Abstract in English:The sequencing of the complete genome of Anaplasma marginale has enabled the identification of several genes that encode membrane proteins, thereby increasing the chances of identifying candidate immunogens. Little is known regarding the genetic variability of genes that encode membrane proteins in A. marginale isolates. The aim of the present study was to determine the degree of conservation of the predicted amino acid sequences of OMP1, OMP4, OMP5, OMP7, OMP8, OMP10, OMP14, OMP15, SODb, OPAG1, OPAG3, VirB3, VirB9-1, PepA, EF-Tu and AM854 proteins in a Brazilian isolate of A. marginale compared to other isolates. Hence, primers were used to amplify these genes: omp1, omp4, omp5, omp7, omp8, omp10, omp14, omp15, sodb, opag1, opag3, virb3, VirB9-1, pepA, ef-tu and am854. After polimerase chain reaction amplification, the products were cloned and sequenced using the Sanger method and the predicted amino acid sequence were multi-aligned using the CLUSTALW and MEGA 4 programs, comparing the predicted sequences between the Brazilian, Saint Maries, Florida and A. marginale centrale isolates. With the exception of outer membrane protein (OMP) 7, all proteins exhibited 92-100% homology to the other A. marginale isolates. However, only OMP1, OMP5, EF-Tu, VirB3, SODb and VirB9-1 were selected as potential immunogens capable of promoting cross-protection between isolates due to the high degree of homology (over 72%) also found with A. (centrale) marginale.
Abstract in English:The bionomics of phlebotomine sand flies (Diptera: Psychodidae) were studied for two successive years (January 1996-December 1997) at 12 collecting stations representing six sectors of the province of Al-Baha, Saudi Arabia. The predominant species was Phlebotomus bergeroti (41.7%), followed by lesser numbers of Phlebotomus sergenti (11%), Phlebotomus arabicus (10.6%), Sergentomyia tiberiadis (10.5%), Phlebotomus papatasi (10.2%), Sergentomyia antennata (9.6%), Phlebotomus alexandri (3%), Phlebotomus orientalis (2.3%) and Sergentomyia clydei (1.1%). The distribution of the collected species including species that are elsewhere known to act as vectors of human cutaneous leishmaniasis were distributed across different altitudes in Al-Baha. P. bergeroti, P. papatasi and P. arabicus were more abundant indoors; however, P. sergenti was more abundant outdoors. Sand fly populations exhibited three patterns of seasonal abundance in terms of their monthly activity. P. bergeroti, P. sergenti and P. arabicus were found to be naturally infected with Leishmania-like flagellates at an infection rate of 0.2%.
Abstract in English:Leprosy's progression and its maintained endemic status, despite the availability of effective treatments, are not fully understood and recent studies have highlighted the possibility of involved Mycobacterium leprae ambient reservoirs. Wild armadillos can carry leprosy and, because their meat is eaten by humans, development of the disease among armadillo meat consumers has been investigated. This study evaluated the frequency of armadillo meat intake among leprosy patients as well as age and gender matched controls with other skin diseases from a dermatological unit. Armadillo meat consumption among both groups was adjusted by demographic and socioeconomic covariates based on a conditional multiple logistic regression model. One hundred twenty-one cases and 242 controls were evaluated; they differed in socioeconomic variables such as family income, hometown population and access to treated water. The multivariate analysis did not show an association between the intake of armadillo meat and leprosy (odds ratio = 1.07; CI 95% 0.56-2.04), even when only cases with no known contacts were analyzed. We conclude that leprosy is not associated with the intake of armadillo meat in these patients.
Abstract in English:A new species of the Culicoides reticulatus species group, Culicoides kuripako Felippe-Bauer, is described and illustrated based on females and male specimens from the states of Amazonas and Pará, Brazil. The new species is compared with its similar sympatric congener, Culicoides paucienfuscatus Barbosa.
