Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz]]> vol. num. AHEAD lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[Incipient colonisation of <em>Lutzomyia longipalpis</em> in the city of Resistencia, province of Chaco, Argentina (2010-2012)]]> Lutzomyia longipalpis was recorded for the first time in Argentina in 2004, in the province of Formosa. In the following years, the vector spread to the south and west in the country and was recorded in the province of Chaco in 2010. From November 2010-May 2012, captures of Phlebotominae were made in the city of Resistencia and its surroundings, to monitor the spread and possible colonisation of Lu. longipalpis in the province of Chaco. In this monitoring, Lu. longipalpis was absent in urban sampling sites and its presence was restricted to Barrio de los Pescadores. This suggests that the incipient colonisation observed in 2010 was not followed by continuous installation of vector populations and expansion of their spatial distribution as in other urban centres of Argentina. <![CDATA[A comparison of molecular markers to detect <em>Lutzomyia longipalpis</em> naturally infected with <em>Leishmania (Leishmania) infantum</em>]]> The aim of the present study was to detect natural infection by Leishmania (Leishmania) infantum in Lutzomyia longipalpis captured in Barcarena, state of Pará, Brazil, through the use of three primer sets. With this approach, it is unnecessary to previously dissect the sandfly specimens. DNA of 280 Lu. longipalpis female specimens were extracted from the whole insects. PCR primers for kinetoplast minicircle DNA (kDNA), the mini-exon gene and the small subunit ribosomal RNA (SSU-rRNA) gene of Leishmania were used, generating fragments of 400 bp, 780 bp and 603 bp, respectively. Infection by the parasite was found with the kDNA primer in 8.6% of the cases, with the mini-exon gene primer in 7.1% of the cases and with the SSU-rRNA gene primer in 5.3% of the cases. These data show the importance of polymerase chain reaction as a tool for investigating the molecular epidemiology of visceral leishmaniasis by estimating the risk of disease transmission in endemic areas, with the kDNA primer representing the most reliable marker for the parasite. <![CDATA[Metabolomics in the fight against malaria]]> Metabolomics uses high-resolution mass spectrometry to provide a chemical fingerprint of thousands of metabolites present in cells, tissues or body fluids. Such metabolic phenotyping has been successfully used to study various biologic processes and disease states. High-resolution metabolomics can shed new light on the intricacies of host-parasite interactions in each stage of the Plasmodium life cycle and the downstream ramifications on the host’s metabolism, pathogenesis and disease. Such data can become integrated with other large datasets generated using top-down systems biology approaches and be utilised by computational biologists to develop and enhance models of malaria pathogenesis relevant for identifying new drug targets or intervention strategies. Here, we focus on the promise of metabolomics to complement systems biology approaches in the quest for novel interventions in the fight against malaria. We introduce the Malaria Host-Pathogen Interaction Center (MaHPIC), a new systems biology research coalition. A primary goal of the MaHPIC is to generate systems biology datasets relating to human and non-human primate (NHP) malaria parasites and their hosts making these openly available from an online relational database. Metabolomic data from NHP infections and clinical malaria infections from around the world will comprise a unique global resource. <![CDATA[Triatominae species of Suriname (Heteroptera: Reduviidae) and their role as vectors of Chagas disease]]> Nine species of Triatominae, representing three tribes and five genera, are currently known in Suriname. An annotated list of the species based on the collections of the Bureau of Public Health (Suriname), the National Zoological Collection Suriname and the National History Museum Leiden (the Netherlands) is provided. Additionally, the results of several years of opportunistic collection in two domestic environments are presented. The most common species are Rhodnius pictipes Stål, 1972, Rhodnius robustus Larrouse, 1972 and Panstrongylus geniculatus (Latreille, 1811). The significance of the species as vectors of Chagas disease in Suriname is discussed. <![CDATA[<em>Mansonella ozzardi </em>in the municipality of Tefé, Amazonas, Brazil, 60 years after the first report: an epidemiologic study]]> The prevalence of mansonelliasis was studied