Toxicology and Biochemistry (Porto)

The group offers different possibilities of scientific cooperation and technical services that could be of interest for industry. We describe the main equipment facilities and some examples of studies that have been done with them. 

Atomic Absorption Spectrometer equipped with electrothermal atomization

This Atomic Absorption Spectrometer equipped with electrothermal atomization, besides being used in practical sessions for students, is also used i) to answer to industry in the quality control of food by quantification of toxic metals, ii) to identify genetic diseases (Wilson Disease and Hemochromatosis) in collaboration with several Hospitals in Portugal by quantifying copper and iron in human liver biopsies, iii) in research, namely in environmental and food contamination. Emphasis should be made to the works made on speciation of chromium in several matrices and the quantification of gold in biological samples to study the toxicity and biokinetics of gold nanoparticles.

Flow Cytometry
It has been widely used by our group for cell counting, cell sorting and biomarkers detection, namely in culture cell studies or hematologic evaluations..

 

BD FACSCalibur

This platform offers a unique modular approach to flow cytometry and allows users to perform both cell analysis and cell sorting in an innovative single benchtop system. Designed with multicolor application support in mind, the BD FACSCalibur flow cytometer provides flexibility to support a wide variety of research and clinical applications.

 

BD Accuri C6

The system is equipped with a blue and a red laser, two light scatter detectors, and four fluorescence detectors. A compact optical design, fixed alignment, and pre-optimized detector settings make the system easier to use. The result is that each BD Accuri™ C6 cytometer is manufactured with standardized fluorescence performance so that users do not need to adjust detector voltages.

 

Varian CP-3800 gas chromatographer (USA) equipped with a VARIAN Saturn 4000 Ion Trap mass selective detector (USA) and a Saturn GC/MS workstation software.

The equipment GC-MS-MS has been used to analyze different volatile compounds obtained from various matrixes, as plant foods, including i) Brassica oleracea ii) edible mushrooms, and iii) from various species of algae been performed. The interest in these studies is the characterization of compounds which bioactivity is subsequently investigated, particularly in relation to its anti-microbial and anti-oxidant action. The equipment GC-MS-MS has also been used in other areas of research, particularly in Toxicology, in characterizing the metabolic profile of drugs of abuse, in the evaluation of ethanol/ecstasy metabolic interaction, and studies related with pesticides intoxications.

 

Cell culture facilities

The group has devoted a great effort to the refinement and replacement of in vivo by in vitro assays, especially in metabolic, bioavailability and mechanistic studies. Currently in use are models with freshly isolated and cryopreserved primary cells in suspension and in culture, and cultures of cell lines, representative of target organs of toxicity. We are now implementing a 3D cell culture model with different types of cells that include human hepatocytes, better mimicking the liver structure and enabling both hepatotoxicity and metabolic profile studies.