Abstract in English:Interleukin (IL)-15 is a pleiotropic cytokine that regulates the proliferation and survival of many cell types. IL-15 is produced by monocytes and macrophages against infectious agents and plays a pivotal role in innate and adaptive immune responses. This study analyzed the effect of IL-15 on fungicidal activity, oxidative metabolism and cytokine production by human monocytes challenged in vitro with Paracoccidioides brasiliensis (Pb18), the agent of paracoccidioidomycosis. Peripheral blood monocytes were pre-incubated with IL-15 and then challenged with Pb18. Fungicidal activity was assessed by viable fungi recovery from cultures after plating on brain-heart infusion-agar. Superoxide anion (O2-), hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), IL-6, IL-15 and IL-10 production by monocytes were also determined. IL-15 enhanced fungicidal activity against Pb18 in a dose-dependent pattern. This effect was abrogated by addition of anti-IL-15 monoclonal antibody. A significant stimulatory effect of IL-15 on O2- and H2O2 release suggests that fungicidal activity was dependent on the activation of oxidative metabolism. Pre-treatment of monocytes with IL-15 induced significantly higher levels of TNF-α, IL-10 and IL-15 production by cells challenged with the fungus. These results suggest a modulatory effect of IL-15 on pro and anti-inflammatory cytokine production, oxidative metabolism and fungicidal activity of monocytes during Pb18 infection.
Abstract in English:Bartonella spp are the causative agent of cat scratch disease in humans. Cats are the natural reservoir of these bacteria and may infect humans through scratches, bites or fleas. Blood samples from 47 cats aged up to 12 months were collected for this study. All animals were lodged in municipal animal shelters in the Vale do Sinos region, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. Bartonella spp were detected by genus-specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and when the PCR was positive, the species were determined by DNA sequencing. A Giemsa-stained blood smear was also examined for the presence of intraerythrocytic elements suggestive of Bartonella spp infection. Phylogenetic analysis was also performed for all positive samples. Using molecular detection methods, Bartonella spp were detected in 17.02% (8/47) of the samples. In seven out of eight samples confirmed to be positive for Bartonella spp, blood smear examination revealed the presence of intraerythrocytic elements suggestive of Bartonella spp. Phylogenetic analysis characterized positive samples as Bartonella henselae (5) or Bartonella clarridgeiae (3). To the best of our knowledge, this is the first molecular study demonstrating the presence of Bartonella spp in cats from the Southern Region of Brazil.
Abstract in English:Despite effective chemotherapy, schistosomiasis remains the second largest public health problem in the developing world. Currently, vaccination is the new strategy for schistosomiasis control. The presence of common antigenic fractions between Schistosoma mansoni and its intermediate host provides a source for the preparation of a proper vaccine. The objective of this paper is to evaluate the nucleoprotein extracted from either susceptible or resistant snails to protect against schistosomiasis. The vaccination schedule consisted of a subcutaneous injection of 50 µg protein of each antigen followed by another inoculation 15 days later. Analyses of marker enzymes for different cell organelles [succinate dehydrogenase, lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), glucose-6-phosphatase, acid phosphatase and 5'-nucleotidase] were carried out. Energetic parameters (ATP, ADP, AMP, phosphate potentials, inorganic phosphate, amino acids and LDH isoenzymes) were also investigated. The work was extended to record worm and ova counts, oogram determination in the liver and intestine and the histopathological pattern of the liver. The nucleoprotein of susceptible snails showed reduction in worm and ova counts by 70.96% and 51.31%, respectively, whereas the nucleoprotein of resistant snails showed reductions of 9.67% and 16.77%, respectively. In conclusion, we found that the nucleoprotein of susceptible snails was more effective in protecting against schistosomiasis.
Abstract in English:Sand flies within the genus Lutzomyia serve as the vectors for all species of the protozoan parasite Leishmania in the New World. In this paper, we present a summary of the 29 species of Lutzomyia and one of Brumptomyia previously reported for Nicaragua and report results of our recent collections of 565 sand flies at eight localities in the country from 2001-2006. Lutzomyia longipalpis was the predominant species collected within the Pacific plains region of western Nicaragua, while Lutzomyia cruciata or Lutzomyia barrettoi majuscula were the species most frequently collected in the central highlands and Atlantic plains regions. The collection of Lutzomyia durani (Vargas & Nájera) at San Jacinto in July 2001 is a new record for Nicaragua. Leishmaniasis is endemic to Nicaragua and occurs in three forms: cutaneous, mucocutaneous and visceral leishmaniasis. Cutaneous infections are the most prevalent type of leishmaniasis in Nicaragua and they occur in two different clinical manifestations, typical cutaneous leishmaniasis and atypical cutaneous leishmaniasis, depending on the species of the infecting Leishmania parasite. The distribution of sand flies collected during this study in relation to the geographic distribution of clinical forms of leishmaniasis in the country is also discussed.
