Abstract in English:Despite some phlebotomines being well recognised as vectors of leishmaniasis agents, vector importance of those belonging to the genus Trichophoromyia has not been extensively studied. The present study provides evidence regarding the putative vector role played by some species of Trichophoromyia on leishmanine enzootics, based on literature reports and findings obtained from field experiments conducted in the ecotopes of Pará State, Brazil. The species Th. ubiquitalis, Th. velascoi, Th. auraensis, Th. ininii and Th. brachipyga possess minimal criteria to be included in the list of suspected leishmanine vectors. However, knowledge on man-biting behavior, substantiation of vector competence and determination of epidemiological implications are limited for all of the above mentioned species. Published studies together with present data draw attention to prioritize these phlebotomine species in entomological surveillance programs and studies on experimental susceptibility to Leishmania spp. infection.
Abstract in English:Malaria and tuberculosis are no longer considered to be neglected diseases by the World Health Organization. However, both are huge challenges and public health problems in the world, which affect poor people, today referred to as neglected populations. In addition, malaria and tuberculosis present the same difficulties regarding the treatment, such as toxicity and the microbial resistance. The increase of Plasmodium resistance to the available drugs along with the insurgence of multidrug- and particularly tuberculosis drug-resistant strains are enough to justify efforts towards the development of novel medicines for both diseases. This literature review provides an overview of the state of the art of antimalarial and antituberculosis chemotherapies, emphasising novel drugs introduced in the pharmaceutical market and the advances in research of new candidates for these diseases, and including some aspects of their mechanism/sites of action.
Abstract in English:Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a highly contagious infection that may break the healthcare system of several countries. Here, we aimed at presenting a critical view of ongoing drug repurposing efforts for COVID-19 as well as discussing opportunities for development of new treatments based on current knowledge of the mechanism of infection and potential targets within. Finally, we also discuss patent protection issues, cost effectiveness and scalability of synthetic routes for some of the most studied repurposing candidates since these are key aspects to meet global demand for COVID-19 treatment.
Abstract in English:Giardia duodenalis infection is distributed worldwide and can achieve prevalence around 60%, especially in developing countries. This protozoan is divided into eight assemblages, in which A and B have high zoonotic potential, whereas C to H are host-specific. This scenario is changing as molecular studies progress, highlighting that knowledge on host-specificity still has a long way to go. Understanding the players involved in transmission routes enables rational designs of control strategies. Considering the high prevalence of giardiasis, this review aims to gather together the data on available studies on the distribution of G. duodenalis assemblages in Brazil until September 2020.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND It was previously demonstrated that CMC-20, a nitazoxanide and N-methyl-1H-benzimidazole hybrid molecule, had higher in vitro activity against Giardia intestinalis WB strain than metronidazole and albendazole and similar to nitazoxanide. OBJETIVES To evaluate the in vitro activity of CMC-20 against G. intestinalis strains with different susceptibility/resistance to albendazole and nitazoxanide and evaluate its effect on the distribution of parasite cytoskeletal proteins and its in vivo giardicidal activity. METHODS CMC-20 activity was tested against two isolates from patients with chronic and acute giardiasis, an experimentally induced albendazole resistant strain and a nitazoxanide resistant clinical isolate. CMC-20 effect on the distribution of parasite cytoskeletal proteins was analysed by indirect immunofluorescence and its activity was evaluated in a murine model of giardiasis. FINDINGS CMC-20 showed broad activity against susceptible and resistant strains to albendazole and nitaxozanide. It affected the parasite microtubule reservoir and triggered the parasite encystation. In this process, alpha-7.2 giardin co-localised with CWP-1 protein. CMC-20 reduced the infection time and cyst load in feces of G. muris infected mice similar to albendazole. MAIN CONCLUSIONS The in vitro and in vivo giardicidal activity of CMC-20 suggests its potential use in the treatment of giardiasis.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Chagas disease, which is caused by the protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi, is endemic to Latin America and mainly affects low-income populations. Chemotherapy is based on two nitrocompounds, but their reduced efficacy encourages the continuous search for alternative drugs. Our group has characterised the trypanocidal effect of naphthoquinones and their derivatives, with naphthoimidazoles derived from β-lapachone (N1, N2 and N3) being the most active in vitro. OBJECTIVES In the present work, the effects of N1, N2 and N3 on acutely infected mice were investigated. METHODS in vivo activity of the compounds was assessed by parasitological, biochemical, histopathological, immunophenotypical, electrocardiographic (ECG) and behavioral analyses. FINDINGS Naphthoimidazoles led to a decrease in parasitaemia (8 dpi) by reducing the number of bloodstream trypomastigotes by 25-50% but not by reducing mortality. N1 protected mice from heart injury (15 dpi) by decreasing inflammation. Bradycardia was also partially reversed after treatment with N1 and N2. Furthermore, the three compounds did not reverse hepatic and renal lesions or promote the improvement of other evaluated parameters. MAIN CONCLUSION N1 showed moderate trypanocidal and promising immunomodulatory activities, and its use in combination with benznidazole and/or anti-arrhythmic drugs as well as the efficacy of its alternative formulations must be investigated in the near future.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Ubiquitin (Ub) and Ub-like proteins (Ub-L) are critical regulators of complex cellular processes such as the cell cycle, DNA repair, transcription, chromatin remodeling, signal translation, and protein degradation. Giardia intestinalis possesses an experimentally proven Ub-conjugation system; however, a limited number of enzymes involved in this process were identified using basic local alignment search tool (BLAST). This is due to the limitations of BLAST’s ability to identify homologous functional regions when similarity between the sequences dips to < 30%. In addition Ub-Ls and their conjugating enzymes have not been fully elucidated in Giardia. OBJETIVE To identify the enzymes involved in the Ub and Ub-Ls conjugation processes using intelligent systems based on the hidden Markov models (HMMs). METHODS We performed an HMM search of functional Pfam domains found in the key enzymes of these pathways in Giardia’s proteome. Each open reading frame identified was analysed by sequence homology, domain architecture, and transcription levels. FINDINGS We identified 118 genes, 106 of which corresponded to the ubiquitination process (Ub, E1, E2, E3, and DUB enzymes). The E3 ligase group was the largest group with 82 members; 71 of which harbored a characteristic RING domain. Four Ub-Ls were identified and the conjugation enzymes for NEDD8 and URM1 were described for first time. The 3D model for Ub-Ls displayed the β-grasp fold typical. Furthermore, our sequence analysis for the corresponding activating enzymes detected the essential motifs required for conjugation. MAIN CONCLUSIONS Our findings highlight the complexity of Giardia’s Ub-conjugation system, which is drastically different from that previously reported, and provides evidence for the presence of NEDDylation and URMylation enzymes in the genome and transcriptome of G. intestinalis.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Leprosy is an infectious-contagious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae that remain endemic in 105 countries. This neglected disease has a wide range of clinical and histopathological manifestations that are related to the host inflammatory and immune responses. More recently, the inflammasome has assumed a relevant role in the inflammatory response against microbiological agents. However, the involvement of inflammasome in leprosy remains poorly understood. OBJECTIVES The aim is to associate biomarkers of inflammasome with the different immunopathological forms of leprosy. METHODS We performed an observational, cross-sectional, and comparative study of the immunophenotypic expression of inflammasome-associated proteins in immunopathological forms of leprosy of 99 skin lesion samples by immunohistochemistry. The intensity and percentage of NLRP3, Caspase-1, Caspases-4/5, interleukin-1β and interleukin-18 immunoreactivities in the inflammatory infiltrate of skin biopsies were evaluated. FINDINGS Strong expression of NLRP3 and inflammatory Caspases-4/5 were observed in lepromatous leprosy (lepromatous pole). In addition, were observed low expression of caspase-1, interleukin-1β, and interleukin-18 in tuberculoid and lepromatous leprosy. The interpolar or borderline form showed immunophenotype predominantly similar to the lepromatous pole. MAIN CONCLUSIONS Our results demonstrate that the NLRP3 inflammasome is inactive in leprosy, suggesting immune evasion of M. leprae.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Leishmaniases are considered a major public health problem in South America, specifically in Brazil. Moreover, the transmission and epidemiology of leishmaniasis are possibly associated with climatic and environmental variations. OBJECTIVE This study aimed to assess the association between the extreme climatic phenomenon El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), the maximum and minimum variations of temperature, precipitation, and soil moisture and the incidence of visceral leishmaniasis (VL) in Mato Grosso do Sul (MS), Brazil, from 2002 to 2015. METHODS The Niño 3.4 index was used for the ENSO variation. The other climatic data were obtained from the climatic tool TerraClimate. Records regarding VL were obtained from the Notification of Injury Information System. FINDINGS From 2002 to 2015, there were 3,137 cases of VL recorded in MS. The annual incidence of the disease was negatively associated with the ENSO index and soil moisture in MS. The VL incidence increased during the negative phase of ENSO and decreased during the positive phase. MAIN CONCLUSIONS The results demonstrated that the interannual cycles of incidence of human VL are significantly associated with the occurrence of the ENSO phenomenon and its phases, El Niño and La Niña.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Viruses can modulate intracellular signalling pathways to complete their infectious cycle. Among these, the PI3K/Akt pathway allows prolonged survival of infected cells that favours viral replication. GSK3β, a protein kinase downstream of PI3K/Akt, gets inactivated upon activation of the PI3K/Akt pathway, and its association with viral infections has been recently established. In this study, the role of GSK3β during Dengue virus-2 (DENV-2) infection was investigated. METHODS GSK3β participation in the DENV-2 replication process was evaluated with pharmacological and genetic inhibition during early [0-12 h post-infection (hpi)], late (12-24 hpi), and 24 hpi in Huh7 and Vero cells. We assessed the viral and cellular processes by calculating the viral titre in the supernatants, In-Cell Western, western blotting and fluorescence microscopy. RESULTS Phosphorylation of GSK3β-Ser9 was observed at the early stages of infection; neither did treatment with small molecule inhibitors nor pre-treatment prior to viral infection of GSK3β reduce viral titres of the supernatant at these time points. However, a decrease in viral titres was observed in cells infected and treated with the inhibitors much later during viral infection. Consistently, the infected cells at this stage displayed plasma membrane damage. Nonetheless, these effects were not elicited with the use of genetic inhibitors of GSK3β. CONCLUSIONS The results suggest that GSK3β participates at the late stages of the DENV replication cycle, where viral activation may promote apoptosis and release of viral particles.