Abstract in English:Corticosteroids are widely used to treat a diversity of pathological conditions including allergic, autoimmune and some infectious diseases. These drugs have complex mechanisms of action involving both genomic and non-genomic mechanisms and interfere with different signal transduction pathways in the cell. The use of corticosteroids to treat critically ill patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome and severe infections, such as sepsis and pneumonia, is still a matter of intense debate in the scientific and medical community with evidence both for and against its use in these patients. Here, we review the basic molecular mechanisms important for corticosteroid action as well as current evidence for their use, or not, in septic patients. We also present an analysis of the reasons why this is still such a controversial point in the literature.
Abstract in English:Treatments for Chagas disease have been administered since the first attempts by Mayer & Rocha Lima (1912, 1914) and up to the drugs currently in use (nifurtimox and benznidazole), along with potential drugs such as allopurinol and first, second and third-generation antifungal agents (imidazoles and triazoles), in separate form. Several diseases such as tuberculosis, leprosy and AIDS only came under control after they were treated with associations of drugs with different mechanisms of action. This not only boosts the action of the different compounds, but also may avoid the development of parasite resistance .To this end, over the short term, we propose experimental studies on laboratory animals and clinical trials with the following associations: (i) nifurtimox (8 mg/kg/day) + benznidazole (5 mg/kg/day) x 60 consecutive days; (ii) nifurtimox (8 mg/kg/day) or benznidazole (5 mg/kg/day) + allopurinol (8-10 mg/kg/day) x 60 days and (iii) nifurtimox (8 mg/kg/day) or benznidazole (5 mg/kg/day) + ketoconazole, fluconazole or itraconazole (5-6 mg/kg/day) x 60 consecutive days. The doses of the drugs and the treatment schedules for the clinical trials must be adapted according to the side effects. From these, other double or triple associations could be made, using drugs with different mechanisms of action. This proposal does not exclude investigations on new drugs over the median and long terms, targeting other aspects of the metabolism of Trypanosoma cruzi. Until such time as the ideal drug for specific treatment of Chagas disease might be discovered, we need to develop new strategies for achieving greater efficacy with the old drugs in associations and to develop rational experimentation with new drugs.
Abstract in English:Knowledge of the carrion-breeding insects present at a local level is important and necessary for defining the post-mortem interval. Climate changes and globalisation are affecting species ranges and population dynamics. In this note, we report the incidence of Chrysomya albiceps (Diptera: Calliphoridae) on dead human bodies and carrion in Northern Italy. These data confirm the spread of this species in the Northern regions. The partial sequencing of a 583-bp region of the cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 gene of an Adriatic population did not reveal any difference compared to the same genomic region in the African and South American populations of this species.
Abstract in English:Seventy-one isolines of Anopheles campestris-like were established from wild-caught females collected from human-biting and animal-biting traps at 12 locations in Thailand. All isolines had an average branch summation of seta 2-VI pupal skins ranging from 20.3-30.0 branches, which is in the range of An. campestris (17-58 branches). They showed three different karyotypes based on the amount of extra heterochromatin in the sex chromosomes, namely Forms B (X2, Y2), E (X1, X2, X3, Y5) and a new karyotypic Form F (X2, X3, Y6). Form B has been found only in Chaing Mai and Kamphaeng Phet populations, while Forms E and F are widely distributed throughout the species range. Genetic crosses between the 12 isolines, which were arbitrarily selected as representatives of An. campestris-like Forms B, E and F, revealed genetic compatibility that provided viable progeny through F2 generations, suggesting a conspecific nature of these karyotypic forms. These results are supported by the very low intraspecies variation (genetic distance < 0.005) of ITS2, COI and COII from genomic DNA of the three karyotypic forms.
Abstract in English:In the present study, we investigated the prevalence and intensity of Hectopsylla pulex infection in Molossus rufus and Molossus molossus, the parasite's choice of attachment site, and whether this host-parasite system varies with host size. Twenty-four bats were captured by hand from the roof of a house in Southeastern Brazil. M. rufus exhibited a prevalence of 71.4% and the mean intensity averaged 5 ectoparasites per bat. M. molossus exhibited a prevalence of 90%, and the average mean intensity was 2.11 ectoparasites. The attachment sites were: ear, tragus, shoulder blade and tibia, anus, wing, axilla, mouth and dactylopatagium. A positive correlation was observed between the bats' weight and the number of fleas.
