ICBAS - Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas Abel Salazar
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Noticias

Diet has impacts on fertility that can be inherited for two generations

Parents' food choices may have consequences on their children's health.

Um estudo desenvolvido por investigadores do Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas Abel Salazar (ICBAS), no Porto, concluiu que a alimentação produz impactos na fertilidade masculina que podem ser transmitidos e herdados por duas gerações.

O instituto revela que no estudo, publicado na revista “Molecular Nutrition & Food Research“, researchers from the Multidisciplinary Unit of Biomedical Research at ICBAS described the biomarkers that make it possible to identify a “metabolic memory” present in the testes.

The alterations are “consequences of eating a high-fat diet” and can be inherited by two generations, that is, father-son-grandson, having “implications on male fertility”. 

Marco Alves and Luís Crisóstomo, in the center of the image, at the PhD defense of ICBAS student, accompanied by the jury and the entire research team.

A equipa, liderada pelo investigador Marco Alves, já tinha determinado, em trabalhos anteriores, que a ingestão excessiva de gordura durante as primeiras fases da vida altera o conteúdo lípido e o metabolismo dos testículos, “afetando negativamente a capacidade reprodutiva durante o resto da vida” e “resultando em alterações que não são reversíveis com a mudança para uma dieta equilibrada”.

In this study, carried out in animal models (mice), the researchers “went further” and described the transgenerational effects that are transmitted by parents who eat a diet rich in fats to children and grandchildren who follow a balanced diet. 

 “The offspring showed, in the testicles, an alteration in the metabolism of choline”, an essential nutrient for the regulation of various functions, such as brain function, and the development of spermatozoa.

The investigation also showed alterations in the activity of mitochondria, in antioxidant defenses and in the presence of various lipids. 

"These alterations promote a proinflammatory environment in the testicle, altering sperm count and quality", stresses the researcher, noting that transgenerational effects are also observed when the father's intake of fat is only until puberty. 

The researcher Marco Alves points out that reproduction “is also a reflection of diet”. 

“Our food choices will have consequences for our children and, very possibly, for our grandchildren as well”, he says, adding that these effects may have even more impact on assisted reproduction processes, since the spermatozoon is chosen randomly and without taking into account biomarkers such as those identified in the study.

“The increase in infertility is clearly associated with the increase in metabolic diseases (overweight, obesity and diabetes, among others), and this association has already been recognized by the World Health Organization”, highlights Marco Alves. 

The metabolic memory in the testis is transmitted by the Sertoli cells, which respond to ensure all the structural and metabolic needs during the sperm formation process. 

The stimuli captured by these cells, in addition to altering their own genetic expression, also alter the epigenetics. 

“Knowing these changes and the transmission mechanisms will allow selecting the best spermatozoa and the best window of time to perform in vitro fertilization, improving the efficiency of assisted reproduction techniques and opening up new therapeutic opportunities in male infertility”, adds the researcher.

Além da equipa do ICBAS, o estudo contou também com investigadores da Faculdade de Farmácia da Universidade do Porto, da Universidade de Aveiro, do Instituto Politécnico da Guarda e da Associação Protetora dos Diabéticos de Portugal (APDP).

The work also resulted from several international partnerships, including the University of Zagreb and the University College of London.

Source: CNN Portugal

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Events

2nd Porto One Health Day

International One Health Day at ICBAS

3 de novembro de 2022, 14h

No próximo dia 3 de novembro, Dia Internacional Uma Saúde, o Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas Abel Salazar (ICBAS) da Universidade do Porto vai voltar a reunir especialistas das mais variadas áreas e instituições do país para promover o debate em torno de uma abordagem holística da Saúde.

Este ano, com um programa mais direcionado para a comunidade não científica, o 2nd Porto One Health Day reflete o esforço que a instituição tem vindo a fazer para promover e difundir o conceito One Health/Uma Saúde entre a comunidade científica, académica e a sociedade civil.

As comemorações terminam com a inauguração da exposição ‘Perspetiva(s) sobre Uma Saúde’, na Estação de Metro dos Aliados, às 18h45.

Inscrições here.

Categories
Events

Photography Exhibition ‘Perspective(s) on One Health’ at CPF

This is a selection of images that portray the integrated vision of Health that ICBAS has been promoting. It is a result of the homonymous photography contest that took place in March and April 2022.

The photography contest 'Perspective(s) on One Health' promoted the dissemination of the concept among the academic community of U. Porto. About 250 images were received, from which ICBAS, together with the Portuguese Institute of Photography (IPF), a partner in this project, selected 20 photographs for a traveling exhibition which will be in several places in Porto.

The exhibition can be visited now at Centro Português de Fotografia (CPF), between October 3rd and 30th (Antiga Cadeia e Tribunal da Relação do Porto, Largo Amor da Perdição, 4050-008 Porto). Entrance is free.

This exhibition is an opportunity to promote a joint reflection on the One Health concept, as well as to alert civil society to the impact we all have on human, animal and environmental health.

See the exhibition sheet here.

