Abstract in English:An increasingly asked question is 'can we confidently link bats with emerging viruses?'. No, or not yet, is the qualified answer based on the evidence available. Although more than 200 viruses - some of them deadly zoonotic viruses - have been isolated from or otherwise detected in bats, the supposed connections between bats, bat viruses and human diseases have been raised more on speculation than on evidence supporting their direct or indirect roles in the epidemiology of diseases (except for rabies). However, we are convinced that the evidence points in that direction and that at some point it will be proved that bats are competent hosts for at least a few zoonotic viruses. In this review, we cover aspects of bat biology, ecology and evolution that might be relevant in medical investigations and we provide a historical synthesis of some disease outbreaks causally linked to bats. We provide evolutionary-based hypotheses to tentatively explain the viral transmission route through mammalian intermediate hosts and to explain the geographic concentration of most outbreaks, but both are no more than speculations that still require formal assessment.
Abstract in English:In the Americas, areas with a high risk of malaria transmission are mainly located in the Amazon Forest, which extends across nine countries. One keystone step to understanding the Plasmodium life cycle in Anopheles species from the Amazon Region is to obtain experimentally infected mosquito vectors. Several attempts to colonise Ano- pheles species have been conducted, but with only short-lived success or no success at all. In this review, we review the literature on malaria transmission from the perspective of its Amazon vectors. Currently, it is possible to develop experimental Plasmodium vivax infection of the colonised and field-captured vectors in laboratories located close to Amazonian endemic areas. We are also reviewing studies related to the immune response to P. vivax infection of Anopheles aquasalis, a coastal mosquito species. Finally, we discuss the importance of the modulation of Plasmodium infection by the vector microbiota and also consider the anopheline genomes. The establishment of experimental mosquito infections with Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium yoelii and Plasmodium berghei parasites that could provide interesting models for studying malaria in the Amazonian scenario is important. Understanding the molecular mechanisms involved in the development of the parasites in New World vectors is crucial in order to better determine the interaction process and vectorial competence.
Abstract in English:Phytomonas serpens are flagellates in the family Trypanosomatidae that parasitise the tomato plant (Solanum lycopersicum L.), which results in fruits with low commercial value. The tomato glycoalkaloid tomatine and its aglycone tomatidine inhibit the growth of P. serpens in axenic cultures. Tomatine, like many other saponins, induces permeabilisation of the cell membrane and a loss of cell content, including the cytosolic enzyme pyruvate kinase. In contrast, tomatidine does not cause permeabilisation of membranes, but instead provokes morphological changes, including vacuolisation. Phytomonas treated with tomatidine show an increased accumulation of labelled neutral lipids (BODYPY-palmitic), a notable decrease in the amount of C24-alkylated sterols and an increase in zymosterol content. These results are consistent with the inhibition of 24-sterol methyltransferase (SMT), which is an important enzyme that is responsible for the methylation of sterols at the 24 position. We propose that the main target of tomatidine is the sterols biosynthetic pathway, specifically, inhibition of the 24-SMT. Altogether, the results obtained in the present paper suggest a more general effect of alkaloids in trypanosomatids, which opens potential therapeutic possibilities for the treatment of the diseases caused by these pathogens.
Abstract in English:Histology is the gold standard for diagnosing acute rejection and hepatitis C recurrence after liver transplantation. However, differential diagnosis between the two can be difficult. We evaluated the role of C4d staining and quantification of hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA levels in liver tissue. This was a retrospective study of 98 liver biopsy samples divided into four groups by histological diagnosis: acute rejection in patients undergoing liver transplant for hepatitis C (RejHCV+), HCV recurrence in patients undergoing liver transplant for hepatitis C (HCVTx+), acute rejection in patients undergoing liver transplant for reasons other than hepatitis C and chronic hepatitis C not transplanted (HCVTx-). All samples were submitted for immunohistochemical staining for C4d and HCV RNA quantification. Immunoexpression of C4d was observed in the portal vessels and was highest in the HCVTx- group. There was no difference in C4d expression between the RejHCV+ and HCVTx+ groups. However, tissue HCV RNA levels were higher in the HCVTx+ group samples than in the RejHCV+ group samples. Additionally, there was a significant correlation between tissue and serum levels of HCV RNA. The quantification of HCV RNA in liver tissue might prove to be an efficient diagnostic test for the recurrence of HCV infection.