Abstract in English:In Brazil, introduced malaria occurs from the flat to the sloping hot areas, predominantly outside the Amazon Region, where endemic malaria has occurred in the past. This is a consequence of human migrations to other Brazilian states, including the state of Espírito Santo (ES). The objective of this study was to use geoprocessing to define the areas at risk of introduced malaria transmission and evaluate the vectorial importance of species of anophelines in ES. Anophelines were sampled from 1997-2005 in 297 rural localities identified or not identified as foci of malaria during the last 20 years. The geoclimatic variables temperature, relief and marine influence were obtained from a database of the ES Natural Units. The 14,663 anophelines captured belonged to 22 species. A significant association was found between the occurrence of malaria foci and the presence of hot, low-lying areas or gently undulating to undulating relief. The occurrence of the disease was associated with the presence of Anopheles darlingi and Anopheles aquasalis. Geoprocessing was determined to be a useful tool for defining areas at risk for malaria and vectors in ES.
Abstract in English:The aim of this study was to compare two nucleic acid extraction methods for the recovery of enteric viruses from activated sludge. Test samples were inoculated with human adenovirus (AdV), hepatitis A virus (HAV), poliovirus (PV) and rotavirus (RV) and were then processed by an adsorption-elution-precipitation method. Two extraction methods were used: an organic solvent-based method and a silica method. The organic-based method was able to recoup 20% of the AdV, 90% of the RV and 100% of both the PV and HAV from seeded samples. The silica method was able to recoup 1.8% of the AdV and 90% of the RV. These results indicate that the organic-based method is more suitable for detecting viruses in sewage sludge.
Abstract in English:Nontuberculous mycobacteria are ubiquitous and saprophytic organisms that have been implicated in a wide spectrum of diseases due to an increasing number of immunocompromised patients. The natural resistance of atypical mycobacteria to classical antituberculous drugs has encouraged research into new chemotherapeutic agents and drug combinations. The aim of this study was to determine the in vitro antimycobacterial activities of ²-lapachone alone and in combination with isoniazid against Mycobacterium fortuitum and Mycobacterium smegmatis via the Time-Kill Curve method. A 2 log10 CFU/mL reduction in the M. smegmatis culture was observed 72 h after adding ²-lapachone at its minimum inhibitory concentration. This drug sterilised the culture in 120 h. For M. fortuitum, a reduction of 1.55 log10 CFU/mL occurred in 24 h, but regrowth was seen in contact with ²-lapachone. Both microorganisms were resistant to isoniazid. Regrowth of M. fortuitum and M. smegmatis was observed at 48 h and 72 h, respectively. In combination, these two drugs had a bactericidal effect and sterilised both cultures in 96 h. These results are valuable because antibiotic-resistant bacteria are a major public health problem.
Abstract in English:Rhesus macaques infected with the WE strain of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV-WE) serve as a model for human infection with Lassa fever virus. To identify the earliest events of acute infection, rhesus macaques were monitored immediately after lethal infection for changes in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). Changes in CD3, CD4, CD8 and CD20 subsets did not vary outside the normal fluctuations of these blood cell populations; however, natural killer (NK) and γδ T cells increased slightly on day 1 and then decreased significantly after two days. The NK subsets responsible for the decrease were primarily CD3-CD8+ or CD3-CD16+ and not the NKT (primarily CD3+CD56+) subset. Macaques infected with a non-virulent arenavirus, LCMV-Armstrong, showed a similar drop in circulating NK and γδ T cells, indicating that this is not a pathogenic event. V³9 T cells, representing the majority of circulating γδ T cells in rhesus macaques, displayed significant apoptosis when incubated with LCMV in cell culture; however, the low amount of cell death for virus-co-cultured NK cells was insufficient to account for the observed disappearance of this subset. Our observations in primates are similar to those seen in LCMV-infected mice, where decreased circulating NK cells were attributed to margination and cell death. Thus, the disappearance of these cells during acute hemorrhagic fever in rhesus macaques may be a cytokine-induced lymphopenia common to many virus infections.