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND High-risk human papillomaviruses (HR-HPVs) are the etiological agents of cervical cancer. Among them, types 16 and 18 are the most prevalent worldwide. The HPV genome encodes three oncoproteins (E5, E6, and E7) that possess a high transformation potential in culture cells when transduced simultaneously. In the present study, we analysed how these oncoproteins cooperate to boost key cancer cell features such as uncontrolled cell proliferation, invasion potential, and cellular redox state imbalance. Oxidative stress is known to contribute to the carcinogenic process, as reactive oxygen species (ROS) constitute a potentially harmful by-product of many cellular reactions, and an efficient clearance mechanism is therefore required. Cells infected with HR-HPVs can adapt to oxidative stress conditions by upregulating the formation of endogenous antioxidants such as catalase, glutathione (GSH), and peroxiredoxin (PRX). OBJECTIVES The primary aim of this work was to study how these oncoproteins cooperate to promote the development of certain cancer cell features such as uncontrolled cell proliferation, invasion potential, and oxidative stress that are known to aid in the carcinogenic process. METHODS To perform this study, we generated three different HaCaT cell lines using retroviral transduction that stably expressed combinations of HPV-18 oncogenes that included HaCaT E5-18, HaCaT E6/E7-18, and HaCaT E5/E6/E7-18. FINDINGS Our results revealed a statistically significant increment in cell viability as measured by MTT assay, cell proliferation, and invasion assays in the cell line containing the three viral oncogenes. Additionally, we observed that cells expressing HPV-18 E5/E6/E7 exhibited a decrease in catalase activity and a significant augmentation of GSH and PRX1 levels relative to those of E5, E6/E7, and HaCaT cells. MAIN CONCLUSIONS This study demonstrates for the first time that HPV-18 E5, E6, and E7 oncoproteins can cooperate to enhance malignant transformation.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Streptococcus agalactiae capsular type III strains are a leading cause of invasive neonatal infections. Many pathogens have developed mechanisms to escape from host defense response using the host membrane microdomain machinery. Lipid rafts play an important role in a variety of cellular functions and the benefit provided by interaction with lipid rafts can vary from one pathogen to another. OBJECTIVES This study aims to evaluate the involvement of membrane microdomains during infection of human endothelial cell by S. agalactiae. METHODS The effects of cholesterol depletion and PI3K/AKT signaling pathway activation during S. agalactiae-human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) interaction were analysed by pre-treatment with methyl-β-cyclodextrin (MβCD) or LY294002 inhibitors, immunofluorescence and immunoblot analysis. The involvement of lipid rafts was analysed by colocalisation of bacteria with flotillin-1 and caveolin-1 using fluorescence confocal microscopy. FINDINGS In this work, we demonstrated the importance of the integrity of lipid rafts microdomains and activation of PI3K/Akt pathway during invasion of S. agalactiae strain to HUVEC cells. Our results suggest the involvement of flotillin-1 and caveolin-1 during the invasion of S. agalactiae strain in HUVEC cells. CONCLUSIONS The collection of our results suggests that lipid microdomain affects the interaction of S. agalactiae type III belonging to the hypervirulent ST-17 with HUVEC cells through PI3K/Akt signaling pathway.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND The five BRICS (Brazil, Russian, Indian, China, and South Africa) countries bear 49% of the world’s tuberculosis (TB) burden and they are committed to ending tuberculosis. OBJECTIVES The aim of this paper is to map the scientific landscape related to TB research in BRICS countries. METHODS Were combined bibliometrics and social network analysis techniques to map the scientific publications related to TB produced by the BRICS. Was made a descriptive statistical data covering the full period of analysis (1993-2016) and the research networks were made for 2007-2016 (8,366 records). The bubble charts were generated by VantagePoint and the networks by the Gephi 0.9.1 software (Gephi Consortium 2010) from co-occurrence matrices produced in VantagePoint. The Fruchterman-Reingold algorithm provided the networks’ layout. FINDINGS During the period 1993-2016, there were 38,315 peer-reviewed, among them, there were 11,018 (28.7%) articles related by one or more authors in a BRICS: India 38.7%; China 23.8%; South Africa 21.1%; Brazil 13.0%; and Russia 4.5% (The total was greater than 100% because our criterion was all papers with at least one author in a BRICS). Among the BRICS, there was greater interaction between India and South Africa and organisations in India and China had the highest productivity; however, South African organisations had more interaction with countries outside the BRICS. Publications by and about BRICS generally covered all research areas, especially those in India and China covered all research areas, although Brazil and South Africa prioritised infectious diseases, microbiology, and the respiratory system. MAIN CONCLUSIONS An overview of BRICS scientific publications and interactions highlighted the necessity to develop a BRICS TB research plan to increase efforts and funding to ensure that basic science research successfully translates into products and policies to help end the TB epidemic.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Early diagnosis of tuberculosis (TB) and identification of strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis resistant to anti-TB drugs are considered the main factors for disease control. OBJECTIVES To standardise a real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) assay technique and apply it to identify mutations involved in M. tuberculosis resistance to Isoniazid (INH) directly in Ziehl-Neelsen (ZN) stained slides. METHODS Were analysed 55 independent DNA samples extracted from clinical isolates of M. tuberculosis by sequencing. For application in TB diagnosis resistance, 59 ZN-stained slides were used. The sensitivity, specificity and Kappa index, with a 95% confidence interval (CI95%), were determined. FINDINGS The agreement between the tests was, for the katG target, the Kappa index of 0.89 (CI95%: 0.7-1.0). The sensitivity and specificity were 97.6% (CI95%: 87.7-99.9) and 91.7% (CI95%: 61.5-99.5), respectively. For inhA, the Kappa index was 0.92 (CI95%: 0.8-1.0), the sensitivity and specificity were 94.4% (CI95%: 72.7-99.8) and 97.3% (CI95%: 85.8-99.9), respectively. The use of ZN-stained slides for drug-resistant TB detection showed significant results when compared to other standard tests for drug resistance. MAIN CONCLUSIONS qPCR genotyping proved to be an efficient method to detect genes that confer M. tuberculosis resistance to INH. Thus, qPCR genotyping may be an alternative instead of sequencing.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND The mechanism of resistance to SbIII in Leishmania is complex, multifactorial and involves not only biochemical mechanisms, but also other elements, such as the immune system of the host. OBJECTIVES In this study, putative changes in the immunological profile of human monocytes infected with wild-type (WT) and antimony (SbIII)-resistant Leishmania (Viannia) braziliensis and Leishmania (Leishmania) infantum lines were evaluated. METHODS Susceptibility assays WT and SbIII-resistant L. braziliensis and L. infantum were performed using lines THP-1 human monocytic lineage. Phagocytic capacity, cytokine profile, intracellular nitric oxide (NO) production and surface carbohydrate residues profile were performed in peripheral blood monocytes by flow cytometry. FINDINGS The phagocytic capacity and intracellular NO production by classical (CD14++CD16-) and proinflammatory (CD14++CD16+) monocytes were higher in the presence of L. infantum lines compared to L. braziliensis lines. The results also highlight proinflammatory monocytes as the cellular subpopulation of major relevance in a phagocytosis event and NO expression. It is important to note that L. infantum induced a proinflammatory cytokine profile characterised by higher levels of TNF-α in culture supernatant than L. braziliensis. Conversely, both Leishmania lines induce high levels of IL-6 in culture supernatant. Analysis of the expression profile of surface carbohydrates showed that L. braziliensis presents 4.3-fold higher expression of galactose(β1,4)N-acetylglucosamine than L. infantum line. Interestingly, the expression level of α-N-acetylgalactosamine residues was 2-fold lower in the SbIII-resistant L. braziliensis line than its counterpart WT line, indicating differences in surface glycoconjugates between these lines. MAIN CONCLUSIONS Our results showed that L. braziliensis and L. infantum induce different innate immune responses and a highly inflammatory profile, which is characteristic of infection by L. infantum, the species associated with visceral disease.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Nanoparticles (NPs) are viable candidates as carriers of exogenous materials into cells via transfection and can be used in the DNA vaccination strategy against leptospirosis. OBJECTIVES We evaluated the efficiency of halloysite clay nanotubes (HNTs) and amine-functionalised multi-walled carbon nanotubes (NH2-MWCNTs) in facilitating recombinant LemA antigen (rLemA) expression and protecting Golden Syrian hamsters (Mesocricetus auratus) against Leptospira interrogans lethal infection. METHODS An indirect immunofluorescent technique was used to investigate the potency of HNTs and NH2-MWCNTs in enhancing the transfection and expression efficiency of the DNA vaccine in Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells. Hamsters were immunised with two doses of vaccines HNT-pTARGET/lemA, NH2-MWCNTs-pTARGET/lemA, pTARGET/lemA, and empty pTARGET (control), and the efficacy was determined in terms of humoral immune response and protection against a lethal challenge. FINDINGS rLemA DNA vaccines carried by NPs were able to transfect CHO cells effectively, inducing IgG immune response in hamsters (p < 0.05), and did not exhibit cytotoxic effects. Furthermore, 83.3% of the hamsters immunised with NH2-MWCNTs-pTARGET/lemA were protected against the lethal challenge (p < 0.01), and 66.7% of hamsters immunised with HNT-pTARGET/lemA survived (p < 0.05). MAIN CONCLUSIONS NH2-MWCNTs and HNTs can act as antigen carriers for mammalian cells and are suitable for DNA nanovaccine delivery.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND The leishmaniases are complex neglected diseases caused by protozoan parasites of the genus Leishmania. Leishmania braziliensis is the main etiological agent of cutaneous leishmaniasis in the New World. In recent studies, genomic changes such as chromosome and gene copy number variations (CNVs), as well as transcriptomic changes have been highlighted as mechanisms used by Leishmania species to adapt to stress situations. OBJECTIVES The aim of this study was to determine the effect of short-term minor temperature shifts in the genomic and transcriptomic responses of L. braziliensis promastigotes in vitro. METHODS Growth curves, genome and transcriptome sequencing of L. braziliensis promastigotes were conducted from cultures exposed to three different temperatures (24ºC, 28ºC and 30ºC) compared with the control temperature (26ºC). FINDINGS Our results showed a decrease in L. braziliensis proliferation at 30ºC, with around 3% of the genes showing CNVs at each temperature, and transcriptomic changes in genes encoding amastin surface-like proteins, heat shock proteins and transport proteins, which may indicate a direct response to temperature stress. MAIN CONCLUSIONS This study provides evidence that L. braziliensis promastigotes exhibit a decrease in cell density, and noticeable changes in the transcriptomic profiles. However, there were not perceptible changes at chromosome CNVs and only ~3% of the genes changed their copies in each treatment.