Abstract in English:Aiming to identify new sources of bioactive secondary metabolites, we isolated 82 endophytic fungi from stems and barks of the native Brazilian tree Caesalpinia echinata Lam. (Fabaceae). We tested their ethyl acetate extracts in several in vitro assays. The organic extracts from three isolates showed antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli [minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) 32-64 μg/mL]. One isolate inhibited the growth of Salmonella typhimurium (MIC 64 μg/mL) and two isolates inhibited the growth of Klebsiella oxytoca (MIC 64 μg/mL), Candida albicans and Candida tropicalis (MIC 64-128 μg/mL). Fourteen extracts at a concentration of 20 μg/mL showed antitumour activities against human breast cancer and human renal cancer cells, while two isolates showed anti-tumour activities against human melanoma cancer cells. Six extracts were able to reduce the proliferation of human peripheral blood mononuclear cells, indicating some degree of selective toxicity. Four isolates were able to inhibit Leishmania (Leishmania) amazonensis and one isolate inhibited Trypanosoma cruzi by at least 40% at 20 μg/mL. The trypanocidal extract obtained from Fusarium sp. [KF611679] culture was subjected to bioguided fractionation, which revealed beauvericin as the compound responsible for the observed toxicity of Fusarium sp. to T. cruzi. This depsipeptide showed a half maximal inhibitory concentration of 1.9 μg/mL (2.43 μM) in a T. cruzi cellular culture assay.
Abstract in English:In our previous study, we have found that 5-cyclopropyl-2-[1-(2-fluoro-benzyl)-1H-pyrazolo[3,4-b]pyridine-3-yl]-pyrimidin-4-ylamine (BAY 41-2272), a guanylate cyclase agonist, activates human monocytes and the THP-1 cell line to produce the superoxide anion, increasing in vitro microbicidal activity, suggesting that this drug can be used to modulate immune functioning in primary immunodeficiency patients. In the present work, we investigated the potential of the in vivo administration of BAY 41-2272 for the treatment of Candida albicans and Staphylococcus aureus infections introduced via intraperitoneal and subcutaneous inoculation. We found that intraperitoneal treatment with BAY 41-2272 markedly increased macrophage-dependent cell influx to the peritoneum in addition to macrophage functions, such as spreading, zymosan particle phagocytosis and nitric oxide and phorbol myristate acetate-stimulated hydrogen peroxide production. Treatment with BAY 41-2272 was highly effective in reducing the death rate due to intraperitoneal inoculation of C. albicans, but not S. aureus. However, we found that in vitro stimulation of peritoneal macrophages with BAY 41-2272 markedly increased microbicidal activities against both pathogens. Our results show that the prevention of death by the treatment of C. albicans-infected mice with BAY 41-2272 might occur primarily by the modulation of the host immune response through macrophage activation.
Abstract in English:Trypanosoma cruzi strains from distinct geographic areas show differences in drug resistance and association between parasites genetic and treatment response has been observed. Considering that benznidazole (BZ) can reduce the parasite burden and tissues damage, even in not cured animals and individuals, the goal is to assess the drug response to BZ of T. cruzi II strains isolated from children of the Jequitinhonha Valley, state of Minas Gerais, Brazil, before treatment. Mice infected and treated with BZ in both phases of infection were compared with the untreated and evaluated by fresh blood examination, haemoculture, polymerase chain reaction, conventional (ELISA) and non-conventional (FC-ALTA) serologies. In mice treated in the acute phase, a significant decrease in parasitaemia was observed for all strains. Positive parasitological and/or serological tests in animals treated during the acute and chronic (95.1-100%) phases showed that most of the strains were BZ resistant. However, beneficial effect was demonstrated because significant reduction (p < 0.05%) and/or suppression of parasitaemia was observed in mice infected with all strains (acute phase), associated to reduction/elimination of inflammation and fibrosis for two/eight strains. BZ offered some benefit, even in not cured animals, what suggest that BZ use may be recommended at least for recent chronic infection of the studied region.
Abstract in English:Toxoplasma gondii causes toxoplasmosis, a worldwide disease. Experimentation with pigs is necessary for the development of new therapeutic approaches to human diseases. BR-1 mini pigs were intramuscularly infected with T. gondii with tachyzoites (RH strain) or orally infected with cysts (ME-49 strain). Haematology and serum biochemistry were analysed and buffy coat cells were inoculated in mice to determine tachyzoite circulation. No alterations were observed in erythrocyte and platelet values; however, band neutrophils increased seven days after infection with ME-49. Serology of the mice inoculated with pig blood leucocytes revealed circulating ME-49 or RH strain tachyzoites in the pigs' peripheral blood at two and seven or nine days post-infection. The tachyzoites were also directly observed in blood smears from the infected pigs outside and inside leucocytes for longer periods. Alanine-aminotransferase was high at days 21 and 32 in the RH infected pigs. After 90 days, the pigs were euthanised and their tissue samples were processed and inoculated into mice. The mice serology revealed the presence of parasites in the hearts, ileums and mesenteric lymph nodes of the pigs. Additionally, cysts in the mice were only observed after pig heart tissue inoculation. The infected pigs presented similar human outcomes with relatively low pathogenicity and the BR-1 mini pig model infected with ME-49 is suitable to monitor experimental toxoplasmosis.
