Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz]]> vol. 97 num. 7 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<B>Zigman Brener (7/9/1928 - 23/9/2002)</B>]]> <![CDATA[<B>Experimental models of <I>Schistosoma mansoni</I> infection</B>]]> Experimental models of Schistosoma mansoni infections in mammals have contributed greatly to our understanding of the pathology and pathogenesis of infection. We consider here hepatic and extrahepatic disease in models of acute and chronic infection. Experimental schistosome infections have also contributed more broadly to our understanding of granulomatous inflammation and our understanding of Th1 versus Th2 related inflammation and particularly to Th2-mediated fibrosis of the liver. <![CDATA[<B><I>Enterocytozoon bieneusi</I> (microsporidia) in faecal samples from domestic animals from Galicia, Spain</B>]]> In this survey we examined 87 domestic animal stool samples in order to detect the possible presence of microsporidia in animals in close contact with humans in Galicia (NW, Spain). The detection of Enterocytozoon bieneusi spores was confirmed in faecal samples from two dogs and one goat by polymerase chain reaction. None of the positive samples for microsporidia in the staining method were amplified with species-specific primers for Encephalitozoon intestinalis, E. hellem and E. cuniculi. Four rabbits faecal samples reacted with anti-E. cuniculi serum. Our results could indicate the importance of domestic animals as zoonotic reservoirs of microsporidial human infections. <![CDATA[<B>High prevalence anti-<I>Trypanosoma cruzi</I> antibodies<I>,</I> among blood donors in the State of Puebla, a non-endemic area of Mexico</B>]]> Blood transfusion is the second most common transmission route of Chagas disease in many Latin American countries. In Mexico, the prevalence of Chagas disease and impact of transfusion of Trypanosoma cruzi-contaminated blood is not clear. We determined the seropositivity to T. cruzi in a representative random sample, of 2,140 blood donors (1,423 men and 647 women, aged 19-65 years), from a non-endemic state of almost 5 millions of inhabitants by the indirect hemagglutination (IHA) and enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) tests using one autochthonous antigen from T. cruzi parasites, which were genetically characterized like TBAR/ME/1997/RyC-V1 (T. cruzi I) isolated from a Triatoma barberi specimen collected in the same locality. The seropositivity was up to 8.5% and 9% with IHA and ELISA tests, respectively, and up to 7.7% using both tests in common. We found high seroprevalence in a non-endemic area of Mexico, comparable to endemic countries where the disease occurs, e.g. Brazil (0.7%), Bolivia (13.7%) and Argentina (3.5%). The highest values observed in samples from urban areas, associated to continuous rural emigration and the absence of control in blood donors, suggest unsuspected high risk of transmission of T. cruzi, higher than those reported for infections by blood e.g. hepatitis (0.1%) and AIDS (0.1%) in the same region. <![CDATA[<B>Prevalence and genotypes of GB Virus C/Hepatitis G virus among blood donors in Central Brazil</B>]]> A survey was conducted in a blood donor population of Central Brazil aiming to investigate the prevalence of GB virus C (GBV-C)/hepatitis G virus (HGV) infection and also to analyze the virus genotypes distribution. A total of 241 voluntary blood donors were interviewed at the State Blood Bank in Goiânia, State of Goiás, Brazil. Blood samples were collected and serum samples tested for GBV-C/HGV RNA by polymerase chain reaction. Genotypes were determined by restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis. Seventeen samples were GBV-C/HGV RNA-positive, resulting in a prevalence of 7.1% (95% CI: 4.2-11.1). A significant trend of GBV-C/HGV RNA positivity in relation to age was observed, with the highest prevalence in donors between 29-39 years old. Ten infected individuals were characterized by reporting parenteral (30%), sexual (18%), both (6%) and intrafamiliar (6%) transmission. However, 7 (40%) GBV-C/HGV RNA-positive donors did not mention any potential transmission route. RFLP analysis revealed the presence of genotypes 1 and 2 of GBV-C/HGV; more precisely, 10 (58.9%) samples were found belonging to the 2b subtype, 4 (23.5%) to the 2a subtype, and 3 (17.6%) to genotype 1. The present data indicate an intermediate endemicity of GBV-C/HGV infection among this blood donor population, and