Abstract in English:Stool is chemically complex and the extraction of DNA from stool samples is extremely difficult. Haemoglobin breakdown products, such as bilirubin, bile acids and mineral ions, that are present in the stool samples, can inhibit DNA amplification and cause molecular assays to produce false-negative results. Therefore, stool storage conditions are highly important for the diagnosis of intestinal parasites and other microorganisms through molecular approaches. In the current study, stool samples that were positive for Giardia intestinalis were collected from five different patients. Each sample was stored using one out of six different storage conditions [room temperature (RT), +4ºC, -20ºC, 70% alcohol, 10% formaldehyde or 2.5% potassium dichromate] for DNA extraction procedures at one, two, three and four weeks. A modified QIAamp Stool Mini Kit procedure was used to isolate the DNA from stored samples. After DNA isolation, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification was performed using primers that target the β-giardin gene. A G. intestinalis-specific 384 bp band was obtained from all of the cyst-containing stool samples that were stored at RT, +4ºC and -20ºC and in 70% alcohol and 2.5% potassium dichromate; however, this band was not produced by samples that had been stored in 10% formaldehyde. Moreover, for the stool samples containing trophozoites, the same G. intestinalis-specific band was only obtained from the samples that were stored in 2.5% potassium dichromate for up to one month. As a result, it appears evident that the most suitable storage condition for stool samples to permit the isolation of G. intestinalis DNA is in 2.5% potassium dichromate; under these conditions, stool samples may be stored for one month.
Abstract in English:A single strain of Mycobacterium abscessus subsp. bolletii, characterised by a particular rpoB sequevar and two highly related pulsed field gel electrophoresis patterns has been responsible for a nationwide outbreak of surgical infections in Brazil since 2004. In this study, we developed molecular tests based on polymerase chain reaction restriction-enzyme analysis (PRA) and sequencing for the rapid identification of this strain. Sequences of 15 DNA regions conserved in mycobacteria were retrieved from GenBank or sequenced and analysed in silico. Single nucleotide polymorphisms specific to the epidemic strain and located in enzyme recognition sites were detected in rpoB, the 3' region of the 16S rDNA and gyrB. The three tests that were developed, i.e., PRA-rpoB, PRA-16S and gyrB sequence analysis, showed 100%, 100% and 92.31% sensitivity and 93.06%, 90.28% and 100% specificity, respectively, for the discrimination of the surgical strain from other M. abscessus subsp. bolletii isolates, including 116 isolates from 95 patients, one environmental isolate and two type strains. The results of the three tests were stable, as shown by results obtained for different isolates from the same patient. In conclusion, due to the clinical and epidemiological importance of this strain, these tests could be implemented in reference laboratories for the rapid preliminary diagnosis and epidemiological surveillance of this epidemic strain.
Abstract in English:Propolis is a resinous mixture of different plant exudates collected by honeybees. Currently, propolis is widely used as a food supplement and in folk medicine. We have evaluated 20 Cuban propolis extracts of different chemical types, brown (BCP), red and yellow (YCP), with respect to their in vitro antibacterial, antifungal and antiprotozoal properties. The extracts inhibited the growth of Staphylococcus aureus and Trichophyton rubrum at low µg/mL concentrations, whereas they were not active against Escherichia coli and Candida albicans. The major activity of the extracts was found against the protozoa Leishmania, Trypanosoma and Plasmodium, although cytotoxicity against MRC-5 cells was also observed. The BCP-3, YCP-39 and YCP-60 extracts showed the highest activity against P. falciparum, with 50% of microbial growth (IC50) values of 0.2 µg/mL. A positive correlation between the biological activity and the chemical composition was observed for YCP extracts. The most promising antimicrobial activity corresponds to YCP subtype B, which contains acetyl triterpenes as the main constituents. The present in vitro study highlights the potential of propolis against protozoa, but further research is needed to increase selectivity towards the parasite. The observed chemical composition-activity relationship of propolis can contribute to the identification of the active principles and standardisation of this bee product.
