Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz]]> vol. 109 num. 8 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[Reemerging Ebola haemorrhagic fever 2014 and the risks of its introduction into Brazil]]> <![CDATA[Detection of <em>Wuchereria bancrofti</em> DNA in paired serum and urine samples using polymerase chain reaction-based systems]]> The Global Program for the Elimination of Lymphatic Filariasis (GPELF) aims to eliminate this disease by the year 2020. However, the development of more specific and sensitive tests is important for the success of the GPELF. The present study aimed to standardise polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based systems for the diagnosis of filariasis in serum and urine. Twenty paired biological urine and serum samples from individuals already known to be positive for Wuchereria bancrofti were collected during the day. Conventional PCR and semi-nested PCR assays were optimised. The detection limit of the technique for purified W. bancrofti DNA extracted from adult worms was 10 fg for the internal systems (WbF/Wb2) and 0.1 fg by using semi-nested PCR. The specificity of the primers was confirmed experimentally by amplification of 1 ng of purified genomic DNA from other species of parasites. Evaluation of the paired urine and serum samples by the semi-nested PCR technique indicated only two of the 20 tested individuals were positive, whereas the simple internal PCR system (WbF/Wb2), which has highly promising performance, revealed that all the patients were positive using both samples. This study successfully demonstrated the possibility of using the PCR technique on urine for the diagnosis of W. bancrofti infection. <![CDATA[Diagnostic reliability of an immunochromatographic test for Chagas disease screening at a primary health care centre in a rural endemic area]]> Many patients with Chagas disease live in remote communities that lack both equipment and trained personnel to perform a diagnosis by conventional serology (CS). Thus, reliable tests suitable for use under difficult conditions are required. In this study, we evaluated the ability of personnel with and without laboratory skills to perform immunochromatographic (IC) tests to detect Chagas disease at a primary health care centre (PHCC). We examined whole blood samples from 241 patients and serum samples from 238 patients. Then, we calculated the percentage of overall agreement (POA) between the two groups of operators for the sensitivity (S), specificity (Sp) and positive (PPV) and negative (NPV) predictive values of IC tests compared to CS tests. We also evaluated the level of agreement between ELISAs and indirect haemagglutination (IHA) tests. The readings of the IC test results showed 100% agreement (POA = 1). The IC test on whole blood showed the following values: S = 87.3%; Sp = 98.8%; PPV = 96.9% and NPV = 95.9%. Additionally, the IC test on serum displayed the following results: S = 95.7%; Sp = 100%; PPV = 100% and NPV = 98.2%. Using whole blood, the agreement with ELISA was 96.3% and the agreement with IHA was 94.1%. Using serum, the agreement with ELISA was 97.8% and the agreement with IHA was 96.6%. The IC test performance with serum samples was excellent and demonstrated its usefulness in a PHCC with minimal equipment. If the IC test S value and NPV with whole blood are improved, then this test could also be used in areas lacking laboratories or specialised personnel. <![CDATA[Lymphocyte subsets in human immunodeficiency virus-unexposed Brazilian individuals from birth to adulthood]]> Ethnic origin, genetics, gender and environmental factors have been shown to influence some immunologic indices, so that development of reference values for populations of different backgrounds may be necessary. We have determined the distribution of lymphocyte subsets in healthy Brazilian individuals from birth to adulthood. Lymphocyte subsets were determined using four-colour cytometry in a cross-sectional study of 463 human immunodeficiency virus-unexposed children and adults from birth through 49 years of age. Lymphocyte subsets varied according to age, as previously observed in other studies. However, total CD4+ T cell numbers were lower than what was described in the Pediatric AIDS Clinical Trials Group P1009 (PACTG P1009), which assessed an American population of predominantly African and Hispanic backgrounds until the 12-18 year age range, when values were comparable. Na&amp;#239;ve percentages and absolute values of CD8+ T cells, as assessed by CD45RA expression, were also lower than the PACTG P1009 data for all analysed age ranges. CD38 expression on both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells was lower than the PACTG P1009 values, with a widening gap between the two studies at older age ranges. Different patterns of cell differentiation seem to occur in different settings and may have characteristic expression within each population. <![CDATA[<em>Mycobacterium tuberculosis</em> epitope-specific interferon-g production in healthy Brazilians reactive and non-reactive to tuberculin skin test]]> The