a predominant circulation of genotype 2 (subtype 2b) in Central Brazil. <![CDATA[<B>Parasitic arthropods of some wild rodents from Juréia-Itatins Ecological Station, State of São Paulo, Brazil</B>]]> A study of the associations between three species of rodents in the Atlantic forest and their parasitic arthropods was undertaken at the Juréia-Itatins Ecological Station, located in the State of São Paulo, Southeastern Brazil, from March 1989 to February 1990. Individuals of three species, Oryzomys russatus, Proechimys iheringi and Nectomys squamipes were captured and examined for ectoparasites. Eleven species of parasitic arthropods were found, including four species of insects and seven of Acari. Parasitism intensity, phenology, and rainfall were positively correlated with the abundance of the ectoparasites and their hosts. The most abundant host was O. russatus (Muridae: Sigmodontinae), and the most common parasite on it was the laelapid mite Gigantolaelaps oudemansi. The cuterebrid Metacuterebra apicalis caused myiasis in O. russatus. A mutualistic association between the staphylinid beetle Amblyopinus sp. and its host P. iheringi (Echimyidae) was observed. The few N. squamipes captured had small numbers of ectoparasites. <![CDATA[<B>Clinical and epidemiological aspects of human parvovirus B19 infection in an urban area in Brazil (Niterói city area, State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)</B>]]> This study was designed to analyse the clinical and epidemiological data from human parvovirus B19 cases in a six-year study of rash diseases conduct in an urban area in Brazil (Niterói city area, State of Rio de Janeiro). A total of 673 patients with acute rash diseases were seen at two primary health care units and at a general hospital. A clotted blood sample was collected from all subjects at the time of consultation. Forty-nine per cent (330 cases) of the patients were negative for dengue, rubella and measles IgM or for low avidity IgG to HHV-6. Of these 330, 105 (31.8%) were identified as IgM positive to parvovirus B19 by using an antibody capture EIA. During the study period, three distinct peaks of parvovirus infection were detected, suggesting that the disease appears to cycle in approximately 4-5 years. B19 infection was characterized by variable combinations of fever, flu-like symptoms, arthropathy, and gastrointestinal symptoms. Frequency of fever and arthropathy was substantially higher in adults, 75% [chi2 (1 D.F.) = 11.39, p = 0.0007] and 62.5% [chi2 (1 D.F.) = 29.89, p = 0.0000], respectively. "Slapped-cheek" appearance and reticular or lace-like rash were seen in only 30.1% of the children. No adult presented this typical rash. The lack of the typical rash pattern in a large proportion of parvovirus B19 and the similarity of clinical manifestations to other rash diseases, specially to rubella, highlight the difficulty of diagnosing B19 infection on clinical grounds alone. <![CDATA[<B>Field trials of an improved cost-effective device for detecting peridomestic populations of <I>Triatoma infestans</I> (Hemiptera: Reduviidae) in rural Argentina</B>]]> An improved device for detecting peridomestic Triatoma infestans consisting of one-liter recycled Tetra Brik milk boxes with a central structure was tested using a matched-pair study design in two rural areas in Argentina. In Olta (La Rioja), the boxes were installed beneath the thatched roofs and on the vertical wooden posts of each peridomestic structure. After a 5-month exposure, at least one of the recovered boxes detected 88% of the 24 T. infestans-positive sites, and 86% of the 7 negative sites by timed manual collections at baseline. In Amamá (Santiago del Estero), the boxes were paired with the best performing prototype tested before (shelter unit). After 3 months, some evidence of infestation was detected in 89% (boxes) and 79% (shelters) of 18-19 sites positive by timed collections, whereas 19% and 16% of 32 negative sites were positive, respectively. Neither device differed significantly in the qualitative or quantitative collection of every sign of infestation. The installation site did not modify significantly the boxes' sampling efficiency in both study areas. As the total cost of each box was half as expensive as each shelter unit, the boxes are thus the most cost-effective and easy-to-use tool for detecting peridomestic T. infestans currently available. <![CDATA[<B>B-cell infiltration and frequency of cytokine producing cells