Abstract in English:Trypanosoma cruzi is a parasite that causes Chagas disease, which affects millions of individuals in endemic areas of Latin America. One hundred years after the discovery of Chagas disease, it is still considered a neglected illness because the available drugs are unsatisfactory. Aromatic compounds represent an important class of DNA minor groove-binding ligands that exhibit potent antimicrobial activity. This study focused on the in vitro activity of 10 aromatic dicationic compounds against bloodstream trypomastigotes and intracellular forms of T. cruzi. Our data demonstrated that these compounds display trypanocidal effects against both forms of the parasite and that seven out of the 10 compounds presented higher anti-parasitic activity against intracellular parasites compared with the bloodstream forms. Additional assays to determine the potential toxicity to mammalian cells showed that the majority of the dicationic compounds did not considerably decrease cellular viability. Fluorescent microscopy analysis demonstrated that although all compounds were localised to a greater extent within the kinetoplast than the nucleus, no correlation could be found between compound activity and kDNA accumulation. The present results stimulate further investigations of this class of compounds for the rational design of new chemotherapeutic agents for Chagas disease.
Abstract in English:This study investigated some epidemiological aspects of the Mansonella ozzardi in municipality of Coari, Amazonas. Clinical symptoms were correlated with the filarial infection and the parasitic infection rates (PIR) were estimated in simuliid vectors. The general M. ozzardi human prevalence rate was 13.3% (231/1733), of which 10.2% (109/1069) were from the urban area and 18.4% (122/664) from the rural area. The prevalence rates were higher in men (14.5% urban and 19.7% rural) than in women (6.7% urban and 17.2% rural) and occurred in most age groups. The indices of microfilaremics were higher in people > 51 years old (26.9% urban and 61.5% rural). High prevalence rates were observed in retired people (27.1% urban area), housewives and farmer (41.6% and 25%, respectively, in rural area). The main clinical symptoms were joint pains and sensation of leg coldness. Only Cerqueirellum argentiscutum (Simuliidae) transmits M. ozzardi in this municipality (PIR = 5.6% urban and 7.1% rural). M. ozzardi is a widely distributed parasitic disease in Coari. Thus, temporary residency in the region of people from other localities involved with the local gas exploitation might be a contributing factor in spreading the disease.
Abstract in English:The vitellogenic process in Culex quinquefasciatus, which is triggered by a blood meal, involves the synthesis, distribution and storage of the nutrients necessary for embryo development. The fat body of an adult female Cx. quinquefasciatus revealed two cell types: large trophocytes and small, eosinophilic, "oenocyte-like" cells, which show no morphological changes throughout the gonotrophic cycle. Trophocytes, which only begin to synthesise vitellogenin (Vg) 12 h post-blood meal (PBM), undergo a series of morphological changes following engorgement. These changes include the expansion of the rough endoplasmic reticulum (RER) and Golgi complex, which are later destroyed by autophagosomes. At 84 h PBM, trophocytes return to their pre-engorgement morphology. The ovarian follicles of non-blood-fed Cx. quinquefasciatus contain a cluster of eight undifferentiated cells surrounded by follicular epithelium. After engorgement, the oocyte membrane facing the perioocytic space increases its absorptive surface by microvilli development; large amounts of Vg and lipids are stored between 24 and 48 h PBM. Along with yolk storage in the oocyte, follicular cells exhibit the development of RER cisternae and electron-dense granules begin to fill the perioocytic space, possibly giving rise to endochorion. Later in the gonotrophic cycle, electron-dense vesicles, which are possible exochorion precursors, fuse at the apical membrane of follicular cells. This fusion is followed by follicular cell degeneration.
Abstract in English:Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) is mediated by CD4+ Th1 cells that mainly secrete IFN-γ and TNF-α, important cytokines in the pathophysiology of the disease. Spontaneous remission is, in part, attributed to the down regulation of IFN-γ and TNF-α by TGF-β. In the current paper, we compared weight, histopathology and immunological parameters during the acute and recovery phases of EAE to establish the best biomarker for clinical remission. Female Lewis rats were immunised with myelin basic protein (MBP) emulsified with complete Freund's adjuvant. Animals were evaluated daily for clinical score and weight prior to euthanisation. All immunised animals developed the expected characteristics of EAE during the acute phase, including significant weight loss and high clinical scores. Disease remission was associated with a significant reduction in clinical scores, although immunised rats did not regain their initial weight values. Brain inflammatory infiltrates were higher during the acute phase. During the remission phase, anti-myelin antibody levels increased, whereas TNF-α and IFN-γ production by lymph node cells cultured with MBP or concanavalin A, respectively, decreased. The most significant difference observed between the acute and recovery phases was in the induction of TNF-α levels in MBP-stimulated cultures. Therefore, the in vitro production of this cytokine could be used as a biomarker for EAE remission.