Abstract in English:Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 infection has an important impact on malaria. Plasmodium falciparum and HIV-1 co-infected patients (Pf/HIV) present with a high degree of anaemia, enhanced parasitaemia and decreased CD4+ T cell counts, which increase the risk of developing severe malaria. In addition, infection with either Pf or HIV-1 alone causes extensive immune activation. Our hypothesis was that lymphocyte activation is potentiated in Pf/HIV co-infected patients, consequently worsening their immunosuppressed state. To test this hypothesis, 22 Pf/HIV patients, 34 malaria patients, 29 HIV/AIDS patients and 10 healthy controls without malaria or HIV/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) from Maputo/Mozambique were recruited for this study. As expected, anaemia was most prevalent in the Pf/HIV group. A significant variation in parasite density was observed in the Pf/HIV co-infected group (110-75,000 parasites/µL), although the median values were similar to those of the malaria only patients. The CD4+ T cell counts were significantly lower in the Pf/HIV group than in the HIV/AIDS only or malaria only patients. Lymphocyte activation was evaluated by the percentage of activation-associated molecules [CD38 expression on CD8+ and human leukocyte antigen-DR expression on CD3+ T cells]. The highest CD38 expression was detected in the Pf/HIV co-infected patients (median = 78.2%). The malaria only (median = 50%) and HIV/AIDS only (median = 52%) patients also exhibited elevated levels of these molecules, although the values were lower than those of the Pf/HIV co-infected cases. Our findings suggest that enhanced T-cell activation in co-infected patients can worsen the immune response to both diseases.
Abstract in English:A description is presented of Lutzomyia tolimensis sp. nov., a new species of the subgenus Helcocyrtomyia, series sanguinaria. It was collected in dwellings, peridomestic environment and in nearby forest patches located in the foothills of the Andean Central Cordillera, where in 2004-2006 occurred the largest epidemic ever recorded of leishmaniasis in Colombia. The male of this species is differentiated from other members of the series sanguinaria based on the following combination of characters: (i) base of coxite with 0-3 subequal setae, (ii) spines of gonostyle organized in positions 2.1.2, (iii) spines inserted on distal half of gonostyle and (iv) relationship of alar indices. The female is recognized principally by the following characters: (i) palpomere V longer than III, (ii) length of labro-epipharynx and (iii) relationship of the alar indices.
Abstract in English:To cope with oxidative stress, Candida albicans possesses several enzymes involved in a number of biological processes, including superoxide dismutases (Sods) and glutaredoxins (Grxs). The resistance of C. albicans to reactive oxygen species is thought to act as a virulence factor. Genes such as SOD1 and GRX2, which encode for a Sod and Grx, respectively, in C. albicans are widely recognised to be important for pathogenesis. We generated a double mutant, Δgrx2/sod1, for both genes. This strain is very defective in hyphae formation and is susceptible to killing by neutrophils. When exposed to two compounds that generate reactive oxygen species, the double null mutant was susceptible to menadione and resistant to diamide. The reintegration of the SOD1 gene in the null mutant led to recovery in resistance to menadione, whereas reintegration of the GRX2 gene made the null mutant sensitive to diamide. Despite having two different roles in the responses to oxidative stress generated by chemical compounds, GRX2 and SOD1 are important for C. albicans pathogenesis because the double mutant Δgrx2/sod1 was very susceptible to neutrophil killing and was defective in hyphae formation in addition to having a lower virulence in an animal model of systemic infection.
Abstract in English:A new species of Brazilian phlebotomine sandfly found in Brazil, municipality of Diamantina, state of Minas Gerais, is described based on males and females collected in a quartzite cave. The body of spermathecae is continuous to the individual duct, lanky and tapering at the end, with conical shaped, not striated and presenting the head with dense setae. The male presents gonostyle with four spines and a small subterminal seta and gonocoxite with one group of persistent setae. The paramere is simple with a group of small setae on the dorsal apex. The morphological features of this new species permit its inclusion in the migonei group.
