Abstract in English:Paleoparasitological research has made important contributions to the understanding of parasite evolution and ecology. Although parasitic protozoa exhibit a worldwide distribution, recovering these organisms from an archaeological context is still exceptional and relies on the availability and distribution of evidence, the ecology of infectious diseases and adequate detection techniques. Here, we present a review of the findings related to protozoa in ancient remains, with an emphasis on their geographical distribution in the past and the methodologies used for their retrieval. The development of more sensitive detection methods has increased the number of identified parasitic species, promising interesting insights from research in the future.
Abstract in English:The goal of treatment of chronic hepatitis C is to achieve a sustained virological response, which is defined as exhibiting undetectable hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA levels in serum following therapy for at least six months. However, the current treatment is only effective in 50% of patients infected with HCV genotype 1, the most prevalent genotype in Brazil. Inhibitors of the serine protease non-structural protein 3 (NS3) have therefore been developed to improve the responses of HCV-infected patients. However, the emergence of drug-resistant variants has been the major obstacle to therapeutic success. The goal of this study was to evaluate the presence of resistance mutations and genetic polymorphisms in the NS3 genomic region of HCV from 37 patients infected with HCV genotype 1 had not been treated with protease inhibitors. Plasma viral RNA was used to amplify and sequence the HCV NS3 gene. The results indicate that the catalytic triad is conserved. A large number of substitutions were observed in codons 153, 40 and 91; the resistant variants T54A, T54S, V55A, R155K and A156T were also detected. This study shows that resistance mutations and genetic polymorphisms are present in the NS3 region of HCV in patients who have not been treated with protease inhibitors, data that are important in determining the efficiency of this new class of drugs in Brazil.
Abstract in English:Disseminated leishmaniasis (DL) differs from other clinical forms of the disease due to the presence of many non-ulcerated lesions (papules and nodules) in non-contiguous areas of the body. We describe the histopathology of DL non-ulcerated lesions and the presence of CD4-, CD20-, CD68-, CD31- and von Willebrand factor (vW)-positive cells in the inflamed area. We analysed eighteen biopsies from non-ulcerated lesions and quantified the inflamed areas and the expression of CD4, CD20, CD68, CD31 and vW using Image-Pro software (Media Cybernetics). Diffuse lymphoplasmacytic perivascular infiltrates were found in dermal skin. Inflammation was observed in 3-73% of the total biopsy area and showed a significant linear correlation with the number of vW+ vessels. The most common cells were CD68+ macrophages, CD20+ B-cells and CD4+ T-cells. A significant linear correlation between CD4+ and CD20+ cells and the size of the inflamed area was also found. Our findings show chronic inflammation in all DL non-ulcerated lesions predominantly formed by macrophages, plasmacytes and T and B-cells. As the inflamed area expanded, the number of granulomas and extent of the vascular framework increased. Thus, we demonstrate that vessels may have an important role in the clinical evolution of DL lesions.
Abstract in English:Corynebacterium striatum is a potentially pathogenic microorganism with the ability to produce outbreaks of nosocomial infections. Here, we document a nosocomial outbreak caused by multidrug-resistant (MDR) C. striatum in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. C. striatum identification was confirmed by 16S rRNA and rpoB gene sequencing. Fifteen C. striatum strains were isolated from adults (half of whom were 50 years of age and older). C. striatum was mostly isolated in pure culture from tracheal aspirates of patients undergoing endotracheal intubation procedures. The analysis by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) indicated the presence of four PFGE profiles, including two related clones of MDR strains (PFGE I and II). The data demonstrated the predominance of PFGE type I, comprising 11 MDR isolates that were mostly isolated from intensive care units and surgical wards. A potential causal link between death and MDR C. striatum (PFGE types I and II) infection was observed in five cases.
Abstract in English:Diarrhoeal disease is still considered a major cause of morbidity and mortality among children. Among diarrhoeagenic agents, Shigella should be highlighted due to its prevalence and the severity of the associated disease. Here, we assessed Shigella prevalence, drug susceptibility and virulence factors. Faeces from 157 children with diarrhoea who sought treatment at the Children's Hospital João Paulo II, a reference children´s hospital in Belo Horizonte, state of Minas Gerais, Brazil, were cultured and drug susceptibility of the Shigella isolates was determined by the disk diffusion technique. Shigella virulence markers were identified by polymerase chain reaction. The bacterium was recovered from 10.8% of the children (88.2% Shigella sonnei). The ipaH, iuc, sen and ial genes were detected in strains isolated from all shigellosis patients; set1A was only detected in Shigella flexneri. Additionally, patients were infected by Shigella strains of different ial, sat, sen and set1A genotypes. Compared to previous studies, we observed a marked shift in the distribution of species from S. flexneri to S. sonnei and high rates of trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole resistance.