Abstract in English:In this paper, we provide evidence that both the mRNA and protein levels of the cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) inhibitor p21WAF1/CDK-interacting protein 1 (Cip1) increase upon infection of A431 cells with Vaccinia virus (VACV). In addition, the VACV growth factor (VGF) seems to be required for the gene expression because infection carried out with the mutant virus VACV-VGF- revealed that this strain was unable to stimulate its transcription. Our findings are also consistent with the notion that the VGF-mediated change in p21WAF1/Cip1 expression is dependent on tyrosine kinase pathway(s) and is partially dependent on mitogen-activated protein kinase/extracellular-signal regulated kinase 1/2. We believe that these pathways are biologically significant because VACV replication and dissemination was drastically affected when the infection was carried out in the presence of the relevant pharmacological inhibitors.
Abstract in English:Anopheles (Nyssorhynchus) pristinus Nagaki & Sallum, n. sp. of the Myzorhynchella Section is described based on morphological characters of adult females, males, fourth-instar larvae, pupae and male genitalia. Anopheles (Nyssorhynchus) antunesi Galvão & Amaral is characterized to fix its identity and distinguish it from An. pristinus. The eggs of An. antunesi are described for the first time. Molecular characterization employing sequences of the COI mitochondrial gene and the ITS2 region of ribosomal DNA are provided for each species. An. antunesi and An. pristinus are compared with morphologically similar species of the Myzorhynchella Section. The results of the present study suggest that the new species has been misidentified as both An. antunesi and Anopheles lutzii Cruz. An. antunesi and An. pristinus are sympatric, occurring at high altitudes in Serra da Mantiqueira, Southeastern Brazil.
Abstract in English:By macroscopic and microscopic dorsal side observation, it was noted that the IX and X segments of two species each of Panstrongylus and Triatoma terminate in an elongated way, whereas they terminate abruptly in the two species of Rhodnius. Scanning observation of the dorsal, ventral, lateral and posterior sides of the female genitalia of Panstrongylus herreri, Panstrongylus megistus, Rhodnius colombiensis, Rhodnius prolixus, Triatoma infestans and Triatoma vitticeps revealed that these six species are generally and specifically distinguished based on these elements. We describe several components that distinguish P. herreri from P. megistus: four on the dorsal side: the VII, VIII, IX and X segments, on the ventral view, three: VII sternite, VIII gonocoxite and VIII gonapophyse, on the lateral view one character, VIII gonocoxite and on the posterior view three characters: VIII and IX gonocoxite and XI gonopophyse. Comparing R. colombiensis and R. prolixus, there were three distinct characters on the dorsal side: the VII, VIII and X segments, on the ventral view three characters: the IX and X segments and VIII gonocoxite and on the posterior view four characters: the VIII, IX, X segments and VIII gonapophyse that distinguish the two species. T. infestans and T. vitticeps have four different characters on the dorsal side: the VII, VIII, IX and X segments, on the ventral view four characters: the VII and X segments, VIII gonocoxite and VIII gonapophyse, on the lateral view two characters, IX and X segments and on the posterior view four characters: the IX and X segments, VIII gonocoxite and VIII gonapophyse that distinguish the two species. Examination of the external female genitalia of six triatomine species by scanning suggests that these components are useful for taxonomical studies.