differ between localized and disseminated human cutaneous leishmaniases</B>]]> Biopsies from human localized cutaneous lesions (LCL n = 7) or disseminated lesions (DL n = 8) cases were characterized according to cellular infiltration,frequency of cytokine (IFN-<FONT FACE=Symbol>g</font>, TNF-alpha) or iNOS enzyme producing cells. LCL, the most usual form of the disease with usually one or two lesions, exhibits extensive tissue damage. DL is a rare form with widespread lesions throughout the body; exhibiting poor parasite containment but less tissue damage. We demonstrated that LCL lesions exhibit higher frequency of B lymphocytes and a higher intensity of IFN-gamma expression. In both forms of the disease CD8+ were found in higher frequency than CD4+ T cells. Frequency of TNF-alpha and iNOS producing cells, as well as the frequency of CD68+ macrophages, did not differ between LCL and DL. Our findings reinforce the link between an efficient control of parasite and tissue damage, implicating higher frequency of IFN-gamma producing cells, as well as its possible counteraction by infiltrated B cells and hence possible humoral immune response in situ. <![CDATA[<B>First characterization of <I>Candida albicans</I> by random amplified polymorphic DNA method in Nicaragua and comparison of the diagnosis methods for vaginal candidiasis in Nicaraguan women</B>]]> A total of 106 women with vaginitis in Nicaragua were studied. The positive rate for the identification of Candida species was 41% (44 positive cultures out of 106 women with vaginitis). The sensitivity of microscopic examination of wet mount with the potassium hydroxide (KOH) was 61% and 70% with Gram's stain when using the culture of vaginal fluid as gold standard for diagnosis of candidiasis. Among the 44 positives cultures, isolated species of yeast from vaginal swabs were C. albicans (59%), C. tropicalis (23%), C. glabrata (14%) and C. krusei (4%). This study reports the first characterization of 26 C. albicans stocks from Nicaragua by the random amplified polymorphic DNA method. The genetic analysis in this small C. albicans population showed the existence of linkage disequilibrium, which is consistent with the hypothesis that C. albicans undergoes a clonal propagation. <![CDATA[<B>Complete nucleotide sequence analysis of a Brazilian dengue virus type 2 strain</B>]]> In the last decade, dengue fever (DF) in Brazil has been recognized as an important public health problem, and an increasing number of dengue haemorrhagic fever (DHF) cases have been reported since the introduction of dengue virus type 2 (DEN-2) into the country in 1990. In order to analyze the complete genome sequence of a DEN-2 Brazilian strain (BR64022/98), we designed primers to amplify contiguous segments of approximately 500 base pairs across the entire sequence of the viral genome. Twenty fragments amplified by reverse transcriptase-PCR were cloned, and the complete nucleotide and the deduced amino acid sequences were determined. This constitutes the first complete genetic characterization of a DEN-2 strain from Brazil. All amino acid changes differentiating strains related to the Asian/American-Asian genotype were observed in BR64022/98, indicating the Asiatic origin of the strain. <![CDATA[<B>Morphological and polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment lenght polymorphism characterization of <I>Biomphalaria kuhniana</I> and <I>Biomphalaria amazonica</I> from Colombia</B>]]> In Colombia, five Biomphalaria planorbid species are known: B. kuhniana, B. straminea, B. peregrina, B. canonica and B. oligoza(var. B. philippiana). Among them, B. straminea is intermediate host of Schistosoma mansoni and B. peregrina has been found to be experimentally susceptible to this parasite. B. straminea is commonly confused with B. kuhniana and they have been clustered together with B. intermedia in the complex named B. straminea. The difficulties involved in the specific identification, based on morphological data, have motivated the use of new techniques as auxiliary tools in cases of inconclusive morphological identification of such planorbid. In the present study, five Biomphalaria populations from the Colombian Amazon region and from Interandian Valleys were morphologically identified and characterized by polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment lenght polymorphism directed at the internal transcribed spacer region of the rRNA gene, followed by digestion of the generated