Abstract in English:Arthropod-borne diseases caused by a variety of microorganisms such as dengue virus and malaria parasites afflict billions of people worldwide imposing major economic and social burdens. Despite many efforts, vaccines against diseases transmitted by mosquitoes, with the exception of yellow fever, are not available. Control of such infectious pathogens is mainly performed by vector management and treatment of affected individuals with drugs. However, the numbers of insecticide-resistant insects and drug-resistant parasites are increasing. Therefore, inspired in recent years by a lot of new data produced by genomics and post-genomics research, several scientific groups have been working on different strategies to control infectious arthropod-borne diseases. This review focuses on recent advances and perspectives towards construction of transgenic mosquitoes refractory to malaria parasites and dengue virus transmission.
Abstract in English:The infection by the hepatitis B virus (HBV) has different forms of evolution, ranging from self-limited infection to chronic hepatic disease. The objective of this study was to evaluate the influence of cytokine genetic polymorphisms in the disease evolution. The patients were divided into two groups, one with chronic HBV (n = 30), and the other with self-limited infection (n = 41). The genotyping for TNF (-308), TGFB1 (+869, +915), IL-10 (1082, -819, and -592), IL-6 (-174), and IFNG (+874) was accomplished by the PCR-SSP (polymerase chain reaction with sequence specific primers technique using the One Lambda kit. Although no statistically significant differences were found between the groups, the combination of TNF -308GG and IFNG +874TA was found in a lower frequency in chronic patients than in individuals with self-limited infection (26.7 versus 46.3%; P = 0.079; OR = 0.40; IC95% = 0.14-1.11). In chronic patients with histological alterations it was not observed the genotype TGFB1+869 C/C, against 24.4% in the self limited infection group (100 versus 75.6%; P = 0.096; OR = 7.67; IC95% = 0.42-141.63). Further studies in other populations, and evaluation of a greater number of individuals could contribute for a better understanding of the cytokine genetic polymorphism influence in HBV infection evolution.
Abstract in English:Primary cultures were made from adult mouse spinal ganglia for depicting an ultrastructural description of rabies virus (RABV) infection in adult mouse sensory neuron cultures; they were infected with rabies virus for 24, 36, and 48 h. The monolayers were processed for transmission electron microscopy and immunochemistry studies at the end of each period. As previously reported, sensory neurons showed great susceptibility to infection by RABV; however, in none of the periods evaluated were assembled virions observed in the cytoplasm or seen to be associated with the cytoplasmic membrane. Instead, fibril matrices of aggregated ribonucleoprotein were detected in the cytoplasm. When infected culture lysate were inoculated into normal animals via intra-cerebral route it was observed that these animals developed clinical symptoms characteristic of infection and transmission electron microscopy revealed assembled virions in the cerebral cortex and other areas of the brain. Sensory neurons infected in vitro by RABV produced a large amount of unassembled viral ribonucleoprotein. However, this intracellular material was able to produce infection and virions on being intra-cerebrally inoculated. It can thus be suggested that the lack of intracellular assembly in sensory neurons forms part of an efficient dissemination strategy.
Abstract in English:Triatomine bugs show a temporal modulation of many activities. Here, we analyse the daily modulation of the aggregation behaviour of Triatoma infestans larvae and its chronobiological basis. In the laboratory, groups of six bugs were released over an experimental arena during six consecutive days, where their aggregation behaviour was quantified every hour. When submitted to a 12/12 h photoperiod (L/D), the larvae of T. infestans exhibited a cyclic pattern of aggregation with a 24 h period, evincing the existence of a daily rhythm of aggregation in this species. Bugs exhibited the maximum aggregation tendency at the end of the scotophase (7:00 h), moment in which they naturally search for refuges. The minimum aggregation (i.e. maximal dispersion) was observed during the last part of the photophase and beginning of the scotophase (15:00 to 1:00 h). This cyclic pattern disappeared when constant conditions of illumination (L/L) or darkness (D/D) were imposed to the bugs, suggesting the absence of an endogenous circadian control of this behaviour. Insects submitted to L/L and D/D photoperiods presented lower global levels of aggregation than those submitted to L/D conditions. The lack of an endogenous control and the relevance of light cycles as a synchronization signal are discussed as the temporal modulation of this behaviour might play an important role in the nocturnal habits of this species.