Abstract in English:Changes in immune system functions are one of the most important consequences of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. Studies have reported a higher prevalence of disease mediated by immunological hypersensitivity mechanisms in HIV-positive patients. This study aims to observe how immunological changes in HIV-infected children interfere in atopy determinants. Fifty-seven HIV-positive children were studied between June 2004-August 2005 to evaluate the possible modifications in atopy diagnosis from prick test environmental allergen reactivity. Patients were subjected to two evaluations: on both occasions, atopic and non-atopic groups were correlated with immunological (CD4+ and CD8+ lymphocyte concentrations and serum levels of IgA, IgM, IgG and IgE) and viral parameters (HIV viral load). The percent atopy was 20.05 in the first and 29.82 in the second evaluation and atopy was diagnosed in patients without immunosuppression or with moderate immunosuppression. Six patients changed from a negative to a positive atopy profile. One patient with a decreased CD4+ T lymphocyte concentration failed to demonstrate prick test positivity between evaluations. Multivariate analysis showed that the variables associated with atopy diagnosis included a personal history of allergic diseases as well as elevated IgE for age and elevated IgE levels. Atopy development in HIV-infected children seems to be modulated by genetic and environmental factors as well as immunological condition.
Abstract in English:Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is the major infectious disease agent among injecting drug users (IDUs), with seroprevalence ranging from 50-90%. In this paper, serological and virological parameters were investigated among 194 IDUs, 94 ex-IDUs and 95 non-IDUs that were sampled by the "snowball" technique in three localities renowned for both intense drug use and trafficking activities in Salvador, Brazil. The majority of the participants were male, but sex and mean age differed significantly between IDUs/ex-IDUs and non-IDUs (p < 0.05). Anti-HCV screening revealed that 35.6%, 29.8% and 5.3% of samples from IDUs, ex-IDUs and non-IDUs, respectively, were seropositive. HCV-RNA detection confirmed that the prevalence of infection was 29.4%, 21.3% and 5.3% for IDUs, ex-IDUs and non-IDUs, respectively. Genotyping analysis among IDUs/ex-IDUs determined that 76.9% were infected with genotype 1, 18.5% with genotype 3 and 4.6% with a mixed genotype; this result differed significantly from non-IDUs, where genotype 3 was the most frequent (60%), followed by genotype 1 (20%) and a mixed genotype (20%). We report a significantly higher prevalence of HCV infection in IDUs/ex-IDUs compared to the control group (p < 0.001). Although the sample size of our study was small, the differences in HCV genotype distribution reported herein for IDUs/ex-IDUs and non-IDUs warrant further investigation.
Abstract in English:The inhibitory effect of Lippia alba and Lippia citriodora essential oils on dengue virus serotypes replication in vitro was investigated. The cytotoxicity (CC50) was evaluated by the MTT assay and the mode of viral inhibitory effect was investigated with a plaque reduction assay. The virus was treated with the essential oil for 2 h at 37ºC before cell adsorption and experiments were conducted to evaluate inhibition of untreated-virus replication in the presence of oil. Antiviral activity was defined as the concentration of essential oil that caused 50% reduction of the virus plaque number (IC50). L. alba oil resulted in less cytotoxicity than L. citriodora oil (CC50: 139.5 vs. 57.6 μg/mL). Virus plaque reduction for all four dengue serotypes was observed by treatment of the virus before adsorption on cell. The IC50 values for L. alba oil were between 0.4-32.6 μg/mL and between 1.9-33.7 μg/mL for L. citriodora oil. No viral inhibitory effect was observed by addition of the essential oil after virus adsorption. The inhibitory effect of the essential oil seems to cause direct virus inactivation before adsorption on host cell.
Abstract in English:The diagnosis of visceral leishmaniasis (VL) generally requires the use of invasive tests for the collection of infected tissue (aspirates of bone marrow, spleen, liver or lymph nodes). This difficulty has led to the search for safer and less painful techniques to confirm the occurrence of the disease in children. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is a method that is advantageous in that it allows the use of peripheral blood samples for diagnosis. This paper reports the utilisation of PCR on peripheral blood samples to diagnose VL in 45 children in Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil. This technique is compared with methods carried out using tissue collected by invasive procedures, including direct microscopy, culture and detection of Leishmania DNA by PCR in bone marrow aspirates. The results show that PCR of peripheral blood provides great sensitivity (95.6%) that is similar to that from the PCR of bone marrow aspirates (91.1%) and higher than that achieved with microscopy (80%) or culture (26.7%) methods. PCR of peripheral blood proved to be a suitable tool for the diagnosis of VL in children because it is highly sensitive and safe, with tissue collection being less invasive than in traditional tests.