fragment with restriction enzymes (DdeI, AluI, RsaI, MvaI and HaeIII). Known profiles of the Brazilian species B. straminea, B. peregrina, B. kuhniana, B. intermedia and B. amazonica, besides B. kuhniana from Colombia, were used for comparison. The five populations under study were morphologically and molecularly identified as B. kuhniana and B. amazonica. <![CDATA[<B>IS6110 fingerprinting of sensitive and resistant strains (1991-1992) of <I>Mycobacterium tuberculosis</I> in Colombia</B>]]> The standardized method to study the polymorphism of IS 6110 was used to characterize 53 isolates of Mycobacterium tuberculosis obtained during 1991-1992 from 14 regions in Colombia. In Valle region cluster rate was 25% (4/16). The mean number of IS6110 band was 10 ± 3. Similarity between strains was of 60% in 81% of strains and this tended to be correlated with geographic origin. For the first time M. tuberculosis without IS6110 bands in restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis was found in Colombia. Additional studies are necessaries in order to best characterize the situation in relation to human immunodeficiency virus epidemic and recent changes in tuberculosis control program. <![CDATA[<B>Detection of antibodies to the 97 kDa component of <I>Toxoplasma gondii</I> in samples of human serum</B>]]> This study was carried out to investigate the immune response against 97 kDa (p97) molecular marker of Toxoplasma gondii that has been characterized as a cytosolic protein and a component of the excreted-secreted antigens from this parasite. A total of 60 serum samples from patients were analyzed by enzime-linked immunosorbent assay and Western blot for toxoplasmosis. These samples were organized in three groups, based on clinical symptoms and results of serological tests. Group I: 20 samples reactive to IgG and IgM (acute phase); group II: 20 non-reactive samples (control group); and group III: 20 samples reactive only to IgG (chronic phase). Western blot was performed with total antigenic extracts or with excreted and secreted antigen from T. gondii to identify the fraction correspondent to p97. It was observed that this cytosolic component from T. gondii stimulates the immunologic system to produce both IgM and IgG antibodies in the beginning of the acute infection and IgG throughout the chronic stage of the asymptomatic toxoplasmosis. <![CDATA[<B>Evaluation of the direct agglutination test and the rK39 dipstick test for the sero-diagnosis of visceral leishmaniasis</B>]]> The direct agglutination test (DAT) based on a freeze-dried antigen and the rK39 dipstick test were evaluated for the sero-diagnosis of visceral leishmaniasis (VL). The sensitivity and specificity of both tests were determined using sera from confirmed VL patients (n = 21), healthy controls (n = 19) and from patients with other confirmed infectious diseases (n = 42). The DAT had a sensitivity and a specificity of 100%. The rK39 had a sensitivity of 85.7% and a specificity of 82%. Both tests were also used to screen blood samples of confirmed VL patients (n = 15) and serum samples of VL suspects (n = 61). The DAT found all blood samples of confirmed VL patients positive and tested 98.4% of the serum samples of the VL suspects positive. In contrast, rK39 detected in 9/15 blood samples (60%) antibodies against Leishmania chagasi and found 85.3% of the serum samples of the suspected patients positive. Although the rK39 dipstick is more rapid and user friendlier than the DAT, the latter has a superior sensitivity and specificity. Furthermore, the reagents used for DAT do not require cold storage, whereas the buffer of the rK39 must be stored at 4ºC. Therefore, the DAT is the most suitable test for the sero-diagnosis of VL under field conditions. <![CDATA[<B>Pathology of intracardiac nerves in experimental Chagas disease</B>]]> Severe destruction of intrinsic cardiac nerves has been reported in experimental acute Chagas myocarditis, followed by extensive regeneration during the chronic phase of the infection. To further study this subject, the sympathetic and para-sympathetic intracardiac nerves of mice infected with a virulent Trypanosoma cruzi strain were analyzed, during acute and chronic infection, by means of histological, histochemical, morphometric and electron microscopic techniques. No evidences of destructive changes were apparent. Histochemical demonstration for acetylcholinesterase and catecholamines did not reveal differences in the amount and