interferon (IFN)-&amp;#947; response to peptides can be a useful diagnostic marker of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) latent infection. We identified promiscuous and potentially protective CD4+ T-cell epitopes from the most conserved regions of MTB antigenic proteins by scanning the MTB antigenic proteins GroEL2, phosphate-binding protein 1 precursor and 19 kDa antigen with the TEPITOPE algorithm. Seven peptide sequences predicted to bind to multiple human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-DR molecules were synthesised and tested with IFN-&amp;#947; enzyme-linked immunospot (ELISPOT) assays using peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from 16 Mantoux tuberculin skin test (TST)-positive and 16 TST-negative healthy donors. Eighty-eight percent of TST-positive donors responded to at least one of the peptides, compared to 25% of TST-negative donors. Each individual peptide induced IFN-&amp;#947; production by PBMCs from at least 31% of the TST-positive donors. The magnitude of the response against all peptides was 182 &amp;#177; 230 x 106 IFN-&amp;#947; spot forming cells (SFC) among TST-positive donors and 36 &amp;#177; 62 x 106 SFC among TST-negative donors (p = 0.007). The response to GroEL2 (463-477) was only observed in the TST-positive group. This combination of novel MTB CD4 T-cell epitopes should be tested in a larger cohort of individuals with latent tuberculosis (TB) to evaluate its potential to diagnose latent TB and it may be included in ELISPOT-based IFN-&amp;#947; assays to identify individuals with this condition. <![CDATA[The TcI and TcII <em>Trypanosoma cruzi</em> experimental infections induce distinct immune responses and cardiac fibrosis in dogs]]> Trypanosoma cruzi infection may be caused by different strains with distinct discrete typing units (DTUs) that can result in variable clinical forms of chronic Chagas disease. The present study evaluates the immune response and cardiac lesions in dogs experimentally infected with different T. cruzi strains with distinct DTUs, namely, the Colombian (Col) and Y strains of TcI and TcII DTU, respectively. During infection with the Col strain, increased levels of alanine aminotransferase, erythrocytes, haematocrit and haemoglobin were observed. In addition, CD8+ T-lymphocytes isolated from the peripheral blood produced higher levels of interleukin (IL)-4. The latter suggests that during the acute phase, infection with the Col strain may remain unnoticed by circulating mononuclear cells. In the chronic phase, a significant increase in the number of inflammatory cells was detected in the right atrium. Conversely, infection with the Y strain led to leucopoenia, thrombopoenia, inversion of the ratio of CD4+/CD8+ T-lymphocytes and alterations in monocyte number. The Y strain stimulated the production of interferon-&amp;#947; by CD4+ and CD8+ T-lymphocytes and IL-4 by CD8+ T-cells. In the chronic phase, significant heart inflammation and fibrosis were observed, demonstrating that strains of different DTUs interact differently with the host. <![CDATA[Malaria in pregnant women living in areas of low transmission on the southeast Brazilian Coast: molecular diagnosis and humoural immunity profile]]> Studies on autochthonous malaria in low-transmission areas in Brazil have acquired epidemiological relevance because they suggest continued transmission in what remains of the Atlantic Forest. In the southeastern portion of the state of S&amp;#227;o Paulo, outbreaks in the municipality of Juquitiba have been the focus of studies on the prevalence of Plasmodium, including asymptomatic cases. Data on the occurrence of the disease or the presence of antiplasmodial antibodies in pregnant women from this region have not previously been described. Although Plasmodium falciparum in pregnant women has been widely addressed in the literature, the interaction of Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium malariae with this cohort has been poorly explored to date. We monitored the circulation of Plasmodium in pregnant women in health facilities located in Juquitiba using thick blood film and molecular protocols, as well as immunological assays, to evaluate humoural immune parameters. Through real-time and nested polymerase chain reaction, P. vivax and P. malariae were detected for the first time in pregnant women, with a positivity of 5.6%. Immunoassays revealed the presence of IgG antibodies: 44% for ELISA-Pv, 38.4% for SD-Bioline-Pv and 18.4% for indirect immunofluorescence assay-Pm. The high prevalence of antibodies showed significant exposure of this population to Plasmodium. In regions with similar profiles, testing for a malaria diagnosis might be indicated in prenatal care. <![CDATA[Effectiveness of Mosquito Magnet<sup>&#174;</sup> trap in rural areas in the southeastern tropical Atlantic Forest]]> Traps are widely employed for sampling and monitoring mosquito populations for surveillance, ecological and fauna studies. Considering the importance of assessing other technologies for sampling mosquitoes, we addressed the