Abstract in English:Resistance of Helicobacter pylori to clarithromycin is characterised by simple point mutations in the 23S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) gene and is responsible for the majority of cases of failure to eradicate this bacterium. In this paper, we characterised the variability of the 23S rRNA gene in biopsies of patients with gastric pathologies in the eastern Amazon (Northern Region of Brazil) using PCR and sequencing. A total of 49 sequences of H. pylori strains were analysed and of those, 75.6% presented nucleotide substitutions: A2142G (3.3%), T2182C (12.9%), G2224A (6.45%), T2215C (61.3%), A2192G (3.3%), G2204C (6.4%) and T2221C (6.4%). Of the mutations identified, four are known mutations related to cases of resistance and 16.1% are not yet described, revealing a high prevalence of mutations in the H. pylori 23S rRNA gene among the strains circulating in the in the eastern Amazon. The high prevalence in individuals with gastric pathologies in the Northern Region of Brazil demonstrates the need for characterising the profile of these strains to provide correct therapy for patients, considering that mutations in this gene are normally associated with resistance to the primary medication used in controlling H. pylori infection.
Abstract in English:Thirty-eight strains of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) were characterised in terms of biochemical properties, enterohaemolysin production and plasmid carriage. A wide variation in the biochemical properties was observed among the STEC, with 14 distinct biotypes identified. Biotype 1 was the most common, found in 29% of the strains. Enterohaemolysin production was detected in 29% of the strains. Most of the bacterial strains (95%) carried one or more plasmids and considerable heterogeneity in size and combinations was observed. Seven distinct plasmid profiles were identified. The most common profile, characterised by the presence of a single plasmid of ~90 kb, was found in 50% of these strains. These data indicate extensive diversity among STEC strains. No correlation was found among biotype, serotype, enterohaemolysin production and plasmid profile.
Abstract in English:The phlebotomine sand fly Lutzomyia velezi sp.nov. was described and illustrated from male specimens collected by light trap in the Reserva Natural Cañon del Río Claro in the Central Cordillera of the Colombian Andes. The new species belongs to the series sanguinaria of the subgenus Helcocyrtomyia, which is represented in Colombia by Lutzomyia cirrita, Lutzomyia hartmanni, Lutzomyia sanguinaria, Lutzomyia scorzai, Lutzomyia sp. of Pichindé and Lutzomyia tortura. The new species can be differentiated from others of the subgenus by the combination of the following characteristics: long antennal ascoids, reaching level of the papilla, coxite with a single basal seta and fifth palpomere longer than or equal to the sum of the lengths of the third and fourth palpomeres.
Abstract in English:Helicobacter pylori is an important human pathogen that causes chronic gastritis and is associated with the development of peptic ulcer disease and gastric malignancies. The oral cavity has been implicated as a potential H. pylori reservoir and may therefore be involved in the reinfection of the stomach, which can sometimes occur following treatment of an H. pylori infection. The objectives of this paper were (i) to determine the presence of H. pylori in the oral cavity and (ii) to examine the relationship between oral H. pylori and subsequent gastritis. Gastric biopsies, saliva samples and dental plaques were obtained from 78 dyspeptic adults. DNA was extracted and evaluated for the presence of H. pylori using polymerase chain reaction and Southern blotting methods. Persons with gastritis were frequently positive for H. pylori in their stomachs (p < 0.0001) and there was a statistically significant correlation between the presence of H. pylori in gastric biopsies and the oral cavity (p < 0.0001). Our results suggest a relationship between gastric infection and the presence of this bacterium in the oral cavity. Despite this, H. pylori were present in the oral cavity with variable distribution between saliva and dental plaques, suggesting the existence of a reservoir for the species and a potential association with gastric reinfection.
