+NGT. In contrast, isoleucine consumption is significantly higher in all groups of subjects with obesity, particularly in Ob+Pre-T2D, compared to Non-Ob. Acetate production is also significantly lower in Ob+Pre-T2D compared to Non-Ob. In sum, the VAT metabolic fingerprint is associated with pre-diabetes and characterized by higher isoleucine consumption, accompanied by lower acetate production and pyruvate and pyroglutamate consumption. We propose that glucose metabolism follows different fates within the VAT, depending on the individuals' health status.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms22115695DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8199212PMC
May 2021

Treatment Options and Outcomes for Men with Penile Intraepithelial Neoplasia: A Systematic Review.

Eur Urol Focus 2021 May 11. Epub 2021 May 11.

Department of Urology, The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester, UK; Luzerner Kantonsspital, Luzern, Switzerland. Electronic address:

Penile intraepithelial neoplasia (PeIN) is a rare skin condition with potential to progress to invasive penile cancer. We performed a systematic review of treatment options and outcomes for PeIN. Topical agents showed response and recurrence rates of 40-100% and 20% for imiquimod, and 48-74% and 11% for 5-fluorouracil, respectively. Discontinuation of topical agents because of side effects was observed in 12% of cases. Response rates for laser therapies were 52-100%, with recurrence in 7-48% of cases and a change in penile sensitivity in 50%. Circumcision cleared preputial PeIN. Rates of recurrence after surgical treatment of glans PeIN were 25% for wide local excision, 4% for Mohs surgery, 5% for total glans resurfacing, and 10% for glansectomy. There are limited data on factors predictive of treatment response and on sequencing of treatment options. PATIENT SUMMARY: Several treatment options are available for men with precancerous lesions of the foreskin or glans. Close follow-up is necessary as lesions can recur or progress to invasive penile cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.euf.2021.04.026DOI Listing
May 2021

Prognostic Value of Charlson Comorbidity Index in Acute Embolic Lower Limb Ischaemia Patients.

Ann Vasc Surg 2021 May 2. Epub 2021 May 2.

Angiology and Vascular Surgery Department, Centro Hospitalar e Universitário de Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal.

Introduction: Charlson Comorbidity Index (CCI) is commonly used in outcome studies to adjust for patient comorbid conditions but has not been specifically validated for use in acute embolic lower limb ischaemia (AELLI).

Objectives: The aim of this study was to access whether a high CCI score unadjusted (CCIu) and adjusted (CCIa) by age relates to major amputation and mortality after a first episode of AELLI.

Methods: The last 100 patients presenting with the first event of AELLI submitted to embolectomy at our Vascular Surgery Department were retrospectively evaluated. Patient characteristics, pre- and post-operative period variables were collected and CCIu and CCIa calculated. Survival predictors were analyzed using Cox regression. The area under the curve of the receiver operating characteristic curves was calculated to validate and determine the discriminating ability of CCIu and CCIa in predicting amputation rate and 30-day mortality. Youden index was used to determine the critical value. Survival analysis was performed with Kaplan-Meier method and differences between survival curves were tested with Log-Rank test. A P value of <0.05 was considered statistically significant.

Results: The mean age was 80.03±10.776 years and the mean follow-up 19.28±7.929 months. Amputation rate was 16%, 30-day mortality 21% and long-term mortality 42%. Patients with CCIu≥3 compared with patients with CCIu<3 had higher amputation rate (37.5% vs. 1.7%; OR:35.400), 30-day mortality (47.5% vs. 3.3%; OR:35.400) and global mortality (P=0.00). Also, patients with CCIa≥6 compared with patients with CCIa<6 had higher amputation rate (34.1% vs. 1.8%; OR:28.488), 30-day mortality (47.7% vs. 0.0%) and global mortality (P=0.00). Multivariate analysis showed that both CCIu and CCIa were independent predictors of amputation rate and 30-day mortality.

Conclusion: CCIu and CCIa have proven to be good predictors of amputation rate and survival, thus being a valuable prognostic factor in patients presenting with the first event of AELLI.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.avsg.2021.04.022DOI Listing
May 2021

Inheritable testicular metabolic memory of high-fat diet causes transgenerational sperm defects in mice.

Sci Rep 2021 May 3;11(1):9444. Epub 2021 May 3.

Department of Anatomy and Unit for Multidisciplinary Research in Biomedicine (UMIB), Institute of Biomedical Sciences Abel Salazar (ICBAS), University of Porto, Rua de Jorge Viterbo Ferreira 228, 4050-313, Porto, Portugal.

The consumption of energy-dense diets has contributed to an increase in the prevalence of obesity and its comorbidities worldwide. The adoption of unhealthy feeding habits often occurs at early age, prompting the early onset of metabolic disease with unknown consequences for reproductive function later in life. Recently, evidence has emerged regarding the intergenerational and transgenerational effects of high-fat diets (HFD) on sperm parameters and testicular metabolism. Hereby, we study the impact of high-fat feeding male mice (F) on the testicular metabolome and function of their sons (F) and grandsons (F). Testicular content of metabolites related to insulin resistance, cell membrane remodeling, nutritional support and antioxidative stress (leucine, acetate, glycine, glutamine, inosine) were altered in sons and grandsons of mice fed with HFD, comparing to descendants of chow-fed mice. Sperm counts were lower in the grandsons of mice fed with HFD, even if transient. Sperm quality was correlated to testicular metabolite content in all generations. Principal Component Analysis of sperm parameters and testicular metabolites revealed an HFD-related phenotype, especially in the diet-challenged generation and their grandsons. Ancestral HFD, even if transient, causes transgenerational "inherited metabolic memory" in the testicular tissue, characterized by changes in testicular metabolome and function.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-88981-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8093209PMC
May 2021

Micro-CT evaluation of maxillary first molars: interorifice distances and internal anatomy of the mesiobuccal root.

