Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz]]> vol. 103 num. 4 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<B>Electron microscopy of trypanosomes</B>: <B>a historical view</B>]]> Since the discovery of the electron microscope and the development of the initial techniques for the processing of biological samples for electron microscopy, the protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi has been the subject of intense investigation. This review analyzes the results obtained by observation of whole trypanosomes as well as thin sections and replicas using several microscopic approaches. Micrographs detailing the appearance of T. cruzi using several methods illustrate the evolution of electron microscopic techniques as well as its contribution to understanding the structural organization of the protozoan. <![CDATA[<B>Polymerase chain reaction genotyping of Epstein-Barr virus in scraping samples of the tongue lateral border in HIV-1 seropositive patients</B>]]> The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is the etiological agent of oral hairy leukoplakia (OHL), an oral lesion with important diagnostic and prognostic value in acquired immunodeficiency disease syndrome. The two EBV genotypes, EBV-1 and EBV-2, can be distinguished by divergent gene sequences encoding the EBNA-2, 3A, 3B, and 3C proteins. The purpose of this study was to identify the EBV genotype prevalent in 53 samples of scrapings from the lateral border of the tongue of HIV-1 seropositive patients, with and without OHL, and to correlate the genotypes with presence of clinical or subclinical OHL with the clinic data collected. EBV-1 and EBV-2 were identified through PCR and Nested-PCR based on sequence differences of the EBNA-2 gene. EBV-1 was identified in the 31 samples (15 without OHL, 7 with clinical OHL and 9 with subclinical OHL), EBV-2 in 12 samples (10 without OHL, 1 with clinical and 1 subclinical OHL), and a mixed infection in 10 samples (2 without OHL, 3 with clinical and 5 with subclinical OHL). The presence of EBV-1 was higher in women, but a significant statistical result relating one the EBV genotypes to the development of OHL was not found. We conclude that the oral epithelium in HIV-1 seropositive patients can be infected by EBV-1, EBV-2 or by a mixed viral population. <![CDATA[<B>Survey to identify <I>Mycobacterium leprae</I>-infected household contacts of patients from prevalent regions of leprosy in Colombia</B>]]> Leprosy in Colombia is in the post-elimination phase; nevertheless, there are regions of this country where the incidence is still around 3-4/100,000. Early detection of leprosy patients is a priority for achieving control and elimination of leprosy; however, the clinical exam is not very sensitive and thus, the majority of patients are diagnosed only when they demonstrate lesions, and damage to the nerves and skin has already occurred. The goal of the present study was to identify Mycobacterium leprae infection and immune responses in household contacts (HHC) of leprosy patients from three prevalent regions of Colombia. Clinical examination, the Mitsuda test, evaluation of IgM anti-PGL-I in the serum, the bacillar index (BI), and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) from nasal swabs (NS) were performed for 402 HHC of 104 leprosy patients during a cross-sectional survey. Positive titers for IgM anti-PGL1 were found for 54 HHC, and PCR-positive NS for 22. The Mitsuda reaction was negative for 38 HHC, although three were positive for IgM anti-PGL-1 titers. The data document that leprosy transmission among HHC is still occurring in a non-endemic country. <![CDATA[<B>Are light traps baited with kairomones effective in the capture of <I>Lutzomyia longipalpis</I> and <I>Lutzomyia intermedia</I>?</B> <B>An evaluation of synthetic human odor as an attractant for phlebotomine sand flies (Diptera: Psychodidae: Phlebotominae)</B>]]> Phlebotomine sand flies are often captured with human bait and/or light traps, either with or without an animal bait. More recently, synthetic attractants have been used as bait in traps to improve the capture of phlebotomine sand flies as well as other insects of medical and veterinary importance. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effects of the kairomone 1-octen-3-ol (octenol) and the synthetic human odor BG-Mesh LureTM (BGML - lactic acid, caproic acid and ammonia) baited in modified CDC light traps on the capture of phlebotomine sand flies. The experiments followed the 5x5 Latin square design. Among the species caught, Lutzomyia intermedia apparently presented a dose-dependent response to octenol. The response obtained with the BGML, alone or in combination with octenol (5 mg/h), indicated some degree of attractiveness of these baits to different phlebotomine sand fly species. Octenol seems to be more attractive to L. intermedia than to Lutzomyia longipalpis, while the BGML presented a higher success in capturing L. longipalpis. When the components of the BGML were used separately, there was no increase in catching the female of L. intermedia. Apparently, there was no synergistic effect between the octenol and the BGML. In conclusion, the octenol and the BGML were demonstrated to be possible baits to attract