effectiveness of Mosquito Magnet&amp;#174; Independence (MMI) in comparison with those of the CDC trap with CO2 and Lurex3&amp;#174; (CDC-A) and the CDC light trap (CDC-LT). Field collections were performed in a rural area within the Atlantic Forest biome, southeastern state of S&amp;#227;o Paulo, Brazil. The MMI sampled 53.84% of the total number of mosquitoes, the CDC-A (26.43%) and CDC-LT (19.73%). Results of the Pearson chi-squared test (&amp;#967;2) showed a positive association between CDC-LT and species of Culicini and Uranotaeniini tribes. Additionally, our results suggested a positive association between CDC-A and representatives of the Culicini and Aedini tribes, whereas the MMI was positively associated with the Mansoniini and Sabethini as well as with Anophelinae species. The MMI sampled a greater proportion (78.27%) of individuals of Anopheles than either the CDC-LT (0.82%) or the CDC-A traps (20.91%). Results of the present study showed that MMI performed better than CDC-LT or CDC-A in sampling mosquitoes in large numbers, medically important species and assessing diversity parameters in rural southeastern Atlantic Forest. <![CDATA[Temporal abundance of <em>Aedes aegypti</em> in Manaus, Brazil, measured by two trap types for adult mosquitoes]]> A longitudinal study was conducted in Manaus, Brazil, to monitor changes of adult Aedes aegypti (L.) abundance. The objectives were to compare mosquito collections of two trap types, to characterise temporal changes of the mosquito population, to investigate the influence of meteorological variables on mosquito collections and to analyse the association between mosquito collections and dengue incidence. Mosquito monitoring was performed fortnightly using MosquiTRAPs (MQT) and BG-Sentinel (BGS) traps between December 2008-June 2010. The two traps revealed opposing temporal infestation patterns, with highest mosquito collections of MQTs during the dry season and highest collections of BGS during the rainy seasons. Several meteorological variables were significant predictors of mosquito collections in the BGS. The best predictor was the relative humidity, lagged two weeks (in a positive relationship). For MQT, only the number of rainy days in the previous week was significant (in a negative relationship). The correlation between monthly dengue incidence and mosquito abundance in BGS and MQT was moderately positive and negative, respectively. Catches of BGS traps reflected better the dynamic of dengue incidence. The findings help to understand the effects of meteorological variables on mosquito infestation indices of two different traps for adult dengue vectors in Manaus. <![CDATA[Using a top predator as a sentinel for environmental contamination with pathogenic bacteria: the Iberian wolf and leptospires]]> The Iberian wolf (Canis lupus) is the top predator in the Iberian environments in which it lives, feeding on a wide range of species, thus encountering a wide range of disease agents. Therefore, the wolf can serve as sentinel of environmental contamination with pathogens. We investigated the exposure of free-living wolves to 14 serovars of Leptospira interrogans sensu lato. Kidney samples from 49 wolves collected from 2010-2013 in northwestern Spain were analysed by culture, direct immunofluorescence and polymerase chain reaction. Tissue fluids were analysed for antibodies by a microscopic agglutination test. Ten wolves (observed prevalence: 20%, 95% confidence interval = 11-33%) showed evidence of contact with leptospires, eight through direct detection and nine through serology (7 wolves were positive according to both techniques). Titres below the cut-off level were also detected in seven cases. Serovars confirmed were Canicola (n = 4), Icterohaemorrhagiae (n = 3) and Sejro&amp;#235;, Ballum and Grippotyphosa (n = 1 each), indicating that wolves were infected with serovars for which dogs, rodents and ungulates, are the natural hosts and supporting the utility of the wolf and other large predators as environmental sentinels for pathogens. <![CDATA[CagA phosphorylation EPIYA-C motifs and the <em>vac</em>A i genotype in <em>Helicobacter pylori</em> strains of asymptomatic children from a high-risk gastric cancer area in northeastern Brazil]]> Helicobacter pylori infection is one of the most common infections worldwide and is associated with gastric diseases. Virulence factors such as VacA and CagA have been shown to increase the risk of these diseases. Studies have suggested a causal role of CagA EPIYA-C in gastric carcinogenesis and this factor has been shown to be geographically diverse. We investigated the number of CagA EPIYA motifs and the vacA i genotypes in H. pylori strains from asymptomatic children. We included samples from 40 infected children (18 females and 22 males), extracted DNA directly from the gastric mucus/juice (obtained using the string procedure) and analysed the DNA using polymerase chain reaction and DNA sequencing. The vacA i1 genotype was present in 30 (75%) samples, the i2 allele was present in nine (22.5%) samples and both alleles were present in one (2.5%) sample. The cagA-positive samples showed distinct patterns in the 3&amp;#8217; variable region of cagA and 18 of the 30 (60%) strains contained 1 EPIYA-C motif, whereas 12 (40%) strains contained two EPIYA-C motifs. We confirmed that the studied population was colonised early by the most virulent H. pylori strains, as demonstrated by the high frequency of the vacA i1 allele and the high number of EPIYA-C motifs. Therefore, asymptomatic children from an urban community in Fortaleza in northeastern Brazil are frequently colonised with the most virulent H. pylori strains. <![CDATA[In vitro activity of the hydroethanolic extract and biflavonoids isolated from <em>Selaginella sellowii </em>on <em>Leishmania (Leishmania) amazonensis</em>]]> This study is the first phytochemical investigation of Selaginella sellowii and demonstrates the antileishmanial activity of the hydroethanolic extract from this plant (SSHE), as well as of the biflavonoids amentoflavone and robustaflavone, isolated from this species. The effects of these substances were evaluated on intracellular amastigotes of Leishmania (Leishmania) amazonensis, an aetiological agent of American cutaneous leishmaniasis. SSHE was highly active against intracellular amastigotes [the half maximum inhibitory concentration (IC50) = 20.2 &amp;#181;g/mL]. Fractionation of the extract led to the isolation of the two bioflavonoids with the highest activity: amentoflavone, which was about 200 times more active (IC50 = 0.1 &amp;#956;g/mL) and less cytotoxic than SSHE (IC50 = 2.2 and 3 &amp;#956;g/mL, respectively on NIH/3T3 and J774.A1 cells), with a high selectivity index (SI) (22 and 30), robustaflavone, which was also active against L. amazonensis (IC50 = 2.8 &amp;#181;g/mL), but more cytotoxic, with IC50 = 25.5 &amp;#181;g/mL (SI = 9.1) on NIH/3T3 cells and IC50 = 3.1 &amp;#181;g/mL (SI = 1.1) on J774.A1 cells. The production of nitric oxide (NO) was lower in cells treated with amentoflavone (suggesting that NO does not contribute to the leishmanicidal mechanism in this case), while NO release was higher after treatment with robustaflavone. S. sellowii may be a potential source of biflavonoids that could provide promising compounds for the treatment of cutaneous leishmaniasis. <![CDATA[Brazilian <em>Angiostrongylus cantonensis</em> haplotypes, ac8 and ac9, have two different biological and morphological profiles]]> Angiostrongylus cantonensis is the etiologic agent of eosinophilic meningoencephalitis in humans. Cases have been recorded in many parts of the world, including Brazil. The aim of this study was to compare the differences in the biology and morphology of two different Brazilian haplotypes of A. : ac8 and ac9. A significantly larger number of L1 larvae eliminated in the faeces of rodents at the beginning of the patent period was observed for ac9 haplotype and compared to the total of L1 larvae eliminated, there was a significant difference between the two haplotypes. The ac9 haplotype showed a significant difference in the proportion of female and male specimens (0.6:1), but the same was not observed for ac8 (1.2:1). The morphometric analysis showed that male and female specimens isolated from ac8 haplotype were significantly larger with respect to body length, oesophagus length, spicule length (male) and distance from the anus to the rear end (female) compared to specimens from ac9. The morphological analysis by light microscopy showed little variation in the level of bifurcations at the lateral rays in the right lobe of the copulatory bursa between the two haplotypes. The biological, morphological and morphometric variations observed between the two haplotypes agree with the observed variation at the molecular level using the cytochrome oxidase subunit I marker and reinforce the possible influence of geographical isolation on the development of these haplotypes. <![CDATA[Effect of mouse antisera targeting the <em>Phlebotomus papatasi</em> midgut chitinase PpChit1 on sandfly physiology and fitness]]> In sandflies, the absence of the peritrophic matrix (PM) affects the rate of blood digestion. Also, the kinetics of PM secretion varies according to species. We previously characterised PpChit1, a midgut-specific chitinase secreted in Phlebotomus papatasi (PPIS) that is involved in the maturation of the PM and showed that antibodies against PpChit1 reduce the chitinolytic activity in the midgut of several sandfly species. Here, sandflies were fed on red blood cells reconstituted with na&amp;#239;ve or anti-PpChit1 sera and assessed for fitness parameters that included blood digestion, oviposition onset, number of eggs laid, egg bouts, average number of eggs per bout and survival. In PPIS, anti-PpChit1 led to a one-day delay in the onset of egg laying, with flies surviving three days longer compared to the control group. Anti-PpChit1 also had a negative effect on overall ability of flies to lay eggs, as several gravid females from all three species were unable to lay any eggs despite having lived longer than control flies. Whereas the longer survival might be associated with