Braz Oral Res 2021 26;35:e060. Epub 2021 Apr 26.

Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Minas Gerais - PUCMG, Department of Dentistry, Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil.

This study aimed to describe the morphometric relationship of root canal orifices on the pulp floor in the presence/absence of mesiobuccal second canal (MB2) in the maxillary first molars and other aspects of its internal anatomy. Sixty-two maxillary first molars were scanned by micro-CT. The presence of the MB2 canal was verified. The distance between the center points of the MB1, MB2, distobuccal (DB), and palatal (P) canal orifices on the pulp floor were measured (MB1-MB2, MB1-DB, MB2-DB, MB1-P, and DB-P). The MB1-P to DB-P ratio was calculated. The distances between the anatomic apex and the MB1 and MB2 apical foramina were measured. The length of the band-shaped isthmus was also measured. Student's t-test was applied to verify the association between the presence of an MB2 canal, the interorifice distances, and the ratio of the MB1-P to DB-P distance (α = 5%). The MB2 canal was present in 43 roots (69.35%). Statistics showed significant differences when MB2 was present for the largest MB1-P distance (p < 0.05) and higher values for the MB1-P to DB-P ratio (p < 0.05). A band-shaped isthmus was detected in 25.8% of MB roots. The mean distance from the apical foramen to the isthmus floor ranged from 1.74 for MB1 canals to 1.42 for MB2 canals. Canal orifice distances on the pulp floor may predict the presence of MB2 canals. There was a high incidence of isthmus, accessory canals, and apical delta in the critical apical zone in MB roots of maxillary first molars.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/1807-3107bor-2021.vol35.0060DOI Listing
April 2021

Fetal and infant mortality trends according to the avoidability of causes of death and maternal education.

Rev Bras Epidemiol 2021 16;24(suppl 1):e210008. Epub 2021 Apr 16.

Institute of Collective Health Studies, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro - Rio de Janeiro (RJ), Brazil.

Objective: To estimate trends of fetal (FMR) and neonatal (NMR) mortality rates due to avoidable causes and maternal education in the city of Rio de Janeiro (2000-2018).

Methods: Ecological time series study. Mortality and Live Birth Information System Data. The List of Avoidable Causes of Death Due to Interventions of the Brazilian Health System was used for neonatal deaths and an adaptation for fetal deaths, according to maternal education indicators (low <4 and high ≥12, years of study). Joinpoint regression models were used to estimate trends in FMR, based on one thousand births, and NMR, based on one thousand live births.

Results: FMR decreased from 11.0 to 9.3% and NMR from 11.3 to 7.8% (2000/2018). In 2006, FMR (10.5%) exceeded NMR (9.0%), remaining higher. From 2000 to 2018, the annual decrease of FMR was 0.8% (2000 to 2018) and of NMR, 3.8% until 2007, decreasing to 1.1% by 2011; from then on, it remained stable. Avoidable causes, especially those reducible by adequate prenatal care, showed higher rates. Both FMR and NMR for low-education women were higher than those for the high-education level, the difference being much more pronounced for FMR, and at the end of the period: low- and high-education FMR were respectively 16.4 and 4.5% (2000) and 48.5 and 3.9% (2018), and for NMR, 18.2 and 6.7% (2000) and 28.4 and 5.0% (2018).

Conclusion: The favorable trend of decreasing mortality was not observed for children of mothers with low education, revealing inequalities. The causes were mostly avoidable, being related to prenatal care and childbirth.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/1980-549720210008.supl.1DOI Listing
April 2021

Septic Shock Due to Capnocytophaga canimorsus Infection in a Splenectomized Patient.

Cureus 2021 Mar 10;13(3):e13815. Epub 2021 Mar 10.

Internal Medicine Department, Centro Hospitalar de Vila Nova de Gaia/Espinho, Vila Nova de Gaia, PRT.

is a gram-negative rod that is part of the commensal flora of dogs' mouths. Among splenectomized patients who maintain close contact with dogs, the bacteria can lead to infection and fulminant sepsis even without evidence of a skin breach. In this report, we describe the case of a 71-year-old woman who had undergone splenectomy 35 years ago. She came to our emergency department complaining of back pain, myalgia, asthenia, and a fever of 40.2ºC. No other symptoms were noted upon her admission. Blood workup revealed hyperlacticaemia, increased C-reactive protein, and lymphopenia. A urinalysis and chest radiography were ordered, with no abnormal findings, and the SARS-CoV-2 test was negative. The patient developed persistent hypotension and drowsiness that did not improve with intravenous fluids. Therefore, she was started on a norepinephrine infusion. Cultures were collected, and intravenous antibiotic therapy was started with amoxicillin/clavulanic acid 2.2 mg and azithromycin 500 mg. Besides all the diagnostic tests, no infectious cause was found. On the second day of hospitalization, she started to deteriorate, and antibiotic therapy was escalated to piperacillin/tazobactam 4.5 g, resulting in a good clinical response. On the third day after admission, thanks to a group discussion, we were able to identify in the patient's blood cultures. A review of history revealed that the patient was in close contact with her pet dog. This case highlights the importance of a multidisciplinary discussion, including the microbiology team, in order to reach an uncommon diagnosis. When dealing with splenectomized individuals presenting with the septic shock of unclear origin, a history of close contact with dogs must lead clinicians to consider as a causative agent.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7759/cureus.13815DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8038893PMC
March 2021

Clinical Features and Prognostic Factors of 245 Portuguese Patients Hospitalized With COVID-19.

Cureus 2021 Mar 4;13(3):e13687. Epub 2021 Mar 4.

Infectious Diseases Department, Centro Hospitalar Vila Nova De Gaia, Vila Nova De Gaia, PRT.