distribution of intracardiac nerves, in mice with acute and chronic Chagas myocarditis or in non-infected controls. Mild, probably reversible ultrastructural neural changes were occasionally present, especially during acute myocarditis. Intrinsic nerves appeared as the least involved cardiac structure during the course of experimental Chagas disease in mice. <![CDATA[<B>Screening of some plants used in the Brazilian folk medicine for the treatment of infectious diseases</B>]]> Extracts of 13 Brazilian medicinal plants were screened for their antimicrobial activity against bacteria and yeasts. Of these, 10 plant extracts showed varied levels of antibacterial activity. Piper regnellii presented a good activity against Staphylococus aureus and Bacillus subtilis, a moderate activity on Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and a weak activity against Escherichia coli. Punica granatum showed good activity on S. aureus and was inactive against the other standard strains. Eugenia uniflora presented moderate activity on both S. aureus and E. coli. Psidium guajava,Tanacetum vulgare, Arctium lappa, Mikania glomerata, Sambucus canadensis, Plantago major and Erythrina speciosa presented some degree of antibacterial activity. Spilanthes acmella, Lippia alba, and Achillea millefolium were considered inactive. Five of the plant extracts presented compounds with Rf values similar to the antibacterial compounds visible on bioautogram. Of these, three plants belong to the Asteraceae family. This may mean that the same compounds are responsible for the antibacterial activity in these plants. Anticandidal activity was detected in nine plant extracts (P. guajava, E. uniflora, P. granatum, A. lappa, T. vulgare, M. glomerata, L. alba, P. regnellii, and P. major). The results might explain the ethnobotanical use of the studied species for the treatment of various infectious diseases. <![CDATA[<B>In vitro chloroquine resistance modulation study on fresh isolates of Brazilian<I> Plasmodium falciparum</B></I>: <B>intrinsic antimalarial activity of phenothiazine drugs</B>]]> Phenothiazine drugs - fluphenazine, chlorpromazine, methotrimeprazine and trifluoperazine - were evaluated as modulating agents against Brazilian chloroquine-resistant fresh isolates of Plasmodium falciparum. Aiming to simulate therapeutic schedules, chloroquine was employed at the concentration used for sensitive falciparum malaria treatment and anti-psychotic therapeutic concentrations of the phenothiazine drugs were adopted in two-fold serial dilutions. The in vitro microtechnique for drug susceptibility was employed. Unlike earlier reported data, the phenothiazine modulating effect was not observed. However, all the drugs demonstrated intrinsic antiplasmodial activity in concentrations lower than those described in the literature. In addition, IC50 estimates have been shown to be inferior to the usual anti-psychotic therapeutic concentrations. Statistical analysis also suggested an increase in the parasitaemia rate or, even, a predominant antiparasitic effect of phenothiazine over chloroquine when used in combination. <![CDATA[<B>Study of the safety, immunogenicity and efficacy of attenuated and killed <I>Leishmania </I>(<I>Leishmania</I>) <I> major </I>vaccines in a rhesus monkey (<I>Macaca mulatta</I>) model of the human disease</B>]]> We have compared the efficacy of two Leishmania (Leishmania) major vaccines, one genetically attenuated (DHFR-TS deficient organisms), the other inactivated [autoclaved promastigotes (ALM) with bacillus Calmete-Guérin (BCG)], in protecting rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) against infection with virulent L. (L.) major. Positive antigen-specific recall proliferative response was observed in vaccinees (79% in attenuated parasite-vaccinated monkeys, versus 75% in ALM-plus-BCG-vaccinated animals), although none of these animals exhibited either augmented in vitro gamma interferon (IFN-<FONT FACE=Symbol>g</font>) production or positive delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) response to the leishmanin skin test prior to the challenge. Following challenge, there were significant differences in blastogenic responses (p < 0.05) between attenuated-vaccinated monkeys and naïve controls. In both vaccinated groups very low levels of antibody were found before challenge, which increased after infective challenge. Protective immunity did not follow vaccination, in that monkeys exhibited skin lesion at