Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz]]> vol. 109 num. 4 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[Eosinophilic meningitis caused by <em>Angiostrongylus cantonensis</em>: an emergent disease in Brazil]]> Eosinophilic meningitis (EoM) is an acute disease that affects the central nervous system. It is primarily caused by infection with the nematode Angiostrongylus cantonensis. This infection was previously restricted to certain Asian countries and the Pacific Islands, but it was first reported in Brazil in 2007. Since then, intermediate and definitive hosts infected with A. cantonensis have been identified within the urban areas of many states in Brazil, including those in the northern, northeastern, southeastern and southern regions. The goals of this review are to draw the attention of the medical community and health centres to the emergence of EoM in Brazil, to compile information about several aspects of the human infection and mode of transmission and to provide a short protocol of procedures for the diagnosis of this disease. <![CDATA[Oxidative stress enhances the expression of sulfur assimilation genes: preliminary insights on the <em>Enterococcus faecalis</em> iron-sulfur cluster machinery regulation]]> The Firmicutes bacteria participate extensively in virulence and pathological processes. Enterococcus faecalis is a commensal microorganism; however, it is also a pathogenic bacterium mainly associated with nosocomial infections in immunocompromised patients. Iron-sulfur [Fe-S] clusters are inorganic prosthetic groups involved in diverse biological processes, whose in vivo formation requires several specific protein machineries. Escherichia coli is one of the most frequently studied microorganisms regarding [Fe-S] cluster biogenesis and encodes the iron-sulfur cluster and sulfur assimilation systems. In Firmicutes species, a unique operon composed of the sufCDSUB genes is responsible for [Fe-S] cluster biogenesis. The aim of this study was to investigate the potential of the E. faecalis sufCDSUB system in the [Fe-S] cluster assembly using oxidative stress and iron depletion as adverse growth conditions. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction demonstrated, for the first time, that Gram-positive bacteria possess an OxyR component responsive to oxidative stress conditions, as fully described for E. coli models. Likewise, strong expression of the sufCDSUB genes was observed in low concentrations of hydrogen peroxide, indicating that the lowest concentration of oxygen free radicals inside cells, known to be highly damaging to [Fe-S] clusters, is sufficient to trigger the transcriptional machinery for prompt replacement of [Fe-S] clusters. <![CDATA[Water-induced modulation of <em>Helicobacter pylori</em> virulence properties]]> While the influence of water in Helicobacter pylori culturability and membrane integrity has been extensively studied, there are little data concerning the effect of this environment on virulence properties. Therefore, we studied the culturability of water-exposed H. pylori and determined whether there was any relation with the bacterium’s ability to adhere, produce functional components of pathogenicity and induce inflammation and alterations in apoptosis in an experimental model of human gastric epithelial cells. H. pylori partially retained the ability to adhere to epithelial cells even after complete loss of culturability. However, the microorganism is no longer effective in eliciting in vitro host cell inflammation and apoptosis, possibly due to the non-functionality of the cag type IV secretion system. These H. pylori-induced host cell responses, which are lost along with culturability, are known to increase epithelial cell turnover and, consequently, could have a deleterious effect on the initial H. pylori colonisation process. The fact that adhesion is maintained by H. pylori to the detriment of other factors involved in later infection stages appears to point to a modulation of the physiology of the pathogen after water exposure and might provide the microorganism with the necessary means to, at least transiently, colonise the human stomach. <![CDATA[Tissue distribution of residual antimony in rats treated with multiple doses of meglumine antimoniate]]> Meglumine antimoniate (MA) and sodium stibogluconate are pentavalent antimony (SbV) drugs used since the mid-1940s. Notwithstanding the fact that they are first-choice drugs for the treatment of leishmaniases, there are gaps in our knowledge of their toxicological profile, mode of action and kinetics. Little is known about the distribution of antimony in tissues after SbV administration. In this study, we evaluated the Sb content of tissues from male rats 24 h and three weeks after a 21-day course of treatment with MA (300 mg SbV/kg body wt/d, subcutaneous). Sb concentrations in the blood and organs were determined by inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry. In rats, as with in humans, the Sb blood levels after MA dosing can be described by a two-compartment model with a fast (t1/2 = 0.6 h) and a slow (t1/2 &gt;&gt; 24 h) elimination phase. The spleen was the organ that accumulated the highest amount of Sb, while bone and thyroid ranked second in descending order of tissues according to Sb levels (spleen &gt;&gt; bone, thyroid, kidneys &gt; liver, epididymis, lungs, adrenals &gt; prostate &gt; thymus, pancreas, heart, small intestines &gt; skeletal muscle, testes, stomach &gt; brain). The pathophysiological consequences of Sb accumulation in the thyroid and Sb speciation in the liver, thyroid, spleen and bone warrant further studies. <![CDATA[Acute gastroenteritis and enteric viruses in hospitalised children in southern Brazil: aetiology, seasonality and clinical outcomes]]> Viral acute gastroenteritis (AG) is a significant cause of hospitalisation in children younger than five years. Group A rotavirus (RVA) is responsible for 30% of these cases. Following the introduction of RVA immunisation in Brazil in 2006, a decreased circulation of this virus has been observed. However, AG remains an important cause of hospitalisation of paediatric patients and only limited data are available regarding the role of other enteric viruses in these cases. We conducted a prospective study of paediatric patients hospitalised for AG. Stool samples were collected to investigate human adenovirus (HAdV), RVA, norovirus (NoV) and astrovirus (AstV). NoV typing was performed by nucleotide sequencing and phylogenetic analysis. From the 225 samples tested, 60 (26%) were positive for at least one viral agent. HAdV, NoV, RVA and AstV were detected in 16%, 8%, 6% and 0% of the samples, respectively. Mixed infections were found in nine patients: HAdV/RVA (5), HAdV/NoV (3) and HAdV/NoV/RVA (1). The frequency of fever and lymphocytosis was significantly higher in virus-infected patients. Phylogenetic analysis of NoV indicated that all of these viruses belonged to genotype GII.4. The significant frequency of these pathogens in patients with AG highlights the need to routinely implement laboratory investigations. <![CDATA[Molecular epidemiology of <em>Candida albicans</em> and <em>Candida glabrata</em> strains isolated from intensive care unit patients in Poland]]> Over the last decades, Candida spp have been responsible for an increasing number of infections, especially in patients requiring intensive care. Knowledge of local epidemiology and analysis of the spread of these pathogens is important in understanding and controlling their transmission. The aim of this study was to evaluate the genetic diversity of 31 Candida albicans and 17 Candida glabrata isolates recovered from intensive care unit patients from the tertiary hospital in Krakow between 2011-2012. The strains were typed by random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) polymerase chain reaction using five primers (CD16AS, HP1247, ERIC-2, OPE-3 and OPE-18). The results of the present investigation revealed a high degree of genetic diversity among the isolates. No clonal relationship was found among the C. albicans strains, whereas two C. glabrata isolates were identical. The source of Candida infection appeared to be mostly endogenous; however, the presence of two clonal C. glabrata strains suggested the possibility of cross-transmission of these pathogens. Our study confirmed the high discriminatory power of the RAPD technique in the molecular typing of Candida clinical isolates. This method may be applied to the evaluation of transmission routes of pathogenic fungi on a local level. <![CDATA[A comparison of molecular markers to detect <em>Lutzomyia longipalpis</em> naturally infected with <em>Leishmania (Leishmania) infantum</em>]]> The aim of the present study was to detect natural infection by Leishmania (Leishmania) infantum in Lutzomyia longipalpis captured in Barcarena, state of Pará, Brazil, through the use of three primer sets. With this approach, it is unnecessary to previously dissect the sandfly specimens. DNA of 280 Lu. longipalpis female specimens were extracted from the whole insects. PCR primers for kinetoplast minicircle DNA (kDNA), the mini-exon gene and the small subunit ribosomal RNA (SSU-rRNA) gene of Leishmania were used, generating fragments of 400 bp, 780 bp and 603 bp, respectively. Infection by the parasite was found with the kDNA primer in 8.6% of the cases, with the mini-exon gene primer in 7.1% of the cases and with the SSU-rRNA gene primer in 5.3% of the cases. These data show the importance of polymerase chain reaction as a tool for investigating the molecular epidemiology of visceral leishmaniasis by estimating the risk of disease transmission in endemic areas, with the kDNA primer representing the most reliable marker for the parasite. <![CDATA[Inferences about the global scenario of human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 1 infection using data mining of viral sequences]]> Human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) is mainly associated with two diseases: tropical spastic paraparesis/HTLV-1-associated myelopathy (TSP/HAM) and adult T-cell leukaemia/lymphoma. This retrovirus infects five-10 million