Abstract in English:ELISA in situ can be used to titrate hepatitis A virus (HAV) particles and real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) has been shown to be a fast method to quantify the HAV genome. Precise quantification of viral concentration is necessary to distinguish between infectious and non-infectious particles. The purpose of this study was to compare cell culture and RT-PCR quantification results and determine whether HAV genome quantification can be correlated with infectivity. For this purpose, three stocks of undiluted, five-fold diluted and 10-fold diluted HAV were prepared to inoculate cells in a 96-well plate. Monolayers were then incubated for seven, 10 and 14 days and the correlation between the ELISA in situ and RT-PCR results was evaluated. At 10 days post-incubation, the highest viral load was observed in all stocks of HAV via RT-PCR (10(5) copies/mL) (p = 0.0002), while ELISA revealed the highest quantity of particles after 14 days (optical density = 0.24, p < 0.001). At seven days post-infection, there was a significant statistical correlation between the results of the two methods, indicating equivalents titres of particles and HAV genome during this period of infection. The results reported here indicate that the duration of growth of HAV in cell culture must be taken into account to correlate genome quantification with infectivity.
Abstract in English:Heliconema hainanensis sp. nov. collected from Uroconger lepturus (Richardson) (Anguilliformes: Congridae), Muraenesox cinereus (Forsskål) and Congresox talabonoides (Bleeker) (Anguilliformes: Muraenesocidae) in the South China Sea was described using light and scanning electron microscopy. The new species differs from its congeners by the following morphology: pseudolabia, the number and arrangement of caudal papillae (4 pairs of pedunculate precloacal papillae arranged in 2 groups of 2 and 2 pairs and 6 pairs of pedunculate postcloacal papillae arranged in 4 groups of 1, 2, 1 and 2 pairs), the length of spicules [left spicule 0.51-0.69 mm, right spicule 0.20-0.27 mm, spicule (right:left) ratio 1:2.20-2.69] and the morphology of the female tail tip. In addition, specimens of the new species collected from the three different hosts and specimens of an unidentified species of Heliconema collected from U. lepturus were characterised using molecular methods by sequencing the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) of ribosomal DNA. Analyses and comparison of the ITS sequence of H. hainanensis sp. nov. with Heliconema sp. support the validity of the new species based on morphological observations. An identification key to the species of Heliconema is also provided.
Abstract in English:A single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) upstream of interleukin (IL)28B was recently identified as an important predictor of the outcome of chronic hepatitis C patients treated with pegylated interferon plus ribavirin (PEG-IFN/RBV). The aim of this study was to investigate the association between the IL28B gene polymorphism (rs12979860) and virological response in chronic hepatitis C patients. Brazilian patients (n = 263) who were infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 1 and were receiving PEG-IFN/RBV were genotyped. Early virological response (EVR) (12 weeks), end-of-treatment response (EOTR) (48 weeks), sustained virological response (SVR) (72 weeks) and relapse were evaluated using conventional and quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays. The frequency of the C allele in the population was 39%. Overall, 43% of patients experienced SVR. The IL28B CC genotype was significantly associated with higher treatment response rates and a lower relapse rate compared to the other genotypes [84% vs. 58% EVR, 92% vs. 63% EOTR, 76% vs. 38% SVR and 17% vs. 40% relapse rate in CC vs. other genotypes (CT and TT), respectively]. Thus, the IL28B genotype appears to be a strong predictor of SVR following PEG-IFN/RBV therapy in treatment-naïve Brazilian patients infected with HCV genotype 1. This study, together with similar research examining other SNPs, should help to define adequate protocols for the treatment of patients infected with HCV genotype 1, especially those with a poor prognosis.
Abstract in English:Two new species of Culicoides Latreille of the Neotropical subgenus Mataemyia Vargas are described and illustrated based on female specimens from Juruti, Pará, Brazil and compared with their similar congeners. This paper also presents a diagnosis of the subgenus Mataemyia and a systematic key for the identification of the 19 species of the subgenus.
