Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Biological Research]]> vol. 47 num. lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Biological Research marks its 50th year by joining BioMed Central</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>First report of <i>in vitro</i> selection of RNA aptamers targeted to recombinant <i>Loxosceles laeta</i> spider toxins</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Loxoscelism is the envenomation caused by the bite of Loxosceles spp. spiders. It entails severe necrotizing skin lesions, sometimes accompanied by systemic reactions and even death. There are no diagnostic means and treatment is mostly palliative. The main toxin, found in several isoforms in the venom, is sphingomyelinase D (SMD), a phospholipase that has been used to generate antibodies intended for medical applications. Nucleic acid aptamers are a promising alternative to antibodies. Aptamers may be isolated from a combinatorial mixture of oligonucleotides by iterative selection of those that bind to the target. In this work, two Loxosceles laeta SMD isoforms, Ll1 and Ll2, were produced in bacteria and used as targets with the aim of identifying RNA aptamers that inhibit sphingomyelinase activity. RESULTS: Six RNA aptamers capable of eliciting partial but statistically significant inhibitions of the sphingomyelinase activity of recombinant SMD-Ll1 and SMD-Ll2 were obtained: four aptamers exert ~17% inhibition of SMD-Ll1, while two aptamers result in ~25% inhibition of SMD-Ll2 and ~18% cross inhibition of SMD-Ll1. CONCLUSIONS: This work is the first attempt to obtain aptamers with therapeutic and diagnostic potential for loxoscelism and provides an initial platform to undertake the development of novel anti Loxoscelesvenom agents. <![CDATA[<b>Assessment of changes in the <i>brca2</i> and <i>p53</i> genes in breast invasive ductal carcinoma in northeast Brazil</b>]]> BACKGROUND: BRCA protein interacts with at least 13 different proteins that have been implicated with cancer susceptibility and loss of BRCA function is correlated to sensitivity to DNA crosslinking agents in preclinical models. RESULTS: BRCA2 methylation frequency was 44%, p53 Pro22 allele frequency was 32% and heterozygous frequency of Arg/Pro72 genotype was 60% which could be associated as risk factor for metastasis (p = 0.046 OR = 4.190). Regarding to polymorphism of codon 249 the frequency of Arg249 allele presented 82% which was considered not statistically significant. CONCLUSIONS: There was not statistical significance to BRCA2 promoter methylation with any parameters chosen. However, our findings suggest that patients who present heterozygous genotype at codon 72 of p53 gene may have a major susceptibility to any type of metastasis and this could serve as potential auxiliary biomarker for poor prognosis. <![CDATA[<b>Effects of R219K polymorphism of ATP-binding cassette transporter 1 gene on serum lipids ratios induced by a high-carbohydrate and low-fat diet in healthy youth</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Diets are the important players in regulating plasma lipid profiles. And the R219K polymorphism at the gene of ATP-binding cassette transporter 1(ABCA1) was reported to be associated with the profiles. However, no efforts have been made to investigate the changes of lipid profiles after a high-carbohydrate and low-fat diet in different subjects with different genotypes of this polymorphism. This study was to evaluate the effects of ABCA1 R219K polymorphism on serum lipid and apolipoprotein (apo) ratios induced by a high-carbohydrate/low-fat (high-CHO) diet. After a washout diet of 54.1% carbohydrate for 7 days, 56 healthy young subjects (22.89 ± 1.80 years old) were given a high-CHO diet of 70.1% carbohydrate for 6 days. Height, weight, waist circumference, hip circumference, glucose (Glu), triglyceride (TG), total cholesterol (TC), high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), apoA-1 and apoB-100 were measured on the 1st, 8th and 14th days of this study. Body mass index (BMI), waist-to-hip ratios (WHR), log(TG/HDL-C), TC/HDL-C, LDL-C/HDL-C and apoA-1/apoB-100 were calculated. ABCA1 R219K was analyzed by a PCR-RFLP method. RESULTS: The results indicate that the male subjects of all the genotypes had higher WHR than their female counterparts on the 1st, 8th and 14th days of this study. The male K carriers had higher log(TG/HDL-C) and TC/HDL-C than the female carriers on the 1st and 14th days, and higher LDL-C/HDL-C on the 14th day. When compared with that on the 8th day, TC/HDL-C was decreased regardless of the genotypes and genders on the 14th day. Log(TG/HDL-C) was increased in the males with the RR genotype and the female K carriers. Lowered BMI, Glu and LDL-C/HDL-C were found in the male K carriers, but only lowered BMI in the female K carriers and only lowered LDL-C/HDL-C in the females with the RR genotype. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that ABCA1 R219K polymorphism is associated differently in males and females with elevated log(TG/HDL-C) and decreased LDL-C/HDL-C induced by the high-CHO diet. <![CDATA[<b>Selected spices and their combination modulate hypercholesterolemia-induced oxidative stress in experimental rats</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Effect of aqueous extracts of Allium sativum (garlic), Zingiber officinale (ginger), Capsicum fructensces (cayenne pepper) and their mixture on oxidative stress in rats fed high Cholesterol/high fat diet was investigated. Rats were randomly distributed into six groups (n = 6) and given different dietary/spice treatments. Group 1 standard rat chow (control), group 2, hypercholesterolemic diet plus water, and groups 3, 4, 5, 6, hypercholesterolemic diet with 0.5 ml 200 mg · kg-1 aqueous extracts of garlic, ginger, cayenne pepper or their mixture respectively daily for 4 weeks. RESULTS: Pronounced oxidative stress in the hypercholesterolemic rats evidenced by significant (p < 0.05) increase in MDA levels, and suppression of the antioxidant enzymes system in rat's liver, kidney, heart and brain tissues was observed. Extracts of spices singly or combined administered at 200 body weight significantly (p < 0.05) reduced MDA levels and restored activities of antioxidant enzymes. CONCLUSIONS: It is concluded that consumption of garlic, ginger, pepper, or their mixture may help to modulate oxidative stress caused by hypercholesterolemia in rats. <![CDATA[<b>Acute oral toxicity and anti-inflammatory activity of hydroalcoholic extract from <i>Lampaya medicinalis</i> Phil in rats</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Algesia and inflammation are related with several pathological conditions. It is known that many drugs available for the treatment of these problems cause unwanted side effects. This study was aimed at evaluating acute toxicity and anti-inflammatory activity of Lampaya medicinalis Phil. (Verbenaceae) widely used in the folk medicine of Northern Chile against rheumatism, arthritis and body joints pain. RESULTS: Oral administration of hydroalcoholic extract (HAE) at the highest dose of 3000 mg/ Kg body weight resulted in no mortalities or evidence of significant behavioral changes. Histological examination revealed normal architecture and no significant adverse effects were observed on the liver, kidney, heart, lung or ovaries and testicles. The results suggest that the oral administration of hydroalcoholic extract (HAE) from Lampaya medicinalis did not produce any toxic effect in rats. Hydroalcoholic extract (HAE) significantly inhibited the carrageenan-induced rat paw edema in dose - response relationship, at test doses of 37.5, 75, 150 and 300 mg/Kg body weight. Maximum inhibition (61.98 ± 2.69%) was noted at 300 mg/Kg after 2 h of drug treatment carrageenan induced paw edema, whereas indomethacin produced 47.90 ± 1.16% of inhibition. The inhibitory values of edema at 3 h postcarrageenan were 31.04±0.75%, 40.51 ± 2.36%, 48.97 ± 1.14% and 56.87 ± 0.41% for 37.5, 75, 150, and 300 mg/kg of extract respectively. Indomethacin (10 mg/Kg) gave a percentage inhibition of 49.44 ± 1.44. HAE (300 and 150 mg/kg) induced an anti-inflammatory effect greater than (or comparable) with the effect of indomethacin from 2nd to 4th hours of the experiment. CONCLUSIONS: Our results reveal for first time that compounds contained in the hydroalcoholic extract ofLampaya medicinalis Phil exert anti-inflammatory effect and the oral administration is safe and non toxic up to dose level 3000 mg/kg body weight. The anti-inflammatory activity may be associated with the presence of flavonoids. These findings also justify the traditional use of the plant for treating pain. <![CDATA[<b>Association of serum total bilirubin levels with diastolic dysfunction in heart failure with preserved ejection fraction</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Left ventricular diastolic dysfunction is one of the main characteristics of heart failure patients with a preserved left ventricular ejection fraction. As bilirubin is regarded as an important endogenous antioxidant molecule, serum total bilirubin levels were compared between heart failure patients with a preserved left ventricular ejection fraction and normal controls in this study. We