the site of challenge in all the groups. The most striking result was the lack of pathogenicity of the attenuated parasite, which persisted in infected animals for up to three months, but were incapable of causing disease under the conditions employed. We concluded that both vaccine protocols used in this study are safe in primates, but require further improvement for vaccine application. <![CDATA[<B>Dynamics of evolution and resistance to starvation of <I>Triatoma vitticeps</I> (Stal 1859) (Reduviidae: Triatominae), submitted to two different regimens of food deprivation</B>]]> The resistance to starvation of Triatoma vitticeps has been analyzed comparatively, according to different regimens of food deprivation under laboratory conditions. One cohort, composed of 100 specimens of each evolutionary nymphal stage, was submitted to continuous fasting until death; the second group, arranged in the same way, was fed once on chicken. Through this work, it was possible not only to compare the results obtained from the first group with other authors' results but, also, to analyze the dynamics of evolution, molting, longevity and the increase in insect longevity, in the second group. The average values recorded for survival time revealed statistical differences between the two groups. Among the important results detected, there is one that deserves to be emphasized: the incredible increase in longevity among insects that received only one feed - an average increase in survival time that reached 2.95 to 3.30 times in nymphs of 3rd and 4th stages, respectively. One 5th stage nymph survived for up to 350 days and the females may triplicate their survival rate, what represents an important epidemiological factor. The knowledge about this type of biological characteristic of T. vitticeps may contribute to prevent the domiciliation of this species, what seems to be incipient in some municipal districts, in Brazil. <![CDATA[<B>Gregarine <I>Cephaloidophora communis</I> mawrodiadi, 1908 in the barnacle <I>Euraphia rhyzophorae</I>, Oliveira, 1940 from Brazil</B>]]> The gregarine Cephaloidophora communis was observed for the first time in Brazil in the barnacles Euraphia rhyzophorae collected in Angra dos Reis, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, between 1990 and 1996. Histological studies showed growth phases of the parasite in specific parts of the digestive system. The intracellular forms occurred in the vacuoles of the intestinal cells. Syzygy was frequent, and the most common form following syzygy was cylindrical, with a single membrane. The cytoplasm of the gregarines was always irregular, dense, and occasionally presenting a dark stoch area. <![CDATA[<B>Feeding and defaecation behaviour of <I>Triatoma patagonica</I> (Del Ponte, 1929) (Hemiptera: Reduviidae)</B>]]> Among the vectors of Chagas disease, Triatoma patagonica is a species in the process of adaptation to the human environment being recently registered in urban and suburban zones. However, its importance as a vector of Chagas disease is unknown. The aim of this work was to evaluate two aspects of vectorial competence: the feeding behaviour and the defaecation pattern. These processes were studied in females of T. patagonica fed ad libitum on a restrained pigeon. The results showed that the blood meal size was negatively correlated with the time of first defaecation (r = -0.42). The first defaecation was emitted before the first 10 min and defaecations during feeding were frequent. A total of 73% of females, defaecated during the first 30 min post-feeding. These results suggest that if this species subsequently colonizes the domicile, it would be capable of transmitting Trypanosoma cruzi. <![CDATA[<B><I>Caballerocotyla lenti </I>n. sp., a capsalid monogenean from <I>Auxis thazard </I>(Scombridae) from off the southeastern coast of Brazil</B>]]> Caballerocotyla lenti n. sp. (Monogenea: Capsalidae), recovered from the gills of Auxis thazard (Lacépède) captured off the coast of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is described using light and scanning electron microscopy. The new species is characterized by: a tegument with 2-5 rows of dorso-marginal, unicuspid spines; 53-54 round testes; a constricted pharynx with numerous papillae on its border; and a haptor with a plicate marginal border, a central polygonal area and seven complete septa. C. manteri (Price, 1951) and C. gouri Chauhan, 1953 sensu Murugesh (1995) are figured and commented upon.