Abstract in English:The aim of this work was to establish a modified pre-diagnostic polymerase chain reaction (PCR) protocol using a single primer set that enables successful amplification of a highly conserved mammalian sequence in order to determine overall sample DNA quality for multiple mammalian species that inhabit areas endemic for leishmaniasis. The gene encoding interphotoreceptor retinoid-binding protein (IRBP), but not other conserved genes, was efficiently amplified in DNA samples from tail skin, ear skin, bone marrow, liver and spleen from all of the species tested. In tissue samples that were PCR-positive for Leishmania, we found that DNA from 100%, 55% and 22% of the samples tested resulted in a positive PCR reaction for the IRBP, beta-actin and beta-globin genes, respectively. Nucleotide sequencing of an IRBP amplicon resolved any questions regarding the taxonomical classification of a rodent, which was previously based simply on the morphological features of the animal. Therefore, PCR amplification and analysis of the IRBP amplicon are suitable for pre-diagnostically assessing DNA quality and identifying mammalian species living in areas endemic to leishmaniasis and other diseases.
Abstract in English:The presence of Anopheles (Nyssorhynchus) dunhami Causey in Colombia (Department of Amazonas) is confirmed for the first time through direct comparison of mtDNA cytochrome c oxidase I (COI) barcodes and nuclear rDNA second internal transcribed spacer (ITS2) sequences with topotypic specimens of An. dunhami from Tefé, Brazil. An. dunhami was identified through retrospective correlation of DNA sequences following misidentification as Anopheles nuneztovari s.l. using available morphological keys for Colombian mosquitoes. That An. dunhami occurs in Colombia and also possibly throughout the Amazon Basin, is of importance to vector control programs, as this non-vector species is morphologically similar to known malaria vectors including An. nuneztovari, Anopheles oswaldoi and Anopheles trinkae. Species identification of An. dunhami and differentiation from these closely related species are highly robust using either DNA ITS2 sequences or COI DNA barcode. DNA methods are advocated for future differentiation of these often sympatric taxa in South America.
Abstract in English:Paracoccidioidomycosis should be differentiated from other opportunistic diseases in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) patients who live in Latin America. Laboratory investigation can begin with serological tests, which are rapid and efficient. In the present study, double immunodiffusion (DID), counterimmunoelectrophoresis (CIEP) and an enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) tests were assessed for the detection of anti-Paracoccidioides brasiliensis antibodies in 40 patients coinfected with HIV. The results were compared to those obtained for 75 non-HIV-infected patients with endemic paracoccidioidomycosis. Anti-P. brasiliensis antibodies were detected in 65% (DID), 79% (CIEP) and 95% (ELISA) of the patients with HIV/AIDS, significantly lower rates than those detected in cases of endemic paracoccidioidomycosis, which were 89%, 99% and 100%, respectively. The reactive sera of HIV-infected patients also showed lower anti-P. brasiliensis antibody titres than those of non-HIV-infected patients. Despite the lower intensity of the specific humoral response, serological tests are useful for the diagnosis of opportunistic paracoccidioidomycosis in the HIV/AIDS population. We suggest optimization of the laboratory diagnosis by combining the ELISA test with CIEP or DID.