Introduction Since the declaration of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic in March 2020, Portugal was considered a role model with regards to the first COVID-19 wave. However, a third wave started in 2021 started, turning the country into the worst in the world regarding new infections and death rate per capita in the last weeks of January 2021. No significant data regarding the country's first wave of hospitalized patients have been published. Those data may help understand the differences over time regarding patients and the clinical approach to them. Herein, we present data of COVID-19 patients hospitalized at the main tertiary hospital of the second-most affected county at the time and identify risk factors associated with disease progression and outcomes. Materials and methods We performed a prospective observational study of patients admitted with COVID-19 to a central hospital between March 20 and June 1, 2020. The primary endpoint of this study was 30-day mortality or the need for ventilatory support and the secondary outcomes were both outcomes individually. Results 245 patients were included, with a median age of 79 years, 52% males. Hypertension (n = 172) and dyslipidemia (n = 114) were the most frequent comorbidities. Half of the patients (n = 121) were treated with hydroxychloroquine. The primary outcome occurred in 114 patients; mortality at 30 days was 35%. Age (OR 1.05; 1.02-1.07) and active cancer (OR 3.89; 1.43-10.57) were associated with the primary outcome, with dyslipidemia being protective (OR 0.46; 0.25-0.80). Treatment with hydroxychloroquine or lopinavir/ritonavir was not associated with the main outcome. Patients who had been symptomatic for more than 7 days had lower mortality (OR 0.23; 0.09-0.63). Discussion In the present study, age and cancer were associated with higher mortality, as noted in prior articles. The population had a higher median age than reported in previous studies, which may explain the increased mortality. The protective association of dyslipidemia was not previously described. This association was not related to statin intake. Conclusion The reported high mortality of COVID-19 is rarely seen in other infectious diseases. Our elderly population probably reflects more reliably the incidence of COVID-19 in European countries with constricted age pyramids.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7759/cureus.13687DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8019144PMC
March 2021

Innovations Developed by Patients and Informal Caregivers for Needs Associated to Rheumatic Diseases.

Front Med (Lausanne) 2021 16;8:647388. Epub 2021 Mar 16.

Patient Innovation, Lisbon, Portugal.

Until recently, innovation in healthcare was mainly achieved through the development of new drugs, therapies, and medical devices by big pharma and medtech companies; however, the innovative potential for this field is much broader. The patients and caregivers' role in healthcare is often associated with disease management, demand for their own illness data, and its exchange with other patients. However, the patients and caregivers' capacity to innovate to cope with limitations associated with their health condition is a growing phenomenon and starting to be supported by healthcare stakeholders to achieve a truly patient-centric system. Our previous research has shown that these uncommon innovators can develop a wide range of solutions, from simple adaptations and products to highly technological biomedical devices. In this paper, we present novel solutions developed by rheumatic patients, their caregivers, and collaborators, published on the "Patient Innovation" platform (https://patient-innovation.com/), with a focus on the innovator profile, the need that triggers the innovative process, the type of motivation behind the product, and the products developed. The most significant needs that motivate innovation are the will to increase the level of independence (71%) and to be able to perform daily routine activities (65%). In over 80% of cases, the fact that the market does not fully fulfill the needs felt during daily activities is the main motivation to innovate. It is thus concluded that there is room for innovation in rheumatic diseases with solutions developed by patients and informal caregivers that intend to solve needs that the healthcare market is not covering.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fmed.2021.647388DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8008059PMC
March 2021

Investigation of Muscle Strength, Motor Coordination and Balance in Children with Idiopathic Toe Walking: A Case-control Study.

Dev Neurorehabil 2021 Mar 24:1-7. Epub 2021 Mar 24.

Department of Human Movement Sciences, Federal University of São Paulo (UNIFESP), Santos, Brazil.

: To compare muscle strength, ankle dorsiflexion range of motion (ROM), motor coordination and balance, between children with and without Idiopathic Toe Walking (ITW). This is an observational case-control study. The primary outcome is the triceps surae muscle strength. The secondary outcomes are the anterior tibialis muscle strength, lower limb balance, motor coordination, and ankle dorsiflexion ROM. Thirty-eight children were recruited: 19 between 5 to 11 years old with ITW and 19 healthy (control). Ankle dorsiflexion ROM, triceps surae, anterior tibialis muscle strength, motor coordination, and balance were assessed. Children with ITW showed reduced triceps surae strength [mean difference (MD): 16.2 kgf/kg*100; 95% confidence interval (CI) -32.72 to 0.28;  = .05], reduced anterior tibialis strength (MD: 8.5 kgf/kg*100; 95% CI -13.35 to -3.05; p ≤ 0.001), reduced ankle dorsiflexion ROM (MD: 19.6 degrees; 95% CI 15.43 to 23.77; p ≤ 0.001) and impaired motor coordination and balance (MD: 17.7; 95% CI -25.54 to -9.82; p ≤ 0.001) compared to healthy children. Children with Idiopathic Toe Walking, presented in this study, demonstrated triceps surae and anterior tibialis muscle strength reduction, ankle dorsiflexion ROM reduction, impaired motor coordination, and balance compared to healthy children.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17518423.2021.1899326DOI Listing
March 2021

Non-immune Traits Triggered by Blood Intake Impact Vectorial Competence.

Front Physiol 2021 2;12:638033. Epub 2021 Mar 2.