Abstract in English:This study was conducted in a meteorological tower located in the Caxiuanã Forest (municipality of Melgaço, Pará, Brazil) with the aim of assessing the vertical stratification of species of Haemagogus and Sabethes, potential vectors of the yellow fever virus. To investigate the role of microclimates in mosquito stratification, bimonthly collections were conducted at ground level (0 m), 8 m, 16 m and 30 m (canopy level), with the aid of entomological nets and suction tubes, from July 2005-April 2006. A total of 25,498 mosquitoes were collected; specimens of Sabethes sp. and Haemagogus janthinomyswere found mostly at heights of 16 m and 30 m while Hg. leucocelaenus was most frequently observed at ground level. The largest number of vector species was collected during the rainiest months, but this difference between seasons was not statistically significant. However, the number of Hg. janthinomys was positively correlated with variations in temperature and relative humidity.
Abstract in English:Group B streptococci (GBS) infections occur worldwide. Although serotyping has been used for epidemiologic purposes, this does not accurately characterize enough members of a genetically heterogeneous bacterial population. The aims of this work were to evaluate the genetic diversity of 45 type Ia GBS strains isolated in Brazil by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis as well as to evaluate antimicrobial susceptibility profiles and identify virulence genes. Twenty-four strains were assigned to cluster A. All strains under study contained the hylB and scpB genes. The bca gene was detected in only 10 strains and none of the streptococci carried the bac gene. Thirty-nine strains were resistant to tetracycline.
Abstract in English:Phlebotomine sand flies present great species diversity, especially in Brazil, where there are about 300 known species. This work describes a new species of sand fly found in the Brazilian state of Espírito Santo, in the Reserva Biológica de Duas Bocas, municipality of Cariacica. Spermathecae with superficial striations and the common duct longer than the genital fork permit the inclusion of the new species in the subgenus Evandromyia s. str., series rupicola. The new species resemble Ev. rupicola from which it may be distinguished by the aspects of the spermatheca and the length of the genital filament of the male, longer in the new species.
Abstract in English:This study investigated whether a long-term high-fat diet has an effect on the outcome of chronic murine schistosomiasis mansoni compared to a standard diet. Swiss Webster female mice (3 weeks old) were fed each diet for up to six months and were then infected with 50 Schistosoma mansoni cercariae. Their nutritional status was assessed by monitoring total serum cholesterol and body mass. Infected mice were examined 6-17 weeks post infection to estimate the number of eggs in faeces. Mice were euthanised the next day. Total serum cholesterol was lower in infected mice in comparison to uninfected controls (p = 0.0055). In contrast, body mass (p = 0.003), liver volume (p = 0.0405), spleen volume (p = 0.0124), lung volume (p = 0.0033) and faecal (p = 0.0064) and tissue egg density (p = 0.0002) were significantly higher for infected mice fed a high-fat diet. From these findings, it is suggested that a high-fat diet has a prominent effect on the course of chronic schistosomiasis mansoni in mice.
Abstract in English:Roraima is the northernmost state of Brazil, bordering both Venezuela and Guyana. Appropriate climate and vector conditions for dengue transmission together with its proximity to countries where all four dengue serotypes circulate make this state, particularly the capital Boa Vista, strategically important for dengue surveillance in Brazil. Nonetheless, few studies have addressed the population dynamics of Aedes aegypti in Boa Vista. In this study, we report temporal and spatial variations in Ae. aegypti population density using ovitraps in two highly populated neighbourhoods; Centro and Tancredo Neves. In three out of six surveys, Ae. aegypti was present in more than 80% of the sites visited. High presence levels of this mosquito suggest ubiquitous human exposure to the vector, at least during part of the year. The highest infestation rates occurred during the peak of the rainy seasons, but a large presence was also observed during the early dry season (although with more variation among years). Spatial distribution of positive houses changed from a sparse and local pattern to a very dense pattern during the dry-wet season transition. These results suggest that the risk of dengue transmission and the potential for the new serotype invasions are high for most of the year.
Abstract in English:Significant advances were made in the diagnosis of filariasis in the 1990s with the emergence of three new alternative tools: ultrasound and tests to detect circulating antigen using two monoclonal antibodies, Og4C3 and AD12-ICT-card. This study aimed to identify which of these methods is the most sensitive for diagnosis of infection. A total of 256 individuals, all male and carrying microfilariae (1-15,679 MF/mL), diagnosed by nocturnal venous blood samples, were tested by all three techniques. The tests for circulating filarial antigen concurred 100% and correctly identified 246/256 (96.69%) of the positive individuals, while ultrasound detected only 186/256 (73.44%). Of the circulating antigen tests, ICT-card was the most convenient method for identification of Wuchereria bancrofti carriers. It was easy to perform, practical and quick.