individuals throughout the world. Previously, we developed a database that annotates sequence data from GenBank and the present study aimed to describe the clinical, molecular and epidemiological scenarios of HTLV-1 infection through the stored sequences in this database. A total of 2,545 registered complete and partial sequences of HTLV-1 were collected and 1,967 (77.3%) of those sequences represented unique isolates. Among these isolates, 93% contained geographic origin information and only 39% were related to any clinical status. A total of 1,091 sequences contained information about the geographic origin and viral subtype and 93% of these sequences were identified as subtype “a”. Ethnicity data are very scarce. Regarding clinical status data, 29% of the sequences were generated from TSP/HAM and 67.8% from healthy carrier individuals. Although the data mining enabled some inferences about specific aspects of HTLV-1 infection to be made, due to the relative scarcity of data of available sequences, it was not possible to delineate a global scenario of HTLV-1 infection. <![CDATA[Triatominae species of Suriname (Heteroptera: Reduviidae) and their role as vectors of Chagas disease]]> Nine species of Triatominae, representing three tribes and five genera, are currently known in Suriname. An annotated list of the species based on the collections of the Bureau of Public Health (Suriname), the National Zoological Collection Suriname and the National History Museum Leiden (the Netherlands) is provided. Additionally, the results of several years of opportunistic collection in two domestic environments are presented. The most common species are Rhodnius pictipes Stål, 1972, Rhodnius robustus Larrouse, 1972 and Panstrongylus geniculatus (Latreille, 1811). The significance of the species as vectors of Chagas disease in Suriname is discussed. <![CDATA[Sympathetic glial cells and macrophages develop different responses to <em>Trypanosoma cruzi</em> infection or lipopolysaccharide stimulation]]> Nitric oxide (NO) participates in neuronal lesions in the digestive form of Chagas disease and the proximity of parasitised glial cells and neurons in damaged myenteric ganglia is a frequent finding. Glial cells have crucial roles in many neuropathological situations and are potential sources of NO. Here, we investigate peripheral glial cell response to Trypanosoma cruzi infection to clarify the role of these cells in the neuronal lesion pathogenesis of Chagas disease. We used primary glial cell cultures from superior cervical ganglion to investigate cell activation and NO production after T. cruzi infection or lipopolysaccharide (LPS) exposure in comparison to peritoneal macrophages. T. cruzi infection was greater in glial cells, despite similar levels of NO production in both cell types. Glial cells responded similarly to T. cruzi and LPS, but were less responsive to LPS than macrophages were. Our observations contribute to the understanding of Chagas disease pathogenesis, as based on the high susceptibility of autonomic glial cells to T. cruzi infection with subsequent NO production. Moreover, our findings will facilitate future research into the immune responses and activation mechanisms of peripheral glial cells, which are important for understanding the paradoxical responses of this cell type in neuronal lesions and neuroprotection. <![CDATA[Limits of a rapid identification of common Mediterranean sandflies using polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism]]> A total of 131 phlebotomine Algerian sandflies have been processed in the present study. They belong to the species Phlebotomus bergeroti, Phlebotomus alexandri, Phlebotomus sergenti, Phlebotomus chabaudi, Phlebotomus riouxi, Phlebotomus perniciosus, Phlebotomus longicuspis, Phlebotomus perfiliewi, Phlebotomus ariasi, Phlebotomus chadlii, Sergentomyia fallax, Sergentomyia minuta, Sergentomyia antennata, Sergentomyia schwetzi, Sergentomyia clydei, Sergentomyia christophersi and Grassomyia dreyfussi. They have been characterised by sequencing of a part of the cytochrome b (cyt b), t RNA serine and NADH1 on the one hand and of the cytochrome C oxidase I of the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) on the other hand. Our study highlights two sympatric populations within P. sergenti in the area of its type-locality and new haplotypes of P. perniciosus and P. longicuspis without recording the specimens called lcx previously found in North Africa. We tried to use a polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism method based on a combined double digestion of each marker. These method is not interesting to identify sandflies all over the Mediterranean Basin. <![CDATA[Morphology of the larvae, male genitalia and DNA sequences of <em>Anopheles (Kerteszia) pholidotus </em>(Diptera: Culicidae) from Colombia]]> Since 1984, Anopheles (Kerteszia) lepidotus has been considered a mosquito species that is involved in the transmission of malaria in Colombia, after having been incriminated as such with epidemiological evidence from a malaria outbreak in