Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz]]> vol. 109 num. 2 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[Insights from paleomicrobiology into the indigenous peoples of pre-colonial America - A Review]]> This review investigates ancient infectious diseases in the Americas dated to the pre-colonial period and considers what these findings can tell us about the history of the indigenous peoples of the Americas. It gives an overview, but focuses on four microbial pathogens from this period: Helicobacter pylori, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Trypanosoma cruzi and Coccidioides immitis, which cause stomach ulceration and gastric cancer, tuberculosis, Chagas disease and valley fever, respectively. These pathogens were selected as H. pylori can give insight into ancient human migrations into the Americas, M. tuberculosis is associated with population density and urban development, T. cruzi can elucidate human living conditions and C. immitis can indicate agricultural development. A range of methods are used to diagnose infectious disease in ancient human remains, with DNA analysis by polymerase chain reaction one of the most reliable, provided strict precautions are taken against cross contamination. The review concludes with a brief summary of the changes that took place after European exploration and colonisation. <![CDATA[A new species of phlebotomine, <em>Trichophoromyia adelsonsouzai</em> (Diptera: Psychodidae) of Brazilian Amazonia]]> The phlebotomine sandfly Trichophoromyia adelsonsouzai sp. nov. is described and illustrated based on the male and female morphological characteristics of specimens collected at Km 27 of the Trans-Amazonian Highway, municipality of Vitória do Xingu, state of Pará, Brazilian Amazonia. This is an area subject to the direct influence of Belo Monte hydroelectric system. With the description of this new species the number of Trichophoromyia sandflies recorded in Brazil is increased to 20. <![CDATA[Parasite load and risk factors for poor outcome among children with visceral leishmaniasis. A cohort study in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, 2010-2011]]> Clinical and laboratory risk factors for death from visceral leishmaniasis (VL) are relatively known, but quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) might assess the role of parasite load in determining clinical outcome. The aim of this study was to identify risk factors, including parasite load in peripheral blood, for VL poor outcome among children. This prospective cohort study evaluated children aged ≤ 12 years old with VL diagnosis at three times: pre-treatment (T0), during treatment (T1) and post-treatment (T2). Forty-eight patients were included and 16 (33.3%) met the criteria for poor outcome. Age ≤ 12 months [relative risk (RR) 3.51; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.89-6.52], tachydyspnoea (RR 3.46; 95% CI 2.19-5.47), bacterial infection (RR 3.08; 95% CI 1.27-7.48), liver enlargement (RR 3.00; 95% CI 1.44-6.23) and low serum albumin (RR 7.00; 95% CI 1.80-27.24) were identified as risk factors. qPCR was positive in all patients at T0 and the parasite DNA was undetectable in 76.1% of them at T1 and in 90.7% at T2. There was no statistical association between parasite load at T0 and poor outcome. <![CDATA[Alterations in cytokines and haematological parameters during the acute and convalescent phases of <em>Plasmodium falciparum</em> and <em>Plasmodium vivax</em> infections]]> Haematological and cytokine alterations in malaria are a broad and controversial subject in the literature. However, few studies have simultaneously evaluated various cytokines in a single patient group during the acute and convalescent phases of infection. The aim of this study was to sequentially characterise alterations in haematological patters and circulating plasma cytokine and chemokine levels in patients infected with Plasmodium vivax or Plasmodium falciparum from a Brazilian endemic area during the acute and convalescent phases of infection. During the acute phase, thrombocytopaenia, eosinopaenia, lymphopaenia and an increased number of band cells were observed in the majority of the patients. During the convalescent phase, the haematologic parameters returned to normal. During the acute phase, P. vivax and P. falciparum patients had significantly higher interleukin (IL)-6, IL-8, IL-17, interferon-γ, tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α, macrophage inflammatory protein-1β and granulocyte-colony stimulating factor levels than controls and maintained high levels during the convalescent phase. IL-10 was detected at high concentrations during the acute phase, but returned to normal levels during the convalescent phase. Plasma IL-10 concentration was positively correlated with parasitaemia in P. vivax and P. falciparum-infected patients. The same was true for the TNF-α concentration in P. falciparum-infected patients. Finally, the haematological and cytokine profiles were similar between uncomplicated P. falciparum and P. vivax infections. <![CDATA[Genotypes of pathogenic <em>Leptospira</em> spp isolated from rodents in Argentina]]> Leptospirosis is the most widespread zoonosis in the world and significant efforts have been made to determine and classify pathogenic Leptospira strains. This zoonosis is maintained in nature through chronic renal infections of carrier animals, with rodents and other small mammals serving as the most important reservoirs. Additionally, domestic animals, such as livestock and dogs, are significant sources of human infection. In this study, a multiple-locus variable-number tandem repeat analysis (MLVA) was applied to genotype 22 pathogenic Leptospira strains isolated from urban and periurban rodent populations from different regions of Argentina. Three MLVA profiles were identified in strains belonging to the species Leptospira interrogans (serovars Icterohaemorrhagiae and Canicola); one profile was observed in serovar Icterohaemorrhagiae and two MLVA profiles were observed in isolates of serovars Canicola and Portlandvere. All strains belonging to Leptospira borgpetersenii serovar Castellonis exhibited the same MLVA profile. Four different genotypes were isolated from urban populations of rodents, including both mice and rats and two different genotypes were isolated from periurban populations. <![CDATA[Clinical features and laboratory findings of human parvovirus B19 in human immunodeficiency virus-infected patients]]> Immunocompromised patients may develop severe chronic anaemia when infected by human parvovirus B19 (B19V). However, this is not the case in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients with good adherence to highly active antiretroviral treatment (HAART). In this study, we investigated the clinical evolution of five HIV-infected patients receiving HAART who had B19V infections confirmed by serum polymerase chain reaction. Four of the patients were infected with genotype 1a strains and the remaining patient was infected with a genotype 3b strain. Anaemia was detected in three of the patients, but all patients recovered without requiring immunoglobulin and/or blood transfusions. In all cases, the attending physicians did not suspect the B19V infections. There was no apparent relationship between the infecting genotype and the clinical course. In the HAART era, B19V infections in HIV-positive patients may be limited, subtle or unapparent. <![CDATA[Metallothionein-1 and nitric oxide expression are inversely correlated in a murine model of Chagas disease]]> Chagas disease, caused by Trypanosoma cruzi, represents an endemic among Latin America countries. The participation of free radicals, especially nitric oxide (NO), has been demonstrated in the pathophysiology of seropositive individuals with T. cruzi. In Chagas disease, increased NO contributes to the development of cardiomyopathy and megacolon. Metallothioneins (MTs) are efficient free radicals scavengers of NO in vitro and in vivo. Here, we developed a murine model of the chronic phase of Chagas disease using endemic T. cruzi RyCH1 in BALB/c mice, which were divided into four groups: infected non-treated (Inf), infected N-monomethyl-L-arginine treated (Inf L-NAME), non-infected L-NAME treated and non-infected vehicle-treated. We determined blood parasitaemia and NO levels, the extent of parasite nests in tissues and liver MT-I expression levels. It was observed that NO levels were increasing in Inf mice in a time-dependent manner. Inf L-NAME mice had fewer T. cruzi nests in cardiac and skeletal muscle with decreased blood NO levels at day 135 post infection. This affect was negatively correlated with an increase of MT-I expression (r = -0.8462, p &lt; 0.0001). In conclusion, we determined that in Chagas disease, an unknown inhibitory mechanism reduces MT-I