Instituto de Bioquímica Médica Leopoldo de Meis, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Blood-feeding arthropods are considered an enormous public health threat. They are vectors of a plethora of infectious agents that cause potentially fatal diseases like Malaria, Dengue fever, Leishmaniasis, and Lyme disease. These vectors shine due to their own physiological idiosyncrasies, but one biological aspect brings them all together: the requirement of blood intake for development and reproduction. It is through blood-feeding that they acquire pathogens and during blood digestion that they summon a collection of multisystemic events critical for vector competence. The literature is focused on how classical immune pathways (Toll, IMD, and JAK/Stat) are elicited throughout the course of vector infection. Still, they are not the sole determinants of host permissiveness. The dramatic changes that are the hallmark of the insect physiology after a blood meal intake are the landscape where a successful infection takes place. Dominant processes that occur in response to a blood meal are not canonical immunological traits yet are critical in establishing vector competence. These include hormonal circuitries and reproductive physiology, midgut permeability barriers, midgut homeostasis, energy metabolism, and proteolytic activity. On the other hand, the parasites themselves have a role in the outcome of these blood triggered physiological events, consistently using them in their favor. Here, to enlighten the knowledge on vector-pathogen interaction beyond the immune pathways, we will explore different aspects of the vector physiology, discussing how they give support to these long-dated host-parasite relationships.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2021.638033DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7960658PMC
March 2021

"Urate and NOX5 Control Blood Digestion in the Hematophagous Insect ".

Front Physiol 2021 25;12:633093. Epub 2021 Feb 25.

Instituto de Bioquímica Médica Leopoldo de Meis, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Low levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) are now recognized as essential players in cell signaling. Here, we studied the role of two conserved enzymes involved in redox regulation that play a critical role in the control of ROS in the digestive physiology of a blood-sucking insect, the kissing bug . RNAi-mediated silencing of and induced early mortality in adult females after a blood meal. Recently, a role for in gut motility was reported, and here, we show that midgut peristalsis is also under the control of . Together with impaired peristalsis, silencing either genes impaired egg production and hemoglobin digestion, and decreased hemolymph urate titers. Ultrastructurally, the silencing of or affected midgut cells, changing the cells of blood-fed insects to a phenotype resembling the cells of unfed insects, suggesting that these genes work together in the control of blood digestion. Injection of either allopurinol (an XDH inhibitor) or uricase recapitulated the gene silencing effects, suggesting that urate itself is involved in the control of blood digestion. The silencing of each of these genes influenced the expression of the other gene in a complex way both in the unfed state and after a blood meal, revealing signaling crosstalk between them that influences redox metabolism and nitrogen excretion and plays a central role in the control of digestive physiology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2021.633093DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7947236PMC
February 2021

Clinical features and outcome of dogs and cats with bidirectional and continuous right-to-left shunting patent ductus arteriosus.

J Vet Intern Med 2021 Mar 26;35(2):780-788. Epub 2021 Feb 26.

Clinical Science and Services, Royal Veterinary College, Hertfordshire, UK.

Background: Studies describing the clinical progression of animals with reverse patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) are lacking.

Objectives: To describe the signalment, presenting signs, echocardiographic features, and survival in a group of dogs and cats with bidirectional and continuous right-to-left PDA.

Animals: Forty-six client-owned animals included, comprising 43 dogs and 3 cats with bidirectional or continuous right-to-left PDA.

Methods: Retrospective multicenter study. Medical records and echocardiographic findings reviewed from animals diagnosed with bidirectional or continuous right-to-left PDA. Impact of ductal morphology, spectral Doppler flow profile, PCV, sildenafil treatment at presentation, sildenafil dose, severity of pulmonary hypertension, general anesthesia with or without surgery and the presence of right-sided congestive heart failure (R-CHF) on crude mortality rate were evaluated via Mantel-Cox log rank comparison of Kaplan-Meier survival curves. Univariable and multivariable Cox proportional hazards analysis was performed, and hazard ratio (HR) (95% confidence intervals [CI]) was presented.

Results: Hindlimb collapse was the most common presenting sign in dogs (n = 16). Clinical signs in cats were variable. Median survival time was 626 days in dogs (range 1-3628 days). Dogs with R-CHF had a shorter median survival time (58 days vs 1839 days, P = .03). Dogs treated with sildenafil at initial presentation survived longer (1839 days vs 302 days, P = .03), which was the only independent predictor of survival (HR 0.35, CI 0.15-0.86, P = 0.021).

Conclusions And Clinical Importance: Dogs and cats with reverse PDA have a variable clinical presentation and prognosis. Survival time was longer in animals prescribed sildenafil at diagnosis. Dogs with R-CHF at presentation have a worse overall outcome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jvim.16072DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7995355PMC
March 2021

Left Ventricular Concentric Geometric Patterns Are Associated With Worse Prognosis Among Patients With Type-A Aortic Dissection.

J Am Heart Assoc 2021 Feb 18;10(5):e018273. Epub 2021 Feb 18.

Department of Internal Medicine School of Medical Sciences State University of Campinas São Paulo Brazil.

Background This study compared left ventricular (LV) characteristics between patients with type-A and type-B aortic dissection (AD) and evaluated the ability of LV remodeling phenotypes (hypertrophy, concentricity, or geometric patterns) to predict mortality in both AD types. Methods and Results We evaluated 236 patients with type A and 120 patients with type B who had echocardiograms within 60 days before or after AD diagnosis (median [25th, 75th percentiles] time difference between echocardiogram and AD diagnosis=1 [0, 6] days) from 3 centers. Patients were stratified according to LV phenotypes, and early (90-day) and late (1-year) mortality after AD diagnosis were assessed. In adjusted logistic regression analysis, patients with type A had higher and lower odds of concentric and eccentric hypertrophy (odds ratio [OR], 2.56; 95% CI, 1.50-4.36; <0.001; and OR, 0.55; 95% CI, 0.31-0.97; =0.039, respectively) than those with type B. Results of multivariable Cox-regression analysis showed that LV remodeling phenotypes were not related to mortality in patients with type B. By contrast, LV concentricity was associated with greater early and late mortality (hazard ratio [HR], 2.22; 95% CI, 1.24-3.96; =0.007 and HR, 2.06; 95% CI, 1.20-3.54; =0.009, respectively) in type A. In further analysis considering normal LV geometry as reference, LV concentric remodeling and concentric hypertrophy were associated with early mortality (HR, 7.78; 95% CI, 2.35-25.78; <0.001 and HR, 4.38; 95% CI, 1.47-13.11; =0.008, respectively), whereas concentric remodeling was associated with late mortality (HR, 5.40; 95% CI, 1.91-15.26; <0.001) among patients with type A. Assessment of LV geometric patterns and concentricity provided incremental prognostic value in predicting early and late mortality beyond clinical variables in patients with type A based on net reclassification improvement and integrated discrimination improvement. Conclusions LV geometric patterns derived from LV concentricity were associated with greater mortality among patients with type A and may be markers of adverse prognosis in this population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/JAHA.120.018273DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8174278PMC
February 2021

Insights and clinical potential of proteomics in understanding spermatogenesis.