recruited 327 heart failure patients with a preserved left ventricular ejection fraction and 200 healthy controls. Patients were divided into 4 subgroups by their comprehensive echocardiographic manifestations, 1-mild, 2-moderate, 3-severe (reversible restrictive), 4-severe (fixed restrictive). Total bilirubin levels were compared using stepwise multiple regressions adjusted for selected factors. RESULTS: After adjusting for gender, age, smoking, systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, total cholesterol and triglyceride, serum total bilirubin levels were significantly lower in the heart failure group compared with the control group (P < 0.01). Patients in the subgroup (4-severe) showed significantly (P < 0.05) lower levels of total bilirubin when compared with the subgroup (1-mild). CONCLUSIONS: TB level was negatively correlated with left ventricular diastolic dysfunction in heart failure patients with a preserved left ventricular ejection fraction, which might provide a new insight into the complicated mechanisms of heart failure with a preserved left ventricular ejection fraction. <![CDATA[<b>Role of berberine in ameliorating <i>Schistosoma mansoni</i>-induced hepatic injury in mice</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Schistosomiasis is caused by helminth parasites of the genus Schistosoma. Berberine chloride (BER), an isoquinoline alkaloid, has been used in vivo for its antiparasitic, antioxidant and hepatoprotective properties. In this study, the protective effect of BER and praziquantel has been compared for the extent of schistosomiasis-induced oxidative stress in hepatic tissue of mice. RESULTS: S. mansoni was able to induce inflammation and injury to the liver, evidenced (i) by an increase in inflammatory cellular infiltrations, dilated sinusoids and vacuolated hepatocytes, (ii) by decreased levels of alanine and aspartate aminotransferases and increased levels of alkaline phosphatase, γ-glutamyl transferase in the liver homogenate, (iii) by increased production of nitric oxide and thiobarbituric acid reactive substances, and (iv) by lowered glutathione levels and decreased activities of catalase and superoxide dismutase, respectively. All these infection-induced parameters were significantly altered during BER treatment. In particular, berberine counteracted the S. mansoni-induced loss of glutathione and the activities of catalase and superoxide dismutase. CONCLUSION: Based on these results, it is concluded that berberine could ameliorate pre-existing liver damage and oxidative stress conditions due to schistosomiasis. <![CDATA[<b>Evaluation of seasonal antioxidant activity and total phenolic compounds in stems and leaves of some almond (<i>Prunus amygdalus</i> L.) varieties</b>]]> BACKGROUND: This study aimed to determine the seasonal changes of total antioxidant activity and phenolic compounds in samples taken from leaves (April, July, October) and stems (April, July, October, January) of some almond (Prunus amygdalus L.) varieties (Nonpareil, Ferragnes and Texas). RESULTS: It was indicated that antioxidant activity and phenolic compounds in leaves and stems of Nonpareil, Ferragnes and Texas showed seasonal differences. Antioxidant activity IC50 of these varieties reached the highest value in April for leaves whereas in October for stems. The highest level of total phenolic compounds was in January for stems while in October for leaves. CONCLUSIONS: These results showed that total antioxidant activity and phenolics in leaves and stems of almond varieties changed according to season and plant organ. <![CDATA[<b>Estimation of antioxidant, antimicrobial activity and brine shrimp toxicity of plants collected from Oymyakon region of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), Russia</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Several plants are reported to be produced various biological active compounds. Lichens from the extreme environments such as high altitude, high UV, drought and cold are believed to be synthesized unique types of secondary metabolites than the other one. Several human pathogenic bacteria and fungi have been muted into drug resistant strains. Various synthetic antioxidant compounds have posed carcinogenic effects. This phenomenon needs further research for new effective drugs of natural origin. This manuscript aimed to screen new source of biological active compounds from plants of subarctic origin. RESULTS: A total of 114 plant species, including 80 species of higher plants, 19 species of lichens and 15 species of mosses, were collected from Oymyakon region of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), Russia (63˚20′N, 141˚42′E - 63˚15′N, 142˚27′E). Antimicrobial, DPPH free radical scavenging and brine shrimp (Artemia salina) toxicity of all crude extract were evaluated. The obtained result was analyzed and compared with commercial standards. A total of 28 species of higher plants showed very strong antioxidant activity (DPPH IC50, 0.45-5.0 µg/mL), 13 species showed strong activity (DPPH IC50, 5-10 µg/mL), 22 species showed moderate antioxidant activity (DPPH IC50,10-20 µg/mL) and 17 species showed weak antioxidant activity (DPPH IC50 more than 20 µg/mL). Similarly, 3 species of lichen showed strong antioxidant activity, one species showed moderate and 15 species showed weak DPPH reducing activity. In addition, 4 species of mosses showed moderate antioxidant activity and 11 species showed weak antioxidant activity. Similarly, extracts of 51 species of higher plants showed antimicrobial (AM) activity against Staphylococcus aureus and 2 species showed AM activity against Candida albicans. Similarly, 11 species of lichen showed AM activity against S. aureus and 3 species showed AM activity against Escherichia coli. One species of moss showed AM activity against S. aureus. And finally, one species of higher plant Rheum compactum and one species of lichen Flavocetraria cucullata showed the toxicity against Brine shrimp larvae in 100 µg/mL of concentration. CONCLUSION: The experimental results showed that subarctic plant species could be potential sources of various biologically active natural compounds. <![CDATA[<b>Seed germination of <i>Agave</i> species as influenced by substrate water potential</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Plants of Agave spp. perform Crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) and are highly drought-tolerant, but little is known concerning seed germination under low water availability. The aim of this study was to assess the effect of substrate water potential (ΨW) on seed germination and contrast hydrotime parameters of seven valuable and commercially-important Agave species from different geographical distributions and climatic regions of Mexico. Our hypothesis was that seed germination of Agave species is not affected by low water availability independently of seed biomass and the climate of their distribution area. RESULTS: Seed germination (at 25°C and in the dark) between 85 and 100% for all species occurred within 80 - 180 h at -0.03 MPa and 250 - 430 h at -1.0 MPa. Seed germination at -1.5 MPa declined to less than 50% (p < 0.05) for A. asperrima and A. cupreata but did not change significantly for A. americana var. marginata, A. lechuguilla and A. striata, although they showed the lowest mean base water potential (-2.01 to -2.64 MPa). Seed germination of 40% Agave species, from arid and semi-arid climates in this study, was not affected by the lower ΨW. CONCLUSION: Germination of seeds of Agave species is moderately affected by low water availability, is partially dependent of their ecological distribution, and is independent of seed mass. <![CDATA[<b>Compositional studies and Biological activities of <i>Perovskia abrotanoides</i> Kar. oils</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Current study has been designed to evaluate the chemical composition of essential and fixed oils from stem and leaves of Perovskia abrotanoides and antioxidant and antimicrobial activities of these oils. RESULTS: GC-MS analysis of essential oil identified 19 compounds with (E)-9-dodecenal being the major component in stem and hexadecanoic acid in leaves. In contrast, GC-MS analysis of fixed oil showed 40 constituents with α-amyrin the major component in stem and α-copaene in leaves. The antioxidant activity showed the highest value of 76.7% in essential oil from leaves in comparison with fixed oil from stem (45.9%) through inhibition of peroxidation in linoleic acid system. The antimicrobial assay tested on different microorganisms (e.g. E. coli, S. aureus, B. cereus, Nitrospira, S. epidermis, A. niger, A. flavus and C. albicans) showed the higher inhibition zone at essential oil from leaves (15.2 mm on B. cereus) as compared to fixed oil from stem (8.34 mm onS. aureus) and leaves (11.2 mm on S. aureus). CONCLUSIONS: The present study revealed the fact that essential oil analyzed from Perovskia abrotanoides stem and leaves could be a promising source of natural products with potential antioxidant and antimicrobial activities, as compared to fixed oil. <![CDATA[<b>Comparative acute toxicity of gallium(III), antimony(III), indium(III), cadmium(II), and copper(II) on freshwater swamp shrimp (<i>Macrobrachium