some phlebotomine sand fly species. <![CDATA[<B>Description of <I>Micropygomyia brandaoi</I> sp. n. (Diptera: Psychodidae: Phlebotominae), a fossil phlebotomine from the Dominican Republic</B>]]> The description of Micropygomyia brandaoi, a new species of fossil phlebotomine sand fly, is based on one male specimen obtained from Dominican amber of the Miocene period (20 million years). In this new species, the fifth palpal segment is long, the coxite lacks a setal tuft and the style shows four well-developed spines. This set of characters allowed us to place the new species in the genus Micropygomyia Barretto. <![CDATA[<B>Transcription of meiotic-like-pathway genes in <I>Giardia intestinalis</I> </B>]]> The reproductive mechanism of Giardia intestinalis, considered one of the earliest divergent eukaryotes, has not been fully defined yet. Some evidence supports the hypothesis that Giardia is an exclusively asexual organism with a clonal population structure. However, the high genetic variability, the variation in ploidy during its life cycle, the low heterozygosity and the existence of genes involved in the meiotic-like recombination pathway in the parasite's genome cast doubt on exclusively asexual nature of Giardia. In this work, semiquantitative RT-PCR analysis was used to assess the transcription pattern of three meiosis-like-specific genes involved in homologues recombination: dmc1, hop1 and spo11. The mRNAs were amplified during the parasite's differentiation processes, encystation and excystation, and expression was found at each stage of its life cycle. A semiquantitative assessment also suggests that expression of some of the genes is regulated during encystation process. <![CDATA[<B>Determinants and trends in perinatal human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) transmission in the metropolitan area of Belo Horizonte, Brazil</B>: <B>1998 - 2005</B>]]> Significant decrease in human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) vertical transmission has been observed worldwide in centers where interventions such as antiretroviral therapy (ART), elective cesarean section, and avoidance of breastfeeding have been implemented. This prospective cohort study aimed to assess the determinants of and the temporal trends in HIV-1 vertical transmission in the metropolitan area of Belo Horizonte, Brazil from January 1998 to December 2005. The rate of HIV-1 vertical transmission decreased from 20% in 1998 to 3% in 2005. This decline was associated with increased use of more complex ART regimens during pregnancy. Multivariate analysis restricted to clinical variables demonstrated that non ART, neonatal respiratory distress/sepsis and breastfeeding were independently associated with HIV-1 vertical transmission. When laboratory parameters were included in the model, high maternal viral load and non maternal ART were associated with HIV-1 vertical transmission. The results from this study confirm the impact of ART in the reduction of HIV-1 vertical transmission and indicate the need for improvement in the care and monitoring of mother and infant pairs affected by HIV-1. <![CDATA[<B>In vitro and in vivo activity of meglumine antimoniate produced at Farmanguinhos-Fiocruz, Brazil, against <I>Leishmania (Leishmania) amazonensis, L (L.) chagasi</I> and <I>L (Viannia) braziliensis</B></I>]]> The leishmanicidal activity of four batches of meglumine antimoniate, produced in Farmanguinhos-Fiocruz, Brazil (TAMs), was assessed and compared to Glucantime®-Aventis Pharma Ltda. Using the amastigote-like in vitro model, the active concentrations of Sb v varied from 10µg/ml to 300 µg/ml for L. (L.) chagasi and from 50µg/ml to 300µg/ml for L. (L.) amazonensis, with no statistically significant differences among the four batches of TAMs and Glucantime®. The inhibitory concentrations (IC50) determined by the amastigote-infected macrophage model for TAM01/03 and Glucantime® were, respectively: 26.3µg/ml and 127.6µg/ml for L. chagasi, 15.4µg /ml and 22.9µg/ml for L. amazonensis, and 12.1µg/ml and 24.2µg/ml for L. (V.) braziliensis. The activities of the four batches of TAMs were confirmed in an in vivo model by assessing, during eight weeks skin lesions caused by L. braziliensis in hamster that were treated with 20mg Sb v/Kg/day for 30 consecutive days. The meglumine antimoniate produced by Farmanguinhos was as effective as the reference drug, Glucantime®-Aventis, against three species of Leishmania that are of medical importance in Brazil. <![CDATA[<B>Morphological and functional characterizations of Schwann cells stimulated with <I>Mycobacterium leprae</B></I>]]> Nerve damage, a characteristic of leprosy, is the cause of patient deformities and a consequence of Schwann cells (SC) infection by Mycobacterium leprae. Although function/dysfunction of SC in human diseases like leprosy is difficult to study, many in vitro models, including SC lines derived from rat and/or human Schwannomas, have been employed. ST88-14 is one of the cell lineages used by many researchers as a model for M. leprae/SC interaction. However, it is necessary to establish the values and limitations of the generated data on the effects of M. leprae in these SC. After evaluating the cell line phenotype in the present study, it is close