Expert Rev Proteomics 2021 Jan 4;18(1):13-25. Epub 2021 Mar 4.

QOPNA & LAQV, Department of Chemistry, University of Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal.

: With the worldwide decline on male fertility potential, the importance of the insight of the spermatogenic process has been increasing. In recent years, proteomic methodologies have been applied to seminal fluid of infertile men to search for infertility potential biomarkers. However, to understand the spermatogenic event and to search for treatment to spermatogenic impairment, comparative analysis of testicular proteomics is considered a powerful methodology.: Herein, we present a critical overview of the studies addressing proteomic alterations in the development of spermatogenesis during puberty, as well as during the different phases of the spermatogenic event. The comparative studies of the proteomic testicular profile of men with and without spermatogenic impairment are also discussed and key proteins and pathways involved highlighted.: The usage of whole human testicular tissue with its heterogeneous cellular composition makes proteome data interpretation particularly challenging. This may be minimized by controlled experiments involving the collection of testicular tissue and sperm from the same individuals, integrated in a clinically characterized cohort of healthy and infertile men. The analysis of specific subcellular proteomes can add more information to the proteomic puzzle, opening new treatment possibilities for infertile/subfertile men.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14789450.2021.1889373DOI Listing
January 2021

Clinicopathological characteristics and outcomes in men with mesothelioma of the tunica vaginalis testis: analysis of published case-series data.

J Cancer Res Clin Oncol 2021 Feb 9. Epub 2021 Feb 9.

Department of Urology, University Hospital Zurich, Frauenklinikstrasse 10, 8091, Zurich, Switzerland.

Purpose: Mesothelioma of the tunica vaginalis testis (MTVT) is a rare tumor, and currently, there are no published treatment recommendations.

Methods: We performed a systematic literature review and synthesized clinical presentation, clinicopathological factors associated with metastatic disease, treatment options, and outcomes in men with MTVT.

Results: We included 170 publications providing data on 275 patients. Metastatic disease occurred in 84/275 (31%) men with malignant MTVT: Most common sites included retroperitoneal lymph nodes (LNs) (40/84, 48%), lungs (30/84, 36%), and inguinal LNs (23/84, 27%). Invasion of the spermatic cord or scrotum was the only risk factor for local recurrence [odds ratio (OR) 3.21, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.36-7.57]. Metastatic disease was associated with age ≥ 42 years (OR 3.02, 95% CI 1.33-6.86), tumor size ≥ 49 mm (OR 6.17, 95% CI 1.84-20.74), presence of necrosis (OR 8.31, 95% CI 1.58-43.62), high mitotic index (OR 13.36, 95% CI 1.53-116.51) or angiolymphatic invasion (OR 3.75, 95% CI 1.02-13.80), and local recurrence (OR 4.35, 95% CI 2.00-9.44). Complete remission in the metastatic setting was observed in five patients, most of whom were treated with multimodal therapy. Median survival in patients with metastatic disease was 18 months (IQR 7-43).

Conclusion: Malignant MTVT is a rare but aggressive disease. Since local recurrence is a risk factor for metastatic progression, we recommend aggressive local treatment. Survival and response to any treatment in the metastatic setting are limited.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00432-021-03533-6DOI Listing
February 2021

Concentrations of the endocannabinoid N-arachidonoylethanolamine in the follicular fluid of women with endometriosis: the role of M1 polarised macrophages.

Reprod Fertil Dev 2021 Feb;33(4):270-278

UCIBIO, REQUIMTE, Laboratório de Bioquímica, Departamento de Ciências Biológicas, Faculdade de Farmácia da Universidade do Porto, Rua de Jorge Viterbo Ferreira no. 228 4050-313 Porto, Portugal.

Although N-arachidonoylethanolamine (AEA; also known as anandamide) is present in human follicular fluid (FF), its regulation remains unknown. Therefore, the aims of the present study were to: (1) investigate the relationships between FF AEA concentrations in women undergoing assisted reproductive technology and their age, body mass index, ART characteristics and fertility treatment outcomes; and (2) assess how different inflammatory patterns may trigger AEA production by human granulosa cells (hGCs). FF AEA concentrations were higher in women undergoing IVF than in those undergoing intracytoplasmic sperm injection group. FF AEA median concentrations were lower in women undergoing ART because of male factor infertility than in women with endometriosis (1.6 vs 2.5nM respectively), but not women with tubal, hormonal or unexplained infertility (1.6, 2.4 and 1.9nM respectively). To evaluate the effects of macrophages on AEA production by hGCs, hGCs were cocultured with monocyte-derived macrophages. The conditioned medium from M1 polarised macrophages increased AEA production by hGCs. This was accompanied by an increase in AEA-metabolising enzymes, particularly N-acyl phosphatidylethanolamine-specific phospholipase D. The results of the present study show that high FF AEA concentrations in patients with endometriosis may be associated with the recruitment of inflammatory chemokines within the ovary, which together may contribute to the decreased reproductive potential of women with endometriosis. Collectively, these findings add a new player to the hormone and cytokine networks that regulate fertility in women.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/RD20247DOI Listing
February 2021

Characterization of the Temporal Pattern of Blood Protein Digestion in : First Description of Early and Late Gut Cathepsins.