Abstract in English:Triatoma infestans is the main vector of Trypanosoma cruzi, the aetiological agent of Chagas disease in the Gran Chaco region of South America. As a frequent blood meal source for triatomine bugs, domestic goats play a key role in the eco-epidemiology of Chagas disease. The aim of this study was to evaluate the mortality and blood intake of T. infestans fed on goats that had been treated with different doses of pour-on insecticide. Third-instar nymphs were fed on goats that had been treated with 0 cc, 5 cc, 10 cc or 15 cc of a pour-on formulation of cypermethrin. The exposure of T. infestans to animals treated at different post-application intervals revealed a residual activity of the insecticide. The mortality rate in the treated groups was higher than in the control groups until 30 days post-insecticide application (p = 0.03), except in the group treated with 5 cc, in which no mortality was detected after seven days of insecticide application. Rainfall affected the triatomicide effect, reducing the time of residual activity. The cypermethrin pour-on treatment decreased the blood intake of T. infestans. Thirty days after the cypermethrin application, nymph mortality was 16% (± 13) with both doses (10 cc and 15 cc). The 15 cc dose did not result in higher insect mortality or increased persistence compared to the 10 cc dose.
Abstract in English:This study investigated the sandfly fauna of two quartzite caves in the Espinhaço Mountain Range, located in the municipality of Diamantina, state Minas Gerais. From August 2010-July 2011, entomological sampling was performed in the caves of Salitre and Monte Cristo with two HP light traps exposed in the photic and aphotic zones of each cave. The sandfly fauna consisted of 17 species, among which Lutzomyia cipoensis was predominant (54.76%). The male/female ratio in the total captures was 1:2.5. The aphotic zone showed the highest frequency of specimens captured (65%). A greater density of sandflies occurred during the summer (January-February), coinciding with the period of higher temperatures, humidity and rainfall. The presence of Lutzomyia longipalpis, Lutzomyia whitmani and Lutzomyia pessoai, proven or suspected vectors of leishmaniasis, is of concern because the area is visited by many tourists.
Abstract in English:Because an enriched environment (EE) enhances T-cell activity and T-lymphocytes contribute to immunopathogenesis during heterologous dengue virus (DENV) infections, we hypothesised that an EE increases dengue severity. To compare single serotype (SS) and antibody-enhanced disease (AED) infections regimens, serial intraperitoneal were performed with DENV3 (genotype III) infected brain homogenate or anti-DENV2 hyperimmune serum followed 24 h later by DENV3 (genotype III) infected brain homogenate. Compared AED for which significant differences were detected between the EE and impoverished environmental (IE) groups (Kaplan-Meyer log-rank test, p = 0.0025), no significant differences were detected between the SS experimental groups (Kaplan-Meyer log-rank test, p = 0.089). Survival curves from EE and IE animals infected with the AED regimen were extended after corticoid injection and this effect was greater in the EE than in the IE group (Kaplan-Meyer log-rank test, p = 0.0162). Under the AED regimen the EE group showed more intense clinical signs than the IE group. Dyspnoea, tremor, hunched posture, ruffled fur, immobility, pre-terminal paralysis, shock and death were associated with dominant T-lymphocytic hyperplasia and presence of viral antigens in the liver and lungs. We propose that the increased expansion of these memory T-cells and serotype cross-reactive antibodies facilitates the infection of these cells by DENV and that these events correlate with disease severity in an EE.