Abstract in English:Leishmaniasis is a neglected tropical disease. According to the World Health Organization, there are approximately 1.5-two million new cases of cutaneous leishmaniasis each year worldwide. Chemotherapy against leishmaniasis is based on pentavalent antimonials, which were developed more than a century ago. The goals of this study were to investigate the antileishmanial activity of diterpene acids in copaiba oil, as well as some possible targets of their action against Leishmania amazonensis. Methyl copalate and agathic, hydroxycopalic, kaurenoic, pinifolic and polyaltic acids isolated from Copaifera officinales oleoresins were utilised. Ultrastructural changes and the specific organelle targets of diterpenes were investigated with electron microscopy and flow cytometry, respectively. All compounds had some level of activity against L. amazonensis. Hydroxycopalic acid and methyl copalate demonstrated the most activity against promastigotes and had 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50) values of 2.5 and 6.0 µg/mL, respectively. However, pinifolic and kaurenoic acid demonstrated the most activity against axenic amastigote and had IC50 values of 3.5 and 4.0 µg/mL, respectively. Agathic, kaurenoic and pinifolic acid caused significant increases in plasma membrane permeability and mitochondrial membrane depolarisation of the protozoan. In conclusion, copaiba oil and its diterpene acids should be explored for the development of new antileishmanial drugs.
Abstract in English:Multiple locus sequence typing (MLST) was undertaken to extend the genetic characterization of 29 isolates of Bacillus cereus and Bacillus thuringiensis previously characterized in terms of presence/absence of sequences encoding virulence factors and via variable number tandem repeat (VNTR). Additional analysis involved polymerase chain reaction for the presence of sequences (be, cytK, inA, pag, lef, cya and cap), encoding putative virulence factors, not investigated in the earlier study. MLST analysis ascribed novel and unique sequence types to each of the isolates. A phylogenetic tree was constructed from a single sequence of 2,838 bp of concatenated loci sequences. The strains were not monophyletic by analysis of any specific housekeeping gene or virulence characteristic. No clear association in relation to source of isolation or to genotypic profile based on the presence or absence of putative virulence genes could be identified. Comparison of VNTR profiling with MLST data suggested a correlation between these two methods of genetic analysis. In common with the majority of previous studies, MLST was unable to provide clarification of the basis for pathogenicity among members of the B. cereus complex. Nevertheless, our application of MLST served to reinforce the notion that B. cereus and B. thuringiensis should be considered as the same species.
Abstract in English:The epidemiology of urinary tract infections (UTI) by Staphylococcus saprophyticus has not been fully characterised and strain typing methods have not been validated for this agent. To evaluate whether epidemiological relationships exist between clusters of pulsed field gel-electrophoresis (PFGE) genotypes of S. saprophyticus from community-acquired UTI, a cross-sectional surveillance study was conducted in the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In total, 32 (16%) female patients attending two walk-in clinics were culture-positive for S. saprophyticus. Five PFGE clusters were defined and evaluated against epidemiological data. The PFGE clusters were grouped in time, suggesting the existence of community point sources of S. saprophyticus. From these point sources, S. saprophyticus strains may spread among individuals.
Abstract in English:The presence of enteric viruses in biosolids can be underestimated due to the inefficient methods (mainly molecular methods) used to recover the viruses from these matrices. Therefore, the goal of this study was to evaluate the different methods used to recover adenoviruses (AdV), rotavirus species A (RVA), norovirus genogroup II (NoV GII) and the hepatitis A virus (HAV) from biosolid samples at a large urban wastewater treatment plant in Brazil after they had been treated by mesophilic anaerobic digestion. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was used for spiking experiments to compare the detection limits of feasible methods, such as beef extract elution and ultracentrifugation. Tests were performed to detect the inhibition levels and the bacteriophage PP7 was used as an internal control. The results showed that the inhibitors affected the efficiency of the PCR reaction and that beef extract elution is a suitable method for detecting enteric viruses, mainly AdV from biosolid samples. All of the viral groups were detected in the biosolid samples: AdV (90%), RVA, NoV GII (45%) and HAV (18%), indicating the viruses' resistance to the anaerobic treatment process. This is the first study in Brazil to detect the presence of RVA, AdV, NoV GII and HAV in anaerobically digested sludge, highlighting the importance of adequate waste management.