Abstract in English:The aim of this study was to determine the presence of Helicobacter pylori cytotoxin-associated gene (cagA)/vacuolating cytotoxin gene (vacA) among patients with chronic gastritis in Cuba and Venezuela. Gastric antrum biopsies were taken for culture, DNA extraction and PCR analysis. Amplification of vacA and cagA segments was performed using two regions of cagA: 349 bp were amplified with the F1/B1 primers and the remaining 335 bp were amplified with the B7629/B7628 primers. The VA1-F/VA1-R set of primers was used to amplify the 259-bp (s1) or 286-bp (s2) product and the VAG-R/VAG-F set of primers was used to amplify the 567-bp (m1) or 642-bp (m2) regions of vacA. cagA was detected in 87% of the antral samples from Cuban patients and 80.3% of those from Venezuelan patients. All possible combinations of vacA regions were found, with the exception of s2/m1. The predominant combination found in both countries was s1/m1. The percentage of cagA+ strains was increased by the use of a second set of primers and a greater number of strains was amplified with the B7629/B7628 primers in the Cuban patients (p = 0.0001). There was no significant difference between the presence of the allelic variants of vacA and cagA in both populations. The predominant genotype was cagA+/s1m1 in both countries. The results support the necessary investigation of isolates circulating among the human population in each region.
Abstract in English:As inhabitants of forested areas, caves and anthropic environments, the phlebotomines deserve special attention because some species are able to transmit trypanosomatids, bacteria and viruses to vertebrates. Phlebotomines are also a nuisance because they cause painful bites, which may ultimately produce allergic manifestations. The lack of information about the presence and behaviours of sand flies in caves has aroused the curiosity of researchers for a long time. In the present paper, we describe a new species of sand fly that was captured in a cave located in the municipal district of Arraias in the southeastern region of the state of Tocantins. The morphological features of this new species permit it to be included in the alphabetica group of the Martinsmyia genus.
Abstract in English:Kinetoplastid membrane protein-11 (KMP-11), a protein present in all kinetoplastid protozoa, is considered a potential candidate for a leishmaniasis vaccine. A suitable leishmaniasis vaccine candidate molecule must be expressed in amastigotes, the infective stage for mammals. However, the expression of KMP-11 in Leishmania amastigotes has been a subject of controversy. We evaluated the expression of this molecule in logarithmic and stationary growth phase promastigotes, as well as in amastigotes, of Leishmania amazonensis by immunoblotting, flow cytometry and immunocytochemistry, using a monoclonal antibody against KMP-11. We found that KMP-11 is present in promastigotes and amastigotes. In both stages, the protein was found in association with membrane structures (at the cell surface, flagellar pocket and intracellular vesicles). More importantly, its surface expression is higher in amastigotes than in promastigotes and increases during metacyclogenesis. The increased expression of KMP-11 in metacyclic promastigotes, and especially in amastigotes, indicates a role for this molecule in the parasite relationship with the mammalian host. The presence of this molecule in amastigotes is consistent with the previously demonstrated immunoprotective capacity of vaccine prototypes based on the KMP-11-coding gene and the presence of humoral and cellular immune responses to KMP-11 in Leishmania-infected humans and animals.
Abstract in English:After controlling Triatoma infestans in Brazil, other species of triatomine that were considered minor in the transmission of Chagas disease became important. The persistence of Triatoma brasiliensis in Northeastern Brazil, associated with reinfection of domestic environments recently sprayed with pyrethroids, may be a signal of susceptibility alteration of this species to this insecticide. Specimens of T. brasiliensis from the municipality of Tauá, state of Ceará, were captured before and one year after spraying. They were submitted to bioassays using deltamethrin. The LD50 ranged from 0.19-0.33 ng of deltamethrin/nymph. The resistance ratio among samples from Tauá varied from 1.16-1.79 in the samples captured before the spraying and 1.00-1.74 in the samples captured one year after spraying, demonstrating that the two populations were equally susceptible to deltamethrin. The small difference in susceptibility between the two captures suggests that T. brasiliensis obtained in the second capture are from new invasions of the domestic environment and that the insecticide did not select resistant individuals. Therefore, it is suggested that T. brasiliensis control be carried out supplementing the regular use of pyrethroids with complementary measures, such as improvement of the dwellings and health education.
Abstract in English:The aim of this study was to apply a molecular protocol to detect leptospiral DNA in environmental water samples. The study was carried out in a peri-urban settlement in Petrópolis, state of Rio de Janeiro. A multiplex PCR method employing the primers LipL32 and 16SrRNA was used. Three out of 100 analysed samples were positive in the multiplex PCR, two were considered to have saprophytic leptospires and one had pathogenic leptospires. The results obtained supported the idea that multiplex PCR can be used to detect Leptospira spp in water samples. This method was also able to differentiate between saprophytic and pathogenic leptospires and was able to do so much more easily than conventional methodologies.