Abstract in English:The modern approach to the development of new chemical entities against complex diseases, especially the neglected endemic diseases such as tuberculosis and malaria, is based on the use of defined molecular targets. Among the advantages, this approach allows (i) the search and identification of lead compounds with defined molecular mechanisms against a defined target (e.g. enzymes from defined pathways), (ii) the analysis of a great number of compounds with a favorable cost/benefit ratio, (iii) the development even in the initial stages of compounds with selective toxicity (the fundamental principle of chemotherapy), (iv) the evaluation of plant extracts as well as of pure substances. The current use of such technology, unfortunately, is concentrated in developed countries, especially in the big pharma. This fact contributes in a significant way to hamper the development of innovative new compounds to treat neglected diseases. The large biodiversity within the territory of Brazil puts the country in a strategic position to develop the rational and sustained exploration of new metabolites of therapeutic value. The extension of the country covers a wide range of climates, soil types, and altitudes, providing a unique set of selective pressures for the adaptation of plant life in these scenarios. Chemical diversity is also driven by these forces, in an attempt to best fit the plant communities to the particular abiotic stresses, fauna, and microbes that co-exist with them. Certain areas of vegetation (Amazonian Forest, Atlantic Forest, Araucaria Forest, Cerrado-Brazilian Savanna, and Caatinga) are rich in species and types of environments to be used to search for natural compounds active against tuberculosis, malaria, and chronic-degenerative diseases. The present review describes some strategies to search for natural compounds, whose choice can be based on ethnobotanical and chemotaxonomical studies, and screen for their ability to bind to immobilized drug targets and to inhibit their activities. Molecular cloning, gene knockout, protein expression and purification, N-terminal sequencing, and mass spectrometry are the methods of choice to provide homogeneous drug targets for immobilization by optimized chemical reactions. Plant extract preparations, fractionation of promising plant extracts, propagation protocols and definition of in planta studies to maximize product yield of plant species producing active compounds have to be performed to provide a continuing supply of bioactive materials. Chemical characterization of natural compounds, determination of mode of action by kinetics and other spectroscopic methods (MS, X-ray, NMR), as well as in vitro and in vivo biological assays, chemical derivatization, and structure-activity relationships have to be carried out to provide a thorough knowledge on which to base the search for natural compounds or their derivatives with biological activity.
Abstract in English:Triatoma dimidiata has been found in several cities and towns of those countries where the insect is a domestic or peridomestic pest. In Central America, urban infestations occur in the capitals of at least five countries. During 2001 and 2002 a survey was carried out in the county of San Rafael, Heredia province, located 15 km northwest of San José, capital of Costa Rica, in order to determine the degree of infestation by T. dimidiata in an entire city block. Six peridomestic colonies of the insect were detected in the backyards of eight households. The ecotopes occupied by the insects consisted of store rooms with old objects, wood piles or firewood, and chicken coops. A total of 1917 insects were found in the six foci, during two sampling periods, and a mean infection rate by Trypanosoma cruzi of 28.4% was found in 1718 insects examined. The largest colony found in one of the households yielded 872 insects that were thriving mainly at the expenses of two dogs. Opossums and adult insects were common visitors of the houses and it became evident that this marsupial is closely related to the peridomestic cycle of the Chagas disease agent. Lack of colonization of the insect inside the human dwellings is explained by the type of construction and good sanitary conditions of the houses, in contrast to the situation in most peridomiciliary areas. Stomach blood samples from the insects showed that the main hosts were, in order of decreasing frequency: rodents, dogs, fowl, humans, opossums, and cats. The fact that no indication of infection with Chagas disease could be detected in the human occupants of the infested houses, vis a vis the high infection rate in dogs, is discussed.
Abstract in English:The objectives of this work were to determine the prevalence of Babesia bovis, Babesia bigemina, and Anaplasma marginale detecting antibodies in cattle raised in the semi-arid region of the state of Bahia, Brazil, through indirect enzyme linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) and to compare the performances of indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays with crude (I-ELISA-CrAnaAg) and recombinant major surface protein-5 (I-ELISA-MSP-5Ag), as antigens to detect antibodies against A. marginale. An stable enzootic area was found in Senhor do Bonfim and Euclides da Cunha for B. bovis that showed 86 and 95.5% of prevalence, respectively, and for B. bigemina with 90.8 and 91.3%. On the other hand, Uauá and Juazeiro, were characterized as enzootically unstable areas, since prevalences were: B. bovis - 63.7 and 56.4% and B. bigemina - 53 and 54.8%, respectively. The prevalence of A. marginale in the four municipalities was above 97% with I-ELISA-CrAnaAg and 94.8% with I-ELISA-MSP-5Ag which is an indication of stable enzootic condition for the rickettsia. The I-ELISA-CrAnaAg and I-ELISA-MSP-5Ag showed a highly significant association (r = 0.977), which means that both ELISA tests are suitable for epidemiological studies of A. marginale.