Cunday-Villarrica, Tolima. Subsequent morphological analyses of females captured in the same place and at the time of the outbreak showed that the species responsible for the transmission was not An. lepidotus, but rather Anopheles pholidotus. However, the associated morphological stages and DNA sequences of An. pholidotus from the foci of Cunday-Villarrica had not been analysed. Using samples that were caught recently from the outbreak region, the purpose of this study was to provide updated and additional information by analysing the morphology of female mosquitoes, the genitalia of male mosquitoes and fourth instar larvae of An. pholidotus, which was confirmed with DNA sequences of cytochrome oxidase I and rDNA internal transcribed spacer. A total of 1,596 adult females were collected in addition to 37 larval collections in bromeliads. Furthermore, 141 adult females, which were captured from the same area in the years 1981-1982, were analysed morphologically. Ninety-five DNA sequences were analysed for this study. Morphological and molecular analyses showed that the species present in this region corresponds to An. pholidotus. Given the absence of An. lepidotus, even in recent years, we consider that the species of mosquitoes that was previously incriminated as the malaria vector during the outbreak was indeed An. pholidotus, thus ending the controversy. <![CDATA[<em>Mansonella ozzardi </em>in the municipality of Tefé, Amazonas, Brazil, 60 years after the first report: an epidemiologic study]]> The prevalence of mansonelliasis was studied in the municipality of Tefé, state of Amazonas, Brazil. The prevalence (thick blood smear method) was 13.6% (147/1,078), higher in the Solimões River region (16.3%) than in the Tefé River region (6.3%). In the sampled communities in the Solimões River region, a higher density of cases was observed, as indicated by a kernel analysis (odds ratio 0.34; 95% confidence interval: 0.20-0.57). Males had a higher prevalence (χ2 = 31.292, p &lt; 0.001) than women. Mansonella ozzardi prevalence was higher in retirees and farmers (28.9% and 27%, respectively). Prevalence also significantly increased with age (χ2 = -128.17, p &lt; 0.001), with the highest numbers occurring in persons older than 67 years. <![CDATA[In vivo assessment of antiretroviral therapy-associated side effects]]> Antiretroviral therapy has been associated with side effects, either from the drug itself or in conjunction with the effects of human immunodeficiency virus infection. Here, we evaluated the side effects of the protease inhibitor (PI) indinavir in hamsters consuming a normal or high-fat diet. Indinavir treatment increased the hamster death rate and resulted in an increase in triglyceride, cholesterol and glucose serum levels and a reduction in anti-oxLDL auto-antibodies. The treatment led to histopathological alterations of the kidney and the heart. These results suggest that hamsters are an interesting model for the study of the side effects of antiretroviral drugs, such as PIs. <![CDATA[Incipient colonisation of <em>Lutzomyia longipalpis</em> in the city of Resistencia, province of Chaco, Argentina (2010-2012)]]> Lutzomyia longipalpis was recorded for the first time in Argentina in 2004, in the province of Formosa. In the following years, the vector spread to the south and west in the country and was recorded in the province of Chaco in 2010. From November 2010-May 2012, captures of Phlebotominae were made in the city of Resistencia and its surroundings, to monitor the spread and possible colonisation of Lu. longipalpis in the province of Chaco. In this monitoring, Lu. longipalpis was absent in urban sampling sites and its presence was restricted to Barrio de los Pescadores. This suggests that the incipient colonisation observed in 2010 was not followed by continuous installation of vector populations and expansion of their spatial distribution as in other urban centres of Argentina. <![CDATA[A four-year surveillance program for detection of <em>Plasmodium falciparum</em> chloroquine resistance in Honduras]]> Countries could use the monitoring of drug resistance in malaria parasites as an effective early warning system to develop the timely response mechanisms that are required to avert the further spread of malaria. Drug resistance surveillance is essential in areas where no drug resistance has been reported, especially if neighbouring countries have previously reported resistance. Here, we present the results of a four-year surveillance program based on the sequencing of the pfcrt gene of Plasmodium falciparum populations from endemic areas of Honduras. All isolates were susceptible to chloroquine, as revealed by the pfcrt “CVMNK” genotype in codons 72-76. <![CDATA[Mitochondrial genome sequence diversity of Indian <em>Plasmodium falciparum</em> isolates]]> We have analysed the whole mitochondrial (mt) genome sequences (each ~6 kilo nucleotide base pairs in length) of four field isolates of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum collected from different locations in India. Comparative genomic analyses of mt genome