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is relevant for human and animal public health. Several factors have been associated with the risk of Leishmania infantum infection in dogs. However, dog owner characteristics have been rarely explored. OBJECTIVES To estimate the prevalence and to identify the associated factors for VL infection including dog owners characteristics. METHODS A cross-sectional study was conducted including dogs from an endemic canine visceral leishmaniasis (CVL) region in the Federal District, Brazil. The infection was detected using parasitological, serological, and molecular methods. The associated factors were identified through Poisson regression modelling. FINDINGS The prevalence of infection was 26.25% [95% confidence interval (CI): 20.05 to 33.57]. The associated factors were: short coat prevalence ratio (PR) = 2.33 (95% CI: 1.02 to 5.22); presence of backyard with predominance of soil and/or vegetation PR = 4.15 (95% CI: 1.35 to 12.77); and highest gross family income score PR = 2.03 (95% CI: 1.16 to 3.54). MAIN CONCLUSION This is the first study that relates higher socioeconomic status of dog owners as an independent factor associated with higher prevalence of VL infection, along with other strongly associated factors related to receptive environment for phlebotomines. Our findings strengthen the need for exploration of the biological and behavioural bases linking dog owner characteristics to the risk of canine infection in prospective cohort studies.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Key genes control the infectivity of the Schistosoma haematobium causing schistosomiasis. A method for understanding the regulation of these genes might help in developing new disease strategies to control schistosomiasis, such as the silencing mediated by microRNAs (miRNAs). The miRNAs have been studied in schistosome species and they play important roles in the post-transcriptional regulation of genes, and in parasite-host interactions. However, genome-wide identification and characterisation of novel miRNAs and their pathway genes and their gene expression have not been explored deeply in the genome and transcriptome of S. haematobium. OBJECTIVES Identify and characterise mature and precursor miRNAs and their pathway genes in the S. haematobium genome. METHODS Computational prediction and characterisation of miRNAs and genes involved in miRNA pathway from S. haematobium genome on SchistoDB. Conserved domain analysis was performed using PFAM and CDD databases. A robust algorithm was applied to identify mature miRNAs and their precursors. The characterisation of the precursor miRNAs was performed using RNAfold, RNAalifold and Perl scripts. FINDINGS We identified and characterised 14 putative proteins involved in miRNA pathway including ARGONAUTE and DICER in S. haematobium. Besides that, 149 mature miRNAs and 131 precursor miRNAs were identified in the genome including novel miRNAs. MAIN CONCLUSIONS miRNA pathway occurs in the S. haematobium, including endogenous miRNAs and miRNA pathway components, suggesting a role of this type of non-coding RNAs in gene regulation in the parasite. The results found in this work will open up a new avenue for studying miRNAs in the S. haematobium biology in helping to understand the mechanism of gene silencing in the human parasite Schistosome.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and the number of new cases of multidrug resistant TB (MDR-TB), pre extensively drug-resistant TB (pre-XDR-TB) and extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB) has increased considerably worldwide. OBJECTIVES Herein, using 156 M. tuberculosis isolates from 106 patients previously classified as MDR or pre-XDR or XDR isolates, we investigated the genetic mutation profiles associated with phenotypic resistances in patients with MDR-TB, pre-XDR-TB and XDR-TB, treatment outcomes and resistance evolution. METHODS Molecular analyses were performed by partial sequencing of the rpoB, katG, gyrA, gyrB, rrs genes and analysis of the fabG-inhA promoter region. Clinical, epidemiologic and demographic data were obtained from the TB Notification database system of São Paulo (TB-WEB) and the Information System for Special Tuberculosis Treatments (SITE-TB). FINDINGS Drug resistance was attributed to previously known mutations and a novel Asp449Val mutation in gyrB was observed in four isolates from the same patient. Ten patients had more than one isolate evaluated and eight of these patients displayed resistance progression. MAIN CONCLUSIONS The present study is the first to report the frequency of mutations related to second-line drug resistance in MDR-TB, pre-XDR-TB and XDR-TB isolates. The results could lead to the improvement of available technologies for the rapid detection of drug resistant TB.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) is considered a promising live bacterial delivery system. However, several proposals for rBCG vaccines have not progressed, mainly due to the limitations of the available expression systems. OBJECTIVES To obtain a set of mycobacterial vectors using a range of promoters with different strengths based on a standard backbone, previously shown to be stable. METHODS Mycobacterial expression vectors based on the pLA71 vector as backbone, were obtained inserting different promoters (PAN, PαAg, PHsp60, PBlaF* and PL5) and the green fluorescence protein (GFP) as reporter gene, to evaluate features such as their relative strengths, and the in vitro (inside macrophages) and in vivo stability. FINDINGS The relative fluorescence observed with the different vectors showed increasing strength of the promoters: PAN was the weakest in both Mycobacterium smegmatis and BCG and PBlaF* was higher than PHsp60 in BCG. The relative fluorescence observed in a macrophage cell line showed that PBlaF* and PHsp60 were comparable. It was not possible to obtain strains transformed with the extrachromosomal expression vector containing the PL5 in either species. MAIN CONCLUSION We have obtained a set of potentially stable mycobacterial vectors with a arrange of expression levels, to be used in the development of rBCG vaccines.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Despite efforts to mitigate the impact of dengue virus (DENV) epidemics, the virus remains a public health problem in tropical and subtropical regions around the world. Most DENV cases in the Americas between January and July 2019 were reported in Brazil. São Paulo State in the southeast of Brazil has reported nearly half of all DENV infections in the country. OBJECTIVES To understand the origin and dynamics of the 2019 DENV outbreak. METHODS Here using portable nanopore sequencing we generated20 new DENV genome sequences from viremic patients with suspected dengue infection residing in two of the most-affected municipalities of São Paulo State, Araraquara and São José do Rio Preto. We conducted a comprehensive phylogenetic analysis with 1,630 global DENV strains to better understand the evolutionary history of the DENV lineages that currently circulate in the region. FINDINGS The new outbreak strains were classified as DENV2 genotype III (American/Asian genotype). Our analysis shows that the 2019 outbreak is the result of a novel DENV lineage that was recently introduced to Brazil from the Caribbean region. Dating phylogeographic analysis suggests that DENV2-III BR-4 was introduced to Brazil in or around early 2014, possibly from the Caribbean region. MAIN CONCLUSIONS Our study describes the early detection of a newly introduced and rapidly-expanding DENV2 virus lineage in Brazil.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Imitation SWItch (ISWI) ATPase is the catalytic subunit in diverse chromatin remodeling complexes. These complexes modify histone-DNA interactions and therefore play a pivotal role in different DNA-dependent processes. In Trypanosoma cruzi, a protozoan that controls gene expression principally post-transcriptionally, the transcriptional regulation mechanisms mediated by chromatin remodeling are poorly understood. OBJECTIVE To characterise the ISWI remodeler in T. cruzi (TcISWI). METHODS A new version of pTcGW vectors was constructed to express green fluorescent protein (GFP)-tagged TcISWI. CRISPR-Cas9 system was used to obtain parasites with inactivated TcISWI gene and we determined TcISWI partners by cryomilling-affinity purification-mass spectrometry (MS) assay as an approximation to start to unravel the function of this protein. FINDINGS Our approach identified known ISWI partners [nucleoplasmin-like protein (NLP), regulator of chromosome condensation 1-like protein (RCCP) and phenylalanine/tyrosine-rich protein (FYRP)], previously characterised in T. brucei, and new components in TcISWI complex [DRBD2, DHH1 and proteins containing a domain characteristic of structural maintenance of chromosomes (SMC) proteins]. Data are available via ProteomeXchange with identifier PXD017869. MAIN CONCLUSIONS In addition to its participation in transcriptional silencing, as it was reported in T. brucei, the data generated here provide a framework that suggests a role for TcISWI chromatin remodeler in different nuclear processes in T. cruzi, including mRNA nuclear export control and chromatin compaction. Further work is necessary to clarify the TcISWI functional diversity that arises from this protein interaction study.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Influenza viral load (VL) can be a decisive factor in determining the antiviral efficacy in viral clearance. OBJECTIVE This study aimed to evaluate the rate of infection and the role of influenza VL on the clinical spectrum of illnesses among different patient groups attended at a tertiary hospital in Brazil. METHODS Samples were collected from patients presenting acute respiratory infection from 2009 to 2013. Overall, 2262 samples were analysed and distributed into three groups: (i) asymptomatic (AS); (ii) symptomatic outpatients (OP); and (iii) hospitalised patients (HP). VL (expressed in Log10 RNA copies/mL) was calculated through a quantitative real-time one-step reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assay aimed at the M gene, with human RNAseP target as internal control and normalising gene of threshold cycle values. FINDINGS A total of 162 (7.16%) H1N1pdm09 positive samples were analysed. Patients aged from 0.08 to 77 years old [median ± standard deviation (SD): 12.5 ± 20.54]. Children with 5 to 11 years old presented the highest detection (p < 0.0001). AS patients had the lowest VL, with a significant difference when compared with symptomatic patients (p = 0.0003). A higher VL was observed within two days of disease onset. Ten patients (HP group) received antiviral treatment and were followed up and presented a mean initial VL of 6.64 ± 1.82. A complete viral clearance for 50% of these patients was reached after 12 days of treatment. MAIN CONCLUSIONS It is important to evaluate AS patients as potential spreaders, as viral shedding was still present, even at lower VL. Our results suggest that patients with underlying diseases and severe clinical symptoms may be considered for prolonged viral treatment.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus are the most important arbovirus vectors in the world. OBJECTIVES This study aimed to investigate and compare the infestation pattern of these species in a neighbourhood of Recife, Brazil, endemic for arboviruses in 2005 (T1) and 2013 (T2). METHODS Infestation, distribution and relative abundance of these sympatric species were recorded by egg collection using a network of 59 sentinel ovitraps (s-ovt) at fixed sampling stations for 12 months in T1 and T2. FINDINGS A permanent occupation pattern was detected which was characterised by the presence of egg-laying females of one or both species with a high ovitrap positivity index (94.3 to 100%) throughout both years analysed. In terms of abundance, the total of eggs collected was lower (p < 0.005) in T2 (146,153) than in T1 (281,103), although ovitraps still displayed a high index of positivity. The spatial distribution showed the presence of both species in 65.1% of the 148 s-ovt assessed, while a smaller number of traps exclusively contained Ae. aegypti (22%) or Ae. albopictus (13.2%) eggs. MAIN CONCLUSIONS Our comparative analysis demonstrated the robustness of the spatial occupation and permanence of Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus populations in this endemic urban area.