expression, allowing augmented NO levels. <![CDATA[Examining <em>ERBB2</em> as a candidate gene for susceptibility to leprosy (Hansen’s disease) in Brazil]]> Leprosy remains prevalent in Brazil. ErbB2 is a receptor for leprosy bacilli entering Schwann cells, which mediates Mycobacterium leprae-induced demyelination and the ERBB2 gene lies within a leprosy susceptibility locus on chromosome 17q11-q21. To determine whether polymorphisms at the ERBB2 locus contribute to this linkage peak, three haplotype tagging single nucleotide polymorphisms (tag-SNPs) (rs2517956, rs2952156, rs1058808) were genotyped in 72 families (208 cases; 372 individuals) from the state of Pará (PA). All three tag-SNPs were associated with leprosy per se [best SNP rs2517959 odds ratio (OR) = 2.22; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.37-3.59; p = 0.001]. Lepromatous (LL) (OR = 3.25; 95% CI 1.37-7.70; p = 0.007) and tuberculoid (TT) (OR = 1.79; 95% CI 1.04-3.05; p = 0.034) leprosy both contributed to the association, which is consistent with the previous linkage to chromosome 17q11-q21 in the population from PA and supports the functional role of ErbB2 in disease pathogenesis. To attempt to replicate these findings, six SNPs (rs2517955, rs2517956, rs1810132, rs2952156, rs1801200, rs1058808) were genotyped in a population-based sample of 570 leprosy cases and 370 controls from the state of Rio Grande do Norte (RN) and the results were analysed using logistic regression analysis. However, none of the associations were replicated in the RN sample, whether analysed for leprosy per se, LL leprosy, TT leprosy, erythema nodosum leprosum or reversal reaction conditions. The role of polymorphisms at ERBB2 in controlling susceptibility to leprosy in Brazil therefore remains unclear. <![CDATA[Genetic diversity and antimicrobial resistance  in <em>Streptococcus agalactiae</em> strains recovered from female carriers in the Bucharest area]]> For the first time, we used multilocus sequence typing (MLST) to understand how Romanian group B streptococcus (GBS) strains fit into the global GBS population structure. Colonising isolates recovered from adult human females were tested for antibiotic resistance, were molecularly serotyped based on the capsular polysaccharide synthesis (cps) gene cluster and further characterised using a set of molecular markers (surface protein genes, pilus-encoded islands and mobile genetic elements inserted in the scpB-lmb intergenic region). Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis was used to complement the MLST clonal distribution pattern of selected strains. Among the 55 strains assigned to six cps types (Ia, Ib, II-V), 18 sequence types (STs) were identified by MLST. Five STs represented new entries to the MLST database. The prevalent STs were ST-1, ST-17, ST-19 and ST-28. Twenty molecular marker profiles were identified. The most common profiles (rib+GBSi1+PI-1, rib+GBSi1+PI-1, PI-2b and alp2/3+PI-1, PI-2a) were associated with the cps III/ST-17 and cps V/ST-1 strains. A cluster of fluoroquinolone-resistant strains was detected among the cps V/ST-19 members; these strains shared alp1 and IS1548 and carried PI-1, PI-2a or both. Our results support the usefulness of implementing an integrated genotyping system at the reference laboratory level to obtain the reliable data required to make comparisons between countries. <![CDATA[Virulence variation among epidemic and non-epidemic strains of Saint Louis encephalitis virus circulating in Argentina]]> Saint Louis encephalitis virus caused an outbreak of febrile illness and encephalitis cases in Córdoba, Argentina, in 2005. During this outbreak, the strain CbaAr-4005 was isolated from Culex quinquefasciatus mosquitoes. We hypothesised that this epidemic variant would be more virulent in a mouse model than two other non-epidemic strains (78V-6507 and CorAn-9275) isolated under different epidemiological conditions. To test this hypothesis, we performed a biological characterisation in a murine model, including mortality, morbidity and infection percentages and lethal infection indices using the three strains. Mice were separated into age groups (7, 10 and 21-day-old mice) and analysed after infection. The strain CbaAr-4005 was the most infective and lethal of the three variants, whereas the other two strains exhibited a decreasing mortality percentage with increasing animal age. The strain CbaAr-4005 produced