improved haeme scavenging ability by the PM, the inability of females to lay eggs is possibly linked to changes in PM permeability affecting nutrient absorption. <![CDATA[She’s a femme fatale: low-density larval development produces good disease vectors]]> Two hypotheses for how conditions for larval mosquitoes affect vectorial capacity make opposite predictions about the relationship of adult size and frequency of infection with vector-borne pathogens. Competition among larvae produces small adult females. The competition-susceptibility hypothesis postulates that small females are more susceptible to infection and predicts frequency of infection should decrease with size. The competition-longevity hypothesis postulates that small females have lower longevity and lower probability of becoming competent to transmit the pathogen and thus predicts frequency of infection should increase with size. We tested these hypotheses for Aedes aegypti in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, during a dengue outbreak. In the laboratory, longevity increases with size, then decreases at the largest sizes. For field-collected females, generalised linear mixed model comparisons showed that a model with a linear increase of frequency of dengue with size produced the best Akaike&amp;#8217;s information criterion with a correction for small sample sizes (AICc). Consensus prediction of three competing models indicated that frequency of infection increases monotonically with female size, consistent with the competition-longevity hypothesis. Site frequency of infection was not significantly related to site mean size of females. Thus, our data indicate that uncrowded, low competition conditions for larvae produce the females that are most likely to be important vectors of dengue. More generally, ecological conditions, particularly crowding and intraspecific competition among larvae, are likely to affect vector-borne pathogen transmission in nature, in this case via effects on longevity of resulting adults. Heterogeneity among individual vectors in likelihood of infection is a generally important outcome of ecological conditions impacting vectors as larvae. <![CDATA[Evaluation of <em>Giardia duodenalis</em> viability after metronidazole treatment by flow cytometry]]> Giardia duodenalis (syn. lamblia; syn. intestinalis) susceptibility testing is not routinely performed because the classical culture methods are very time-consuming and laborious. We developed a novel flow cytometry (FC) assay to evaluate the susceptibility of G. duodenalis trophozoites to metronidazole (MTZ). Different concentrations of MTZ were added to cultures of trophozoites (10 5 /mL) and the cultures were incubated for different periods. The 50% inhibitory concentration was calculated and propidium iodide (PI) was used to quantify the number of dead cells. After treatment, PI-positive trophozoites increased with increasing drug concentration and exposure time. An excellent correlation was found between FC and the classical method. A novel, accurate and reliable method is now available to evaluate G. duodenalis viability. <![CDATA[Construction of three new Gateway<sup>&#174;</sup> expression plasmids for <em>Trypanosoma cruzi</em>]]> We present here three expression plasmids for Trypanosoma cruzi adapted to the Gateway&amp;#174; recombination cloning system. Two of these plasmids were designed to express trypanosomal proteins fused to a double tag for tandem affinity purification (TAPtag). The TAPtag and Gateway&amp;#174; cassette were introduced into an episomal (pTEX) and an integrative (pTREX) plasmid. Both plasmids were assayed by introducing green fluorescent protein (GFP) by recombination and the integrity of the double-tagged protein was determined by western blotting and immunofluorescence microscopy. The third Gateway adapted vector assayed was the inducible pTcINDEX. When tested with GFP, pTcINDEX-GW showed a good response to tetracycline, being less leaky than its precursor (pTcINDEX). <![CDATA[The draft genome sequence of multidrug-resistant <strong> <em>Pseudomonas aeruginosa</em> </strong> strain CCBH4851, a nosocomial isolate belonging to clone SP (ST277) that is prevalent in Brazil]]> The high occurrence of nosocomial multidrug-resistant (MDR) microorganisms is considered a global health problem. Here, we report the draft genome sequence of a MDR Pseudomonas aeruginosa strain isolated in Brazil that belongs to the endemic clone ST277. The genome encodes important resistance determinant genes and consists of 6.7 Mb with a G+C content of 66.86% and 6,347 predicted coding regions including 60 RNAs. <![CDATA[Landscape fragmentation and Ebola outbreaks]]> The high occurrence of nosocomial multidrug-resistant (MDR) microorganisms is considered a global health problem. Here, we report the draft genome sequence of a MDR Pseudomonas aeruginosa strain isolated in Brazil that belongs to the endemic clone ST277. The genome encodes important resistance determinant genes and consists of 6.7 Mb with a G+C content of 66.86% and 6,347 predicted coding regions including 60 RNAs.