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Left ventricular aneurysm (LVA) is indicator of high morbidity in Chagas’ disease. A cross-sectional study performed identified LVA in 18.8% of the chronic chagasic patients (CCP). OBJECTIVE Determine the risk of death of patients with chronic chagasic cardiopathy (CCC) and LVA in 24-year interval. MATERIAL AND METHODS In 1995 a cohort of 298 CCP was evaluated by anamnesis, physical examination, EKG and ECHO and classified in groups: G0 = 86 without cardiopathy; G1 = 156 with cardiopathy without LVA and G2 = 56 with cardiopathy and LVA. 38 patients of G0 and G1 used benznidazole. Information about the deaths was obtained in the notary, death certificates, hospital records and family members. FINDINGS Were registered 113 deaths (37.9%): 107 (35.9%) attributed to cardiopathy and 6 (2.0%) to other causes (p < 0.05). Amongst these 107 deaths, 10 (11.6%) occurred in G0; 49 (31.4%) occurred in G1 and 48 (85.7%) occurred in G2 (p < 0.05). The risk of death was 2.7 and 7.4 times significantly higher in G2, than in G1 and G0, respectively. CONCLUSION Chronic chagasic patients with LVA and ejection fraction < 45% have a higher risk of death than those without.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Biodiversity screens and phylogenetic studies are dependent on reliable DNA sequences in public databases. Biological collections possess vouchered specimens with a traceable history. Therefore, DNA sequencing of samples available at institutional collections can greatly contribute to taxonomy, and studies on evolution and biodiversity. METHODS We sequenced part of the glycosomal glyceraldehyde phosphate dehydrogenase (gGAPDH) and the SSU rRNA (V7/V8) genes from 102 trypanosomatid cultures, which are available on request at www.colprot.fiocruz.br. OBJECTIVE The main objective of this work was to use phylogenetic inferences, using the obtained DNA sequences and those from representatives of all Trypanosomatidae genera, to generate phylogenetic trees that can simplify new isolates screenings. FINDINGS A DNA sequence is provided for the first time for several isolates, the phylogenetic analysis allowed the classification or reclassification of several specimens, identification of candidates for new genera and species, as well as the taxonomic validation of several deposits. MAIN CONCLUSIONS This survey aimed at presenting a list of validated species and their associated DNA sequences combined with a short historical overview of each isolate, which can support taxonomic and biodiversity research and promote culture collections.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Biomphalaria glabrata snails are widely distributed in schistosomiasis endemic areas like America and Caribe, displaying high susceptibility to infection by Schistosoma mansoni. After the availability of B. glabrata genome and transcriptome data, studies focusing on genetic markers and small non-coding RNAs have become more relevant. The small RNAs have been considered important through their ability to finely regulate the gene expression in several organisms, thus controlling the functions like cell growth, metabolism, and susceptibility/resistance to infection. OBJECTIVE The present study aims on identification and characterisation of the repertoire of small non-coding RNAs in B. glabrata (Bgl-small RNAs). METHODS By using small RNA sequencing, bioinformatics tools and quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR), we identified, characterised, and validated the presence of small RNAs in B. glabrata. FINDINGS 89 mature miRNAs were identified and five of them were classified as Mollusk-specific. When compared to model organisms, sequences of B. glabrata miRNAs showed a high degree of conservation. In addition, several target genes were predicted for all the mature miRNAs identified. Furthermore, piRNAs were identified in the genome of B. glabrata for the first time. The B. glabrata piRNAs showed strong conservation of uridine as first nucleotide at 5’ end, besides adenine at 10th position. Our results showed that B. glabrata has diverse repertoire of circulating ncRNAs, several which might be involved in mollusk susceptibility to infection, due to their potential roles in the regulation of S. mansoni development. MAIN CONCLUSIONS Further studies are necessary in order to confirm the role of the Bgl-small RNAs in the parasite/host relationship thus opening new perspectives on interference of small RNAs in the organism development and susceptibility to infection.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Oxidative stress is responsible for generating DNA lesions and the 8-oxoguanine (8-oxoG) is the most commonly lesion found in DNA damage. When this base is incorporated during DNA replication, it could generate double-strand DNA breaks and cellular death. MutT enzyme hydrolyzes the 8-oxoG from the nucleotide pool, preventing its incorporation during DNA replication. OBJECTIVES To investigate the importance of 8-oxoG in Leishmania infantum and L. braziliensis, in this study we analysed the impact of heterologous expression of Escherichia coli MutT (EcMutT) enzyme in drug-resistance phenotype and defense against oxidative stress. METHODS Comparative analysis of L. braziliensis and L. infantum H2O2 tolerance and cell cycle profile were performed. Lines of L. braziliensis and L. infantum expressing EcMutT were generated and evaluated using susceptibility tests to H2O2 and SbIII, cell cycle analysis, γH2A western blotting, and BrdU native detection assay. FINDINGS Comparative analysis of tolerance to oxidative stress generated by H2O2 showed that L. infantum is more tolerant to exogenous H2O2 than L. braziliensis. In addition, cell cycle analysis showed that L. infantum, after treatment with H2O2, remains in G1 phase, returning to its normal growth rate after 72 h. In contrast, after treatment with H2O2, L. braziliensis parasites continue to move to the next stages of the cell cycle. Expression of the E. coli MutT gene in L. braziliensis and L. infantum does not interfere in parasite growth or in susceptibility to SbIII. Interestingly, we observed that L. braziliensis EcMutT-expressing clones were more tolerant to H2O2 treatment, presented lower activation of γH2A, a biomarker of genotoxic stress, and lower replication stress than its parental non-transfected parasites. In contrast, the EcMutT is not involved in protection against oxidative stress generated by H2O2 in L. infantum. MAIN CONCLUSIONS Our results showed that 8-oxoG clearance in L. braziliensis is important to avoid misincorporation during DNA replication after oxidative stress generated by H2O2.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Nyssorhynchus deaneorum is a potential malaria vector because it has been shown to be competent to transmit Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium falciparum, and because it exhibits antropophilic and endophilic behaviors in some regions of the Amazon. This profile makes Ny. deaneorum a useful mosquito for experiments that model Plasmodium-vector interactions in the Amazon. OBJECTIVE Herein we describe how a free-mating colony of Ny. deaneorum has been established using an automated light stimulation system. METHODS Mosquitoes were captured in São Francisco do Guaporé, Rondônia. The F1 generation was reared until adult emergence at which point copulation was induced using an automatic copulation induction system (ACIS). FINDINGS After four generations, natural mating and oviposition began to occur without light stimulation. The number of pupae and adult mosquitoes increased from the F5 to F10 generations. The new Ny. deaneorum colony exhibited susceptibility to P. vivax. MAIN CONCLUSIONS Automated light stimulation is an effective method for establishing an Ny. deaneorum colony under laboratory conditions as it produces enough adults to create a stenogamic colony. The establishment of a stable, P. vivax-susceptible colony of Ny. deaneorum makes it possible to model parasite-vector interactions and to test novel drug therapies that target parasite development in mosquitoes.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Fluctuations in climate have been associated with variations in mosquito abundance. OBJECTIVES To analyse the influence of precipitation, temperature, solar radiation, wind speed and humidity on the oviposition dynamics of Aedes aegypti in three distinct environmental areas (Brasília Teimosa, Morro da Conceição/Alto José do Pinho and Dois Irmãos/Pintos) of the city of Recife and the Fernando de Noronha Archipelago northeastern Brazil. METHODS Time series study using a database of studies previously carried out in the areas. The eggs were collected using spatially distributed geo-referenced sentinel ovitraps (S-OVTs). Meteorological satellite data were obtained from the IRI climate data library. The association between meteorological variables and egg abundance was analysed using autoregressive models. FINDINGS Precipitation was positively associated with egg abundance in three of the four study areas with a lag of one month. Higher humidity (β = 45.7; 95% CI: 26.3 - 65.0) and lower wind speed (β = −125.2; 95% CI: −198.8 - −51.6) were associated with the average number of eggs in the hill area. MAIN CONCLUSIONS The effect of climate variables on oviposition varied according to local environmental conditions. Precipitation was a main predictor of egg abundance in the study settings.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND The number of malaria cases in Roraima nearly tripled from 2016 to 2018. The capital, Boa Vista, considered a low-risk area for malaria transmission, reported an increasing number of autochthonous and imported cases. OBJECTIVES This study describes a spatial analysis on malaria cases in an urban region of Boa Vista, which sought to identify the autochthonous and imported cases and associated them with Anopheles habitats and the potential risk of local transmission. METHODS In a cross-sectional study at the Polyclinic Cosme e Silva, 520 individuals were interviewed and diagnosed with malaria by microscopic examination. Using a global positional system, the locations of malaria cases by type and origin and the breeding sites of anopheline vectors were mapped and the risk of malaria transmission was evaluated by spatial point pattern analysis. FINDINGS Malaria was detected in 57.5% of the individuals and there was a disproportionate number of imported cases (90.6%) linked to Brazilian coming from gold mining sites in Venezuela and Guyana. MAIN CONCLUSIONS The increase in imported malaria cases circulating in the west region of Boa Vista, where there are positive breeding sites for the main vectors, may represent a potential condition for increased autochthonous malaria transmission in this space.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Unfortunately, no any vaccine against leishmaniasis has been developed for human use. Therefore, a vaccine based on total Leishmania antigens could be a good and economic approach; and there are different methodologies to obtain these antigens. However, it is unknown whether the method to obtain the antigens affects the integrity and immune response caused by them. OBJECTIVES to compare the protein profile and immune response generated by total L. amazonensis antigens (TLA) produced by different methods, as well as to analyse the immune response and protection by a first-generation vaccine formulated with sonicated TLA (sTLA) and polyinosinic:polycytidylic acid [Poly (I:C)]. METHODS TLA were obtained by four different methodologies and their integrity and immune response were evaluated. Finally, sTLA was formulated with Poly (I:C) and their protective immune response was measured. FINDINGS sTLA presented a conserved protein profile and induced a strong immune response. In addition, Poly (I:C) improved the immune response generated by sTLA. Finally, sTLA + Poly (I:C) formulation provided partial protection against L. amazonensis infection. MAIN CONCLUSIONS The protein profile and immune response depend on the methodology used to obtain the antigens. Also, the formulation sTLA + Poly (I:C) provides partial protection against cutaneous leishmaniasis in mice.