in the municipality of Tefé, state of Amazonas, Brazil. The prevalence (thick blood smear method) was 13.6% (147/1,078), higher in the Solimões River region (16.3%) than in the Tefé River region (6.3%). In the sampled communities in the Solimões River region, a higher density of cases was observed, as indicated by a kernel analysis (odds ratio 0.34; 95% confidence interval: 0.20-0.57). Males had a higher prevalence (χ2 = 31.292, p &lt; 0.001) than women. Mansonella ozzardi prevalence was higher in retirees and farmers (28.9% and 27%, respectively). Prevalence also significantly increased with age (χ2 = -128.17, p &lt; 0.001), with the highest numbers occurring in persons older than 67 years. <![CDATA[Mitochondrial genome sequence diversity of Indian <em>Plasmodium falciparum</em> isolates]]> We have analysed the whole mitochondrial (mt) genome sequences (each ~6 kilo nucleotide base pairs in length) of four field isolates of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum collected from different locations in India. Comparative genomic analyses of mt genome sequences revealed three novel India-specific single nucleotide polymorphisms. In general, high mt genome diversity was found in Indian P. falciparum, at a level comparable to African isolates. A population phylogenetic tree placed the presently sequenced Indian P. falciparum with the global isolates, while a previously sequenced Indian isolate was an outlier. Although this preliminary study is limited to a few numbers of isolates, the data have provided fundamental evidence of the mt genome diversity and evolutionary relationships of Indian P. falciparum with that of global isolates. <![CDATA[The remarkable journey of adaptation of the <em>Plasmodium falciparum</em> malaria parasite to New World anopheline mosquitoes]]> Plasmodium falciparum originated in Africa, dispersed around the world as a result of human migration and had to adapt to several different indigenous anopheline mosquitoes. Anophelines from the New World are evolutionary distant form African ones and this probably resulted in a more stringent selection of Plasmodium as it adapted to these vectors. It is thought that Plasmodium has been genetically selected by some anopheline species through unknown mechanisms. The mosquito immune system can greatly limit infection and P. falciparum evolved a strategy to evade these responses, at least in part mediated by Pfs47, a highly polymorphic gene. We propose that adaptation of P. falciparum to new vectors may require evasion of their immune system. Parasites with a Pfs47 haplotype compatible with the indigenous mosquito vector would be able to survive and be transmitted. The mosquito antiplasmodial response could be an important determinant of P. falciparum population structure and could affect malaria transmission in the Americas. <![CDATA[In vivo assessment of antiretroviral therapy-associated side effects]]> Antiretroviral therapy has been associated with side effects, either from the drug itself or in conjunction with the effects of human immunodeficiency virus infection. Here, we evaluated the side effects of the protease inhibitor (PI) indinavir in hamsters consuming a normal or high-fat diet. Indinavir treatment increased the hamster death rate and resulted in an increase in triglyceride, cholesterol and glucose serum levels and a reduction in anti-oxLDL auto-antibodies. The treatment led to histopathological alterations of the kidney and the heart. These results suggest that hamsters are an interesting model for the study of the side effects of antiretroviral drugs, such as PIs. <![CDATA[Varicella zoster virus reactivation during or immediately following treatment of tegumentary leishmaniasis with antimony compounds]]> Antimony compounds are the cornerstone treatments for tegumentary leishmaniasis. The reactivation of herpes virus is a side effect described in few reports. We conducted an observational study to describe the incidence of herpes zoster reactivation during treatment with antimony compounds. The global incidence of herpes zoster is approximately 2.5 cases per 1,000 persons per month (or 30 cases per 1,000 persons per year). The estimated incidence of herpes zoster in patients undergoing antimony therapy is higher than previously reported. <![CDATA[Emerging <em>Plasmodium vivax</em> resistance to chloroquine in South America: an overview]]> The global emergence of Plasmodium vivax strains resistant to chloroquine (CQ) since the late 1980s is complicating the current international efforts for malaria control and elimination. Furthermore, CQ-resistant vivax malaria has already