Abstract in English:To understand the transmission of a vector-borne disease, knowledge of the magnitude of dispersal among vector populations is essential because of its influence on pathogen transfer. The principal vector of dengue, the most common arboviral disease in the world, is the mosquito Aedes aegypti (L.). This tropical and subtropical species is native to Africa but has dispersed worldwide since the XV century. In Argentina, the species was declared eradicated in 1963, but has reinfested the country in recent years. In the present work, we used RAPD-PCR markers to assess the levels of genetic variability and differentiation among populations of Ae. aegypti (the vector of dengue and yellow fever) in Córdoba, the second largest city in Argentina. We detected similar levels of genetic variability (He between 0.351-0.404) across samples and significant genetic differentiation between most population pairs within the city (F ST between 0.0013-0.0253). Genetic distances indicate that there are three distinct groups, formed predominantly by populations that are connected by, or near, main roads. This suggests that, in addition to other factors such as availability of oviposition sites or step-by-step migration, passive transport plays an important role in gene flow within the city.
Abstract in English:Aedes albopictus was responsible for transmission in the first outbreak of chikungunya (CHIK) on La Réunion Island, Indian Ocean, in 2005-2006. The magnitude of the outbreak on this island, which had been free of arboviral diseases for over 30 years, as well as the efficiency of Ae. albopictus as the main vector, raises questions about the maintenance of the CHIK virus (CHIKV) through vertical transmission mechanisms. Few specimens collected from the field as larvae were found to be infected. In this study, Ae. albopictus originating from La Réunion were orally infected with a blood-meal containing 10(8) pfu/mL of the CHIKV epidemic strain (CHIKV 06.21). Eggs from the first and second gonotrophic cycles were collected and raised to the adult stage. The infectious status of the progeny was checked (i) by immunofluorescence on head squashes of individual mosquitoes to detect the presence of viral particles or (ii) by quantitative RT-PCR on mosquito pools to detect viral RNA. We analysed a total of 1,675 specimens from the first gonotrophic cycle and 1,709 from the second gonotrophic cycle without detecting any viral particles or viral RNA. These laboratory results are compared to field records.
Abstract in English:Medical mycology has greatly benefited from the introduction of molecular techniques. New knowledge on molecular genetics has provided both theoretical and practical frameworks, permitting important advances in our understanding of several aspects of pathogenic fungi. Considering Paracoccidioides brasiliensis in particular, important eco-epidemiological aspects, such as environmental distribution and new hosts were clarified through molecular approaches. These methodologies also contributed to a better understanding about the genetic variability of this pathogen; thus, P. brasiliensis is now assumed to represent a species complex. The present review focuses on some recent findings about the current taxonomic status of P. brasiliensis, its phylogenetic and speciation processes, as well as on some practical applications for the molecular detection of this pathogen in environmental and clinical materials.
Abstract in English:Paracoccidioides brasiliensis, a thermal dimorphic fungal pathogen, produces a melanin-like pigment in vitro and in vivo. We investigated the involvement of carbohydrates and monoclonal antibody to CD18, on phagocytosis inhibition, involving macrophage receptors and the resistance of melanized fungal cells to chemically generated nitric oxide (NO), reactive oxygen species (ROS), hypochlorite and H2O2. Our results demonstrate that melanized yeast cells were more resistant than nonmelanized yeast cells to chemically generated NO, ROS, hypochlorite and H2O2, in vitro. Phagocytosis of melanized yeast cells was virtually abolished when mannan, N-acetyl glucosamine and anti-CD18 antibody were added together in this system. Intratracheal infection of BALB/c mice, with melanized yeast cells, resulted in higher lung colony forming units, when compared to nonmelanized yeast cells. Therefore, melanin is a virulence factor of P. brasiliensis.
Abstract in English:Candida glabrata is an opportunistic fungal pathogen that can cause severe invasive infections and can evade phagocytic cell clearance. We are interested in understanding the virulence of this fungal pathogen, in particular its oxidative stress response. Here we investigated C. glabrata, Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Candida albicans responses to two different oxidants: menadione and cumene hydroperoxide (CHP). In log-phase, in the presence of menadione, C. glabrata requires Cta1p (catalase), while in a stationary phase (SP), Cta1p is dispensable. In addition, C. glabrata is less resistant to menadione than C. albicans in SP. The S. cerevisiae laboratory reference strain is less resistant to menadione than C. glabrata and C. albicans; however S. cerevisiaeclinical isolates (CIs) are more resistant than the lab reference strain. Furthermore, S. cerevisiae CIs showed an increased catalase activity. Interestingly, in SP C. glabrata and S. cerevisiae are more resistant to CHP than C. albicans and Cta1p plays no apparent role in detoxifying this oxidant.