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND NME23/NDPKs are well conserved proteins found in all living organisms. In addition to being nucleoside diphosphate kinases (NDPK), they are multifunctional enzymes involved in different processes such as DNA stability, gene regulation and DNA repair among others. TcNDPK1 is the canonical NDPK isoform present in Trypanosoma cruzi, which has nuclease activity and DNA-binding properties in vitro. OBJECTIVES In the present study we explored the role of TcNDPK1 in DNA damage responses. METHODS TcNDPK1 was expressed in mutant bacteria and yeasts and over-expressed in epimastigotes. Mutation frequencies, tolerance to genotoxic agents and activity of DNA repair enzymes were evaluated. FINDINGS Bacteria decreased about 15-folds the spontaneous mutation rate and yeasts were more resistant to hydrogen peroxide and to UV radiation than controls. Parasites overexpressing TcNDPK1 were able to withstand genotoxic stresses caused by hydrogen peroxide, phleomycin and hidroxyurea. They also presented less genomic damage and augmented levels of poly(ADP)ribose and poly(ADP)ribose polymerase, an enzyme involved in DNA repair. MAIN CONCLUSION These results strongly suggest a novel function for TcNDPK1; its involvement in the maintenance of parasite’s genome integrity.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Although Mycobacterium leprae (ML) is well characterised as the causative agent of leprosy, the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying peripheral nerve damage still need further understanding. In vitro and in vivo studies have yielded insights into molecular mechanisms of ML interaction with Schwann cells (SC), indicating the regulation of genes and proteins crucial to neural plasticity. OBJECTIVES We aimed to investigate the effect of ML on neurotrophins expression in human SC (hSC) and mice sciatic nerves to better understand their role in leprosy neuropathy, and aiming to contribute to future therapeutic approaches. METHODS We evaluated mRNA and protein expression of BDNF, NGF, NT-3, NT-4 in hSC from amputation nerve fragments, as well as in athymic nude mice, infected by ML for eight months. FINDINGS and MAIN CONCLUSIONS Our in vitro results showed a trend to decline in NGF and BDNF mRNA in ML-treated hSC, compared to controls. The immunodetection of BDNF and NT-4 was significantly downregulated in ML-treated hSC. Conversely, ML-infected mice demonstrated upregulation of NT-3, compared to non-infected animals. Our findings indicate that ML may be involved in neurotrophins regulation, suggesting that a pathogen-related imbalance of these growth factors may have a role in the neural impairment of leprosy.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Thrombocytopenia in malaria involves platelet destruction and consumption; however, the cellular response underlying this phenomenon has still not been elucidated. OBJECTIVE To find associations between platelet indices and unbalanced Th1/Th2/Th17 cytokines as a response to thrombocytopenia in Plasmodium vivax infected (Pv-MAL) patients. METHODS Platelet counts and quantification of Th1/Th2/Th17 cytokine levels were compared in 77 patients with uncomplicated P. vivax malaria and 37 healthy donors from the same area (endemic control group - ENCG). FINDINGS Thrombocytopenia was the main manifestation in 55 patients, but was not associated with parasitaemia. The Pv-MAL patients showed increases in the mean platelet volume (MPV), which may be consistent with larger or megaplatelets. Contrary to the findings regarding the endemic control group, MPV and platelet distribution width (PDW) did not show an inverse correlation, due the increase in the heterogeneity of platelet width. In addition, the Pv-MAL patients presented increased IL-1β and reduced IL-12p70 and IL-2 serum concentrations. Furthermore, the reduction of these cytokines was associated with PDW values. MAIN CONCLUSIONS Our data demonstrate that an increase in MPV and the association between reductions of IL-2 and IL-12 and PDW values may be an immune response to thrombocytopenia in uncomplicated P. vivax malaria.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Southeast Brazil has recently experienced a Yellow Fever virus (YFV) outbreak where the mosquito Haemagogus leucocelaenus was a primary vector. Climatic factors influence the abundance of mosquito vectors and arbovirus transmission. OBJECTIVES We aimed at describing the population dynamics of Hg. leucocelaenus in a county touched by the recent YFV outbreak. METHODS Fortnightly egg collections with ovitraps were performed from November 2012 to February 2017 in a forest in Nova Iguaçu, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The effects of mean temperature and rainfall on the Hg. leucocelaenus population dynamics were explored. FINDINGS Hg. leucocelaenus eggs were continuously collected throughout the study, with a peak in the warmer months (December-March). The climatic variables had a time-lagged effect and four weeks before sampling was the best predictor for the positivity of ovitraps and total number of eggs collected. The probability of finding > 50% positive ovitraps increased when the mean temperature was above 24ºC. The number of Hg. leucocelaenus eggs expressively increase when the mean temperature and accumulated precipitation surpassed 27ºC and 100 mm, respectively, although the effect of rainfall was less pronounced. MAIN CONCLUSIONS Monitoring population dynamics of Hg. leucocelaenus and climatic factors in YFV risk areas, especially mean temperature, may assist in developing climate-based surveillance procedures to timely strengthening prophylaxis and control.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Chagas disease, resulting from Trypanosoma cruzi infections, continues to be a health concern mainly in Latin American countries where the parasite is endemic. The laboratory diagnosis of a chronic infection is determined through serological assays for antibodies against T. cruzi and several tests are available that differ in key components, formats and methodologies. To date, no single test meets the criteria of a gold standard. The situation is further complicated by the difficulties associated with performance comparisons between different immunoassays or methodologies executed at different times and geographical areas. OBJECTIVE To improve the diagnosis of Chagas disease, the WHO coordinated the development of two International Biological Reference Standards for antibodies against anti-T. cruzi: NIBSC 09/186 and NIBSC 09/188 that respectively represent geographical regions with the highest prevalence of TcII and TcI lineages of the parasite. METHODS The principle goal of this study was to verify the behavior of these standards when assayed by several commercially available serological tests that employ different methods to capture and detect human anti-T. cruzi antibodies. FINDINGS AND MAIN CONCLUSIONS The results reinforce the recommendation that these standards be considered for performance evaluations of commercialised immunoassays and should be an integral step in the development of new test components or assay paradigms.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Paracoccidioides spp. causes paracoccidioidomycosis (PCM), an important and frequent systemic mycosis that occurs in Latin America. The infectious process begins with contact between the fungus and lung cells, and the molecular pattern of this interaction is currently poorly understood. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNAs that regulate the gene expression in many biological processes, including in the infections. OBJECTIVE This study aimed to analyse the expression of miRNAs in lung cells as response to infection by Paracoccidioides spp. METHODS A quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) based screening was employed to verify differentially expressed miRNAs in human lung cells infected with three different species; Paracoccidioides lutzii, Paracoccidioides americana, and Paracoccidioides brasiliensis. Furthermore, the in silico predictions of target genes and pathways for miRNAs were obtained. FINDINGS The results showed that miRNAs identified in the lung cells were different according to the species studied. However, based on the predicted targets, the potential signaling pathways regulated by miRNAs are common and related to adhesion, actin cytoskeleton rearrangement, apoptosis, and immune response mediated by T cells and TGF-β. MAIN CONCLUSIONS In summary, this study showed the miRNAs pattern of epithelial cells in response to infection by Paracoccidioides species and the potential role of these molecules in the regulation of key pathogenesis mechanisms of PCM.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Carrion’s disease (CD) is a neglected biphasic illness caused by Bartonella bacilliformis, a Gram-negative bacteria found in the Andean valleys. The spread of resistant strains underlines the need for novel antimicrobials against B. bacilliformis and related bacterial pathogens. OBJECTIVE The main aim of this study was to integrate genomic-scale data to shortlist a set of proteins that could serve as attractive targets for new antimicrobial discovery to combat B. bacilliformis. METHODS We performed a multidimensional genomic scale analysis of potential and relevant targets which includes structural druggability, metabolic analysis and essentiality criteria to select proteins with attractive features for drug discovery. FINDINGS We shortlisted seventeen relevant proteins to develop new drugs against the causative agent of Carrion’s disease. Particularly, the protein products of fabI, folA, aroA, trmFO, uppP and murE genes, meet an important number of desirable features that make them attractive targets for new drug development. This data compendium is freely available as a web server (http://target.sbg.qb.fcen.uba.ar/). MAIN CONCLUSION This work represents an effort to reduce the costs in the first phases of B. bacilliformis drug discovery.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Behavioral and neurochemical alterations associated with toxoplasmosis may be influenced by the persistence of tissue cysts and activation of an immune response in the brain of Toxoplasma gondii-infected hosts. The cerebral extracellular matrix is organised as perineuronal nets (PNNs) that are both released and ensheath by some neurons and glial cells. There is evidences to suggest that PNNs impairment is a pathophysiological mechanism associated with neuropsychiatric conditions. However, there is a lack of information regarding the impact of parasitic infections on the PNNs integrity and how this could affect the host’s behavior. OBJECTIVES In this context, we aimed to analyse the impact of T. gondii infection on cyst burden, PNNs integrity, and possible effects in the locomotor activity of chronically infected mice. METHODS We infected mice with T. gondii ME-49 strain. After thirty days, we assessed locomotor performance of animals using the open field test, followed by evaluation of cysts burden and PNNs integrity in four brain regions (primary and secondary motor cortices, prefrontal and somesthetic cortex) to assess the PNNs integrity using Wisteria floribunda agglutinin (WFA) labeling by immunohistochemical analyses. FINDINGS AND MAIN CONCLUSIONS Our findings revealed a random distribution of cysts in the brain, the disruption of PNNs surrounding neurons in four areas of the cerebral cortex and hyperlocomotor behavior in T. gondii-infected mice. These results can contribute to elucidate the link toxoplasmosis with the establishment of neuroinflammatory response in neuropsychiatric disorders and to raise a discussion about the mechanisms related to changes in brain connectivity, with possible behavioral repercussions during chronic T. gondii infection.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Long lasting insecticide-treated nets (LLINs) may be effective for vector control of cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL). Their efficacy, however, has not been sufficiently evaluated. OBJECTIVE To evaluate the large-scale efficacy of LLINs on Lutzomyia longiflocosa entomological parameters up to two years post-intervention in the sub-Andean region of Colombia. METHODS A matched-triplet cluster-randomised study of 21 rural settlements, matched by pre-intervention L. longiflocosa indoor density was used to compare three interventions: dip it yourself (DIY) lambda-cyhalothrin LLIN, deltamethrin LLIN, and untreated nets (control). Sand fly indoor density, feeding success, and parity were recorded using CDC light trap collections at 1, 6, 12, and 24 months post-intervention. FINDINGS Both LLINs reduced significantly (74-76%) the indoor density and the proportion of fully engorged sand flies up to two years post-intervention without differences between them. Residual lethal effects of both LLINs and the use of all nets remained high throughout the two-year evaluation period. CONCLUSIONS Both LLINs demonstrated high efficacy against L. longiflocosa indoors. Therefore, the deployment of these LLINs could have a significant impact on the reduction of CL transmission in the sub-Andean region. The DIY lambda-cyhalothrin kit may be used to convert untreated nets to LLINs increasing coverage.