the highest morbidity percentages and no significant differences among age groups were observed. The epidemic strain caused signs of illness in all inoculated animals and showed narrower ranges from the onset of symptoms than the other strains. CbaAr-4005 was the most virulent for Swiss albino mice. Our results highlight the importance of performing biological characterisations of arbovirus strains likely to be responsible for emerging or reemerging human diseases. <![CDATA[Comparative analysis of the tissue inflammatory response in human cutaneous and disseminated leishmaniasis]]> Cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) is the most frequent clinical form of tegumentary leishmaniasis and is characterised by a single or a few ulcerated skin lesions that may disseminate into multiple ulcers and papules, which characterise disseminated leishmaniasis (DL). In this study, cells were quantified using immunohistochemistry and haematoxylin and eosin staining (CD4+, CD68+, CD20+, plasma cells and neutrophils) and histopathology was used to determine the level of inflammation in biopsies from patients with early CL, late CL and DL (ulcers and papules). The histopathology showed differences in the epidermis between the papules and ulcers from DL. An analysis of the cells present in the tissues showed similarities between the ulcers from localised CL (LCL) and DL. The papules had fewer CD4+ T cells than the DL ulcers. Although both CD4+ cells and macrophages contribute to inflammation in early CL, macrophages are the primary cell type associated with inflammation intensity in late ulcers. The higher frequency of CD20+ cells and plasma cells in lesions demonstrates the importance of B cells in the pathogenesis of leishmaniasis. The number of neutrophils was the same in all of the analysed groups. A comparison between the ulcers from LCL and DL and the early ulcers and papules shows that few differences between these two clinical forms can be distinguished by observing only the tissue. <![CDATA[Low transformation growth factor-β1 production and collagen synthesis correlate with the lack of hepatic periportal fibrosis development in undernourished mice infected with <em>Schistosoma mansoni</em>]]> Undernourished mice infected (UI) submitted to low and long-lasting infections by Schistosoma mansoni are unable to develop the hepatic periportal fibrosis that is equivalent to Symmers’ fibrosis in humans. In this report, the effects of the host’s nutritional status on parasite (worm load, egg viability and maturation) and host (growth curves, biology, collagen synthesis and characteristics of the immunological response) were studied and these are considered as interdependent factors influencing the amount and distribution of fibrous tissue in hepatic periovular granulomas and portal spaces. The nutritional status of the host influenced the low body weight and low parasite burden detected in UI mice as well as the number, viability and maturation of released eggs. The reduced oviposition and increased number of degenerated or dead eggs were associated with low protein synthesis detected in deficient hosts, which likely induced the observed decrease in transformation growth factor (TGF)-β1 and liver collagen. Despite the reduced number of mature eggs in UI mice, the activation of TGF-β1 and hepatic stellate cells occurred regardless of the unviability of most miracidia, due to stimulation by fibrogenic proteins and eggshell glycoproteins. However, changes in the repair mechanisms influenced by the nutritional status in deficient animals may account for the decreased liver collagen detected in the present study. <![CDATA[Silver nanoparticle production by the fungus <em>Fusarium oxysporum</em>: nanoparticle characterisation and analysis of antifungal activity against pathogenic yeasts]]> The microbial synthesis of nanoparticles is a green chemistry approach that combines nanotechnology and microbial biotechnology. The aim of this study was to obtain silver nanoparticles (SNPs) using aqueous extract from the filamentous fungus Fusarium oxysporum as an alternative to chemical procedures and to evaluate its antifungal activity. SNPs production increased in a concentration-dependent way up to 1 mM silver nitrate until 30 days of reaction. Monodispersed and spherical SNPs were predominantly produced. After 60 days, it was possible to observe degenerated SNPs with in additional needle