to non-myelinating SC, making this lineage an ideal model for M. leprae/SC interaction. It was also observed that both M. leprae and PGL-1, a mycobacterial cell-wall component, induced low levels of apoptosis in ST88-14 by a mechanism independent of Bcl-2 family members. <![CDATA[<B>Vaccination with epimastigotes of different strains of <I>Trypanosoma rangeli</I> protects mice against <I>Trypanosoma cruzi</I> infection</B>]]> In our laboratory, we have developed a model of vaccination in mice with Trypanosoma rangeli, a non-pathogenic parasite that shares many antigens with Trypanosoma cruzi. The vaccinated mice were protected against infection with virulent T. cruzi. The goal of the present work was to study the protective activity of strains of T. rangeli of different origin, with the aim of analysing whether this protective capacity is a common feature of T. rangeli. BALB/c mice were vaccinated with live or fixed epimastigotes of two T. rangeli strains, Choachi and SC-58. Vaccinated (VM) and control mice (CM) were infected with virulent T. cruzi, Tulahuen strain. The results showed that the levels of parasitemia of VM, vaccinated with the two strains of T. rangeli were significantly lower than those developed in CM. The survival rate of VM was higher than that CM. Histological studies revealed many amastigote nests and severe inflammatory infiltrates in the heart and skeletal muscles of CM, whereas in the VM only moderate lymphomonocytic infiltrates were detected. Altogether, the results of the present work as well as previous studies show that the antigens involved in the protection induced by T. rangeli are expressed in different strains of this parasite. These findings could prove useful in vaccine preparation. <![CDATA[<B>TNF/TNFR1 signaling up-regulates CCR5 expression by CD8<SUP>+</SUP> T lymphocytes and promotes heart tissue damage during <I>Trypanosoma cruzi</I> infection</B>: <B>beneficial effects of TNF-α blockade</B>]]> In Chagas disease, understanding how the immune response controls parasite growth but also leads to heart damage may provide insight into the design of new therapeutic strategies. Tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) is important for resistance to acute Trypanosoma cruzi infection; however, in patients suffering from chronic T. cruzi infection, plasma TNF-α levels correlate with cardiomyopathy. Recent data suggest that CD8-enriched chagasic myocarditis formation involves CCR1/CCR5-mediated cell migration. Herein, the contribution of TNF-α, especially signaling through the receptor TNFR1/p55, to the pathophysiology of T. cruzi infection was evaluated with a focus on the development of myocarditis and heart dysfunction. Colombian strain-infected C57BL/6 mice had increased frequencies of TNFR1/p55+ and TNF-α+ splenocytes. Although TNFR1-/- mice exhibited reduced myocarditis in the absence of parasite burden, they succumbed to acute infection. Similar to C57BL/6 mice, Benznidazole-treated TNFR1-/- mice survived acute infection. In TNFR1-/- mice, reduced CD8-enriched myocarditis was associated with defective activation of CD44+CD62Llow/- and CCR5+ CD8+ lymphocytes. Also, anti-TNF-α treatment reduced the frequency of CD8+CCR5+ circulating cells and myocarditis, though parasite load was unaltered in infected C3H/HeJ mice. TNFR1-/- and anti-TNF-α-treated infected mice showed regular expression of connexin-43 and reduced fibronectin deposition, respectively. Furthermore, anti-TNF-α treatment resulted in lower levels of CK-MB, a cardiomyocyte lesion marker. Our results suggest that TNF/TNFR1 signaling promotes CD8-enriched myocarditis formation and heart tissue damage, implicating the TNF/TNFR1 signaling pathway as a potential therapeutic target for control of T. cruzi-elicited cardiomyopathy. <![CDATA[<B>Use of in-house PCR for identification of <I>Mycobacterium tuberculosis</I> in BACTEC broth cultures of respiratory specimens</B>]]> We evaluated the ability of a PCR assay to identify Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC) from positive BACTEC® 12B broth cultures. A total of 107 sputum samples were processed and inoculated into Ogawa slants and BACTEC® 12B vials. At a growth index (GI) > 30, 1.0 ml of the 12B broth was removed, stored, and assayed with PCR. Molecular results were compared to those obtained by phenotypic identification methods, including the BACTEC® NAP method. The average times required to perform PCR and NAP were compared. Of the 107 broth cultures evaluated, 90 were NAP positive, while 91 were PCR positive for MTBC. Of particular interest were three contaminated BACTEC® 12B broth cultures yielding microorganisms other than acid-fast bacilli growth with a MTBC that were successfully identified by PCR, resulting in a mean time of 14 days to identify MTBC before NAP identification. These results suggest that PCR could be used as an alternative to the NAP test for the rapid identification of MTBC in BACTEC® 12B cultures, particularly in those that contained both MTBC and nontuberculous mycobacteria. <![CDATA[<B><I>Capillostrongyloides arapaimae</I> sp. n. (Nematoda: Capillariidae), a new intestinal parasite of the arapaima <I>Arapaima gigas</I> from the Brazilian Amazon</B>]]> A new nematode species, Capillostrongyloides