Abstract in English:Out of 1,588 faecal samples of children taken from three locations of the Central West Region of Brazil, 57 were positive for astroviruses (HAstVs) using reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). They were genotyped by nested RT-PCR and/or genomic sequencing. HAstV-1 (42.8%), HAstV-2 (23.2%), HAstV-3 (3.6%), HAstV-4 (14.3%) and HAstVs -5, -6, -7 and -8 (1.8% each) were detected. In Goiânia and Campo Grande, HAstV-1 was the most frequently detected genotype while in Brasília (DF) it was HAstV-2. Shifts in the circulation of astrovirus genotypes were observed in DF and Campo Grande. All samples collected by rectal swabs were viral negative. The astrovirus genotypes were detected in all age groups and there was no correlation between genotype and age group.
Abstract in English:Himatanthus articulatus (Vahl) Woodson is a tree found in the northern Amazon savannahs (common name: sucuba) that is used in local Amerindian medicine. Leaf, bark and branch wood methanol extracts, sequentially obtained hexane, ethyl acetate and methanol extracts and latex were evaluated for antifungal and antibacterial activities against American Type Culture Collection (ATCC) and local clinical strains using the disc diffusion method. Methanol extracts and latex inhibited Candida albicans, leaf methanol extracts inhibited Staphylococcus aureus and Bacillus subtilis and bark methanol extracts inhibited B. subtilis. Active extracts inhibited the ATCC and clinical strains. Polar antifungal and antibacterial principles in latex and extracts are thought to be responsible for the inhibition.
Abstract in English:Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii are important agents of meningoencephalitis in humans in the city of Belém. This clinical data suggests that the region may be a highly endemic area for the pathogenic Cryptococcus species within the state of Pará (PA), Northern Brazil. Preliminary analysis of 11 environmental samples from the city of Belém showed two positive locations, including a hollow of a kassod tree (Senna siamea) colonized simultaneously by C. gattii molecular type VGII and C. neoformans molecular type VNI, and a birdcage in a commercial aviary positive for C. neoformans, molecular type VNI. This is the first evidence of an environmental occurrence of molecular types VNI and VGII in PA.
Abstract in English:The presence of human papillomavirus (HPV) was evaluated in 65 samples of prostate tumours and six samples of prostates with benign prostatic hyperplasia from individuals from Northern Brazil. We used a highly sensitive test, the Linear Array HPV Genotyping Test, to detect 37 high and low-risk HPV types. In this study, only 3% of tumour samples showed HPV infection. Our findings support the conclusion that, despite the high incidence of HPV infection in the geographic regions studied, HPV was not associated with a higher risk of prostate cancer. To our knowledge, this is the first study evaluating the frequency of HPV detection in prostatic tissue of individuals from Brazil.
Abstract in English:Strategies for controlling Chagas disease are based on spraying infested houses with pyrethroid insecticides. However, the intense use of these insecticides has promoted resistance of Triatoma infestans and, in Argentina, Bolivia and Southern Brazil, low levels of resistance have been reported. Due to the persistence of T. infestans in the state of Rio Grande do Sul (RS), we evaluated the occurrence of deltamethrin resistance in four strains from different municipalities in comparison to two susceptible strains from Brazil and one resistant strain from Bolivia. The results indicated the absence of resistance in T. infestansfrom RS.
Abstract in English:Pediculosis seems to have afflicted humans since the most ancient times and lice have been found in several ancient human remains. Examination of the head hair and pubic hair of the artificial mummy of Ferdinand II of Aragon (1467-1496), King of Naples, revealed a double infestation with two different species of lice, Pediculus capitis, the head louse, and Pthirus pubis, the pubic louse. The hair samples were also positive for the presence of mercury, probably applied as an anti-pediculosis therapy. This is the first time that these parasites have been found in the hair of a king, demonstrating that even members of the wealthy classes in the Renaissance were subject to louse infestation.