Abstract in English:Fingerprinting of Mycobacterium tuberculosis strains from tuberculosis (TB) patients attended in Community Health Centers (CHCs) of Rio de Janeiro was performed to verify possible risk factors for TB transmission. A prospective community-based study was performed during the period of July 1996 to December 1996 by collecting sputum samples of 489 patients in 11 different CHCs in four different planning areas (APs) of the city. Bacteriological, clinical, and epidemiological information was collected and M. tuberculosis genotypes defined after restriction fragment length polymorphism (IS6110-RFLP) and double repetitive element (DRE) fingerprinting of RFLP-clustered cases. Risk factors for TB transmission were looked for using three levels of cluster stringency. Among 349 (71%) positive cultures obtained, IS6110-RFLP typing could be performed on strains from 153 different patients. When using identity of RFLP patterns as cluster definition, 49 (32%) of the strains belonged to a cluster and none of the clinical or epidemiologic characteristics was associated with higher clustering levels. However, higher clustering level was observed in the AP including the central region of the city when compared to others. This strongly suggests that more recent transmission occurs in that area and this may be related with higher incidence of TB and HIV in this region.
Abstract in English:The aim of this study was to analyze the external morphology of the scutellum through optical microscopy and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) in male specimens of Triatoma costalimai, T. delpontei, T. eratyrusiformis, T. matogrossensis, T. infestans melanosoma, T. sherlocki, T. tibiamaculata, and T. vandae. A total of 30 photographs of the scutellum were made. Magnification varied from 50X to 750X. Regarding depth and forms of the central depression, the heart-shaped form was predominant, with some exceptions, so that this shape appears to be a common characteristic for species of genus Triatoma Laporte, 1832. In T. eratyrusiformis, a kind of sensillum with important taxonomic value was observed. The different sizes and shapes of the designs found on the posterior process of the scutellum were also of important taxonomic interest. The study of the scutellum based on SEM showed valuable characteristics, allowing the use of this structure to aid the diagnosis of triatomine species. Thus, more specimens in subsequent studies and analyses of morphometric parameters should contribute to agreement on phylogenetic aspects in this genus. A Key to eight species of Triatoma based on male scutellar morphology is presented.
Abstract in English:Peptides with broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity, known as antimicrobial peptides, have been isolated from distinct organisms. This paper describes the in vitro evaluation of the cytotoxicity and antiviral activity of nine peptides with different structures and origins against herpes simplex virus type 1, human adenovirus respiratory strain, and rotavirus SA11. Most of the evaluated peptides presented antiviral activity but they were only active near cytotoxic concentrations. Nevertheless, these results seem promising, and further modifications on the peptide's structures may improve their selectivity and reduce their cytotoxicity.
Abstract in English:Two allelic genomic fragments containing ribosomal protein S4 encoding genes (rpS4) from Trypanosoma cruzi (CL-Brener strain) were isolated and characterized. One allele comprises two complete tandem repeats of a sequence encoding an rpS4 gene. In the other, only one rpS4 gene is found. Sequence comparison to the accessed data in the genome project database reveals that our two-copy allele corresponds to a variant haplotype. However, the deduced aminoacid sequence of all the gene copies is identical. The rpS4 transcripts processing sites were determined by comparison of genomic sequences with published cDNA data. The obtained sequence data demonstrates that rpS4 genes are expressed in epimastigotes, amastigotes, and trypomastigotes. A recombinant version of rpS4 was found to be an antigenic: it was recognized by 62.5% of the individuals with positive serology for T. cruzi and by 93.3% of patients with proven chronic chagasic disease.
Abstract in English:Nyssomyia intermedia (Lutz & Neiva 1912) and N. neivai (Pinto 1926) are possible vectors of tegumentary leishmaniasis in some regions of Brazil. Further, the latter was until recently, considered a junior synonym of the former. This study has the purpose of updating our knowledge of the geographical distribution of these species, based on specimens deposited at the collection of the Centro de Pesquisas René Rachou-Fiocruz, Faculdade de Saúde Pública-Universidade de São Paulo, and on data presented by literature as also to associate this distribution with the cutaneous leishmaniasis cases reported. It has been reported that N. intermedia occurs in the states of the Northeastern Region, in Rio de Janeiro, Espírito Santo, on the northern coast of São Paulo, in eastern Minas Gerais, Mato Grosso do Sul, and Goiás, close to the border with Minas Gerais and Bahia. N. neivai occurs in the Southern Region, southern coast and in western São Paulo, southern and western Minas Gerais, southern Goiás, and southern Pará, beyond Argentina, Bolivia, and Paraguay. It is important to highlight that N. intermedia and N. neivai occur in sympatry in Minas Gerais and São Paulo. N. intermedia or N. neivai are predominant or are captured abundantly in several cutaneous leishmaniasis foci in the Southeastern and Southern regions of Brazil.