Categories
Events

Photography Exhibition 'Perspective(s) on One Health' at ICBAS

This is a selection of images that portray the integrated vision of Health that ICBAS has been promoting. It is a result of the homonymous photography contest that took place in March and April 2022.

The photography contest 'Perspective(s) on One Health promoted the dissemination of the concept among the academic community of U. Porto. About 250 images were received, from which ICBAS, together with the Portuguese Institute of Photography (IPF), a partner in this project, selected 20 photographs for a traveling exhibition which will be in several places in Porto.

The exhibition can now be visited at ICBAS, located in different parts of the School, between 12 September and 4 November (R. Jorge de Viterbo Ferreira 228, 4050-313 Porto).

This exhibition is an opportunity to promote a joint reflection on the One Health concept, as well as to alert civil society to the impact we all have on human, animal and environmental health.

See the exhibition sheet here.

Categories
Events

Photography Exhibition ‘Perspective(s) on One Health’

From June to December 2022 at various locations in Porto

On the 1st of June it opens at the Biodiversity Gallery – Centro Ciência Viva | Museum of Natural History and Science of the U. Porto, the traveling exhibition 'Perspective(s) on One Health'. This is a selection of 20 images, which portray the integrated vision of Health that ICBAS has been promoting, as a result of the homonymous photography contest that took place in March and April.

From the ‘Perspective(s) on One Health’ photo contest, which aimed to promote the dissemination of the concept among the U. Porto academic community, around 250 images were received. Of these, ICBAS, together with the Portuguese Institute of Photography (IPF), a partner in this initiative, selected 20 photographs for an itinerant exhibition that will take place in various locations in Porto:

  1. From June 2nd to July 3rd – Biodiversity Gallery
  2. July to September – ICBAS
  3. October – Portuguese Photography Center (CPF)
  4. November – Metro od Porto
  5. December – Círculo Universitário do Porto

This exhibition is an opportunity to promote a joint reflection on the One Health concept, as well as to alert civil society to the impact we all have on human, animal and environmental health.

The exhibition 'Perspective(s) on One Health' can be visited, from June 2nd to July 3rd, from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10:00 to 13:00 and from 14:00 to 18:00, at Biodiversity Gallery – Centro Ciência Viva | Museum of Natural History and Science of the U. Porto (Rua do Campo Alegre 1191, 4150-181 Porto).

Categories
Research

BeachSafe Project: Is a microbiologically safe beach really safe?

In Europe, the quality of bathing water is regulated by a directive (from 2005) through two bacterial indicators: Escherichia coli and intestinal enterococci, signs of fecal contamination. However, ongoing climate change promotes the emergence of other pathogenic bacteria not related to sewage. Among them, the vibrios, ubiquitous aquatic microorganisms responsible for various human diseases, such as cholera, sepsis, or hemorrhage.

As part of the BeachSafe project, a study carried out by the ICBAS Laboratory of Hydrobiology and Ecology, which analyzed the water of 10 popular coastal beaches in northern Portugal, revealed that most have low levels of fecal contamination, but a high number of different species of vibrios, especially during the summer bathing season.

This means that bathers are exposed to emerging pathogenic bacteria not screened during official routine bathing water quality surveys. Causes of these appear to be climate change and poorly treated wastewater discharges that help to spread these bacteria.

Currently, the risks for people are still little known and the project is working to find out the implications.

To know more:

BeachSafe project description do projeto BeachSafe
– Vibrio dynamics in bathing water and associated human health risk

Contact: Professor Adriano A. Bordalo (bordalo@icbas.up.pt)

Categories
Research

Sustainable aquaculture and functional diets for fish

Aquaculture is the fastest-growing global animal production sector, already contributing to more than 50% of the fish consumed worldwide. This growth will continue due to limitations in the capture of wild species and the increase in world population and consequent increase in demand.

Portugal already imports about 2/3 of the fish it consumes, which represents an imbalance in the trade balance of over €600 million/year. This imbalance can only be overcome through the sustained and sustainable development of aquaculture. In this sense, the European vision for the Sustainable Development of Aquaculture emerges, based on the promotion of competitiveness through innovative, environmentally sustainable methodologies, considering animal welfare and health, and the consumer's perspective.

In Portugal, as well as in Europe, essentially marine and mostly carnivorous species are produced. In the national territory, the main ones are turbot, sea bream, trout, sea bass and sole. The production of these species implies knowing the nutritional requirements of each one of them to ensure excellent growth, optimizing animal health and well-being.

The existing diets on the market are particularly designed for each species and these formulations follow well-defined and regulated rules. The entire process is tracked to ensure consumer safety. Likewise, the nutritional value of each fish depends on these diets, being important to ensure that they meet the highest quality requirements.

The CIIMAR Fish Nutrition, Growth and Quality Laboratory, led by an ICBAS Professor, works to optimize and evaluate sustainable production practices in aquaculture and improve the quality, safety and well-being of fish. It also prepares functional diets for these animals, designed to promote their health and nutritional value, to respond to the growing demands of the consumer.

