Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz]]> vol. 111 num. 10 lang. es <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[Asymptomatic infection with American cutaneous leishmaniasis: epidemiological and immunological studies]]> American cutaneous leishmaniasis (ACL) is a major public health problem caused by vector-borne protozoan intracellular parasites from the genus Leishmania, subgenera Viannia and Leishmania. Asymptomatic infection is the most common outcome after Leishmania inoculation. There is incomplete knowledge of the biological processes explaining the absence of signs or symptoms in most cases while other cases present a variety of clinical findings. Most studies of asymptomatic infection have been conducted in areas of endemic visceral leishmaniasis. In contrast, asymptomatic ACL infection has been neglected. This review is focused on the following: (1) epidemiological studies supporting the existence of asymptomatic ACL infection and (2) immunological studies conducted to understand the mechanisms responsible for controlling the parasite and avoiding tissue damage. <![CDATA[On triatomines, cockroaches and haemolymphagy under laboratory conditions: new discoveries]]> For a long time, haematophagy was considered an obligate condition for triatomines (Hemiptera: Reduviidae) to complete their life cycle. Today, the ability to use haemolymphagy is suggested to represent an important survival strategy for some species, especially those in genus Belminus. As Eratyrus mucronatus and Triatoma boliviana are found with cockroaches in the Blaberinae subfamily in Bolivia, their developmental cycle from egg to adult under a “cockroach diet” was studied. The results suggested that having only cockroach haemolymph as a food source compromised development cycle completion in both species. Compared to a “mouse diet”, the cockroach diet increased: (i) the mortality at each nymphal instar; (ii) the number of feedings needed to molt; (iii) the volume of the maximum food intake; and (iv) the time needed to molt. In conclusion, haemolymph could effectively support survival in the field in both species. Nevertheless, under laboratory conditions, the use of haemolymphagy as a survival strategy in the first developmental stages of these species was not supported, as their mortality was very high. Finally, when Triatoma infestans, Rhodnius stali and Panstrongylus rufotuberculatus species were reared on a cockroach diet under similar conditions, all died rather than feeding on cockroaches. These results are discussed in the context of the ecology of each species. <![CDATA[Heterochromatin base pair composition and diversification in holocentric chromosomes of kissing bugs (Hemiptera, Reduviidae)]]> The subfamily Triatominae (Hemiptera, Reduviidae) includes 150 species of blood-sucking insects, vectors of Chagas disease or American trypanosomiasis. Karyotypic information reveals a striking stability in the number of autosomes. However, this group shows substantial variability in genome size, the amount and distribution of C-heterochromatin, and the chromosome positions of 45S rDNA clusters. Here, we analysed the karyotypes of 41 species from six different genera with C-fluorescence banding in order to evaluate the base-pair richness of heterochromatic regions. Our results show a high heterogeneity in the fluorescent staining of the heterochromatin in both autosomes and sex chromosomes, never reported before within an insect subfamily with holocentric chromosomes. This technique allows a clear discrimination of the heterochromatic regions classified as similar by C-banding, constituting a new chromosome marker with taxonomic and evolutionary significance. The diverse fluorescent patterns are likely due to the amplification of different repeated sequences, reflecting an unusual dynamic rearrangement in the genomes of this subfamily. Further, we discuss the evolution of these repeated sequences in both autosomes and sex chromosomes in species of Triatominae. <![CDATA[Molecular detection of flaviviruses and alphaviruses in mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae) from coastal ecosystems in the Colombian Caribbean]]> Arboviruses belonging to the genera Flavivirus and Alphavirus were detected in mosquitoes in a rural area of San Bernardo del Viento (Córdoba, Colombia). A total of 22,180 mosquitoes were collected, sorted into 2,102 pools, and tested by generic/nested reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus, dengue virus, West Nile virus, St. Louis encephalitis virus, yellow fever virus, and Culex flavivirus were detected and identified by sequencing. The detection of arboviral pathogens in this zone represents possible circulation and indicates a human health risk, demonstrating the importance of virological surveillance activities. <![CDATA[The involvement of endothelial mediators in leprosy]]> Leprosy is a chronic infectious disease that requires better understanding since it continues to be a significant health problem in many parts of the world. Leprosy reactions are acute inflammatory episodes regarded as the central etiology of nerve damage in the disease. The activation of endothelium is a relevant phenomenon to be investigated in leprosy reactions. The present study evaluated the expression of endothelial factors in skin lesions and serum samples of leprosy patients. Immunohistochemical analysis of skin samples and serum measurements of VCAM-1, VEGF, tissue factor and thrombomodulin were performed in 77 leprosy patients and 12 controls. We