nipponense</i>)</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Acute toxicity testing were carried out the freshwater swamp shrimp, Macrobrachium nipponense, as the model animal for the semiconductor applied metals (gallium, antimony, indium, cadmium, and copper) to evaluate if the species is an suitable experimental animal of pollution in aquatic ecosystem. RESULTS: The static renewal test method of acute lethal concentrations determination was used, and water temperature was maintained at 24.0 ± 0.5°C. Data of individual metal obtained from acute toxicity tests were determined using probit analysis method. The median lethal concentration (96-h LC50) of gallium, antimony, indium, cadmium, and copper for M. nipponense were estimated as 2.7742, 1.9626, 6.8938, 0.0539, and 0.0313 mg/L, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Comparing the toxicity tolerance of M. nipponense with other species which exposed to these metals, it is obviously that the M. nipponense is more sensitive than that of various other aquatic animals. <![CDATA[<b><i>Sarcophaga (Liosarcophaga) dux</i></b><b> (Diptera: Sarcophagidae)</b>: <b>A flesh fly species of medical importance</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Although tropical climate of Thailand is suitably endowed with biodiversity of insects, flies of medical importance is not well investigated. Using information from literature search, fly survey approach and specialist's experience, we review database of Sarcophaga (Liosarcophaga) dux Thomson (Diptera: Sarcophagidae), one of the priorities flesh fly species of medical importance in Thailand. RESULTS: This review deals with morphology, bionomics and medical involvement. Important morphological characteristics of egg, larva, puparia and adult were highlighted with illustration and/or micrographs. Search pertaining to molecular analysis used for fly identification and developmental rate of larvae were included. Medical involvement of larvae was not only myiasis-producing agent in humans and animals, but associated with human death investigations. CONCLUSIONS: This information will enable us to accurate identify this species and to emphasis the increase medically important scene in Thailand. <![CDATA[<b>Immune enhancement activities of silk lutein extract from <i>Bombyx mori</i> cocoons</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Declining immune function poses an important clinical challenge worldwide and supplementation with natural products that possessing immune enhancing properties is a promising approach for preventing or delaying immune function decline. Cocoons from yellow silkworms are a significant source of lutein, and this unexplored silk extract could be a viable alternative source for dietary lutein. This study assessed immunomodulatory activities of the silk lutein extract. Female BALB/c mice orally received lutein, either as silk or marigold extracts (10 or 20 mg/kg daily), or vehicle only (1% tween 80 in PBS pH 7.4) for 4 weeks. Natural killer (NK) cell activity, specific antibody production, lymphocyte subpopulations, mitogen-induced lymphocyte proliferation, and cytokine production were examined. RESULTS: Silk lutein extract increased NK cell activity, and the effect was dose-related whereas marigold lutein extract was ineffective. Silk lutein extract dose-dependently enhanced antibody production in pre-immunized mice but marigold lutein extract had no effect. Feeding with silk lutein extract increased the populations of CD3+ and CD4 + CD3 + cells. Silk lutein extract also stimulated concanavalin A- and lipopolysaccharide-induced proliferations of T and B lymphocytes, respectively. Moreover, silk lutein extract increased IL-2 and IFN-γ production while the effect of marigold lutein extract was undetectable. CONCLUSIONS: Together, silk lutein extract enhanced both innate and adaptive immune functions. This preparation may prove to be an effective supplement for strengthened immunity. <![CDATA[<b>Robertsonian chromosomes and the nuclear architecture of mouse meiotic prophase spermatocytes</b>]]> BACKGROUND: The nuclear architecture of meiotic prophase spermatocytes is based on higher-order patterns of spatial associations among chromosomal domains from different bivalents. The meiotic nuclear architecture depends on the chromosome characteristics and consequently is prone to modification by chromosomal rearrangements. In this work, we consider Mus domesticus spermatocytes with diploid chromosome number 2n = 40, all telocentric, and investigate a possible modification of the ancestral nuclear architecture due to the emergence of derived