Abstract in English:Several factors appear to affect vertical HIV-1 transmission, dependent mainly on characteristics of the mother (extent of immunodeficiency, co-infections, risk behaviour, nutritional status, immune response, genetical make-up), but also of the virus (phenotype, tropism) and, possibly, of the child (genetical make-up). This complex situation is compounded by the fact that the virus may have the whole gestation period, apart from variable periods between membrane rupture and birth and the breast-feeding period, to pass from the mother to the infant. It seems probable that an extensive interplay of all factors occurs, and that some factors may be more important during specific periods and other factors in other periods. Factors predominant in protection against in utero transmission may be less important for peri-natal transmission, and probably quite different from those that predominantly affect transmission by mothers milk. For instance, cytotoxic T lymphocytes will probably be unable to exert any effect during breast-feeding, while neutralizing antibodies will be unable to protect transmission by HIV transmitted through infected cells. Furthermore, some responses may be capable of controlling transmission of determined virus types, while being inadequate for controlling others. As occurence of mixed infections and recombination of HIV-1 types is a known fact, it does not appear possible to prevent vertical HIV-1 transmission by reinforcing just one of the factors, and probably a general strategy including all known factors must be used. Recent reports have brought information on vertical HIV-1 transmission in a variety of research fields, which will have to be considered in conjunction as background for specific studies.
Abstract in English:An epidemiological study was carried out in the northern Mexican state, Nayarit. Fourteen patients with possible cutaneous leishmaniasis skin lesions gave positive Montenegro skin tests. Biopsies were taken from the skin ulcer and analyzed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) with specific primers for the Leishmania mexicana complex; however all biopsies were not amplified. PCR carried out with specific primers for the L. braziliensis complex resulted in the amplification of all patient DNA. DNA from 12 out of 14 biopsies gave positive amplification with primers species specific for L. (Viannia) braziliensis and hybridized with a species specific L. (V.) braziliensis probe. These results demonstrate the presence in Nayarit of at least two members of the L. braziliensis complex. Most of the cutaneous lesions were caused by L. (V.) braziliensis and two by another species belonging to the L. braziliensis complex. As far as we are aware, this is the first report of L. (V.) braziliensis in Nayarit. The main risk factor associated with the contraction of this disease in Nayarit is attributed to working on coffee plantations.
Abstract in English:To verify the prevalence of infection by human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in alcoholics we studied 131 alcoholic patients (119 males and 12 females) with a mean age of 44.3 ± 10.8 years. Serum samples were collected from this group and analysed, by ELISA, for antibodies against HIV as well as for serological markers for hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV). As we have previously described, we found a high prevalence of HBV (26.4%) and HCV (4.2%) markers as compared to the prevalence of these markers in samples of normal blood donors from Uberlândia's Hemocentro Regional, which are 4% and 0.4%, respectively. Of the 131 patients, four (3%) had antibodies against HIV, three (75%) of which were injecting drug users (IDU). In the HIV-negative group, only one patient was an IDU. The prevalence of HIV in our population, according to data from the city's Health Secretary, varies from 3.1% to 6.2%. We conclude that, at least for the moment, alcoholism per se, did not constitute an important risk factor for HIV infection. However, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome is a rather recent disease as compared to hepatitis B and C and, as the transmission routes are similar for HIV and hepatitis viruses, an increase in the incidence of HIV infection in alcoholics may be just a question of time.