Abstract in English:The 2009 pandemic influenza A virus outbreak led to the systematic use of the neuraminidase (NA) inhibitor oseltamivir (OST). Consequently, OST-resistant strains, carrying the mutation H275Y, emerged in the years after the pandemics, with a prevalence of 1-2%. Currently, OST-resistant strains have been found in community settings, in untreated individuals. To spread in community settings, H275Y mutants must contain additional mutations, collectively called permissive mutations. We display the permissive mutations in NA of OST-resistant A(H1N1)pdm09 virus found in Brazilian community settings. The NAs from 2013 are phylogenetically distinct from those of 2012, indicating a tendency of positive selection of NAs with better fitness. Some previously predicted permissive mutations, such as V241I and N369K, found in different countries, were also detected in Brazil. Importantly, the change D344N, also predicted to compensate loss of fitness imposed by H275Y mutation, was found in Brazil, but not in other countries in 2013. Our results reinforce the notion that OST-resistant A(H1N1)pdm09 strains with compensatory mutations may arise in an independent fashion, with samples being identified in different states of Brazil and in different countries. Systematic circulation of these viral strains may jeopardise the use of the first line of anti-influenza drugs in the future.
Abstract in English:This study examined whether the antidermatophytic activity of essential oils (EOs) can be used as an indicator for the discovery of active natural products against Leishmania amazonensis. The aerial parts of seven plants were hydrodistilled. Using broth microdilution techniques, the obtained EOs were tested against three strains of dermatophytes (Trichophyton mentagrophytes, Microsporum gypseum and Microsporum canis). To compare the EOs antifungal and antiparasitic effects, the EOs activities against axenic amastigotes of L. amazonensis were concurrently evaluated. For the most promising EOs, their antileishmanial activities against parasites infecting peritoneal macrophages of BALB/c mice were measured. The most interesting antifungal candidates were the EOs from Cymbopogon citratus, Otacanthus azureus and Protium heptaphyllum, whereas O. azureus, Piper hispidum and P. heptaphyllum EOs exhibited the lowest 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50) values against axenic amastigotes, thus revealing a certain correspondence between both activities. The P. hispidum EO was identified as the most promising product in the results from the infected macrophages model (IC50: 4.7 µg/mL, safety index: 8). The most abundant compounds found in this EO were sesquiterpenes, notably curzerene and furanodiene. Eventually, the evaluation of the antidermatophytic activity of EOs appears to be an efficient method for identifying new potential drugs for the treatment of L. amazonensis.
Abstract in English:This paper presents, from the perspective of technological development and production, the results of an investigation examining 61 clinical studies with vaccines conducted in Brazil between 1938-2013, with the participation of the Oswaldo Cruz Institute (IOC) and the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz). These studies have been identified and reviewed according to criteria, such as the kind of vaccine (viral, bacterial, parasitic), their rationale, design and methodological strategies. The results indicate that IOC and Fiocruz have accumulated along this time significant knowledge and experience for the performance of studies in all clinical phases and are prepared for the development of new vaccines products and processes. We recommend national policy strategies to overcome existing regulatory and financing constraints.
Abstract in English:The Pantanal hosts diverse wildlife species and therefore is a hotspot for arbovirus studies in South America. A serosurvey for Mayaro virus (MAYV), eastern (EEEV), western (WEEV) and Venezuelan (VEEV) equine encephalitis viruses was conducted with 237 sheep, 87 free-ranging caimans and 748 equids, including 37 collected from a ranch where a neurologic disorder outbreak had been recently reported. Sera were tested for specific viral antibodies using plaque-reduction neutralisation test. From a total of 748 equids, of which 264 were immunised with vaccine composed of EEEV and WEEV and 484 had no history of immunisation, 10 (1.3%) were seropositive for MAYV and two (0.3%) for VEEV using criteria of a ≥ 4-fold antibody titre difference. Among the 484 equids without history of immunisation, 48 (9.9%) were seropositive for EEEV and four (0.8%) for WEEV using the same criteria. Among the sheep, five were sero- positive for equine encephalitis alphaviruses, with one (0.4%) for EEEV, one (0.4%) for WEEV and three (1.3%) for VEEV. Regarding free-ranging caimans, one (1.1%) and three (3.4%), respectively, had low titres for neutralising antibodies to VEEV and undetermined alphaviruses. The neurological disorder outbreak could not be linked to the alphaviruses tested. Our findings represent strong evidence that MAYV and all equine encephalitis alphaviruses circulated in the Pantanal.