Abstract in English:The present work describes the in vitro infection of a cell line Lulo, derived from Lutzomyia longipalpis embryonic tissue, by Leishmania chagasi promastigotes. This infection process is compared with a parallel one developed using the J774 cell line. The L. chagasi MH/CO/84/CI-044B strain was used for experimental infection in two cell lines. The cells were seeded on glass coverslips in 24-well plates to reach a final number of 2 x 10(5) cells/well. Parasites were added to the adhered Lulo and J774 cells in a 10:1 ratio and were incubated at 28 and 37ºC respectively. After 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10 days post-infection, the cells were extensively washed with PBS, fixed with methanol, and stained with Giemsa. The number of internalized parasites was determined by counting at least 400 cultured cells on each coverslip. The results showed continuous interaction between L. chagasi promastigotes with the cell lines. Some ultrastructural characteristics of the amastigote forms were observed using transmission electron microscopy. The highest percentage of infection in Lulo cells was registered on day 6 post-infection (29.6%) and on day 4 in the J774 cells (51%). This work shows similarities and differences in the L. chagasi experimental infection process in the two cell lines. However, Lulo cells emerge as a new model to study the life-cycle of this parasite.
Abstract in English:South American histricognath rodents Thrichomys apereoides laurentius and Thrichomys pachyurus are natural hosts of Trypanosoma cruzi, agent of Chagas disease. We established breeding colonies of these species to serve as experimental models in various parasitological studies. Both species of Thrichomys have all the requirements necessary to become excellent laboratory models: they can be easily maintained in the standard laboratory conditions and breed throughout the year and they do not have any special dietary demands and can be fed by standard food pellets designed for laboratory mice. Both species produce precocious offspring that have their eyes and ears open, teeth erupted, fur well developed, and can eat solid food in the first week of life. T. a. laurentius has larger litter sizes and lower body masses at birth and weaning than T. pachyurus. Moreover, females of T. a. laurentius reach puberty earlier and with lower body mass than T. pachyurus.
Abstract in English:Anopheles (Anopheles) intermedius and Anopheles (Ano.) mattogrossensis are Brazilian anopheline species belonging to the scarcely studied Anopheles subgenus. Few studies have been done on the genetic differentiation of these species. Both species have been found infected by Plasmodium and are sympatric with other anopheline species from the Nyssorhynchus subgenus. Eighteen enzymatic loci were analyzed in larval specimens of An. intermedius and An. mattogrossensis aiming to estimate the variability and genetic differentiation between these species. An. mattogrossensis population showed higher genetic variability (P = 44.4 and Ho = 0.081 ± 0.031) than that of An. intermedius (P = 33.3 and Ho = 0.048 ± 0.021). Most analyzed loci showed genotypic frequencies according to Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium, except for LAP1 and LAP2 in An. intermedius, and EST1 and PGM loci in An. mattogrossensis. The genetic distance between these species (D = 0.683) was consistent with the inter-specific values reported for Anopheles subgenus. We verified that the polymorphism and heterozygosity percentile values found in both species and compared to those in the literature, showed no relation between the level of isozyme variability and geographical distribution. The low variability found in these two species is probably more related to the niche they occupy than to their geographic distribution.
Abstract in English:The yellow fever mosquito Aedes aegypti was introduced in Peru in 1852 and was considered to be eradicated in 1958. In 2001, Ae. aegypti had been recorded in 15 out of 24 Peruvian Departments. Peru has great ecological differences between the east and west sides of Andes. Because of this, we consider that Ae. aegypti populations of both east and west sides can have a genetically distinct population structure. In this study we examined genetic variability and genealogical relationships among three Ae. aegypti Peruvian populations: Lima, Piura (west Andes), and Iquitos (east Andes) using a fragment of the ND4 gene of the mitochondrial genome. Three haplotypes were detected among 55 samples. Lima and Iquitos showed the same haplotype (Haplotype I), whereas Piura has two haplotypes (Haplotype II and III). Haplotype II is four mutational steps apart from Haplotype I, while Haplotype III is 13 mutational steps apart from Haplotype I in the network. The analysis of molecular variation showed that mostly of the detected genetic variation occurs at interpopulational level. The significant value phist suggests that Piura population is structured in relation to Lima and Iquitos populations and the gene flow of the ND4 is restricted in Piura when compared to Lima and Iquitos. Genetic relationship between haplotype I and haplotype II suggests introduction of the same mtDNA lineage into those localities. However the existence of a genetically distant haplotype III also suggests introduction of at least two Ae. aegypti lineages in Peru.
Abstract in English:The constitutive ribosomal gene rp49 is frequently used as an endogenous control in Drosophila gene expression experiments. Using the degenerate primer PCR technique we have cloned a fragment homologous to this gene in Anopheles aquasalis Curry, a Neotropical vector of malaria. In addition, based on this first sequence, a new primer was designed, which allowed the isolation of fragments of rp49 in two other species, Aedes aegypti (Linnaeus) and Culex quinquefasciatus Say, suggesting that it could be used to clone fragments of this gene in a number of other mosquito species. Primers were also designed to specifically amplify rp49 cDNA fragments in An. aquasalis and Ae. aegypti, showing that rp49 could be used as a good constitutive control in gene expression studies of these and other vectorially important mosquito species.