Abstract in English:A retrospective study on the prevalence of hepatitis E virus (HEV) infection was conducted in selected populations in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. A total of 1,115 subjects were tested including 146 patients with acute Non-A Non-B Non-C (NANBNC) viral hepatitis, 65 hemodialysis patients, 93 blood donors, 102 intravenous drug users (IVDUs), 304 pregnant women, 145 individuals living in the rural area and 260 individuals living in the urban area. In order to characterize a favorable epidemiological set for enterically transmitted infection in the studied populations we also evaluated the prevalence of anti-HAV IgG (hepatitis A virus) antibodies. Specific antibodies to HEV (anti-HEV IgG) were detected by a commercial EIA and specific antibodies to HAV (anti-HAV IgG) were detected using a competitive "in house" EIA. We found a high prevalence of anti-HAV IgG in these populations, that could indicate some risk for infections transmitted via the fecal-oral route. The anti-HEV IgG prevalence among the different groups were: 2.1% in patients with acute NANBNC viral hepatitis, 6.2% in hemodialysis patients, 4.3% in blood donors, 11.8% in IVDUs, 1% in pregnant women, and 2.1% in individuals form the rural area. Among individuals living in the urban area we did not find a single positive serum sample. Our results demonstrated the presence of anti-HEV IgG in almost all studied populations; however, further studies are necessary to establish the real situation of HEV epidemiology in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Abstract in English:Although Colombia presents an enormous biological diversity, few studies have been conducted on the population genetics of Trypanosoma cruzi. This study was carried out with 23 Colombian stocks of this protozoa analyzed for 13 isoenzymatic loci. The Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium, the genetic diversity and heterogeneity, the genetic relationships and the possible spatial structure of these 23 Colombian stocks of T. cruzi were estimated. The majority of results obtained are in agreement with a clonal population structure. Nevertheless, two aspects expected in a clonal structure were not discovered in the Colombian T. cruzi stocks. There was an absence of given zymodemes over-represented from a geographical point of view and the presumed temporal stabilizing selective phenomena was not observed either in the Colombian stocks sampled several times through the years of the study. Some hypotheses are discussed in order to explain the results found.
Abstract in English:Biological parameters of five Trypanosoma cruzi strains from different sources were determined in order to know the laboratory behaviour of natural populations. The parameters evaluated were growth kinetics of epimastigotes, differentiation into metacyclic forms, infectivity in mammalian cells grown in vitro and parasite susceptibility to nifurtimox, benznidazole and gentian violet. Differences in transformation to metacyclic, in the percentage of infected cells as well as in the number of amastigotes per cell were observed among the strains. Regarding to pharmacological assays, Y strain was the most sensitive to the three assayed compounds. These data demonstrate the heterogeneity of natural populations of T. cruzi, the only responsible of infection in humans.
Abstract in English:Ultrastructural observations of spermatogenesis and sperm development of Saccocoelioides godoyi, an intestinal parasite of Leporinus friderici (Bloch, 1794) are described. The irregular-shaped spermatogonia form a peripheral layer, and show a prominent nucleus. Spermatocytes are larger than spermatogonia, and in the early stage present synaptonemal complex. Spermatids show nuclei smaller than the spermatocytes. Spermiogenesis is characterized by outgrowth of the zone of differentiation, presenting basal bodies, separated by an intercentriolar body. At the end of this process, the spermatozoa are released into the residual cytoplasmic mass. The spermatozoa of S. godoyi are elongate, similar to the pattern described for other Digenea, showing nuclei, mitochondria and two axonemes with the 9+1 configuration. The peripheral cortical microtubules on the dorsal and ventral faces are laterally interrupted.
Abstract in English:The authors describe a new species of Triatominae (Hemiptera, Reduviidae) from the State of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. The study was made with specimens captured in basaltic formations, at an average altitude of 750 m.o.s.l. The new species is included in the oliveirai complex together with other four species T. williami, T. matogrossensis, T. guazu and T. jurbergi). The new species was compared with the most similar one, T. oliveirai, from which the main differences are on the proportions of head, ante and postocular regions, the general color pattern and the male genitalia, specially on the median process of the pygophore, the support of phallosome, the vesica and the process of the endosome.
Abstract in English:New records for nematode species recovered from elasmobranch fishes in Brazil are established and new systematical arrangements proposed. Parascarophis sphyrnae Campana-Rouget, 1955 from the spiral valve of Sphyrna zygaena is referred for the first time in South America as a new host record. Procamallanus (S.) pereirai Annereaux, 1946, from the spiral valve of Raja castelnaui is reported parasitizing an elasmobranch host. Nematode larvae of the genera Anisakis, Contracaecum, Pseudoterranova and Raphidascaris are listed from the stomach and spiral valves of several hosts. Anisakidae larvae previously referred in Brazil in the genus Phocanema should be reallocated in Pseudoterranova. Nematodes of the genera Anisakis, Contracaecum, Pseudoterranova and Raphidascaris are reported for the first time parasitizing elasmobranchs in Brazil.