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND The Nyssomyia genus and Lutzomyia subgenus include medical important species that are Latin American leishmaniases vectors. Little is known about the phylogenetic relationships of closely-related species in each of these taxonomic groups that are morphologically indistinguishable or differentiated by very subtle details. OBJECTIVES We inferred the phylogenetic relationships of closely-related species within both the Nyssomyia genus and the Lutzomyia subgenus using a cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) fragment. METHODS The sampling was carried out from 11 Argentinean localities. For genetic analyses, we used GenBank sequences in addition to our sequences from Argentina. Kimura 2-parameter (K2P) genetic distance and nucleotide divergence (Da) was calculated between closely-related species of Nyssomyia genus, Lutzomyia subgenus and between clades of Lutzomyia longipalpis complex. FINDINGS The K2P and Da values within species of Nyssomyia genus and Lutzomyia subgenus were lower than the divergence detected between clades of Lu. longipalpis complex. The haplotype network analyses within Lutzomyia subgenus showed shared haplotypes between species, contrary to Nyssomyia genus with none haplotype shared. Bayesian inference within Nyssomyia genus presented structuring by species. MAIN CONCLUSIONS This study evidences the phylogenetic proximity among closely-related species within Nyssomyia genus and Lutzomyia subgenus. The COI sequences of Nyssomyia neivai derived from the present study are the first available in GenBank.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Occult hepatitis B virus (HBV) - characterized by the absence of detectable HBsAg in the presence of HBV DNA - represents a potential threat for blood safety. OBJECTIVES This study was conducted with the aim to investigate the serological and molecular characterization of occult HBV infection (OBI) among blood donors in Mozambique. METHODS 1,502 blood donors were tested for HBsAg. All HBsAg-negative individuals were tested for HBV DNA. Antibodies against HBV core, surface and HBe antigen (anti-HBc, anti-HBs, HBeAg) were measured in HBV DNA positive individuals. FINDINGS 1435 serum samples were HBsAg negative and 16 positive for HBV DNA, 14 confirmed to have OBI, corresponding to a frequency of 0.98%. Of the 14 OBI infections identified, 13/14 (92.8%) were positive for anti-HBc, 4/14 (28.5%) for anti-HBs, and no samples were reactive for HBeAg. Of the 14 OBI cases, nine samples (64.2%) were sequenced for the S/P region. Eight samples (88.9%) belonged to genotype A1 and one (11.1%) to genotype E. One escape mutation (T123A) associated with OBI and various amino acid substitutions for genotype A1 and E were observed. MAIN CONCLUSIONS Our results show the importance of using nucleic acid amplification test to detect occult hepatitis B infection in blood donors in Mozambique.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Essential oils (EO) extracted from Cinnamomum verum has been used as an antimicrobial agents for centuries. The effects of C. verum leaf oil against virulence of microorganisms is not well studied yet. OBJECTIVES This study evaluates the effect of C. verum leaf oil against three virulence factors of Candida albicans, C. tropicalis and C. dubliniensis and its in-vivo toxicity. METHODS Chemical composition of EO was determined using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) was determined using clinical and laboratory standards institute (CLSI) M27-A3 broth microdilution. Effect of EO on initial adhesion was quantified using XTT assay after allowing Candida cells to adhere to the polystyrene surface for 2 h. Biofilm formation of Candida in the presence of EO was quantified using XTT viability assay. Efficacy on reduction of germ tube formation was evaluated using standard protocol. Visualisation of biofilm formation and progression under the EO treatment were done using scanning electron microscope (SEM) and Time lapses microscope respectively. In-vivo toxicity of EO was determined using Galleria mellonella larvae. Chlorhexidine digluconate: positive control. RESULTS Eugenol was the main compound of EO. MIC was 1.0 mg/mL. 50% reduction in initial adhesion was achieved by C. albicans, C. tropicalis and C. dubliniensis with 1.0, > 2.0 and 0.34 mg/mL respectively. 0.5 and 1.0 mg/mL significantly inhibit the germ tube formation. MBIC50 for forming biofilms were ≤ 0.35 mg/mL. 1.0 mg/mL prevent biofilm progression of Candida. SEM images exhibited cell wall damages, cellular shrinkages and decreased hyphal formation. No lethal effect was noted with in-vivo experiment model at any concentration tested. CONCLUSION C. verum leaf oil acts against virulence factors of Candida and does not show any toxicity.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) to be a pandemic infection, important severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) non-structural proteins (nsp) have been analysed as promising targets in virtual screening approaches. Among these proteins, 3-chymotrypsin-like cysteine protease (3CLpro), also named main protease, and the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp), have been identified as fundamental targets due to its importance in the viral replication stages. OBJECTIVES To investigate, in silico, two of the most abundant flavonoid glycosides from Dysphania ambrosioides; a medicinal plant found in many regions of the world, along with some of the putative derivatives of these flavonoid glycosides in the human organism as potential inhibitors of the SARS-CoV-2 3CLpro and RdRp. METHODS Using a molecular docking approach, the interactions and the binding affinity with SARS-CoV-2 3CLpro and RdRp were predicted for quercetin-3-O-rutinoside (rutin), kaempferol-3-O-rutinoside (nicotiflorin) and some of their glucuronide and sulfate derivatives. FINDINGS Docking analysis, based on the crystal structure of 3CLpro and RdRp, indicated rutin, nicotiflorin, and their glucuronide and sulfate derivatives as potential inhibitors for both proteins. Also, the importance of the hydrogen bond and π-based interactions was evidenced for the presumed active sites. MAIN CONCLUSIONS Overall, these results suggest that both flavonoid glycosides and their putative human metabolites can play a key role as inhibitors of the SARS-CoV-2 3CLpro and RdRp. Obviously, further researches, mainly in vitro and in vivo experiments, are necessary to certify the docking results reported here, as well as the adequate application of these substances. Furthermore, it is necessary to investigate the risks of D. ambrosioides as a phytomedicine for use against COVID-19.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Calpains are present in almost all organisms and comprise a family of calcium-dependent cysteine peptidases implicated in crucial cellular functions. Trypanosoma cruzi, the causative agent of Chagas disease, presents an expansion on this gene family with unexplored biological properties. OBJECTIVES Here, we searched for calpains in the T. cruzi genome, evaluated the mRNA levels, calpain activity and the protein expression and determined the cellular localisation in all three parasite life cycle forms. METHODS/FINDINGS Sixty-three calpain sequences were identified in T. cruzi CL Brener genome, with fourteen domain arrangements. The comparison of calpain mRNA abundance by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) revealed seven up-regulated sequences in amastigotes and/or bloodstream trypomastigotes and five in epimastigotes. Western Blotting analysis revealed seven different molecules in the three parasite forms, and one amastigote-specific, while no proteolytic activity could be detected. Flow cytometry assays revealed a higher amount of intracellular calpains in amastigotes and/or trypomastigotes in comparison to epimastigotes. Finally, ultrastructural analysis revealed the presence of calpains in the cytoplasm, vesicular and plasma membranes of the three parasite forms, and in the paraflagellar rod in trypomastigotes. CONCLUSION Calpains are differentially expressed and localised in the T. cruzi life cycle forms. This study adds data on the calpain occurrence and expression pattern in T. cruzi.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Kaempferol (KPF) is a flavonoid with antiparasitic activity including experimental giardiasis which mechanism of action is unknown. OBJECTIVE To analyse the cytotoxic effects of KPF on Giardia duodenalis trophozoites and to identify a likely parasite target of this compound. METHODS We used inhibitory concentrations of KPF (IC25, IC50 and IC100) and albendazole (ABZ) as reference drug. The ultrastructure of the trophozoites was analysed by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) whilst apoptosis/necrosis, production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and cell cycle progression were assessed by flow cytometry (FCM) and confocal laser microscopy (CLM). Ligand-protein docking analyses were carried out using KPF structure from a drug library and crystal structure of a G. duodenalis aldose reductase (GdAldRed) homolog. RESULTS KPF provoked appearance of perinuclear and periplasmic spaces devoid of cytosolic content and multilamellar structures. KPF induced proapoptotic death associated with partial arrest in the S phase without ROS production. Bioinformatics approaches predicted that GdAldRed is a viable KPF target (ΔG = -7.09 kCal/mol), exhibiting 92% structural identity and a similar coupling pattern as its human homolog. CONCLUSIONS KPF exerted a proapoptotic effect on G. duodenalis trophozoites involving partial interruption of DNA synthesis without oxidative stress or structure damage to chromatin and cytoskeletal structures. GdAldRed is a likely target underlying its antigiardial activity.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was confirmed in Brazil in February 2020, the first cases were followed by an increase in the number of cases throughout the country, resulting in an important public health crisis that requires fast and coordinated responses. OBJECTIVES The objective of this work is to describe the isolation and propagation properties of SARS-CoV-2 isolates from the first confirmed cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Brazil. METHODS After diagnosis in patients that returned from Italy to the São Paulo city in late February by RT-PCR, SARS-CoV-2 isolates were obtained in cell cultures and characterised by full genome sequencing, electron microscopy and in vitro replication properties. FINDINGS The virus isolate was recovered from nasopharyngeal specimen, propagated in Vero cells (E6, CCL-81 and hSLAM), with clear cytopathic effects, and characterised by full genome sequencing, electron microscopy and in vitro replication properties. Virus stocks - viable (titre 2.11 × 106 TCID50/mL, titre 1.5 × 106 PFUs/mL) and inactivated from isolate SARS.CoV2/SP02.2020.HIAE.Br were prepared and set available to the public health authorities and the scientific community in Brazil and abroad. MAIN CONCLUSION We believe that the protocols for virus growth and studies here described and the distribution initiative may constitute a viable model for other developing countries, not only to help a rapid effective pandemic response, but also to facilitate and support basic scientific research.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Lutzomyia longipalpis-derived cell line (Lulo) has been suggested as a model for studies of interaction between sandflies and Leishmania. OBJECTIVES Here, we present data of proteomic and gene expression analyses of Lulo cell related to interactions with Leishmania (Viannia) braziliensis. METHODS Lulo cell protein extracts were analysed through a combination of two-dimensional gel electrophoresis and mass spectrometry and resulting spots were further investigated in silico to identify proteins using Mascot search and, afterwards, resulting sequences were applied for analysis with VectorBase. RESULTS Sixty-four spots were identified showing similarities to other proteins registered in the databases and could be classified according to their biological function, such as ion-binding proteins (23%), proteases (14%), cytoskeletal proteins (11%) and interactive membrane proteins (9.5%). Effects of interaction with L. (V.) braziliensis with the expression of three genes (enolase, tubulin and vacuolar transport protein) were observed after an eight-hour timeframe and compared to culture without parasites, and demonstrated the impact of parasite interaction with the expression of the following genes: LLOJ000219 (1.69-fold), LLOJ000326 (1.43-fold) and LLOJ006663 (2.41-fold). CONCLUSIONS This set of results adds relevant information regarding the usefulness of the Lulo cell line for studies with Leishmania parasites that indicate variations of protein expression.