Abstract in English:Seasonal variation in container productivity and infestation levels by Aedes aegypti were evaluated in two areas with distinct levels of urbanization degrees in Rio de Janeiro, a slum and a suburban neighborhood. The four most productive containers can generate up to 90% of total pupae. Large and open-mouthed containers, such as water tanks and metal drums, located outdoors were the most productive in both areas, with up to 47.49% of total Ae. aegypti pupae collected in the shaded sites in the suburban area. Water-tanks were identified as key containers in both areas during both the dry and rainy seasons. Container productivity varied according to seasons and urbanization degree. However, the mean number of pupae per house was higher in the suburban area, but not varied between seasons within each area (P > 0.05). High infestation indexes were observed for both localities, with a house index of 20.5-21.14 in the suburban and of 9.56-11.22 in the urban area. This report gives potential support to a more focused and cost-effective Ae. aegypti control in Rio de Janeiro.
Abstract in English:The aim of this study was to evaluate the sensitivity and specificity of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in the detection of Leishmania DNA in archived Giemsa-stained bone marrow slides for diagnosis of visceral leishmaniasis (VL), and to compare PCR with conventional diagnostic techniques, like direct microscopy and parasite culture. Specimens of archived Giemsa-stained bone marrow slides from 91 patients with VL and from 79 controls with other diseases or conditions were studied. PCR showed the highest sensitivity (92.3%) and had good specificity (97.5%). Direct examination detected 79.1% and culture 59% of positive samples. In addition, PCR was able to detect VL in 16 of 19 patients (84.2%) with negative microscopy. PCR in Giemsa-stained bone marrow slides is a suitable tool for confirming diagnosis in patients with VL and may be useful in the diagnosis of difficult cases. Slide smears are easily stored, do not require special storage conditions such as low temperatures, and can be easily mailed to centers where PCR is available, making it an excellent option for diagnosis in the field.
Abstract in English:Given that highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) has been demonstrated useful to restore immune competence in type-1 human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1)-infected subjects, we evaluated the specific antibody response to influenza vaccine in a cohort of HIV-1-infected children on HAART so as to analyze the quality of this immune response in patients under antiretroviral therapy. Sixteen HIV-1-infected children and 10 HIV-1 seronegative controls were immunized with a commercially available trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine containing the strains A/H1N1, A/H3N2, and B. Serum hemagglutinin inhibition (HI) antibody titers were determined for the three viral strains at the time of vaccination and 1 month later. Immunization induced a significantly increased humoral response against the three influenza virus strains in controls, and only against A/H3N2 in HIV-1-infected children. The comparison of post-vaccination HI titers between HIV-1+ patients and HIV-1 negative controls showed significantly higher HI titers against the three strains in controls. In addition, post vaccination protective HI titers (defined as equal to or higher than 1:40) against the strains A/H3N2 and B were observed in a lower proportion of HIV-1+ children than in controls, while a similar proportion of individuals from each group achieved protective HI titers against the A/H1N1 strain. The CD4+ T cell count, CD4/CD8 T cells ratio, and serum viral load were not affected by influenza virus vaccination when pre- vs post-vaccination values were compared. These findings suggest that despite the fact that HAART is efficient in controlling HIV-1 replication and in increasing CD4+ T cell count in HIV-1-infected children, restoration of immune competence and response to cognate antigens remain incomplete, indicating that additional therapeutic strategies are required to achieve a full reconstitution of immune functions.
Abstract in English:Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is a serious tropical disease that affects approximately 500 thousand people worldwide every year. In the Americas, VL is caused by the parasite Leishmania (Leishmania) infantum chagasi mainly transmitted by the bite of the sand fly vector Lutzomyia longipalpis. Despite recent advances in the study of interaction between Leishmania and sand flies, very little is known about sand fly protein expression profiles. Understanding how the expression of proteins may be affected by blood feeding and/or presence of parasite in the vector's midgut might allow us to devise new strategies for controlling the spread of leishmaniasis. In this work, we report the characterization of a vacuolar ATPase subunit C from L. longipalpis by screening of a midgut cDNA library with a 220 bp fragment identified by means of differential display reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction analysis. The expression of the gene varies along insect development and is upregulated in males and bloodfed L. longipalpis, compared to unfed flies.