sequences revealed three novel India-specific single nucleotide polymorphisms. In general, high mt genome diversity was found in Indian P. falciparum, at a level comparable to African isolates. A population phylogenetic tree placed the presently sequenced Indian P. falciparum with the global isolates, while a previously sequenced Indian isolate was an outlier. Although this preliminary study is limited to a few numbers of isolates, the data have provided fundamental evidence of the mt genome diversity and evolutionary relationships of Indian P. falciparum with that of global isolates. <![CDATA[Varicella zoster virus reactivation during or immediately following treatment of tegumentary leishmaniasis with antimony compounds]]> Antimony compounds are the cornerstone treatments for tegumentary leishmaniasis. The reactivation of herpes virus is a side effect described in few reports. We conducted an observational study to describe the incidence of herpes zoster reactivation during treatment with antimony compounds. The global incidence of herpes zoster is approximately 2.5 cases per 1,000 persons per month (or 30 cases per 1,000 persons per year). The estimated incidence of herpes zoster in patients undergoing antimony therapy is higher than previously reported. <![CDATA[The <em>mazEF</em> toxin-antitoxin system as a novel antibacterial target in <em>Acinetobacter baumannii</em>]]> Although analysis of toxin-antitoxin (TA) systems can be instructive, to date, there is no information on the prevalence and identity of TA systems based on a large panel of Acinetobacter baumannii clinical isolates. The aim of the current study was to screen for functional TA systems among clinical isolates of A. baumannii and to identify the systems’ locations. For this purpose, we screened 85 A. baumannii isolates collected from different clinical sources for the presence of the mazEF, relBE and higBA TA genes. The results revealed that the genes coding for the mazEF TA system were commonly present in all clinical isolates of A. baumannii. Reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction analysis showed that transcripts were produced in the clinical isolates. Our findings showed that TA genes are prevalent, harboured by chromosomes and transcribed within A. baumannii. Hence, activation of the toxin proteins in the mazEF TA system should be investigated further as an effective antibacterial strategy against this bacterium. <![CDATA[Outstanding insecurities concerning the use of an Ov16-based ELISA in the Amazonia onchocerciasis focus]]> In a recent issue of Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, published in Rio de Janeiro in February 2014 (109: 87-92), Adami et al. have published a survey reporting Mansonella parasite prevalence in the Amazon Region. This report makes a useful contribution to the existing knowledge of filarial parasite distribution within the Amazon area, parasite prevalence rates in relation to age and occupation and provides observations on the possible clinical impact of Mansonella ozzardi. Their publication also provides an account of what appears to be a novel ELISA that has recently been used in the Simuliidae and Onchocerciasis Laboratory of the Oswaldo Cruz Institute, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. We are concerned that the publication of this ELISA may have created an excessively positive impression of the effectiveness of the onchocerciasis recrudescence serological surveillance tools that are presently available for use in the Amazonia onchocerciasis focus. In this letter we have, thus, sought to highlight some of the limitations of this ELISA and suggest how continuing insecurities concerning the detection of antibodies to Onchocerca volvulus within the Amazonia onchocerciasis focus might be minimised. <![CDATA[Knockout confirmation for Hurries: rapid genotype identification of <em>Trypanosoma cruzi</em> transfectants by polymerase chain reaction directly from liquid culture]]> Gene knockout is a widely used approach to evaluate loss-of-function phenotypes and it can be facilitated by the incorporation of a DNA cassette having a drug-selectable marker. Confirmation of the correct knockout cassette insertion is an important step in gene removal validation and has generally been performed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays following a time-consuming DNA extraction step. Here, we show a rapid procedure for the identification of Trypanosoma cruzi transfectants by PCR directly from liquid culture - without prior DNA extraction. This simple approach enabled us to generate PCR amplifications from different cultures varying from 106-108 cells/mL. We also show that it is possible to combine different primer pairs in a multiplex detection reaction and even to achieve knockout confirmation with an extremely simple interpretation of a real-time PCR result. Using the “culture PCR” approach, we show for the first time that we can assess different DNA sequence combinations by PCR directly from liquid culture, saving time in several tasks for T. cruzi genotype interrogation.