Abstract in English:We studied the feasibility of using halloysite clay nanotubes (HNTs) and carboxyl-functionalised multi-walled carbon nanotubes (COOH-MWCNTs) as antigen carriers to improve immune responses against a recombinant LipL32 protein (rLipL32). Immunisation using the HNTs or COOH-MWCNTs significantly increased the rLipL32-specific IgG antibody titres (p < 0.05) of Golden Syrian hamsters. None of the vaccines tested conferred protection against a challenge using a virulent Leptospira interrogans strain. These results demonstrated that nanotubes can be used as antigen carriers for delivery in hosts and the induction of a humoral immune response against purified leptospiral antigens used in subunit vaccine preparations.
Abstract in English:Human respiratory syncytial virus (HRSV) is an important respiratory pathogens among children between zero-five years old. Host immunity and viral genetic variability are important factors that can make vaccine production difficult. In this work, differences between biological clones of HRSV were detected in clinical samples in the absence and presence of serum collected from children in the convalescent phase of the illness and from their biological mothers. Viral clones were selected by plaque assay in the absence and presence of serum and nucleotide sequences of the G2 and F2 genes of HRSV biological clones were compared. One non-synonymous mutation was found in the F gene (Ile5Asn) in one clone of an HRSV-B sample and one non-synonymous mutation was found in the G gene (Ser291Pro) in four clones of the same HRSV-B sample. Only one of these clones was obtained after treatment with the child's serum. In addition, some synonymous mutations were determined in two clones of the HRSV-A samples. In conclusion, it is possible that minor sequences could be selected by host antibodies contributing to the HRSV evolutionary process, hampering the development of an effective vaccine, since we verify the same codon alteration in absence and presence of human sera in individual clones of BR-85 sample.
Abstract in English:Monitoring phlebotomine sandflies in urban areas is key for epidemiological studies in susceptible populations. This paper describes sandfly fauna that were present in an urban area of the municipality of Tapachula, Chiapas, Mexico, and were captured with Shannon and CDC light traps. During February and March of 2014, 1,442 sandflies were captured, specifically Lutzomyia cruciata (Coquillet) (98.8%), Lutzomyia cayennensis cayennensis (Floch and Abonnenc) (0.8%), Lutzomyia chiapanensis (Dampf) (0.3%) and Lutzomyia atulapai (De León) (0.1%). Lu. cruciata was the most abundant and the most frequently trapped species. This is the first record of its remarkable ability to adapt to urban green areas. The three other species trapped represent new records of geographic distribution for the study region. These results indicate the need to establish measures for reducing both human contact with this vector and the risk of possible sites of infection.
Abstract in English:Trichuris trichiura is a soil-transmitted helminth which is prevalent in warm, moist, tropical and subtropical regions of the world with poor sanitation. Heavy whipworm can result either in Trichuris dysenteric syndrome - especially in children - or in a chronic colitis. In heavy infections, worms can spread proximally and may cause ileitis. Here we provide first microscopic evidence for a T. trichiura adult worm embedded in the rectum of a post-Colonial Brazilian adult mummy. During Colonial and post-Colonial times, many European chroniclers described a parasitic disease named Maculo whose symptomatology coincides with heavy helminthiasis. Based on our findings and on comparison of ancient textual evidence with modern description of heavy whipworm, we feel confident in considering that the two syndromes are expressions of the same pathological condition.
Abstract in English:The influenza A(H3N2) virus has circulated worldwide for almost five decades and is the dominant subtype in most seasonal influenza epidemics, as occurred in the 2014 season in South America. In this study we evaluate five whole genome sequences of influenza A(H3N2) viruses detected in patients with mild illness collected from January-March 2014. To sequence the genomes, a new generation sequencing (NGS) protocol was performed using the Ion Torrent PGM platform. In addition to analysing the common genes, haemagglutinin, neuraminidase and matrix, our work also comprised internal genes. This was the first report of a whole genome analysis with Brazilian influenza A(H3N2) samples. Considerable amino acid variability was encountered in all gene segments, demonstrating the importance of studying the internal genes. NGS of whole genomes in this study will facilitate deeper virus characterisation, contributing to the improvement of influenza strain surveillance in Brazil.
Abstract in English:The Brazilian Amazon Region is a highly endemic area for hepatitis B virus (HBV). However, little is known regarding the genetic variability of the strains circulating in this geographical region. Here, we describe the first full-length genomes of HBV isolated in the Brazilian Amazon Region; these genomes are also the first complete HBV subgenotype D3 genomes reported for Brazil. The genomes of the five Brazilian isolates were all 3,182 base pairs in length and the isolates were classified as belonging to subgenotype D3, subtypes ayw2 (n = 3) and ayw3 (n = 2). Phylogenetic analysis suggested that the Brazilian sequences are not likely to be closely related to European D3 sequences. Such results will contribute to further epidemiological and evolutionary studies of HBV.