reached an alarming prevalence in Indonesia, East Timor and Papua New Guinea. More recently, in vivo studies have documented CQ-resistant P. vivax infections in Guyana, Peru and Brazil. Here, we summarise the available data on CQ resistance across P. vivax -endemic areas of Latin America by combining published in vivo and in vitro studies. We also review the current knowledge regarding the molecular mechanisms of CQ resistance in P. vivax and the prospects for developing and standardising reliable molecular markers of drug resistance. Finally, we discuss how the Worldwide Antimalarial Resistance Network, an international collaborative effort involving malaria experts from all continents, might contribute to the current regional efforts to map CQ-resistant vivax malaria in South America. <![CDATA[Limits of a rapid identification of common Mediterranean sandflies using polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism]]> A total of 131 phlebotomine Algerian sandflies have been processed in the present study. They belong to the species Phlebotomus bergeroti, Phlebotomus alexandri, Phlebotomus sergenti, Phlebotomus chabaudi, Phlebotomus riouxi, Phlebotomus perniciosus, Phlebotomus longicuspis, Phlebotomus perfiliewi, Phlebotomus ariasi, Phlebotomus chadlii, Sergentomyia fallax, Sergentomyia minuta, Sergentomyia antennata, Sergentomyia schwetzi, Sergentomyia clydei, Sergentomyia christophersi and Grassomyia dreyfussi. They have been characterised by sequencing of a part of the cytochrome b (cyt b), t RNA serine and NADH1 on the one hand and of the cytochrome C oxidase I of the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) on the other hand. Our study highlights two sympatric populations within P. sergenti in the area of its type-locality and new haplotypes of P. perniciosus and P. longicuspis without recording the specimens called lcx previously found in North Africa. We tried to use a polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism method based on a combined double digestion of each marker. These method is not interesting to identify sandflies all over the Mediterranean Basin. <![CDATA[Inferences about the global scenario of human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 1 infection using data mining of viral sequences]]> Human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) is mainly associated with two diseases: tropical spastic paraparesis/HTLV-1-associated myelopathy (TSP/HAM) and adult T-cell leukaemia/lymphoma. This retrovirus infects five-10 million individuals throughout the world. Previously, we developed a database that annotates sequence data from GenBank and the present study aimed to describe the clinical, molecular and epidemiological scenarios of HTLV-1 infection through the stored sequences in this database. A total of 2,545 registered complete and partial sequences of HTLV-1 were collected and 1,967 (77.3%) of those sequences represented unique isolates. Among these isolates, 93% contained geographic origin information and only 39% were related to any clinical status. A total of 1,091 sequences contained information about the geographic origin and viral subtype and 93% of these sequences were identified as subtype “a”. Ethnicity data are very scarce. Regarding clinical status data, 29% of the sequences were generated from TSP/HAM and 67.8% from healthy carrier individuals. Although the data mining enabled some inferences about specific aspects of HTLV-1 infection to be made, due to the relative scarcity of data of available sequences, it was not possible to delineate a global scenario of HTLV-1 infection. <![CDATA[The Duffy binding protein as a key target for a <em>Plasmodium vivax</em> vaccine: lessons from the Brazilian Amazon]]> Plasmodium vivax infects human erythrocytes through a major pathway that requires interaction between an apical parasite protein, the Duffy binding protein (PvDBP) and its receptor on reticulocytes, the Duffy antigen/receptor for chemokines (DARC). The importance of the interaction between PvDBP (region II, DBPII) and DARC to P. vivax infection has motivated our malaria research group at Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (state of Minas Gerais, Brazil) to conduct a number of immunoepidemiological studies to characterise the naturally acquired immunity to PvDBP in populations living in the Amazon rainforest. In this review, we provide an update on the immunology and molecular epidemiology of PvDBP in the Brazilian Amazon - an area of markedly unstable malaria transmission - and compare it with data from other parts of Latin America, as well as Asia and