Abstract in English:Eggs and all nymphs of these species were studied employing light microscopy (LM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The major differences observed by LM in the eggs were related to the presence and the distribution of pores on the surface of their chorion. Morphological differences among three nymphal stages (1st, 3rd, and 5th) development of each species were observed. The differential characteristics are chromatic and in the shape of connexival spots. The ultrastructure of the ventral region of the head and the IX, X, and XI abdominal segments (anal tube) of the both species were described demonstrating morphological differences that can be used for diagnosis of the species.
Abstract in English:The neuraminidase gene, nanH, is present in the O1, non-toxigenic Vibrio cholerae Amazonia strain. Its location has been assigned to a 150 kb NotI DNA fragment, with the use of pulsed-field gel electrophoresis and DNA hybridization. This NotI fragment is positioned inside 630 kb SfiI and 1900 kb I-CeuI fragments of chromosome 1. Association of the pathogenicity island VPI-2, carrying nanH and other genes, with toxigenic strains has been described by other authors. The presence of nanH in a non-toxigenic strain is an exception to this rule. The Amazonia strain nanH was sequenced (Genbank accession No. AY825932) and compared to available V. cholerae sequences. The sequence is different from those of pandemic strains, with 72 nucleotide substitutions. This is the first description of an O1 strain with a different nanH allele. The most variable domain of the Amazonia NanH is the second lectin wing, comprising 13 out of 17 amino acid substitutions. Based on the presence of nanH in the same region of the genome, and similarity of the adjacent sequences to VPI-2 sequences, it is proposed that the pathogenicity island VPI-2 is present in this strain.
Abstract in English:The antimicrobial susceptibility of 176 unusual non-fermentative gram-negative bacilli (NF-GNB) collected from Latin America region through the SENTRY Program between 1997 and 2002 was evaluated by broth microdilution according to the National Committee for Clinical Laboratory Standards (NCCLS) recommendations. Nearly 74% of the NF-BGN belonged to the following genera/species: Burkholderia spp. (83), Achromobacter spp. (25), Ralstonia pickettii (16), Alcaligenes spp. (12), and Cryseobacterium spp. (12). Generally, trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (MIC50, < 0.5 µg/ml) was the most potent drug followed by levofloxacin (MIC50, 0.5 µg/ml), and gatifloxacin (MIC50, 1 µg/ml). The highest susceptibility rates were observed for levofloxacin (78.3%), gatifloxacin (75.6%), and meropenem (72.6%). Ceftazidime (MIC50, 4 µg/ml; 83.1% susceptible) was the most active beta-lactam against B. cepacia. Against Achromobacter spp. isolates, meropenem (MIC50, 0.25 µg/ml; 88% susceptible) was more active than imipenem (MIC50, 2 µg/ml). Cefepime (MIC50, 2 µg/ml; 81.3% susceptible), and imipenem (MIC50, 2 µg/ml; 81.3% susceptible) were more active than ceftazidime (MIC50, >16 µg/ml; 18.8% susceptible) and meropenem (MIC50, 8 µg/ml; 50% susceptible) against Ralstonia pickettii. Since selection of the most appropriate antimicrobial agents for testing and reporting has not been established by the NCCLS for many of NF-GNB species, results from large multicenter studies may help to guide the best empiric therapy.
Abstract in English:The avian eye trematode Philophthalmus lachrymosus Braun, 1902 is for the first time referred naturally occurring in a non-human mammalian host. Previously, natural infections with P. lachrymosus and other species of Philophthalmus have been occasionally reported from man, with few data on experimental infections of non-human mammals. Results presented here are related to the report of two cases of philophthalmosis due to natural infections of wild Brazilian capybaras, Hydrochaeris hydrochaeris L., 1766 with P. lachrymosus and associated pathology. Clinical signs, gross and microscopic lesions as well as new morphometric data on the parasite are presented.
Abstract in English:Diphyllobothriasis is an infection of the small intestine by the broad tapeworm Diphyllobothrium sp. The associated symptomatology is nonspecific, but megaloblastic anemia is a well-described complication. Although the infection is common in temperate regions, descriptions in South America have so far been limited to Chile, Peru, and a few cases in Argentina. This paper presents the first confirmed Brazilian case of diphyllobothriasis. A 29-years-old woman living in Salvador (state of Bahia) apparently acquired the infection from eating sushi. The diagnosis was based on fecal examination that revealed a large quantity of operculated eggs. A single dose of praziquantel (600 mg) was sufficient to cure the infection.
Abstract in English:Leishmania (Viannia) lainsoni is the Leishmania species that presents the most distinct biological (morphology, growth in axenic culture medium), biochemical (enzymatic electrophoresis profile), and molecular biology characteristics, when compared to other species of the Viannia subgenus. Development of promastigote forms of this parasite attached to the wall of the pyloric and hind gut regions of sand fly vectors is a solid characteristic that allows its positioning in the Viannia subgenus. However, taxonomic data from biochemical and molecular techniques on this Leishmania species are still not conclusive. It is evident the difficulty in taxonomically positioning this borderline Leishmania species. In this review we present the data accumulated since L. (Viannia) lainsoni has been described and we discuss its position in the Viannia subgenus.