Abstract in English:In this study, we evaluated the immune response of patients suffering from cutaneous leishmaniasis treated with two distinct protocols. One group was treated with conventional chemotherapy using pentavalent antimonium salts and the other with immunochemotherapy where a vaccine against cutaneous leishmaniasis was combined with the antimonium salt. Our results show that, although no differences were observed in the necessary time for complete healing of the lesions between the two treatments, peripheral blood mononuclear cells from patients treated by chemotherapy showed smaller lymphoproliferative responses at the end of the treatment than those from patients in the immunochemotherapy group. Furthermore, IFN-gamma production was also different between the two groups. While cells from patients in the chemotherapy group produced more IFN-gamma at the end of treatment, a significant decrease in this cytokine production was associated with healing in the immunochemotherapy group. In addition, IL-10 production was also less intense in this latter group. Finally, an increase in CD8+ -IFN-gamma producing cells was detected in the chemotherapy group. Together these results point to an alternative treatment protocol where healing can be induced with a decreased production of a potentially toxic cytokine.
Abstract in English:Distinct Toxoplasma gondii antigens were entrapped within liposomes and evaluated for their ability to protect Balb/c mice against congenital transmission: soluble tachyzoite antigen (L/STAg), soluble tissue cyst antigen (L/SCAg), soluble tachyzoite plus tissue cyst (L/STCAg) or purified 32kDa antigen of tachyzoite (L/pTAg). Soluble tachyzoite antigen alone in PBS (STAg) or emulsified in Freund's Complete Adjuvant (FCA/STAg) was also evaluated. Dams were inoculated subcutaneously with these antigens 6, 4 and 2 weeks prior to a challenge with four tissue cysts of the P strain of T. gondii orally between 10 and 14 days of pregnancy. Significant diminution differences were observed between the frequency of infected pups born of the dams immunized with the antigens incorporated into liposomes and that of pups born of the dams immunized with antigen emulsified in FCA or non immunized group (p<0.05). There was a significant decrease in the number of pups born dead in the groups L/STAg, L/SCAg and L/pTAg when compared with pups from all other groups (p <0.05). All dams immunized with or without adjuvant showed an antibody response and a proliferation of T-cells. However, no correlation was found between immune response and protection against the challenge.
Abstract in English:Molecular studies of insect disease vectors are of paramount importance for understanding parasite-vector relationship. Advances in this area have led to important findings regarding changes in vectors' physiology upon blood feeding and parasite infection. Mechanisms for interfering with the vectorial capacity of insects responsible for the transmission of diseases such as malaria, Chagas disease and dengue fever are being devised with the ultimate goal of developing transgenic insects. A primary necessity for this goal is information on gene expression and control in the target insect. Our group is investigating molecular aspects of the interaction between Leishmania parasites and Lutzomyia sand flies. As an initial step in our studies we have used random sequencing of cDNA clones from two expression libraries made from head/thorax and abdomen of sugar fed L. longipalpis for the identification of expressed sequence tags (EST). We applied differential display reverse transcriptase-PCR and randomly amplified polymorphic DNA-PCR to characterize differentially expressed mRNA from sugar and blood fed insects, and, in one case, from a L. (V.) braziliensis-infected L. longipalpis. We identified 37 cDNAs that have shown homology to known sequences from GeneBank. Of these, 32 cDNAs code for constitutive proteins such as zinc finger protein, glutamine synthetase, G binding protein, ubiquitin conjugating enzyme. Three are putative differentially expressed cDNAs from blood fed and Leishmania-infected midgut, a chitinase, a V-ATPase and a MAP kinase. Finally, two sequences are homologous to Drosophila melanogaster gene products recently discovered through the Drosophila genome initiative.