Oceania. <![CDATA[Morphology of the larvae, male genitalia and DNA sequences of <em>Anopheles (Kerteszia) pholidotus </em>(Diptera: Culicidae) from Colombia]]> Since 1984, Anopheles (Kerteszia) lepidotus has been considered a mosquito species that is involved in the transmission of malaria in Colombia, after having been incriminated as such with epidemiological evidence from a malaria outbreak in Cunday-Villarrica, Tolima. Subsequent morphological analyses of females captured in the same place and at the time of the outbreak showed that the species responsible for the transmission was not An. lepidotus, but rather Anopheles pholidotus. However, the associated morphological stages and DNA sequences of An. pholidotus from the foci of Cunday-Villarrica had not been analysed. Using samples that were caught recently from the outbreak region, the purpose of this study was to provide updated and additional information by analysing the morphology of female mosquitoes, the genitalia of male mosquitoes and fourth instar larvae of An. pholidotus, which was confirmed with DNA sequences of cytochrome oxidase I and rDNA internal transcribed spacer. A total of 1,596 adult females were collected in addition to 37 larval collections in bromeliads. Furthermore, 141 adult females, which were captured from the same area in the years 1981-1982, were analysed morphologically. Ninety-five DNA sequences were analysed for this study. Morphological and molecular analyses showed that the species present in this region corresponds to An. pholidotus. Given the absence of An. lepidotus, even in recent years, we consider that the species of mosquitoes that was previously incriminated as the malaria vector during the outbreak was indeed An. pholidotus, thus ending the controversy. <![CDATA[The <em>Plasmodium</em> bottleneck: malaria parasite losses in the mosquito vector]]> Nearly one million people are killed every year by the malaria parasite Plasmodium . Although the disease-causing forms of the parasite exist only in the human blood, mosquitoes of the genus Anopheles are the obligate vector for transmission. Here, we review the parasite life cycle in the vector and highlight the human and mosquito contributions that limit malaria parasite development in the mosquito host. We address parasite killing in its mosquito host and bottlenecks in parasite numbers that might guide intervention strategies to prevent transmission. <![CDATA[The <em>mazEF</em> toxin-antitoxin system as a novel antibacterial target in <em>Acinetobacter baumannii</em>]]> Although analysis of toxin-antitoxin (TA) systems can be instructive, to date, there is no information on the prevalence and identity of TA systems based on a large panel of Acinetobacter baumannii clinical isolates. The aim of the current study was to screen for functional TA systems among clinical isolates of A. baumannii and to identify the systems’ locations. For this purpose, we screened 85 A. baumannii isolates collected from different clinical sources for the presence of the mazEF, relBE and higBA TA genes. The results revealed that the genes coding for the mazEF TA system were commonly present in all clinical isolates of A. baumannii. Reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction analysis showed that transcripts were produced in the clinical isolates. Our findings showed that TA genes are prevalent, harboured by chromosomes and transcribed within A. baumannii. Hence, activation of the toxin proteins in the mazEF TA system should be investigated further as an effective antibacterial strategy against this bacterium. <![CDATA[Oxidative stress enhances the expression of sulfur assimilation genes: preliminary insights on the <em>Enterococcus faecalis</em> iron-sulfur cluster machinery regulation]]> The Firmicutes bacteria participate extensively in virulence and pathological processes. Enterococcus faecalis is a commensal microorganism; however, it is also a pathogenic bacterium mainly associated with nosocomial infections in immunocompromised patients. Iron-sulfur [Fe-S] clusters are inorganic prosthetic groups involved in diverse biological processes, whose in vivo formation requires several specific protein machineries. Escherichia coli is one of the most frequently studied microorganisms regarding [Fe-S] cluster biogenesis and encodes the iron-sulfur cluster and sulfur assimilation systems. In Firmicutes species, a unique operon composed of the sufCDSUB genes is responsible for [Fe-S] cluster biogenesis. The aim of this study was to investigate the potential of the E. faecalis sufCDSUB system in the [Fe-S] cluster assembly using oxidative stress and iron depletion as adverse growth conditions. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction demonstrated, for the first time, that Gram-positive bacteria possess an OxyR component responsive to oxidative stress conditions, as fully described for E. coli models. Likewise, strong expression of the sufCDSUB genes was observed in low concentrations of hydrogen peroxide, indicating that the lowest concentration of oxygen free radicals inside cells, known to be highly damaging to [Fe-S] clusters, is sufficient to trigger the transcriptional machinery for prompt replacement of [Fe-S] clusters. <![CDATA[Knockout confirmation for Hurries: rapid genotype identification of <em>Trypanosoma cruzi</em> transfectants by polymerase chain reaction directly from liquid culture]]> Gene knockout is a widely used approach to evaluate loss-of-function phenotypes and it can be facilitated by the incorporation of a DNA cassette having a drug-selectable marker. Confirmation of the correct knockout cassette insertion is an important step in gene removal validation and has generally been performed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays following a time-consuming DNA extraction step. Here, we show a rapid procedure for the identification of Trypanosoma cruzi transfectants by PCR directly from liquid culture - without prior DNA extraction. This simple approach enabled us to generate PCR amplifications from different cultures varying from 106-108 cells/mL. We also show that it is possible to combine different primer pairs in a multiplex detection reaction and even to achieve knockout confirmation with an extremely simple interpretation of a real-time PCR result. Using the “culture PCR” approach, we show for the first time that we can assess different DNA sequence combinations by PCR directly from liquid culture, saving time in several tasks for T. cruzi genotype interrogation. <![CDATA[A decade of malaria during pregnancy in Brazil: what has been done concerning prevention and management]]> In Brazil, malaria remains a disease of major epidemiological importance because of the high number of cases in the Amazonian Region. Plasmodium spp infections during pregnancy are a significant public health problem with substantial risks for the pregnant woman, the foetus and the newborn child. In Brazil, the control of malaria during pregnancy is primarily achieved by prompt and effective treatment of the acute episodes. Thus, to assure rapid diagnosis and treatment for pregnant women with malaria, one of the recommended strategy for low transmission areas by World Health Organization and as part of a strategy by the Ministry of Health, the National Malaria Control Program has focused on integrative measures with woman and reproductive health. Here, we discuss the approach for the prevention and management of malaria during pregnancy in Brazil over the last 10 years (2003-2012) using morbidity data from Malaria Health Information System. Improving the efficiency and quality of healthcare and education and the consolidation of prevention programmes will be challenges in the control of malaria during pregnancy in the next decade. <![CDATA[Vascular dysfunction as a target for adjuvant therapy in cerebral malaria]]> Cerebral malaria (CM) is a life-threatening complication of Plasmodium falciparum malaria that continues to be a major global health problem. Brain vascular dysfunction is a main factor underlying the pathogenesis of CM and can be a target for the development of adjuvant therapies for the disease. Vascular occlusion by parasitised red blood cells and vasoconstriction/vascular dysfunction results in impaired cerebral blood flow, ischaemia, hypoxia, acidosis and death. In this review, we discuss the mechanisms of vascular dysfunction in CM and the roles of low nitric oxide bioavailability, high levels of endothelin-1 and dysfunction of the angiopoietin-Tie2 axis. We also discuss the usefulness and relevance of the murine experimental model of CM by Plasmodium berghei ANKA to identify mechanisms of disease and to screen potential therapeutic interventions. <![CDATA[<b>WITHDRAWN: Description of a new phlebotomine species from Argentina, <i>Evandromyia chacoensis</i> sp. n. (Diptera: Psychodidae: Phlebotominae)</b>]]> <![CDATA[Serologic survey of West Nile virus in horses from Central-West, Northeast and Southeast Brazil]]> Since the emergence of West Nile virus (WNV) in North America in 1999, there have been several reports of WNV activity in Central and South American countries. To detect WNV in Brazil, we performed a serological survey of horses from