Abstract in English:The trypanosomatid cytoskeleton is responsible for the parasite's shape and it is modulated throughout the different stages of the parasite's life cycle. When parasites are exposed to media with reduced osmolarity, they initially swell, but subsequently undergo compensatory shrinking referred to as regulatory volume decrease (RVD). We studied the effects of anti-microtubule (Mt) drugs on the proliferation of Leishmania mexicana promastigotes and their capacity to undergo RVD. All of the drugs tested exerted antiproliferative effects of varying magnitudes [ansamitocin P3 (AP3)> trifluoperazine > taxol > rhizoxin > chlorpromazine]. No direct relationship was found between antiproliferative drug treatment and RVD. Similarly, Mt stability was not affected by drug treatment. Ansamitocin P3, which is effective at nanomolar concentrations, blocked amastigote-promastigote differentiation and was the only drug that impeded RVD, as measured by light dispersion. AP3 induced 2 kinetoplasts (Kt) 1 nucleus cells that had numerous flagella-associated Kts throughout the cell. These results suggest that the dramatic morphological changes induced by AP3 alter the spatial organisation and directionality of the Mts that are necessary for the parasite's hypotonic stress-induced shape change, as well as its recovery.
Abstract in English:The presence of Triatoma infestans in habitats treated with insecticides constitutes a frequent problem in endemic areas. Basing our study on the hypothesis that descendants of a residual population should be more similar to the pre-treatment population than to any other, we compared the indications of two quantitative morphological approaches. This study seeks to find the origin of 247 T. infestans from three populations found in two chicken coops and a goat corral after treatment with insecticides. The results obtained by quantitative morphology suggest that the T. infestans found between three-34 months after the application of insecticides formed mixed populations with insects derived from residual foci and neighbouring habitats. Our analyses also showed the presence of a phenotype which does not resemble neither the pre-treatment phenotype nor the one from neighbouring populations, suggesting the presence of a particular post-treatment phenotype. The heads size showed some variations in males from different populations and remained unchanged in females, which reinforces the hypothesis of an intraspecific competition for food with priority for females. This article presents, for the first time, the combined analysis of geometric morphometry of heads and antennal phenotypes to identify the composition of reinfesting populations.
Abstract in English:The PfCLAG9 has been extensively studied because their immunogenicity. Thereby, the gene product is important for therapeutics interventions and a potential vaccine candidate. Antibodies against synthetic peptides corresponding to selected sequences of the Plasmodium falciparum antigen PfCLAG9 were found in sera of falciparum malaria patients from Rondônia, in the Brazilian Amazon. Much higher antibody titres were found in semi-immune and immune asymptomatic parasite carriers than in subjects suffering clinical infections, corroborating original findings in Papua Guinea. However, sera of Plasmodium vivax patients from the same Amazon area, in particular from asymptomatic vivax parasite carriers, reacted strongly with the same peptides. Bioinformatic analyses revealed regions of similarity between P. falciparum Pfclag9 and the P. vivax ortholog Pvclag7. Indirect fluorescent microscopy analysis showed that antibodies against PfCLAG9 peptides elicited in BALB/c mice react with human red blood cells (RBCs) infected with both P. falciparum and P. vivax parasites. The patterns of reactivity on the surface of the parasitised RBCs are very similar. The present observations support previous findings that PfCLAG9 may be a target of protective immune responses and raises the possibility that the cross reactive antibodies to PvCLAG7 in mixed infections play a role in regulate the fate of Plasmodium mixed infections.
Abstract in English:Quantitative polymerase chain reaction-high-resolution melting (qPCR-HRM) analysis was used to screen for mutations related to drug resistance in Mycobacterium tuberculosis. We detected the C526T and C531T mutations in the rifampicin resistance-determining region (RRDR) of the rpoB gene with qPCR-HRM using plasmid-based controls. A segment of the RRDR region from M. tuberculosis H37Rv and from strains carrying C531T or C526T mutations in the rpoB were cloned into pGEM-T vector and these vectors were used as controls in the qPCR-HRM analysis of 54 M. tuberculosis strains. The results were confirmed by DNA sequencing and showed that recombinant plasmids can replace genomic DNA as controls in the qPCR-HRM assay. Plasmids can be handled outside of biosafety level 3 facilities, reducing the risk of contamination and the cost of the assay. Plasmids have a high stability, are normally maintained in Escherichia coli and can be extracted in large amounts.
Abstract in English:Trichomonas vaginalis and Tritrichomonas foetus are parasitic protists of the human and bovine urogenital tracts, respectively. Several studies have described the cytotoxic effects of trichomonads on urogenital tract epithelial cells. However, little is known about the host cell response against trichomonads. The aim of this study was to determine whether T. foetus and T. vaginalis stimulated the release of the cytokine interleukin (IL)-10 from cultured bovine epithelial cells. To characterise the inflammatory response induced by these parasites, primary cultures of bovine oviduct epithelial cells were exposed to either T. vaginalis or T. foetus. Within 12 h after parasite challenge, supernatants were collected and cytokine production was analysed. Large amounts of IL-10 were detected in the supernatants of cultures that had been stimulated with T. foetus. Interestingly, T. vaginalis induced only a small increase in the release of IL-10 upon exposure to the same bovine cells. Thus, the inflammatory response of the host cell is species-specific. Only T. foetus and not T. vaginalis induced the release of IL-10 by bovine oviduct epithelial cells.