morphology. The SNPs showed a high antifungal activity against Candida and Cryptococcus , with minimum inhibitory concentration values ≤ 1.68 µg/mL for both genera. Morphological alterations of Cryptococcus neoformans treated with SNPs were observed such as disruption of the cell wall and cytoplasmic membrane and lost of the cytoplasm content. This work revealed that SNPs can be easily produced by F. oxysporum aqueous extracts and may be a feasible, low-cost, environmentally friendly method for generating stable and uniformly sized SNPs. Finally, we have demonstrated that these SNPs are active against pathogenic fungi, such as Candida and Cryptococcus . <![CDATA[Epidemiological aspects of influenza A related to climatic conditions during and after a pandemic period in the city of Salvador, northeastern Brazil]]> During the influenza pandemic of 2009, the A(H1N1)pdm09, A/H3N2 seasonal and influenza B viruses were observed to be co-circulating with other respiratory viruses. To observe the epidemiological pattern of the influenza virus between May 2009-August 2011, 467 nasopharyngeal aspirates were collected from children less than five years of age in the city of Salvador. In addition, data on weather conditions were obtained. Indirect immunofluorescence, real-time transcription reverse polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), and sequencing assays were performed for influenza virus detection. Of all 467 samples, 34 (7%) specimens were positive for influenza A and of these, viral characterisation identified Flu A/H3N2 in 25/34 (74%) and A(H1N1)pdm09 in 9/34 (26%). Influenza B accounted for a small proportion (0.8%) and the other respiratory viruses for 27.2% (127/467). No deaths were registered and no pattern of seasonality or expected climatic conditions could be established. These observations are important for predicting the evolution of epidemics and in implementing future anti-pandemic measures. <![CDATA[Genotyping <em>Mycobacterium bovis</em> from cattle in the Central Pampas of Argentina: temporal and regional trends]]> Mycobacterium bovis is the causative agent of bovine tuberculosis (TB), a disease that affects approximately 5% of Argentinean cattle. Among the molecular methods for genotyping, the most convenient are spoligotyping and variable number of tandem repeats (VNTR). A total of 378 samples from bovines with visible lesions consistent with TB were collected at slaughterhouses in three provinces, yielding 265 M. bovis spoligotyped isolates, which were distributed into 35 spoligotypes. In addition, 197 isolates were also typed by the VNTR method and 54 combined VNTR types were detected. There were 24 clusters and 27 orphan types. When both typing methods were combined, 98 spoligotypes and VNTR types were observed with 27 clusters and 71 orphan types. By performing a meta-analysis with previous spoligotyping results, we identified regional and temporal trends in the population structure of M. bovis. For SB0140, the most predominant spoligotype in Argentina, the prevalence percentage remained high during different periods, varying from 25.5-57.8% (1994-2011). By contrast, the second and third most prevalent spoligotypes exhibited important fluctuations. This study shows that there has been an expansion in ancestral lineages as demonstrated by spoligotyping. However, exact tandem repeat typing suggests dynamic changes in the clonal population of this microorganism. <![CDATA[A new rapid colourimetric method for testing <em>Mycobacterium tuberculosis</em> susceptibility to isoniazid and rifampicin: a crystal violet decolourisation assay]]> The aim of this study was to investigate the performance of a new and accurate method for the detection of isoniazid (INH) and rifampicin (RIF) resistance among Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates using a crystal violet decolourisation assay (CVDA). Fifty-five M. tuberculosis isolates obtained from culture stocks stored at -80ºC were tested. After bacterial inoculation, the samples were incubated at 37ºC for seven days and 100 µL of CV (25 mg/L stock solution) was then added to the control and sample tubes. The tubes were incubated for an additional 24-48 h. CV (blue/purple) was decolourised in the presence of bacterial growth; thus, if CV lost its colour in a sample containing a drug, the tested isolate was reported as resistant. The sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, negative