arapaimae sp. n., is described from the intestine and pyloric caeca of the arapaima, Arapaima gigas (Schinz), from the Mexiana Island, Amazon river delta, Brazil. It is characterized mainly by the length of the spicule (779-1,800 µm), the large size of the body (males and gravid females 9.39-21.25 and 13.54-27.70 mm long, respectively) and by the markedly broad caudal lateral lobes in the male. It is the third species of genus Capillostrongyloides reported to parasitize Neotropical freshwater fishes. <![CDATA[<B>First detection of <I>Corynebacterium ulcerans</I> producing a diphtheria-like toxin in a case of human with pulmonary infection in the Rio de Janeiro metropolitan area, Brazil</B>]]> The frequency and severity of human infections associated with Corynebacterium ulcerans appear to be increasing in different countries. Here, we describe the first C. ulcerans strain producing a diphtheria-like toxin isolated from an elderly woman with a fatal pulmonary infection and a history of leg skin ulcers in the Rio de Janeiro metropolitan area. <![CDATA[<B>Preliminary results in the immunodiagnosis of tuberculosis in children based on T cell responses to ESAT-6 and PPD antigens</B>]]> The aim of this work was to study the difference in interferon gamma (IFN-gamma) production by T lymphocytes after early secretory antigen target 6 (ESAT-6) or purified protein derivate (PPD) stimulation in whole blood culture supernatants from children with suspected tuberculosis (TB) disease (n = 21), latent TB infection (n = 16) and negative controls (NC) (n = 22) from an endemic area in Brazil. The concentration of IFN-gamma (pg/ml) was measured by enzyme linked immunosorbent assay and the differences in the IFN-gamma levels for each group were compared and evaluated using an unpaired Student's t-test; p values < 0.05 were considered significant. Measurement of IFN-gamma levels after ESAT-6 stimulation raised the possibility of early diagnosis in the latent TB group (p = 0.0030). Nevertheless, the same group showed similar responses to the NC group (p > 0.05) after PPD stimulation. The IFN-gamma assay using ESAT-6 as an antigenic stimulus has the potential to be used as a tool for the immunodiagnosis of early TB in children. <![CDATA[<B>Prevalence, genotypes and risk factors associated with hepatitis C virus infection in hemodialysis patients in Campo Grande, MS, Brazil</B>]]> A survey was conducted among the hemodialysis units of the city of Campo Grande, located in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul in the Mid-west region of Brazil, with the aim of investigating the prevalence, risk factors, and genotypes of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. A total of 163 patients were interviewed in five dialysis units. Serum samples were screened for anti-HCV. Positive samples were tested for HCV RNA and genotyped. The prevalence of anti-HCV was 11% (95% CI: 6.8-17.1). A history of transfusion with blood that was not screened for anti-HCV and length of time on hemodialysis were associated with HCV infection. HCV RNA was detected in 12 samples: ten were of genotype 1, subtypes 1a (75%) and 1b (8.3%), and two were of genotype 3, subtype 3a (16.7%). <![CDATA[<B>Current profile of <I>Mansonella ozzardi</I> (Nematoda: Onchocercidae) in communities along the Ituxi river, Lábrea municipality, Amazonas, Brazil</B>]]> The objective of this paper was to describe the current status of Mansonella ozzardi prevalence among the inhabitants of 12 communities along the Ituxi river, in Lábrea municipality, state of Amazonas. The prevalence of M. ozzardi was determined using thick blood smears obtained by digital punctures. M. ozzardi was found in 30.23% of the samples collected (39/129), with similar prevalence between genders (males: 30.30%; females: 30.16%); the highest prevalence was found in homemakers (45.45%) followed by farmers (38.77%). Among age groups, males and females older than 48 exhibited the highest rates. These results show a significative increase in the prevalence when compared to a epidemiological study made 26 years ago in the same area as well as a different epidemiological profile (gender and occupation) in relation to other areas in Amazonas. <![CDATA[<B>Isolation and molecular identification of <I>Leishmania chagasi</I> from a bat (<I>Carollia perspicillata</I>) in northeastern Venezuela</B>]]> This report describes the isolation of a Leishmania chagasi strain from a bat (Carollia perspicillata), and its identification using biological methods and molecular characterization. The parasites were isolated in an artificial culture medium from a blood sample extracted from a bat heart. The isolate was then inoculated into the footpads of Balb/c mice, which subsequently developed a typical nodular leishmanial lesion; the parasites were confirmed as Leishmania by smear and histopathology. Molecular characterization of the parasites was performed by polymerase chain reaction with species-specific primers, kDNA restriction pattern following Hae III endonuclease digestion and dot blot hybridization using a kDNA probe. This report demonstrates that bats can be hosts for L. chagasi species and suggests the need for studies to determine whether they may be involved in foci of visceral leishmaniasis.