Abstract in English:This study describes a carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae (CRKP) outbreak that occurred from October 2008-December 2010. Polymerase chain reaction assays were performed to detect the blaKPC gene and molecular typing was performed using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). There were 33 CRKP infections; PFGE revealed five genotypes: genotype A in five (15%), B in 18 (55%), C in eight (24%) and two unique profiles. Genotype B was disseminated in all hospital units and belonged to the same clone identified in 11 different hospitals in the state of São Paulo. Sixteen (48%) patients died. Seven isolates (21%) were resistant to polymyxin B and 45% were resistant to tigecycline and amikacin.
Abstract in English:Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples from clinically diagnosed patients with detectable Angiostrongylus canto-nensis-specific antibodies (n = 10), patients with clinically suspected cases that tested negative for A. cantonensis-an-tibodies (n = 5) and patients with cerebral gnathostomiasis (n = 2) and neurocysticercosis (n = 2) were examined by a single-step polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method using the AC primers for the 66-kDa native protein gene. The PCR method detected A. cantonensis DNA in CSF samples from four of 10 serologically confirmed angiostrongyliasis cases. The PCR results were negative for the remaining CSF samples. The nucleotide sequences of three positive CSF-PCR samples shared 98.8-99.2% similarity with the reference sequence of A. cantonensis. These results indicate the potential application of this PCR assay with clinical CSF samples for additional support in the confirmation of eosinophilic meningitis due to A. cantonensis.
Abstract in English:Human respiratory syncytial virus (HRSV) causes severe infections among children and immunocompromised patients. We compared HRSV infections among Haematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant program (HSCT) patients and children using direct immunofluorescence (DFA), point-of-care RSV Bio Easy® and a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay. Overall, 102 samples from HSCT patients and 128 from children obtained positivity rate of 18.6% and 14.1% respectively. PCR sensitivity was highest mainly on samples collected after five days of symptoms onset. A combination of both DFA and reverse transcriptase-PCR methods for HSCT high-risk patients is the best diagnostic flow for HRSV diagnosis among these patients.
Abstract in English:Specimens of the hard tick Amblyomma triste were found infected with Rickettsia parkeri in an area of Argentina (General Lavalle, Buenos Aires Province) where cases of human illness attributed to this microorganism have been reported. Molecular detection of R. parkeri was based on polymerase chain reactions that amplify a ca. 400-bp fragment of the 23S-5S intergenic spacer and a ca. 500-bp fragment of the gene encoding a 190-kDa outer membrane protein. Three (6.97%) of 43 A. triste ticks were determined to be positive for R. parkeri. These results provide strong evidence that A. triste is the vector of R. parkeri in the study area. The findings of this work have epidemiological relevance because human parasitism by A. triste ticks has been frequently recorded in some riparian areas of Argentina and Uruguay and new cases of R. parkeri rickettsiosis might arise in the South American localities where humans are exposed to the bites of this tick species.
Abstract in English:In this study, we evaluated several techniques for the detection of the yeast form of Cryptococcus in decaying wood and measured the viability of these fungi in environmental samples stored in the laboratory. Samples were collected from a tree known to be positive for Cryptococcus and were each inoculated on 10 Niger seed agar (NSA) plates. The conventional technique (CT) yielded a greater number of positive samples and indicated a higher fungal density [in colony forming units per gram of wood (CFU.g-1)] compared to the humid swab technique (ST). However, the difference in positive and false negative results between the CT-ST was not significant. The threshold of detection for the CT was 0.05.10³ CFU.g-1, while the threshold for the ST was greater than 0.1.10³ CFU-1. No colonies were recovered using the dry swab technique. We also determined the viability of Cryptococcus in wood samples stored for 45 days at 25ºC using the CT and ST and found that samples not only continued to yield a positive response, but also exhibited an increase in CFU.g-1, suggesting that Cryptococcus is able to grow in stored environmental samples. The ST.1, in which samples collected with swabs were immediately plated on NSA medium, was more efficient and less laborious than either the CT or ST and required approximately 10 min to perform; however, additional studies are needed to validate this technique.