Rb chromosomes, which may be present in the homozygous or heterozygous condition. RESULTS: In the 2n = 40 spermatocyte nuclei random associations mediated by pericentromeric heterochromatin among the 19 telocentric bivalents ocurr at the nuclear periphery. The observed frequency of associations among them, made distinguishable by specific probes and FISH, seems to be the same for pairs that may or may not form Rb chromosomes. In the homozygote Rb 2n = 24 spermatocytes, associations also mediated by pericentromeric heterochromatin occur mainly between the three telocentric or the eight metacentric bivalents themselves. In heterozygote Rb 2n = 32 spermatocytes all heterochromatin is localized at the nuclear periphery, yet associations are mainly observed among the three telocentric bivalents and between the asynaptic axes of the trivalents. CONCLUSIONS: The Rb chromosomes pose sharp restrictions for interactions in the 2n = 24 and 2n = 32 spermatocytes, as compared to the ample possibilities for interactions between bivalents in the 2n = 40 spermatocytes. Undoubtedly the emergence of Rb chromosomes changes the ancestral nuclear architecture of 2n = 40 spermatocytes since they establish new types of interactions among chromosomal domains, particularly through centromeric and heterochromatic regions at the nuclear periphery among telocentric and at the nuclear center among Rb metacentric ones. <![CDATA[<b>Physiological and biochemical characterization of egg extract of black widow spiders to uncover molecular basis of egg toxicity</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Black widow spider (L. tredecimguttatus) has toxic components not only in the venomous glands, but also in other parts of the body and its eggs. It is biologically important to investigate the molecular basis of the egg toxicity. RESULTS: In the present work, an aqueous extract was prepared from the eggs of the spider and characterized using multiple physiological and biochemical strategies. Gel electrophoresis and mass spectrometry demonstrated that the eggs are rich in high-molecular-mass proteins and the peptides below 5 kDa. The lyophilized extract of the eggs had a protein content of 34.22% and was shown to have a strong toxicity towards mammals and insects. When applied at a concentration of 0.25 mg/mL, the extract could completely block the neuromuscular transmission in mouse isolated phrenic nerve-hemidiaphragm preparations within 12.0 ± 1.5 min. Using whole-cell patch-clamp technique, the egg extract was demonstrated to be able to inhibit the voltage-activated Na+, K+and Ca2+ currents in rat DRG neurons. In addition, the extract displayed activities of multiple hydrolases. Finally, the molecular basis of the egg toxicity was discussed. CONCLUSIONS: The eggs of black widow spiders are rich in proteinous compounds particularly the high-molecular-mass proteins with different types of biological activity The neurotoxic and other active compounds in the eggs are believed to play important roles in the eggs' toxic actions. <![CDATA[<b>The structure of selective dinucleotide interactions and periodicities in D melanogaster mtDNA</b>]]> BACKGROUND: We found a strong selective 3-sites periodicity of deviations from randomness of the dinucleotide (DN) distribution, where both bases of DN were separated by 1, 2, K sites in prokaryotes and mtDNA. Three main aspects are studied. I) the specific 3 K-sites periodic structure of the 16 DN. II) to discard the possibility that the periodicity was produced by the highly nonrandom interactive association of contiguous bases, by studying the interaction of non-contiguous bases, the first one chosen each I sites and the second chosen J sites downstream. III) the difference between this selective periodicity of association (distance to randomness) of the four bases with the described fixed periodicities of base sequences. RESULTS: I) The 16 pairs presented a consistent periodicity in the strength of association of both bases of the pairs; the most deviated pairs are those where G and C are involved and the least deviated ones are those where A and T are involved. II) we found significant non-random interactions when the first nucleotide is chosen every I sites and the second J sites downstream until I = J = 76. III) we showed conclusive differences between these internucleotide association periodicities and sequence periodicities. CONCLUSIONS: This relational selective periodicity is different from sequence periodicities and indicates that any base strongly interacts with the bases of the residual genome; this interaction and periodicity is highly structured and