Front Physiol 2020 13;11:509310. Epub 2021 Jan 13.

Laboratory of Insect Physiology and Biochemistry, Oswaldo Cruz Institute - Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (IOC-FIOCRUZ), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

is one important vector for the parasite in Latin America, where Chagas disease is a significant health issue. Although is a model for investigations of vector-parasite interaction and transmission, not much has been done recently to further comprehend its protein digestion. In this work, gut proteolysis was characterized using new fluorogenic substrates, including optimum pH, inhibition profiles, and tissue and temporal expression patterns. Each protease possessed a particular tissue prevalence and activity cycle after feeding. Cathepsin L had a higher activity in the posterior midgut lumen, being characterized by a plateau of high activities during several days in the intermediate phase of digestion. Cathepsin D showed high activity levels in the tissue homogenates and in the luminal content of the posterior midgut, with a single peak 5 days after blood feeding. Aminopeptidases are highly associated with the midgut wall, where the highest activity is located. Assays with proteinaceous substrates as casein, hemoglobin, and serum albumin revealed different activity profiles, with some evidence of biphasic temporal proteolytic patterns. Cathepsin D genes are preferentially expressed in the anterior midgut, while cathepsin L genes are mainly located in the posterior portion of the midgut, with specific sets of genes being differently expressed in the initial, intermediate, or late phases of blood digestion. Significance Statement This is the first description in a non-dipteran hematophagous species of a sequential protease secretion system based on midgut cathepsins instead of the most common insect digestive serine proteases (trypsins and chymotrypsins). The midgut of (Hemiptera) shows a different temporal expression of proteases in the initial, intermediate, and late stages of blood digestion. In this respect, a different timing in protease secretion may be an example of adaptative convergence in blood-sucking vectors from different orders. Expanding the knowledge about gut physiology in triatomine vectors may contribute to the development of new control strategies, aiming the blocking of parasite transmission.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2020.509310DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7838648PMC
January 2021

Repurposing the orphan drug nitisinone to control the transmission of African trypanosomiasis.

PLoS Biol 2021 01 26;19(1):e3000796. Epub 2021 Jan 26.

Department of Vector Biology, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, United Kingdom.

Tsetse transmit African trypanosomiasis, which is a disease fatal to both humans and animals. A vaccine to protect against this disease does not exist so transmission control relies on eliminating tsetse populations. Although neurotoxic insecticides are the gold standard for insect control, they negatively impact the environment and reduce populations of insect pollinator species. Here we present a promising, environment-friendly alternative to current insecticides that targets the insect tyrosine metabolism pathway. A bloodmeal contains high levels of tyrosine, which is toxic to haematophagous insects if it is not degraded and eliminated. RNA interference (RNAi) of either the first two enzymes in the tyrosine degradation pathway (tyrosine aminotransferase (TAT) and 4-hydroxyphenylpyruvate dioxygenase (HPPD)) was lethal to tsetse. Furthermore, nitisinone (NTBC), an FDA-approved tyrosine catabolism inhibitor, killed tsetse regardless if the drug was orally or topically applied. However, oral administration of NTBC to bumblebees did not affect their survival. Using a novel mathematical model, we show that NTBC could reduce the transmission of African trypanosomiasis in sub-Saharan Africa, thus accelerating current disease elimination programmes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.3000796DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7837477PMC
January 2021

An online educational model in andrology for student training in the art of scientific writing in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Andrologia 2021 Apr 25;53(3):e13961. Epub 2021 Jan 25.

American Center for Reproductive Medicine, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH, USA.

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic led to the suspension of the annual Summer Internship at the American Center for Reproductive Medicine (ACRM). To transit it into an online format, an inaugural 6-week 2020 ACRM Online Mentorship Program was developed focusing on five core pillars of andrology research: scientific writing, scientific methodology, plagiarism understanding, soft skills development and mentee basic andrology knowledge. This study aims to determine mentee developmental outcomes based on student surveys and discuss these within the context of the relevant teaching and learning methodology. The mentorship was structured around scientific writing projects established by the team using a student-centred approach, with one-on-one expert mentorship through weekly formative assessments. Furthermore, weekly online meetings were conducted, including expert lectures, formative assessments and social engagement. Data were collected through final assessments and mentee surveys on mentorship outcomes. Results show that mentees (n = 28) reported a significant (p < .0001) improvement in all criteria related to the five core pillars. These results illustrate that the aims of the online mentorship program were achieved through a unique and adaptive online educational model and that our model has demonstrated its effectiveness as an innovative structured educational experience through the COVID-19 crisis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/and.13961DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7995002PMC
April 2021

Undifferentiated embryonal sarcoma of the liver: A rare hepatic tumor and its related characteristic radiological features.

Radiol Case Rep 2021 Mar 7;16(3):646-650. Epub 2021 Jan 7.

Radiology Department, Hospital de Braga, Sete Fontes - São Victor, 4710-243 Braga, Portugal.

The undifferentiated embryonal sarcoma of the liver is a rare tumor with a poor prognosis, with improved outcomes being reported with more recently multimodality treatments. We report a case of a 6-year-old girl with an incidentally diagnosed and histologically proven localized undifferentiated embryonal sarcoma of the liver. The divergence between solid appearance at US and cystic-like appearance on CT/MRI, which has been attributed to the presence of myxoid component frequently described with this tumor, was crucial for the diagnosis and subsequent treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.radcr.2020.12.017DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7806539PMC
March 2021

Utility of Antioxidants in the Treatment of Male Infertility: Clinical Guidelines Based on a Systematic Review and Analysis of Evidence.