Abstract in English:Although native to the tropical and subtropical areas of Southeast Asia, Aedes albopictus is now found on five continents, primarily due to its great capacity to adapt to different environments. This species is considered a secondary vector of dengue virus in several countries. Wing geometric morphometrics is widely used to furnish morphological markers for the characterisation and identification of species of medical importance and for the assessment of population dynamics. In this work, we investigated the metric differentiation of the wings of Ae. albopictus samples collected over a four-year period (2007-2010) in São Paulo, Brazil. Wing size significantly decreased during this period for both sexes and the wing shape also changed over time, with the wing shapes of males showing greater differences after 2008 and those of females differing more after 2009. Given that the wings play sex-specific roles, these findings suggest that the males and females could be affected by differential evolutionary pressures. Consistent with this hypothesis, a sexually dimorphic pattern was detected and quantified: the females were larger than the males (with respect to the mean) and had a distinct wing shape, regardless of allometric effects. In conclusion, wing alterations, particularly those involving shape, are a sensitive indicator of microevolutionary processes in this species.
Abstract in English:The haematological changes and release of soluble mediators, particularly C-reactive protein (CRP) and nitric oxide (NO), during uncomplicated malaria have not been well studied, especially in Brazilian areas in which the disease is endemic. Therefore, the present study examined these factors in acute (day 0) and convalescent phase (day 15) patients infected with Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax malaria in the Brazilian Amazon. Haematologic parameters were measured using automated cell counting, CRP levels were measured with ELISA and NO plasma levels were measured by the Griess reaction. Our data indicate that individuals with uncomplicated P. vivax and P. falciparum infection presented similar inflammatory profiles with respect to white blood cells, with high band cell production and a considerable degree of thrombocytopaenia during the acute phase of infection. Higher CRP levels were detected in acute P. vivax infection than in acute P. falciparum infection, while higher NO was detected in patients with acute and convalescent P. falciparum infections. Although changes in these mediators cannot predict malaria infection, the haematological aspects associated with malaria infection, especially the roles of platelets and band cells, need to be investigated further.
Abstract in English:Bolivia is a high-endemic country for Chagas disease, for which the principal vector is Triatoma infestans (Triatominae). This is a mainly domestic species that is also found in the wild environment. Recently, an increasing number of studies have shown the importance of Triatominae resistance to insecticides, especially in Bolivia. Data regarding the susceptibility/resistance of wild and domestic populations of T. infestans to deltamethrin are presented. For the first time, domestic populations of the department of Santa Cruz were tested, showing low resistance. Although most of the wild populations were found to be susceptible to deltamethrin, three populations from three departments showed a mortality rate of less than 100%. This result is emphasised here.
Abstract in English:The purpose of this study was to analyse a skeleton (adult female, 25-30 years) that presented evidence of tuberculous spondylitis. The skeleton, dated from the Roman Period (III-VI centuries), was excavated near the town of Győr, in western Hungary. The skeleton was examined by gross observation supplemented with mycolic acid and proteomic analyses using MALDI-TOF/TOF tandem mass spectrometry. The biomolecular analyses supported the morphological diagnosis.
Abstract in English:Contact surveillance is a valuable strategy for controlling leprosy. A dynamic cohort study of leprosy contacts was initiated in 1987 at Oswaldo Cruz Foundation. The objective of this work was to review the data on the major risk factors leading up to the infectious stage of the disease, estimate incidence rates of leprosy in the cohort and characterise the risk factors for the disease among the contacts under surveillance. The incidence rate of leprosy among contacts of leprosy patients was estimated at 0.01694 cases per person-year in the first five years of follow-up. The following factors were associated with acquiring the disease: (i) not receiving the BCG vaccine, (ii) a negative Mitsuda reaction and (iii) contact with a patient with a multibacillary clinical form of leprosy. The contacts of index patients who had high bacilloscopic index scores > 1 were at especially high risk of infection. The following factors were associated with infection, which was defined as a seropositive reaction for anti-phenolic glicolipid-1 IgM: (i) young age (< 20 years), (ii) a low measured Mitsuda reaction (< 5 mm) and (iii) contact with an index patient who had a high bacilloscopic index. BCG vaccination and re-vaccination were shown to be protective among household contacts. The main conclusions of this study indicate an urgent need for additional leprosy control strategies in areas with a high incidence of the disease.