predictive value and agreement for INH were 92.5%, 96.4%, 96.1%, 93.1% and 94.5%, respectively, and 88.8%, 100%, 100%, 94.8% and 96.3%, respectively, for RIF. The results were obtained within eight-nine days. This study shows that CVDA is an effective method to detect M. tuberculosis resistance to INH and RIF in developing countries. This method is rapid, simple and inexpensive. Nonetheless, further studies are necessary before routine laboratory implementation. <![CDATA[Genetic characterisation of <em>Langerin</em> gene in human immunodeficiency virus-1-infected women from Bahia, Brazil]]> Studies on human genetic variations are a useful source of knowledge about human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 infection. The Langerin protein, found at the surface of Langerhans cells, has an important protective role in HIV-1 infection. Differences in Langerin function due to host genetic factors could influence susceptibility to HIV-1 infection. To verify the frequency of mutations in the Langerin gene, 118 samples from HIV-1-infected women and 99 samples from HIV-1-uninfected individuals were selected for sequencing of the promoter and carbohydrate recognition domain (CRD)-encoding regions of the Langerin gene. Langerin promoter analysis revealed two single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and one mutation in both studied groups, which created new binding sites for certain transcription factors, such as NFAT5, HOXB9.01 and STAT6.01, according to MatInspector software analysis. Three SNPs were observed in the CRD-encoding region in HIV-1-infected and uninfected individuals: p.K313I, c.941C&gt;T and c.983C&gt;T. This study shows that mutations in the Langerin gene are present in the analysed populations at different genotypic and allelic frequencies. Further studies should be conducted to verify the role of these mutations in HIV-1 susceptibility. <![CDATA[Acute Chagas disease in El Salvador 2000-2012 - Need for surveillance and control]]> Several parasitological studies carried out in El Salvador between 2000-2012 showed a higher frequency of acute cases of Chagas disease than that in other Central American countries. There is an urgent need for improved Chagas disease surveillance and vector control programs in the provinces where acute Chagas disease occurs and throughout El Salvador as a whole. <![CDATA[<em>Candidatus</em> Rickettsia andeanae, a spotted fever group agent infecting <em>Amblyomma parvum</em> ticks in two Brazilian biomes]]> Adult ticks of the species Amblyomma parvum were collected from the vegetation in the Pantanal biome (state of Mato Grosso do Sul) and from horses in the Cerrado biome (state of Piauí) in Brazil. The ticks were individually tested for rickettsial infection via polymerase chain reaction (PCR) targeting three rickettsial genes, gltA, ompA and ompB. Overall, 63.5% (40/63) and 66.7% (2/3) of A. parvum ticks from Pantanal and Cerrado, respectively, contained rickettsial DNA, which were all confirmed by DNA sequencing to be 100% identical to the corresponding fragments of the gltA, ompA and ompB genes of Candidatus Rickettsia andeanae. This report is the first to describe Ca. R. andeanae in Brazil. <![CDATA[Acute dacryocystitis: another clinical manifestation of sporotrichosis]]> Sporotrichosis associated with exposure to domestic cats is hyperendemic in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. A review of the clinical records at our institute revealed four patients with clinical signs of dacryocystitis and a positive conjunctival culture for Sporothrix who were diagnosed with Sporothrix dacryocystitis. Three patients were children (&lt; 13 years of age) and one patient was an adult. Two patients reported contact with a cat that had sporotrichosis. Dacryocystitis was associated with nodular, ulcerated lesions on the face of one patient and with granulomatous conjunctivitis in two patients; however, this condition manifested as an isolated disease in another patient. All of the patients were cured of the fungal infections, but three patients had chronic dacryocystitis and one patient developed a cutaneous fistula. Sporotrichosis is usually a benign disease, but may cause severe complications when the eye and the adnexa are affected. Physicians, especially ophthalmologists in endemic areas, should be aware of the ophthalmological manifestations and complications of sporotrichosis.