World J Mens Health 2021 Apr 15;39(2):233-290. Epub 2021 Jan 15.

Department of Urology, Lilavati Hospital and Research Centre, Mumbai, India.

It is widely accepted that oxidative stress plays an important role in the pathophysiology of male infertility and that antioxidants could have a significant role in the treatment of male infertility. The main objectives of this study are: 1) to systematically review the current evidence for the utility of antioxidants in the treatment of male infertility; and 2) propose evidence-based clinical guidelines for the use of antioxidants in the treatment of male infertility. A systematic review of the available clinical evidence was performed, with articles published on Scopus being manually screened. Data extracted included the type of antioxidant used, the clinical conditions under investigation, the evaluation of semen parameters and reproductive outcomes. The adherence to the Cambridge Quality Checklist, Cochrane Risk of Bias for randomized controlled trials (RCTs), CONSORT guidelines and JADAD score were analyzed for each included study. Further, we provided a Strength Weakness Opportunity Threat (SWOT) analysis to analyze the current and future value of antioxidants in male infertility. Of the 1,978 articles identified, 97 articles were included in the study. Of these, 52 (53.6%) were uncontrolled (open label), 12 (12.4%) unblinded RCTs, and 33 (34.0%) blinded RCTs, whereas 44 (45.4%) articles tested individual antioxidants, 31 (32.0%) a combination of several products in variable dosages, and 22 (22.6%) registered antioxidant products. Based on the published evidence, we 1) critically examined the necessity of additional double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trials, and 2) proposed updated evidence-based clinical guidelines for antioxidant therapy in male infertility. The current systematic review on antioxidants and male infertility clearly shows that antioxidant supplementation improves semen parameters. In addition, it provides the indications for antioxidant treatment in specific clinical conditions, including varicocele, unexplained and idiopathic male infertility, as well as in cases of altered semen quality.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.5534/wjmh.200196DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7994666PMC
April 2021

Intermittent Hypoxic Conditioning Rescues Cognition and Mitochondrial Bioenergetic Profile in the Triple Transgenic Mouse Model of Alzheimer's Disease.

Int J Mol Sci 2021 Jan 5;22(1). Epub 2021 Jan 5.

Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology (CNC), University of Coimbra, 3004-504 Coimbra, Portugal.

The lack of effective disease-modifying therapeutics to tackle Alzheimer's disease (AD) is unsettling considering the actual prevalence of this devastating neurodegenerative disorder worldwide. Intermittent hypoxic conditioning (IHC) is a powerful non-pharmacological procedure known to enhance brain resilience. In this context, the aim of the present study was to investigate the potential long-term protective impact of IHC against AD-related phenotype, putting a special focus on cognition and mitochondrial bioenergetics and dynamics. For this purpose, six-month-old male triple transgenic AD mice (3×Tg-AD) were submitted to an IHC protocol for two weeks and the behavioral assessment was performed at 8.5 months of age, while the sacrifice of mice occurred at nine months of age and their brains were removed for the remaining analyses. Interestingly, IHC was able to prevent anxiety-like behavior and memory and learning deficits and significantly reduced brain cortical levels of amyloid-β (Aβ) in 3×Tg-AD mice. Concerning brain energy metabolism, IHC caused a significant increase in brain cortical levels of glucose and a robust improvement of the mitochondrial bioenergetic profile in 3×Tg-AD mice, as mirrored by the significant increase in mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔΨm) and respiratory control ratio (RCR). Notably, the improvement of mitochondrial bioenergetics seems to result from an adaptative coordination of the distinct but intertwined aspects of the mitochondrial quality control axis. Particularly, our results indicate that IHC favors mitochondrial fusion and promotes mitochondrial biogenesis and transport and mitophagy in the brain cortex of 3×Tg-AD mice. Lastly, IHC also induced a marked reduction in synaptosomal-associated protein 25 kDa (SNAP-25) levels and a significant increase in both glutamate and GABA levels in the brain cortex of 3×Tg-AD mice, suggesting a remodeling of the synaptic microenvironment. Overall, these results demonstrate the effectiveness of the IHC paradigm in forestalling the AD-related phenotype in the 3×Tg-AD mouse model, offering new insights to AD therapy and forcing a rethink concerning the potential value of non-pharmacological interventions in clinical practice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms22010461DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7796478PMC
January 2021

The Role of Low Self-Control as a Mediator between Trauma and Antisociality/Criminality in Youth.

Int J Environ Res Public Health 2021 01 12;18(2). Epub 2021 Jan 12.

School of Psychology and Life Sciences, Lusófona University of Humanities and Technologies, Campo Grande, 1749-024 Lisbon, Portugal.

Trauma exposure and low self-control are robustly associated with youth antisocial/criminal problems, but the interrelation of these constructs is unclear when taking into account both traumatic events and reactions. The objective of the present study is to examine self-control mediation effects related to trauma and juvenile delinquency, conduct disorder, crime seriousness, and aggression outcomes. The sample consisted of = 388 male youth from Portugal (age, = 16.01 years, = 1.03, age range = 13-18 years). Path analysis procedures revealed that self-control partially mediates the relation between trauma events and the examined outcomes and fully mediates the relation between trauma reactions and the examined outcomes. Research on youth trauma should examine both trauma events and trauma reactions because they have differential effects on low self-control and antisocial/criminal outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18020567DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7826820PMC
January 2021

Sperm, metabolic memory and echoes from Lamarck.

Eur J Clin Invest 2021 Jan 12:e13492. Epub 2021 Jan 12.

Department of Anatomy and Unit for Multidisciplinary Research in Biomedicine (UMIB), Institute of Biomedical Sciences Abel Salazar (ICBAS), University of Porto, Porto, Portugal.