Abstract in English:The protective anti-HBs titres were examined six-year post-immunisation with the Brazilian recombinant hepatitis B vaccine. After the primary vaccination, all adolescents (n = 89) responded with protective anti-HBs titres and had a geometric mean titre (GMT) of 4031.8 mIU/mL. In 2010, 94.5% maintained protective anti-HBs (> 10 mIU/mL) antibodies, with a GMT of 236.0 mIU/mL. A positive correlation was observed between the anti-HBs titres after the primary vaccination and the titres at the six-year follow-up (p < 0.01). Eleven subjects showed anti-HBs titres suggestive of a natural booster. Prostitution and tattoos/piercings were marginally associated with natural boosters in the multivariate analysis. This study showed the first data on anti-HBs persistence following the Brazilian hepatitis B vaccine in sexually active individuals and highlights its effectiveness in the medium term.
Abstract in English:This retrospective study (April-September 2003) was designed to investigate the roles of the main viruses responsible for cases of acute infantile gastroenteritis in hospitalised children up to two years of age. The viruses were identified in 64.7% (88/136) of the cases and the detection rates of rotavirus A (RVA), norovirus (NoV) and astrovirus were 41.9% (57/136), 30.3% (24/79) and 12.7% (7/55), respectively. RVA and NoV were detected in 20 of the 24 reported nosocomial infection cases. This study identified the first circulation of the genotype NoV GII.21 in Brazil and highlights the need to establish differential diagnoses through active laboratorial surveillance.
Abstract in English:Epidemiological studies performed in El Salvador between 1955-1972 demonstrated a high frequency of two triatomine vectors (Triatoma dimidiata and Rhodnius prolixus). However, the frequency of R. prolixus decreased by 1976 and this species has not been found since 1995. The main factors influencing the elimination of R. prolixus in El Salvador are discussed in this paper.
Abstract in English:Trypanosomatidae is a family of early branching eukaryotes harbouring a distinctive repertoire of gene expression strategies. Functional mature messenger RNA is generated via the trans-splicing and polyadenylation processing of constitutively transcribed polycistronic units. Recently, trans-splicing of pre-small subunit ribosomal RNA in the 5' external transcribed spacer region and of precursor tRNAsec have been described. Here, we used a previously validated semi-nested reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction strategy to investigate internal transcribed spacer (ITS) I acceptor sites in total RNA from Leishmania (Leishmania) amazonensis. Two distinct spliced leader-containing RNAs were detected indicating that trans-splicing reactions occur at two AG acceptor sites mapped in this ITS region. These data provide further evidence of the wide spectrum of RNA molecules that act as trans-splicing acceptors in trypanosomatids.
Abstract in English:In an effort to detect West Nile virus (WNV) in Brazil, we sampled serum from horses and chickens from the Pantanal region of the state of Mato Grosso and tested for flavivirus-reactive antibodies by blocking ELISA. The positive samples were further confirmed for serological evidence of WNV infection in three (8%) of the 38 horses and one (3.2%) of the 31 chickens using an 80% plaque-reduction neutralisation test (PRNT80). These results provide evidence of the circulation of WNV in chickens and horses in Pantanal.
Abstract in English:To characterise the trypanosomatid-exclusive RNA-binding protein TcRBP19, we analysed the phenotypic changes caused by its overexpression. Although no evident changes were observed when TcRBP19 was ectopically expressed in epimastigotes, the metacyclogenesis process was affected. Notably, TcRBP19 overexpression also led to a decrease in the number of infected mammalian cells. These findings suggest that TcRBP19 may be involved in the life cycle progression of the Trypanosoma cruzi parasite.
Abstract in English:We argue that using more natural blood feeding methods to study mosquito vector competence for dengue viruses and exploring the effect of viral infection on other mosquito life-history traits that influence vectorial capacity will significantly advance our understanding of dengue epidemiology.