 

To know more:

- Fish Nutrition and Feeding
- Increased growth and immune response of European sea bass through diet
- Change in lipid metabolism and oxidative stress of rainbow trout through diet

Contact: Professor Luísa Valente (lvalente@icbas.up.pt)

Categories
Research

Vet-OncoNet Project: One Oncology, One Health

Many of the tumors in companion animals are comparable to human tumors and can serve as a model in epidemiological studies and clinical trials.

In clinical trials, companion animals are better positioned than animal models, such as laboratory mice, because in addition to being exposed to similar environmental risk factors, they develop cancer spontaneously and quickly, which favors clinical results. In the future, it is expected that companion animals can be used as sentinels for risky environments for humans, enabling the adoption of preventive measures appropriate to human and environmental health.

Vet-OncoNet is a network for sharing information on companion animal tumors and research of risk factors. This platform is an initiative of ICBAS and the Institute of Public Health of the University of Porto (ISPUP), framed in the One Health policies of these institutions. It involves researchers from the departments of Population Studies, Veterinary Clinics, Pathology and Molecular Immunology at ICBAS and the Department of Veterinary Public Health of ISPUP. The University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro (UTAD) joined this initiative, becoming a co-founding institution of the Vet-OncoNet Network. Built on the pillars of the One Health concept and vision, it aims to contribute to progress in prevention and therapy in animal and human oncology. They mutually benefit from this joint approach and knowledge sharing between scientists from different fields.

Within this academic-scientific context, Vet-OncoNet's mission is to develop scientific activity, teaching, dissemination, and communication of credible information in the field of Animal Oncology.

To know more:

Vet-Onconet: Information sharing network on neoplasms of pets and investigation of risk factors

Contact: Professor João Niza Ribeiro (jjribeiro@icbas.up.pt)

Categories
Research

Prevention of physical and mental retardation through iodine intake

Humans and other animals require the intake of a certain amount of iodine, a nutrient necessary for the regular functioning of the thyroid, a gland that regulates the body's metabolism.

Food, water, and breathing the iodine-rich coastal air are the natural sources of this nutrient. Fish, dairy products, and seaweed used to be enough to cover our needs. However, the new nutritional paradigm in the developed world favors the intake of iodine-poor foods. Iodine deficiency, especially during pregnancy and in the first years of life, can compromise the physical and mental development of children.

Salt iodization is the cheapest, most sustainable, and universal way to deal with this problem. The process started a century ago in Switzerland. In Western Europe, mandatory use is not widespread, and the disability can reach worrying levels. In Africa, due to the contribution of the International Community, students are regularly supplemented. Urine tests are used to check iodine levels. However, low or high levels of iodine lead to the same disease - goiter. Therefore, correct daily intake by children and adults, including pregnant women, is imperative to address iodine deficiency worldwide.

The Laboratory of Hydrobiology and Ecology of ICBAS assesses, in Guinea-Bissau (and beyond), the sufficiency of iodine in human urine using a method certified for this purpose. This work is essential to identify iodine deficiency and deal with its consequences.

To know more:

- Endemic goiter and iodine deficiency status among Guinea-Bissau school-age children
- Can non-fortified marine salt cover human needs for iodine?

Contact: Professor Adriano A. Bordalo (bordalo@icbas.up.pt)

Categories
Research

Cholera: The forgotten pandemic

For several millennia, cholera - an acute diarrheal disease that can lead to death in a few days if left untreated - devastated the Indian subcontinent. Vasco da Gama, the well-known Portuguese navigator, died of cholera in southern India in the 16th century.

Cholera is still active today in four continents, with a special incidence in Africa. The disease is already in the 7th pandemic, which has been going on since 1960. In Europe, the last epidemic occurred in Portugal in 1974, where it infected almost 2,500 citizens and killed 48.

Contaminated water and food are the main sources of the cholera agent - a vibrio (bacteria) ubiquitous in coastal waters. Once ingested in a sufficient dose, the bacteria can escape the stomach's acid barrier and colonize the intestine. If toxins are produced, a person can lose up to 20 liters of internal fluid through watery diarrhea. If these fluids are not replaced, the patient dies. The treatment is particularly inexpensive, by electrolyte replacement through the administration of an oral rehydration solution, a mixture of sugar and salts and (eventually) common antibiotics.

Lack of clean water, sanitation, hygiene, and poor health care favor the spread of the disease. The battle for eradication is far from being accomplished, an additional problem for the poorest of the poor. The Laboratory of Hydrobiology and Ecology of ICBAS studies the conditions of access to water (quality and microbiology) of the population in Guinea-Bissau, analyzes the relationship between water consumption and the onset of disease, and identifies the possible causes of contamination of this precious liquid

To know more:

Water bags as a potential vehicle for transmitting disease in a West African capital, Bissau
Analysis of the bacterial community composition in acidic well water used for drinking in Guinea-Bissau, West Africa

Contact: Professor Adriano A. Bordalo (bordalo@icbas.up.pt)

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