different regions of Brazil using recombinant peptides from domain III of WNV. Positive samples were validated with the neutralisation test. Our results showed that of 79 ELISA-positive horses, nine expressed WNV-specific neutralising antibodies. Eight of the infected horses were from the state of Mato Grosso do Sul and one was from the state of Paraíba. Our results provide additional evidence for the emergence of WNV in Brazil and for its circulation in multiple regions of the country. <![CDATA[Prevalence of plasmid-mediated quinolone resistance determinants among oxyiminocephalosporin-resistant Enterobacteriaceae in Argentina]]> High quinolone resistance rates were observed among oxyiminocephalosporin-resistant enterobacteria. In the present study, we searched for the prevalence of plasmid-mediated quinolone resistance (PMQR) genes within the 55 oxyiminocephalosporin-resistant enterobacteria collected in a previous survey. The main PMQR determinants were aac(6')-Ib-cr and qnrB, which had prevalence rates of 42.4% and 33.3%, respectively. The aac(6')-Ib-cr gene was more frequently found in CTX-M-15-producing isolates, while qnrB was homogeneously distributed among all CTX-M producers. <![CDATA[Infection in a rat model reactivates attenuated virulence after long-term axenic culture of <italic>Acanthamoeba</italic> spp]]> Prolonged culturing of many microorganisms leads to the loss of virulence and a reduction of their infective capacity. However, little is known about the changes in the pathogenic strains of Acanthamoeba after long culture periods. Our study evaluated the effect of prolonged culturing on the invasiveness of different isolates of Acanthamoeba in an in vivo rat model. ATCC strains of Acanthamoeba, isolates from the environment and clinical cases were evaluated. The in vivo model was effective in establishing the infection and differentiating the pathogenicity of the isolates and re-isolates. The amoebae cultured in the laboratory for long periods were less virulent than those that were recently isolated, confirming the importance of passing Acanthamoeba strains in animal models. <![CDATA[Evaluation of a chemiluminescent enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for the diagnosis of <italic>Trypanosoma cruzi</italic> infection in a nonendemic setting]]> The disappearance of lytic, protective antibodies (Abs) from the serum of patients with Chagas disease is accepted as a reliable indicator of parasitological cure. The efficiency of a chemiluminescent enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay based on a purified, trypomastigote-derived glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored mucin antigen for the serologic detection of lytic Abs against Trypanosoma cruzi was evaluated in a nonendemic setting using a panel of 92 positive and 58 negative human sera. The technique proved to be highly sensitive {100%; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 96-100} and specific (98.3%; 95% CI = 90.7-99.7), with a kappa score of 0.99. Therefore, this assay can be used to detect active T. cruzi infection and to monitor trypanosomicidal treatment. <![CDATA[Schistogram changes after administration of antischistosomal drugs in mice at the early phase of <italic>Schistosoma mansoni</italic> infection]]> Mice infected with Schistosoma mansoni were treated with oxamniquine, praziquantel, artesunate at the pre-patent phase, aiming at observing schistogram alterations. Half of the animals were perfused five days post-treatment for counting and classification of immature worms, based on pre-established morphological criteria (schistogram); the remaining animals were evaluated 42 or 100 days after infection and perfusion of the portal-system was performed for collection and counting of adult worms and oogram. It was observed that oxamniquine and artesunate treatment administered at the pre-postural phase causes significant reduction in the number of immature and adult worms. However, there was little reduction with praziquantel when used at the dose of 400 mg/kg for treatments administered 14, 15, 21 or 23 days post-infection. Artesunate was responsible for significant alterations in development of young worms, as well as for a higher number of worms presenting intestinal damages. Immature adult worms were detected in mice treated with artesunate or oxamniquine at the pre-patent phase of infection and recovered by perfusion 100 days after infection. Schistogram proved to be a very useful tool for experimental evaluation of the activity of antischistosomal drugs and a good model to identify the most sensitive stages to drugs.