Abstract in English:Adjuvants play an important role in vaccine formulations by increasing their immunogenicity. In this study, the phenolic compound-rich J fraction (JFR) of a Brazilian green propolis methanolic extract stimulated cellular and humoral immune responses when co-administered with an inactivated vaccine against swine herpesvirus type 1 (SuHV-1). When compared to control vaccines that used aluminium hydroxide as an adjuvant, the use of 10 mg/dose of JFR significantly increased (p < 0.05) neutralizing antibody titres against SuHV-1, as well as the percentage of protected animals following SuHV-1 challenge (p < 0.01). Furthermore, addition of phenolic compounds potentiated the performance of the control vaccine, leading to increased cellular and humoral immune responses and enhanced protection of animals after SuHV-1 challenge (p < 0.05). Prenylated compounds such as Artepillin C that are found in large quantities in JFR are likely to be the substances that are responsible for the adjuvant activity.
Abstract in English:Angiostrongylus costaricensis has a broad geographic distribution spanning from North to South America and the infections of vertebrates with this nematode can result in abdominal complications. Human infections are diagnosed by histological or serological methods because the isolation of larvae from feces is not feasible, as most parasites become trapped in intestinal tissues due to intense eosinophilic inflammation. Because A. costaricensis is difficult to maintain in the laboratory, an immunodiagnostic IgG enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) using antigens from the congeneric Angiostrongylus cantonensis species was evaluated against a panel of serum samples from patients who were histologically diagnosed with A. costaricensis infections. Sera from uninfected individuals and individuals infected with other parasites were used as controls. The sensitivity and specificity of the assay were estimated at 88.4% and 78.7%, respectively. Because the use of purified or cloned antigens has not been established as a reliable diagnostic tool, the use of heterologous antigens may provide a viable alternative for the development of an ELISA-based immunodetection system for the diagnosis of abdominal angiostrongyliasis.
Abstract in English:Therapeutic failure of benznidazole (BZ) is widely documented in Chagas disease and has been primarily associated with variations in the drug susceptibility of Trypanosoma cruzi strains. In humans, therapeutic success has been assessed by the negativation of anti-T. cruzi antibodies, a process that may take up to 10 years. A protocol for early screening of the drug resistance of infective strains would be valuable for orienting physicians towards alternative therapies, with a combination of existing drugs or new anti-T. cruzi agents. We developed a procedure that couples the isolation of parasites by haemoculture with quantification of BZ susceptibility in the resultant epimastigote forms. BZ activity was standardized with reference strains, which showed IC50 to BZ between 7.6-32 µM. The assay was then applied to isolates from seven chronic patients prior to administration of BZ therapy. The IC50 of the strains varied from 15.6 ± 3-51.4 ± 1 µM. Comparison of BZ susceptibility of the pre-treatment isolates of patients considered cured by several criteria and of non-cured patients indicates that the assay does not predict therapeutic outcome. A two-fold increase in BZ resistance in the post-treatment isolates of two patients was verified. Based on the profile of nine microsatellite loci, sub-population selection in non-cured patients was ruled out.
Abstract in English:In this study, we aimed to evaluate virus shedding in the saliva of healthy adults from the metropolitan region of the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in order to verify the prevalence of both human herpesviruses 6 and 7 (HHV-6, HHV-7). The studied group comprised 182 healthy individuals at Pedro Ernesto University Hospital, who were being seen for annual odontologic revisions. Saliva specimens were subjected to a multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to detect the presence of HHV-6A, HHV-6B and HHV-7. The total Roseolovirus DNA prevalence was 22.4%. The PCR detected a HHV-6 prevalence of 9.8%, with HHV-6A detected in 7.1% of the samples and HHV-6B in 2.7%. HHV-7 DNA was revealed in 12.6% of the studied cases. Multiple infections caused by HHV-6A and 7 were found in 2.1% of the samples. No statistical differences were observed regarding age, but for HHV-7 infection, an upward trend was observed in female patients. Compared to studies from other countries, low prevalence rates of herpesvirus DNA were detected in saliva from the healthy individuals in our sample. PCR methodology thus proved to be a useful tool for Roseolovirus detection and it is important to consider possible geographic and populations differences that could explain the comparatively low prevalence rates described here.
Abstract in English:Lutzomyia longipalpis s.l. is the primary vector of Leishmania (L.) infantum in the New World. In this study, male Lutzomyia longipalpis specimens from Posadas, Argentina were characterized for two polymorphic markers: the male sex pheromone and the period (per) gene. The male sex pheromone was identified as (S)-9-methylgermacrene-B, the same compound produced by Lu. longipalpis from Paraguay and many populations from Brazil. The analysis of per gene sequences revealed that the population from Argentina is significantly differentiated from previously studied Brazilian populations. Marker studies could contribute to the understanding of the distribution and spread of urban American visceral leishmaniasis, thus aiding in the design of regional surveillance and control strategies.