Abstract in English:Due to morphological similarities between Triatoma maculata and T. pseudomaculata, which comprise the "maculate complex", both had been regarded as the same species until 1964. Considering that the studies on triatomine hybridization permit hypotheses formulation concerning origin and divergence of species, enabling a quantitative analysis of taxonomic relationships between species, the present investigation was aimed at broadening further understanding related to the capacity of hybrid production by determining the degree of reproductive isolation between T. maculata and T. pseudomaculata. Our results have demonstrated that T. maculata and T. pseudomaculata showed no differences regarding reproduction patterns and they are able to cross, generating infertile hybrids.
Abstract in English:An ovitrap (BR-OVT) based on physical and chemical stimuli for attracting gravid Culex quinquefasciatus (Diptera: Culicidae) females was developed and evaluated under laboratory and field conditions. Attractants were assayed using alternative chamber bioassays prior to being used in the BR-OVT oviposition trap. A significant preference of gravid females for sites containing conspecific egg rafts was observed, as a response to the natural oviposition pheromone, as well as for sites treated with the synthetic pheromone erythro-6-acetoxy-5-hexadecanolide. Five- to 20-day old grass infusion was strongly attractive to gravid females for laying eggs. On the other hand, entomopathogenic Bacillus sphaericus (Bs) did not influence the choice of an oviposition site when used in combination with grass infusion and can therefore be used as a larvicide in ovitraps. Results from field trials showed that the BR-OVT with grass infusion and with or without Bs works as a preferred oviposition site for Cx. quinquefasciatus. The BR-OVT was more effective for egg collection when placed indoors and comparison with the number of egg rafts laid in cesspits over 40 days indicates that this very simple ovitrap may be a useful tool for monitoring populations of the most important of the vectors of bancroftian filariasis.
Abstract in Portuguese:This study describes the genetic relationships of the first human astrovirus type-8 (HAstV-8) detected in Belém-Brazil, during a public hospital-based study. This strain was compared with other HAstV-8 strains identified elsewhere which have sequences available at GeneBank. The regions ORF1a (primers Mon348/Mon340) and ORF2 (primers Mon269/Mon270) were analyzed by nucleotide sequencing and a high similarity rate was observed among the Belém strain and other HAstV-8 strains. In ORF1a, homology values of 93-100% were detected, and in ORF2 96-99%. Considering the sequence variation (7%) observed in ORF2 region, it was suggested that HAstV-8 strains could be divided in three different lineages.
Abstract in English:We set out to determine the seroprevalence of hepatitis B and C among human immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV-1) infected individuals in North-Central Nigeria to define the influence of these infections on CD4+ lymphocytes cells among our patients as access to antiretroviral therapy improves across the Nigerian nation. The CD4+ values of 180 confirmed HIV-1 infected individuals were enumerated using a superior fluorescence-activated cell sorter system. These patients were tested for the presence of hepatitis B surface antigen and anti-hepatitis C virus (HCV) using third generation enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. Fifty (27.8%) patients had active hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection while 33 (18.3%) tested positive for anti-HCV antibody. Of these infections, 110 (61.1%), 37 (20.6%), and 20 (11.1%) had HIV only, HBV/HIV-only, and HCV/HIV-only respectively. A HBV/HCV/HIV coinfection prevalence of 7.2% (13 patients) was recorded. Patients coinfected with HIV/HBV/HCV appeared to have lower CD4+ counts (mean = 107 cells/µl; AIDS defining) when compared to HBV/HIV-only (mean = 377 cells/µl), HCV/HIV-only (mean = 373 cells/µl) and patients with mono HIV infection (mean = 478 cells/µl). Coinfection with HBV or HCV is relatively common among HIV-infected patients in Nigeria and should be a big consideration in the initiation and choice of therapy.
Abstract in English:A total of 74 methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) strains isolated from three government hospitals in 2002 and 2003 were examined concerning the distribution of qacA/B gene, which is the determinant of resistance to quaternary ammonium compounds largely employed in hospital disinfection. By polymerase chain reaction the qacA/B gene was found in 80% of the isolates, which is a significant result considering it is the first time that qacA/B gene is being reported for Brazilian MRSA strains and it is presented at a high rate.