observed significant increase of VCAM-1 circulating levels in non-reactional leprosy (p = 0.0009). The immunostaining of VEGF and tissue factor was higher in endothelium of non-reactional leprosy (p = 0.02 for both) than healthy controls. Patients with type 1 reaction presented increased thrombomodulin serum levels, compared with non-reactional leprosy (p = 0.02). In type 2 reaction, no significant modifications were observed for the endothelial factors investigated. The anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial activities of the endotfhelial factors may play key-roles in the pathogenesis of leprosy and should be enrolled in studies focusing on alternative targets to improve the management of leprosy and its reactions. <![CDATA[Distribution and association between environmental and clinical isolates of <em>Cryptococcus neoformans</em> in Bogotá-Colombia, 2012-2015]]> The propagules of the fungal species Cryptococcus neoformans and C. gattii, whose varieties are distributed world wide, are the primary cause of cryptococcosis, a life threatening disease. The study of environmental and clinical isolates of Cryptococcosis is an important contribution to the epidemiology and ecology of the fungus. The aim of this work was to determine the presence of C. neoformans and C. gattii in the environment in Bogotá, Colombia’s capital city and to establish the relation between clinical and environmental isolates in the period 2012-2015. From a total of 4.116 environmental samples collected between October 2012 - March 2014, 35 were positive for C. neoformans var. grubii. From 55 cryptococcosis cases reported in Bogotá during 2012-2015, 49 isolates were recovered. From those, 94% were identified as C. neoformans var. grubii molecular type VNI; 4% as VNII and 1,2% as C. neoformans var neoformans VNIV. The 84 detected clinical and environmental isolates studied had a similarity between 49-100% according with molecular typing. The correlation between environmental and clinical samples confirms the hypothesis that patients acquire the disease from environmental exposure to the fungal propagules. <![CDATA[A simple, biologically sound, and potentially useful working classification of Chagas disease vectors]]> Current working classifications of Chagas disease vectors rely on a loose mix-up of biological and operational matters. They are therefore confusing and ineffective. I propose a very simple classification that makes biological sense and can be operationally useful. It considers a four-level hierarchy of species (which can be native or non-native); populations (either wild or non-wild); infestation foci (natural, domestic or peridomestic); and individual bugs (which can be solitary house-invaders or part of a hidden infestation focus). This classification translates into a clear, algorithmic scheme for triatomine control-surveillance that may be useful at every operationally relevant scale, from multi-country initiatives to on-site control-surveillance action. <![CDATA[Genetic evidence of enzootic leishmaniasis in a stray canine and Texas mouse from sites in west and central Texas]]> We detected Leishmania mexicana in skin biopsies taken from a stray canine (Canis familiaris) and Texas mouse (Peromyscus attwateri) at two ecologically disparate sites in west and central Texas using polymerase chain reaction (PCR). A single PCR-positive dog was identified from a sample of 96 stray canines and was collected in a peri-urban area in El Paso County, Texas. The PCR-positive P. attwateri was trapped at a wildlife reserve in Mason County, Texas, from a convenience sample of 20 sylvatic mammals of different species. To our knowledge, this represents the first description of L. mexicana in west Texas and extends the known geographic range of the parasite to an area that includes the arid Chihuahuan Desert. Our finding of L. mexicana in P. attwateri represents a new host record and is the first description of the parasite in a wild peromyscid rodent in the United States. <![CDATA[First detection of natural infection of <em>Aedes aegypti</em> with Zika virus in Brazil and throughout South America]]> Zika virus (ZIKV) has caused a major epidemic in Brazil and several other American countries. ZIKV is an arbovirus whose natural vectors during epidemics have been poorly determined. In this study, 1,683 mosquitoes collected in the vicinity of ZIKV suspected cases in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from June 2015 to May 2016 were screened for natural infection by using molecular methods. Three pools of Aedes aegypti were found with the ZIKV genome, one of which had only one male. This finding supports the occurrence of vertical and/or venereal transmission of ZIKV in Ae. aegypti in nature. None of the examined Ae. albopictus and Culex quinquefasciatus was positive. This is the first report of natural infection by ZIKV in mosquitoes in Brazil and other South American countries. So far, Ae. aegypti is the only confirmed vector of ZIKV during the ongoing Pan-American epidemics. <![CDATA[Vancomycin-intermediate livestock-associated methicillin-resistant <em>Staphylococcus aureus</em> ST398/t9538 from swine in Brazil]]> Livestock-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (LA-MRSA) has been mainly related with pig farming, in Europe and North America, with the ST398 as the most commonly identified type of LA-MRSA. Here we present the draft genome of the first vancomycin-intermediate MRSA ST398/t9538 isolated from a swine presenting exudative epidermitis in Brazil.