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Deforestation, driven by anthropogenic change in land use, influences the behaviour and abundance of vector-borne diseases. For various species of Chagas disease vectors, there is evidence that change in land use affects population density and abundance. Triatoma dimidiata is the most important Chagas vector in Guatemala, and at least one million people live in T. dimidiata endemic areas; however, infestation dynamics vary among regions, from high infestation with all life stages to low seasonal infestation by sylvatic adults. OBJECTIVES The aim of this study was to evaluate how land-use, combined with domiciliary risk factors, influences the infestation dynamics of T. dimidiata for four villages in a dry forest region with a strong deforestation history. METHODS Land use, measured with drone and satellite images, was classified into four categories (houses, monocultures and pastures, woodland and shrubland, and bare soil). Domiciliary risk factors and infestation were assessed through entomological surveys. Statistical analyses compared infestation indices and the ability of land use and domiciliary risk factors to explain infestation. FINDINGS Two villages had significantly higher infestation (26 and 30% vs. 5 and 6%), yet all villages had high colonisation (71-100% of infested houses had immature insects), with no significant difference among them. Because of the high level of deforestation across the study area, land use was not related to infestation; however, domiciliary risk factors were. A model based on four weighted domiciliary risk factors (adobe or bajareque walls, intradomicile animals, intradomicile clutter, and dirt floors) explains the infestation risk. MAIN CONCLUSIONS Because almost all infested houses have reproducing populations in this deforested dry forest region and statistical analysis identified the domiciliary risk factors for infestation, intermediate and long-term control of Chagas disease vectors in this region requires management of these risk factors.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Candida glabrata yeast is the second cause of candidiasis worldwide. Differs from other yeasts since assimilates only glucose and trehalose (a characteristic used in rapid identification tests for this pathogen) by secreting into the medium a highly active acid trehalase encoded by the CgATH1 gene. OBJECTIVE This study aimed to characterise the function of the acid trehalase in the physiopathology of C. glabrata. METHODS Gene deletion was performed to obtain a mutant ath1Δ strain, and the ability of the ath1Δ strain to grow in trehalase, or the presence of trehalase activity in the ath1Δ yeast cells, was verified. We also tested the virulence of the ath1Δ strain in a murine model of infection. FINDINGS The ath1Δ mutant strain grows normally in the presence of glucose, but loses its ability to grow in trehalose. Due to the high acid trehalase activity present in wild-type cells, the cytoplasmic neutral trehalase activity is only detected in the ath1Δ strain. We also observed a significantly lower virulence of the ath1Δ strain in a murine model of infection with either normal or immunocompromised mice. MAIN CONCLUSIONS The acid trehalase is involved in the hydrolysis of external trehalose by C. glabrata, and the enzyme also plays a major virulence role during infectivity.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Aedes aegypti is the primary transmitter of several arbovirus with great impact in human health. Controlling vector mosquitoes is an essential and complex task. One promising control method is to use mosquitoes as a vehicle to disseminate tiny particles of juvenile-killing insecticides, such as pyriproxyfen (PPF), to breeding sites. OBJECTIVES We aimed to investigate the capacity of Ae. aegypti to disseminate two new formulations of PPF in two sites of Rio de Janeiro city for assessment of the efficacy of these products. METHODS Dissemination stations impregnated with powder and liquid new formulations of PPF were installed in two test sites. Ovitraps were used in the test sites and in a control site for monitoring the presence of Ae. aegypti throughout eggs collection. FINDINGS Entomological indices indicated that the new formulations of PPF were efficient in reducing eggs abundance. Liquid formulation performed better than powder formulation. Ready-to-use formulations of PPF can be quickly applied in the field and can be replaced after a few months. MAIN CONCLUSIONS New formulations of PPF associated with mosquito dissemination approach make a valuable vector control strategy, managing to cover places of difficult access for whatever reason. New formulations application requires less labour, being economically attractive.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Bacillus anthracis is the aetiologic agent of anthrax, a re-emerging, septicaemic, haemorrhagic and lethal disease that affects humans, domestic ruminants and wildlife. Plasmids pXO1 and pXO2 are attributes that confer pathogenicity to B. anthracis strains. This bacterium was used as biological weapon in the World Wars and in the biological attack in the United States of America at 2001. B. anthracis is classified as a Tier 1 bioterrorism agent by the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention. Anthrax is recognised as a re-emerging disease. Several studies concerning the dynamics of B. anthracis cycle in soil revealed that nonpathogenic B. anthracis strains due to lack of pXO2 plasmid are commonly found in some types of soil. OBJECTIVES This study aimed isolation and identification of B. anthracis spores in soil samples of the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. METHODS Phenotypic and genotypic approaches were used to identify isolates including MALDI-TOF/MS, motility test, susceptibility to gamma phage and penicillin, survey for pag and cap genes as surrogates of pXO1 and pXO2 plasmids, respectively, and sequencing of 16SrRNA-encoding gene. Physicochemical analysis of the soil samples were carried out to describe soil characteristics. FINDINGS We observed the presence of one B. anthracis pXO1+ and pXO2- isolated from clay loam soil; one B. anthracis-like strain pXO1+ and pXO2-isolated from loamy sand; and 10 Bacillus spp. strains sensitive to phage-gamma that need better characterisation to define which their species were recovered from loamy sand. MAIN CONCLUSIONS This work showed promising results and it was the first study to report results from an active surveillance for B. anthracis in Brazil.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Acinetobacter baumannii outbreaks have been associated with pandemic International Clones (ICs), but the virulence factors involved with their pathogenicity are sparsely understood. Pigment production has been linked with bacterial pathogenicity, however, this phenotype is rarely observed in A. baumannii. OBJECTIVES This study aimed to characterise the reddish-brown pigment produced by A. baumannii strains, and to determine its biosynthetic pathway by genomic approaches. METHODS Pigment characterisation and antimicrobial susceptibility were conducted by phenotypic tests. The clonal relationship was obtained by pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and multi-locus sequence typing (MLST). The genome of an A. baumannii was obtained for characterisation of genes involved with pigment production. FINDINGS The pyomelanin was the pigment produced by A. baumannii. Strains were extensively drug resistant and belonged to the IC-5/ST79. The pyomelanin biosynthetic pathway was determined and presented a particular architecture concerning the peripheral (tyrB, phhB and hpd) and central (hmgB, hmgC and hmgR) metabolic pathway genes. The identification of a distant HmgA homologue, probably without dioxygenase activity, could explain pyomelanin production. Virulence determinants involved with adherence (csuA/BABCDE and a T5bSS-carrying genomic island), and iron uptake (basABCDEFGHIJ, bauABCDEF and barAB) were characterised. MAIN CONCLUSION There is a biosynthetic pathway compatible with the pyomelanin production observed in persistent A. baumannii IC-5 strains.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Non-human primates contribute to the spread of the yellow fever virus (YFV) and the establishment of transmission cycles in endemic areas. OBJECTIVE To describe the severe histopathological aspects of YFV infection, 10 squirrel monkeys were infected with YFV and blood, brain, liver, kidney, spleen, heart, lung, lymph node and stomach were collected at 1-7, 10, 20 and 30 days post-infection (dpi). METHODS Histopathological analysis and detection of the genome and viral antigens and neutralising antibodies were performed by RT-PCR, immunohistochemistry and neutralisation test, respectively. FINDINGS Only one animal died from the experimental infection. The genome and viral antigens were detected in all investigated organs (1-30 dpi) and the neutralising antibodies from seven to 30 dpi. The brain contained perivascular haemorrhage (6 dpi); in the liver, midzonal haemorrhage and lytic necrosis (6 dpi) were observed. The kidney had bleeding in the Bowman’s capsule and tubular necrosis (6 dpi). Pyknotic lymphocytes were observed in the spleen (1-20 dpi), the lung had haemorrhage (2-6 dpi), in the endocardium it contained nuclear pyknosis and necrosis (2-3 dpi) and the stomach contained blood in the lumen (6 dpi). MAIN FINDINGS Squirrel monkeys reliably reproduced the responses observed in human cases of yellow fever and, therefore, constitute an excellent experimental model for studies on the pathophysiology of the disease.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND In Acre state, Brazil, the dissemination of cutaneous leishmaniasis has increased in recent years, with limited knowledge of the potential Leishmania spp. vectors involved. OBJECTIVES Here, data concerning the sandfly fauna of Brasiléia municipality, Leishmania DNA-detection rates and the identification of blood meal sources of insects captured in 2013-2015 are presented. METHODS Parasite detection in female sandflies was performed individually by multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) (Leishmania kDNA/sandfly cacophony-gene), with the identification of Leishmania spp. by hsp70-PCR and sequencing. The identification of blood gut-content from fed females was performed by cyt b-PCR and sequencing. FINDINGS A total of 4,473 sandflies were captured. A subgroup of 864 non-blood-fed females evaluated for the presence of Leishmania DNA showed 2.9% positivity for Leishmania (Viannia) braziliensis and L. (V.) guyanensis. The identification of blood meal sources was performed in 96 blood-fed females, allowing the identification of 13 vertebrate species. In nine/96 fed females, DNA from L. (V.) shawi, L. (V.) guyanensis, L. (V.) braziliensis and Endotrypanum sp. was detected. MAIN CONCLUSIONS In Brumptomyia sp. and Evandromyia termitophila, the first report of Leishmania DNA-detection is provided in Acre; Nyssomyia shawi is implicated as potential vector of L. (V.) braziliensis and L. (V.) guyanensis for the first time in Brazil.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Metformin (MET) is a hypoglycemic drug used for the treatment of diabetes, despite interference in host immunity against microorganisms. Cutaneous infection caused by pathogens such as Leishmania braziliensis (Lb), the agent responsible for cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) in Brazil, represents an interesting model in which to evaluate the effects associated with MET. OBJECTIVE To evaluate the modulatory effect of MET in Lb infection. MATERIAL AND METHODS Experimental study of Lb infection and MET treatment in BALB/c mice and Raw 264.7 macrophages. FINDINGS MET treatment interfered with lesion kinetics, increased parasite load and reduced macrophage proliferation. Low concentrations of MET in Lb culture allow for the maintenance of stationary parasite growth phase. Lb-infected cells treated with MET exhibited increased parasite load. While both MET and Lb infection alone promoted the production of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS), reduced levels of ROS were seen in MET-treated Lb-infected macrophages. MAIN CONCLUSION Experimental treatment with MET interfered with the kinetics of cutaneous ulceration, increased Lb parasite load, altered ROS production and modulated cellular proliferation. Our experimental results indicate that MET interfere with the evolution of CL.