ISSN Print 2500–1094    ISSN Online 2542–1204
Bulletin of RSMU

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Systemic nature of the human body response to SARS-CoV-2 requires dedicated analysis at the molecular level. COVID-19 during pregnancy affects maternal health and may entail complications in the early neonatal period and possibly long-term consequences for the offspring. The aim of the study was to assess the impact of COVID-19 on amino acid profiles in maternal venous blood, amniotic fluid and umbilical cord blood in order to develop a diagnostic panel accounting for possible consequences. The main group included 29 pregnant patients with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 and the control group included 17 somatically healthy pregnant women. Amino acid profiles of the biological fluids were measured by high-performance liquid chromatography combined to mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS) and assessed in logistic regression models. The analysis revealed altered content of certain amino acids, their biosynthetic precursors and metabolites in the biological fluids collected from patients with COVID-19 possibly reflecting the development of systemic inflammatory reaction and associated changes in gene expression profiles. These findings may guide further research into health outcomes for neonates born from mothers infected with SARS-CoV-2 during pregnancy. The study may help to develop advanced recommendations and differential care protocols for pregnant women and newborns diagnosed with COVID-19.
The spread of Mycobacterium tuberculosis drug resistance accentuates the demand for anti-tuberculosis drugs with a fundamentally new mechanism of action without conferring cross-resistance. G-quadruplexes (G4, non-canonical DNA structures) are plausible new drug targets. Although G4-stabilizing ligands have been shown to inhibit mycobacterial growth, the exact mechanism of their action is uncertain. The aim of this study was to assess a possible correlation between putative G4 elements in a model mycobacterial strain M. smegmatis MC2155 and transcriptomic changes under the action of subinhibitory concentrations of G4 ligands BRACO-19 and TMPyP4. We also planned to compare the results with corresponding data previously obtained by us using higher, inhibitory concentrations of these ligands. For BRACO-19, we identified 589 (316↑; 273↓) and 865 (555↑; 310↓) differentially expressed genes at 5 µМ and 10 µМ, respectively. For TMPyP4, we observed the opposite trend, the number of differentially expressed genes decreased at higher concentration of the ligand: 754 (337↑; 417↓) and 702 (359↑; 343↓) for 2 µМ and 4 µМ, respectively. Statistical analysis revealed no correlation between ligand-induced transcriptomic changes and genomic localization of the putative quadruplex-forming sequences. At the same time, the data indicate certain functional specificity of the ligand-mediated transcriptomic effects, with TMPyP4 significantly affecting expression levels of transcription factors and arginine biosynthesis genes and BRACO-19 significantly affecting expression levels of iron metabolism and replication and reparation system genes.

Popular articles

Studying the effects of regulatory peptides on the stress-induced shifts in the bodily processes is of great fundamental and applied significance. Currently, a wide range of peptide neurotropic drugs, affecting the stress response development, are used in medicine, and new promising molecules are being studied. The study was aimed to assess the effects of the adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) synthetic analog, ACTH(6-9)-Pro-Gly-Pro, administered at a dose of 5, 50 and 500 μg/kg, on the free-radical oxidation processes in Wistar rats, subjected to chronic restraint stress (CRS) during two weeks. Serum levels of 8-oxo-2'-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG) and superoxide dismutase 3 (SOD3) were assessed by enzyme immunoassay, and the levels of thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) were assessed by fluorimetric method. CRS lead to the significant increase in the 8-OHdG levels by 18.4% (p = 0.01) and the decrease in the SOD3 levels by 14.3% (p = 0.01), however, it had no effect on the levels of TBARS. ACTH(6-9)-Pro-Gly-Pro, administered at a dose of 5 and 50 μg/kg, significantly decreased the levels of 8-OHdG by 19.8% (p = 0.03) and 30% (p = 0.001), respectively. Thus, it was found that CRS resulted in oxidative stress in animals. ACTH(6-9)-Pro-Gly-Pro administration at a dose of 5 and 50 μg/kg inhibits the stress-induced free-radical oxidation processes.
The significant proportion of the Russian population are active online social media users. Changes in alcohol consumption in this target group during the COVID-19 pandemic remain understudied. The aim of this survey was to investigate changes in alcohol consumption and factors associated with the increase in alcohol use among online social media users in Russia during the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic. An online survey was conducted among 1,518 users of online social networking services popular in Russia from June to September 2020. The survey revealed that 35.4% of men and 25.6% of women started drinking more frequently during the first months of the pandemic; 24.9% of men and 17.7% of women increased their usual consumption (volume) of alcohol on a typical drinking occasion, whereas 28.5% of men and 27.9% of women increased the frequency of heavy episodic drinking. Adjusted binary logistic regression analysis revealed a positive association between the increase in the frequency of alcohol consumption and the following factors: age from 18 to 29 years (OR: 1.710; 95% CI: 1.002–2.917), severe restrictions in everyday private life (OR: 3.127; 95% CI: 1.011–9.675) and severe negative professional or financial consequences due to the spread of SARS-CoV-2 (OR: 2.247; 95% CI: 1.131–4.465). The odds of an increase in the frequency of heavy episodic drinking were more than twice higher (OR: 2.329; 95% CI: 1.001–5.428) among those who had experienced severe negative consequences of the pandemic to their professional and financial situation. Higher typical frequency and usual consumption (volume) of alcohol on a typical drinking occasion and higher typical frequency of heavy episodic drinking before the pandemic were positively significantly associated with the increase in these parameters of alcohol consumption during the first months of the pandemic. In times of large-scale epidemics and public health crises, it is advisable to consider the possibility of implementing screening and brief interventions, including via online social media, to prevent problems associated with alcohol use.
Dear researcher!
At the end of 2015, Bulletin of RSMU saw an important change in its typographic design and content. We formulated new editorial policies and established strict ethical standards for submitted manuscripts in accordance with the guidelines of reputable international bodies. As a result, about a quarter of the submitted works have been rejected, the primary reason being the author trying to submit a previously published article. Sometimes authors believe that by making slight changes to the introduction, excluding a few people from the study, performing a new statistical analysis, and thus obtaining totally new results they will turn their old manuscript into a novel work. That is why we would like to talk about scientific integrity, honesty, plagiarism, and self-plagiarism in our special project “Author’s work”.
Richard FEYNMAN Cargo cult science
American physicist Richard P. Feynman, a Nobel laureate, was always very scrupulous about the quality of a research study. During his commencement address at the California Institute of Technology in 1974, he talked about scientific integrity and honesty and warned young researchers “not to fool” themselves. A must-read for anyone who believes he/she is a true scientist.
Ivan PAVLOV On the Russian mind
In 1918, Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov, a Nobel laureate, delivered two lectures: on the mind in general and the Russian mind in particular; on those mind qualities that determine the success of a research work and on how these qualities are present in the Russian mind. Pavlov's thoughts are an effective vaccine against poor intellectual work.