systematic for every pair of bases. This interaction should be destroyed in few generations by recurrent mutation; it is only compatible with the Synthetic Theory of Evolution and agrees with the Wright's adaptive landscape conception and evolution by shifting balanced adaptive peaks. <![CDATA[<b>Effect of chlorocholine chlorid on phenolic acids accumulation and polyphenols formation of buckwheat plants</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Effect of chlorocholine chloride (CCC) on phenolic acids composition and polyphenols accumulation in various anatomical parts (stems, leaves and inflorescences) of common buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum Moench) in the early stages of vegetation period were surveyed. RESULTS: Treatment of buckwheat seeds with 2% of CCC has been increased content of total phenolics in the stems, leaves and inflorescences. On analyzing the different parts of buckwheat plants, 9 different phenolic acids - vanilic acid, ferulic acid, trans-ferulic acid, chlorogenic acid, salycilic acid, cinamic acid, p-coumaric acid, p-anisic acid, methoxycinamic acid and catechins were identified. The levels of identified phenolic acids varied not only significantly among the plant organs but also between early stages of vegetation period. Same changes as in contents of chlorogenic acid, ferulic acid, trans-ferulic acid were found for content of salycilic acid. The content of these phenolic acids has been significant increased under effect of 2% CCC treatment at the phase I (formation of buds) in the stems and at the phase II (beginning of flowering) in the leaves and then inflorescences respectively. The content of catechins as potential buckwheat antioxidants has been increased at the early stages of vegetation period after treatment with 2% CCC. CONCLUSIONS: The obtained results suggest that influence of CCC on the phenolics composition can be a result of various mechanisms of CCC uptake, transforming and/or its translocation in the buckwheat seedlings. <![CDATA[<b>Methanol extract from Vietnamese <i>Caesalpinia sappan </i>induces apoptosis in HeLa cells</b>]]> BACKGROUND: This study evaluated the cytotoxic activity of extracts from Caesalpinia sappan heartwood against multiple cancer cell lines using an MTT cell viability assay. The cell death though induction of apoptosis was as indicated by DNA fragmentation and caspase-3 enzyme activation. RESULTS: A methanol extract from C. sappan (MECS) showed cytotoxic activity against several of the cancer cell lines. The most potent activity exhibited by the MECS was against HeLa cells with an IC50value of 26.5 ± 3.2 µg/mL. Treatment of HeLa cells with various MECS concentrations resulted in growth inhibition and induction of apoptosis, as indicated by DNA fragmentation and caspase-3 enzyme activation. CONCLUSION: This study is the first report of the anticancer properties of the heartwood of C. sappan native to Vietnam. Our findings demonstrate that C. sappan heartwood may have beneficial applications in the field of anticancer drug discovery. <![CDATA[<b>Organic acids, sugars, vitamin C content and some pomological characteristics of eleven hawthorn species (<i>Crataegus</i> spp.) from Turkey</b>]]> BACKGROUND: The Hawthorn (Crateagus sp.) mostly occurs around the temperate region of the world with a high number of species, producing a fruit with numerous beneficial effects for human health. The aim of the study was to determine organic acid and sugar contents in the fruit of a number of hawthorn species grown in Erzincan province of Turkey. RESULTS: Citric acid was the predominant organic acid in all hawthorn species and C. pseudoheterophylla had the highest citric acid content (23.688 g/100 g). There were not statistically significant differences among hawthorn species (except C. atrosanguinea Pojark) in terms of fumaric acid content. C. pontica C.Koch had a higher content of vitamin C (9.418 mg/100 g) compared to other species. Fructose was the predominant sugar component in all species and C. monogyna subsp. monogyna Joiq had the highest fructose content (18.378 g/100 g). CONCLUSIONS: The high fruit quality of the studied species indicates the importance of this fruit in human nutrition as a natural source. The study revealed that there were differences in terms of fruit characteristics among hawthorn species and thus better quality hawthorn genotypes can be selected within the species. Hence, this study is considered to be a valuable reference for forthcoming studies. The high fruit quality of the studied species indicates the importance of this fruit in human nutrition as a natural source.