Abstract in English:A total of 138 isolates, 118 methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) isolates (staphylococcal cassette chromosome type II, 20 isolates, type III, 39 isolates and type IV, 59 isolates) and 20 methicillin-sensitive S. aureus isolates were evaluated by phenotypic methods: cefoxitin and oxacillin disk diffusion (DD), agar dilution (AD), latex agglutination (LA), oxacillin agar screening (OAS) and chromogenic agar detection. All methods showed 100% specificity, but only the DD tests presented 100% sensitivity. The sensitivity of the other tests ranged from 82.2% (OAS)-98.3% (AD). The LA test showed the second lowest sensitivity (86.4%). The DD test showed high accuracy in the detection of MRSA isolates, but there was low precision in the detection of type IV isolates by the other tests, indicating that the genotypic characteristics of the isolates should be considered.
Abstract in English:This study aimed to quantify Toxoplasma gondii in tissue samples of serologically positive chickens using real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Of 65 chickens evaluated, 28 were positive for T. gondii antibodies. Brain and heart samples were collected from 26 seropositive chickens and DNA was extracted using Trizol® and amplified using real-time PCR with SYBR® Green. Parasite DNA was detected in 24 of the 26 samples analyzed; the number of positive tissue samples and the parasite quantity did not differ between tissue types. The results confirmed the analytical sensitivity of parasite detection in chicken tissue samples and demonstrated the possibility of using other molecular systems for genotypic analysis.
Abstract in English:The rat lungworm Angiostrongylus cantonensis is a worldwide-distributed zoonotic nematode that can cause human eosinophilic meningoencephalitis. Here, for the first time, we report the isolation of A. cantonensis from Achatina fulica from two Brazilian states: Rio de Janeiro (specifically the municipalities of Barra do Piraí, situated at the Paraiba River Valley region and São Gonçalo, situated at the edge of Guanabara Bay) and Santa Catarina (in municipality of Joinville). The lungworms were identified by comparing morphological and morphometrical data obtained from adult worms to values obtained from experimental infections of A. cantonensis from Pernambuco, Brazil, and Akita, Japan. Only a few minor morphological differences that were determined to represent intra-specific variation were observed. This report of A. cantonensis in South and Southeast Brazil, together with the recent report of the zoonosis and parasite-infected molluscs in Northeast Brazil, provide evidence of the wide distribution of A. cantonensis in the country. The need for efforts to better understand the role of A. fulica in the transmission of meningoencephalitis in Brazil and the surveillance of molluscs and rodents, particularly in ports, is emphasized.
Abstract in English:The diagnosis of meningitic angiostrongyliasis (MA) is based on clinical criteria. A lumbar puncture is used as a diagnostic tool, but it is an invasive procedure. The blood eosinophil levels are also assessed and used in the diagnosis of this disease. We enrolled 47 patients with serologically proven MA and 131 controls with intestinal parasite infections. An absolute eosinophil count model was found to be the best marker for MA. An eosinophil count of more than 798 cells led to sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive and negative predictive values of 76.6%, 80.2%, 58.1% and 90.5%, respectively. These data support the use of testing for high blood eosinophil levels as a diagnostic tool for MA in individuals that are at risk for this disease.
Abstract in English:The activity of the antineoplastic drug tamoxifen was evaluated against Trypanosoma cruzi. In vitro activity was determined against epimastigote, trypomastigote and amastigote forms of CL14, Y and Y benznidazole resistant T. cruzi strains. Regardless of the strain used, the drug was active against all life-cycle stages of the parasite with a half maximal effective concentration ranging from 0.7-17.9 µM. Two experimental models of acute Chagas disease were used to evaluate the in vivo efficacy of treatment with tamoxifen. No differences in parasitemia and mortality were observed between control mock-treated and tamoxifen-treated mice.