There is a widespread misconception that only maternal variables affect in utero development. Epigenetic markers carried by the spermatozoon are transmitted to the zygote. Sperm-born epigenetic factors influence in utero development, for various generations. Acquired traits of metabolic disease can be inherited by the offspring via the male gamete. Health assessment of future fathers is essential to predict the offspring's health.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/eci.13492DOI Listing
January 2021

Obesity-related genes are expressed in human Sertoli cells and modulated by energy homeostasis regulating hormones.

J Cell Physiol 2021 Jul 23;236(7):5265-5277. Epub 2020 Dec 23.

Department of Microscopy, Laboratory of Cell Biology, and Unit for Multidisciplinary Research in Biomedicine, Institute of Biomedical Sciences Abel Salazar, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal.

The strong hormonal dysregulation associated with obesity is responsible for the disruption of several reproductive events. Sertoli cells (SCs) function is dependent on energetic homeostasis and thus, directly associated with energy homeostasis regulating hormones. To further understand the influence of those hormones with SCs function and obesity, we hypothesize that human SCs express obesity-related genes (ORG; MC4R, GNPDA2, TMEM18, and FTO) and that they respond to energy homeostasis regulating hormones (leptin, ghrelin, and glucagon-like protein 1 [GLP-1]) stimuli. To test our hypothesis, SCs were cultured with increasing doses of leptin (0, 5, 25, or 50 ng/ml, for 24 h), ghrelin (0, 20, 100, and 500 pM, for 24 h), and GLP-1 (10, 1000, or 1 × 105 pM, for 6 h). The presence and abundance of ORG transcripts and proteins in SCs were accessed by polymerase chain reaction techniques, Western blot analysis, and immunofluorescence staining. Our results show that human SCs express MC4R, GNPDA2, TMEM18, and FTO in specific cellular locations. MC4R and FTO expression in human SCs was not responsive to the treatments. However, GNPDA2 and TMEM18 expression increased after exposure to the highest concentration of leptin and ghrelin, respectively. We highlight for the first time that human SCs express ORG and that these are responsive to energy homeostasis hormonal stimuli. GNPDA2 and TMEM18 expression respond in opposite directions according to overall energy status, mediated by energy homeostasis regulating hormones. Leptin and ghrelin control of ORG expression by human SCs can be associated with overweight-related infertility and subfertility in males.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jcp.30230DOI Listing
July 2021

An insight into the functional role of antioxidant and detoxification enzymes in adult Rhipicephalus microplus female ticks.

Parasitol Int 2021 Apr 19;81:102274. Epub 2020 Dec 19.

Centro de Biotecnologia, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Avenida Bento Gonçalves, 9500 Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil; Instituto Nacional de Ciência e Tecnologia em Entomologia Molecular (INCT-EM), Brazil; Faculdade de Veterinária, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Avenida Bento Gonçalves, 9090 Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil. Electronic address:

Ticks have developed physiological adaptations to transport, store, metabolize and secrete toxic components from the diet and environment. Different classes of enzymes are involved in these processes, however, the role of several of them is not yet characterized in Rhipicephalus microplus. In this context, this work investigated the action of antioxidant and detoxification enzymes, as well as the levels of essential cellular reductants in R. microplus partially engorged females (PEF) and fully engorged females (FEF). Results demonstrated that enzymes transcriptional levels and enzymatic activity from ovary and fat body were higher in PEF than in FEF, except for ovary Glutathione peroxidase (GPx), which was the only enzyme showing highest activity in the FEF stage. These results indicated a higher demand for antioxidant potential in these organs at the initial feeding phase than during egg-laying. In midgut, however, there was more variability in the transcriptional levels and activity of the different enzymes between the PEF and FEF phases. Similar NADPH levels were found in PEF and FEF phases, suggesting a remarkable capacity to maintain a regular supply of reducing power, despite the developmental changes and large intake of heme and iron. However, reduced glutathione (GSH) levels were variable between PEF and FEF when distinct organs were compared. Taken together, our data suggest a higher demand for reducing potential in FEF ticks. The silencing of catalase (CAT) or thioredoxin reductase (TRx) genes in females did not impair feeding, egg-laying capacity, or larvae hatching. CAT-silenced ticks had increased ovary peroxidase activity, a possible compensatory antioxidant mechanism. Altogether, the results shed light on the complexity of the antioxidant and detoxification enzyme system in ticks and its involvement in different physiological mechanisms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.parint.2020.102274DOI Listing
April 2021

Aquaporins and (in)fertility: More than just water transport.

Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Basis Dis 2021 03 16;1867(3):166039. Epub 2020 Dec 16.

QOPNA & LAQV, Department of Chemistry, University of Aveiro, Portugal. Electronic address:

Aquaporins (AQPs) are a family of channel proteins that facilitate the transport of water and small solutes across biological membranes. They are widely distributed throughout the organism, having a number of key functions, some of them unexpected, both in health and disease. Among the various diseases in which AQPs are involved, infertility has been overlooked. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) infertility is a global public health problem with one third of the couples suffering from subfertility or even infertility due to male or female factors alone or combined. Thus, there is an urgent need to unveil the molecular mechanisms that control gametes production, maturation and fertilization-related events, to more specifically determine infertility causes. In addition, as more couples seek for fertility treatment through assisted reproductive technologies (ART), it is pivotal to understand how these techniques can be improved. AQPs are heterogeneously expressed throughout the male and female reproductive tracts, highlighting a possible regulatory role for these proteins in conception. In fact, their function, far beyond water transport, highlights potential intervention points to enhance ART. In this review we discuss AQPs distribution and structural organization, functions, and modulation throughout the male and female reproductive tracts and their relevance to the reproductive success. We also highlight the most recent advances and research trends regarding how the different AQPs are involved and regulated in specific mechanisms underlying (in)fertility. Finally, we discuss the involvement of AQPs in ART-related processes and how their handling can lead to improvement of infertility treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbadis.2020.166039DOI Listing
March 2021