Abstract in English:The molecular karyotype of nine Trypanosoma rangeli strains was analyzed by contour-clamped homogeneous electric field electrophoresis, followed by the chromosomal localization of ß-tubulin, cysteine proteinase, 70 kDa heat shock protein (hsp 70) and actin genes. The T. rangeli strains were isolated from either insects or mammals from El Salvador, Honduras, Venezuela, Colombia, Panama and southern Brazil. Also, T. cruzi CL-Brener clone was included for comparison. Despite the great similarity observed among strains from Brazil, the molecular karyotype of all T. rangeli strains analyzed revealed extensive chromosome polymorphism. In addition, it was possible to distinguish T. rangeli from T. cruzi by the chromosomal DNA electrophoresis pattern. The localization of ß-tubulin genes revealed differences among T. rangeli strains and confirmed the similarity between the isolates from Brazil. Hybridization assays using probes directed to the cysteine proteinase, hsp 70 and actin genes discriminated T. rangeli from T. cruzi, proving that these genes are useful molecular markers for the differential diagnosis between these two species. Numerical analysis based on the molecular karyotype data revealed a high degree of polymorphism among T. rangeli strains isolated from southern Brazil and strains isolated from Central and the northern South America. The T. cruzi reference strain was not clustered with any T. rangeli strain.
Abstract in English:The use of the latex of Euphorbia splendens var. hislopii was considered as an effective control method for Biomphalaria glabrata in Sumidouro, Rio de Janeiro. However, the appearance and expansion of the snail Melanoides tuberculata since August 1997, with the concomitant reduction of the population of B. glabrata suggest that competitive exclusion might be taking place. Depending on the susceptibility of the thiarid to the E. splendens toxin, the natural control that is occurring could be interrupted by the employment of the latex if the planorbid were less susceptible to the toxin. The aim of this study is to investigate the molluscicidal activity of the latex on M. tuberculata. We used 420 M. tuberculata, from Sumidouro. Fourteen different latex concentrations were tested using World Health Organization general methodology. Probit analysis was used for LD90 and LD50 determination. The LD50 was 3.57 mg/l and LD90 was 6.22 mg/l. At the highest concentration (10 mg/l) there was no survival. No significant differences among replicas (chi2 = 8.31; gl = 13; p > 0.05) were found. The LD90 dose for M. tuberculata was 13.8 times greater than that for B. glabrata, so that the molluscicide in the presence of the thiarid may have a synergic effect on reduction of Biomphalaria populations.
Abstract in English:The life cycle of Clerada apicicornis was determined under laboratory conditions. Mean development times in days were: egg 27.2, nymph I 12.5, nymph II 12, nymph III 13.4, nymph IV 16.4, nymph V 26. The life expectancy of adults ranged from 117 to 317 days (mean 196 days). Based on a cohort of 29 females of C. apicicornis, a horizontal life table was constructed. The following predictive parameters were obtained: net rate of reproduction (Ro = 48.31), intrinsic rate of population increase (r m = 0.153), generation time (Tc = 28.20 weeks), and finite rate of population increment (lambda = 1.16). The reproductive value (Vx) for each age class of the cohort females was calculated. The following observed parameters were calculated after mortality in each stage: net rate of reproduction (R'o=13.4), intrinsic rate of population increase (r c' =0.09 ), and finite rate of population increment (lambda' =1.1). The generation time (Tc' =27.4) was estimated using the methods of Laughlin and Bengstron. A vertical life table was elaborated and mortality was described for one generation of the cohort.
Abstract in English:Syphacia muris worm burdens were evaluated in the rat Rattus norvegicus of the strains Wistar (outbred), Low/M and AM/2/Torr (inbred), maintained conventionally in institutional animal houses in Brazil. Morphometrics and illustration data for S. muris recovered from Brazilian laboratory rats are provided for the first time since its proposition in 1935.
Abstract in English:The flight initiation of T. infestans, the main vector of Chagas disease in the Southern Cone countries of Latin America, and of the closely-related species T. melanosoma was studied in laboratory. The results demonstrated that after the beginning of observations the peak of the flight activity was about 14 days after feeding in both species and it was usually more marked in the females than in the males, but there were no significant differences in the flight behaviour of the two species.