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Calotropis procera latex protein fraction (LP) was previously shown to protect animals from septic shock. Further investigations showed that LP modulate nitric oxide and cytokines levels. OBJECTIVES To evaluate whether the protective effects of LP, against lethal bacterial infection, is observed in its subfractions (LPPII and LPPIII). METHODS Subfractions (5 and 10 mg/kg) were tested by i.p. administration, 24 h before challenging with lethal injection (i.p.) of Salmonella Typhimurium. LPPIII (5 mg/kg) which showed higher survival rate was assayed to evaluate bacterial clearance, histopathology, leukocyte recruitment, plasma coagulation time, cytokines and NO levels. FINDINGS LPPIII protected 70% of animals of death. The animals given LPPIII exhibited reduced bacterial load in blood and peritoneal fluid after 24 h compared to the control. LPPIII promoted macrophage infiltration in spleen and liver. LPPIII restored the coagulation time of infected animals, increased IL-10 and reduced NO in blood. MAIN CONCLUSIONS LPPIII recruited macrophages to the target organs of bacterial infection. This addressed inflammatory stimulus seems to reduce bacterial colonisation in spleen and liver, down regulate bacterial spread and contribute to avoid septic shock.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Intermediate hosts are key organisms in maintaining parasite life cycles, because they can act as amplifiers in the transmission from natural reservoirs to humans. One of the most important groups of intermediate hosts for zoonotic nematode infections are gastropods,slugs and snails. These are essential organisms in the larval development of Angiostrongylus species. OBJECTIVES The objective of this paper is to review reports of Angiostrongylus spp. in naturally infected gastropods from the Americas, taking into account the diagnostic methods used in their identification, to be able to provide more accurate list of their intermediate hosts. We also discuss the factors that aid the dispersion of Angiostrongylus spp. in the Americas. METHODS This study reviews scientific publications and book sections on Angiostrongylus spp. in the Americas, including original works assessing larvae of Angiostrongylus in intermediate hosts. The eligible reports were classified accordingly to their geographical location, year of first record, and the larvae identification methodologies used. Digital repositories were used for the search. The bioecological characteristics of the main intermediate hosts are summarised. FINDINGS A total of 29 gastropod species that are naturally infected with Angiostrongylus spp. have been reported as intermediate hosts, 16 of which are land snails, two are freshwater snails, and 11 land slugs. MAIN CONCLUSIONS This study highlights the importance of integrative studies, analysing both the etiological agent and its transmission dynamic in the environment, the biological and ecological characteristics of the hosts, and the impact on host populations. It is necessary to increase interdisciplinary studies to determine the potential epidemiological health risk of angiostrongyliasis in the Americas, and thus be able to establish prevention, monitoring and contingency strategies in the region.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is a tropical neglected disease with high associated rates of mortality. Several studies have highlighted the importance of the intestinal tract (IT) and gut microbiota (GM) in the host immunological defense. Data in the literature on parasite life cycle and host immune defense against VL are scarce regarding the effects of infection on the IT and GM. OBJECTIVES This study aimed to investigate changes observed in the colon of Leishmania infantum-infected hamsters, including alterations in the enteric nervous system (ENS) and GM (specifically, levels of bifidobacteria and lactobacilli). METHODS Male hamsters were inoculated with L. infantum and euthanised at four or eight months post-infection. Intestines were processed for histological analysis and GM analysis. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) was performed to quantify each group of bacteria: Bifidobacterium spp. (Bf) and Lactobacillus spp (LacB). FINDINGS Infected hamsters showed histoarchitectural loss in the colon wall, with increased thickness in the submucosa and the mucosa layer, as well as greater numbers of intraepithelial lymphocytes. Forms suggestive of amastigotes were seen inside mononuclear cells. L. infantum infection induced changes in ENS, as evidenced by increases in the area of colonic enteric ganglia. Despite the absence of changes in the levels of Bf and LacB during the course of infection, the relative abundance of these bacteria was associated with parasite load and histological alterations. MAIN CONCLUSIONS Our results indicate that L. infantum infection leads to important changes in the colon and suggest that bacteria in the GM play a protective role.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND The evaluation of procedures for drug susceptibility prediction of Mycobacterium tuberculosis based on genomic data against the conventional reference method test based on culture is realistic considering the scenario of growing number of tools proposals based on whole-genome sequences (WGS). OBJECTIVES This study aimed to evaluate drug susceptibility testing (DST) outcome based on WGS tools and the phenotypic methods performed on isolates of M. tuberculosis Lineage 1 from the state of Pará, Brazil, generally associated with low levels of drug resistance. METHODOLOGY Culture based DST was performed using the Proportion Method in Löwenstein-Jensen medium on 71 isolates that had been submitted to WGS. We analysed the seven main genome sequence-based tools for resistance and lineage prediction applied to M. tuberculosis and for comparison evaluation we have used the Kappa concordance test. FINDINGS When comparing the WGS-based tools against the DST, we observed the highest level of agreement using TB-profiler. Among the tools, TB-profiler, KvarQ and Mykrobe were those which identified the largest number of TB-MDR cases. Comparing the four most sensitive tools regarding resistance prediction, agreement was observed for 43 genomes. MAIN CONCLUSIONS Drug resistance profiling using next-generation sequencing offers rapid assessment of resistance-associated mutations, therefore facilitating rapid access to effective treatment.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND The heat-labile nature of Dengue virus (DENV) in serum samples must be considered when applying routine diagnostic tests to avoid issues that could impact the accuracy of test results with direct implications for case management and disease reporting. OBJECTIVES To check if pre-analytical variables, such as storage time and temperature, have an impact on the accuracy of the main routine diagnostic tests for dengue. METHODS Virus isolation, reverse transcription real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and NS1 enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) were evaluated using 84 samples submitted to different pre-analytical conditions. FINDINGS Sensitivity and negative predictive value were directly affected by sample storage conditions. RT-PCR and virus isolation showed greater dependence on well-conserved samples for an accurate diagnosis. Interestingly, even storage at -30ºC for a relatively short time (15 days) was not adequate for accurate results using virus isolation and RT-PCR tests. On the other hand, NS1 ELISA showed no significant reduction in positivity for aliquots tested under the same conditions as in the previous tests. MAIN CONCLUSIONS Our results support the stability of the NS1 marker in ELISA diagnosis and indicate that the accuracy of routine tests such as virus isolation and RT-PCR is significantly affected by inadequate transport and storage conditions of serum samples.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Aedes aegypti is the sole vector of urban arboviruses in French Guiana. Overtime, the species has been responsible for the transmission of viruses during yellow fever, dengue, chikungunya and Zika outbreaks. Decades of vector control have produced resistant populations to deltamethrin, the sole molecule available to control adult mosquitoes in this French Territory. OBJECTIVES Our surveillance aimed to provide public health authorities with data on insecticide resistance in Ae. aegypti populations and other species of interest in French Guiana. Monitoring resistance to the insecticide used for vector control and to other molecule is a key component to develop an insecticide resistance management plan. METHODS In 2009, we started to monitor resistance phenotypes to deltamethrin and target-site mechanisms in Ae. aegypti populations across the territory using the WHO impregnated paper test and allelic discrimination assay. FINDINGS Eight years surveillance revealed well-installed resistance and the dramatic increase of alleles on the sodium voltage-gated gene, known to confer resistance to pyrethroids (PY). In addition, we observed that populations were resistant to malathion (organophosphorous, OP) and alpha-cypermethrin (PY). Some resistance was also detected to molecules from the carbamate family. Finally, those populations somehow recovered susceptibility against fenitrothion (OP). In addition, other species distributed in urban areas revealed to be also resistant to pyrethroids. CONCLUSION The resistance level can jeopardize the efficiency of chemical adult control in absence of other alternatives and conducts to strongly rely on larval control measures to reduce mosquito burden. Vector control strategies need to evolve to maintain or regain efficacy during epidemics.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Trypanosoma cruzi, the etiologic agent of Chagas disease, is capable of triggering different signaling pathways that modulate its internalisation in mammalian cells. Focal adhesion kinase (FAK), a non-receptor tyrosine kinase protein, has been demonstrated as a mechanism of T. cruzi invasion in cardiomyocytes. Since the involved cell surface receptors are not yet known, we evaluated whether heparan sulfate proteoglycans (HSPG), a molecule involved in T. cruzi recognition and in the regulation of multiple signaling pathways, are able to trigger the FAK signaling pathway during T. cruzi invasion. METHODS To investigate the role of HSPG in the regulation of the FAK signaling pathway during trypomastigote entry, we performed heparan sulfate (HS) depletion from the cardiomyocyte surface by treatment with heparinase I or p-nitrophenyl-β-D-xylopyranoside (p-n-xyloside), which abolishes glycosaminoglycan (GAG) attachment to the proteoglycan core protein. Wild-type (CHO-k1) and GAG-deficient Chinese hamster ovary cells (CHO-745) were also used as an approach to evaluate the participation of the HSPG-FAK signaling pathway. FAK activation (FAK Tyr397) and spatial distribution were analysed by immunoblotting and indirect immunofluorescence, respectively. FINDINGS HS depletion from the cardiomyocyte surface inhibited FAK activation by T. cruzi. Cardiomyocyte treatment with heparinase I or p-n-xyloside resulted in 34% and 28% FAK phosphorylation level decreases, respectively. The experiments with the CHO cells corroborated the role of HSPG as a FAK activation mediator. T. cruzi infection did not stimulate FAK phosphorylation in CHO-745 cells, leading to a 36% reduction in parasite invasion. FAK inhibition due to the PF573228 treatment also impaired T. cruzi entry in CHO-k1 cells. MAIN CONCLUSION Jointly, our data demonstrate that HSPG is a key molecule in the FAK signaling pathway activation, regulating T. cruzi entry.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND The impact of arbovirus cocirculation in Brazil is unknown. Dengue virus (DENV) reinfection may result in more intense viraemia or immunopathology, leading to more severe disease. The Zika virus (ZIKV) epidemic in the Americas provided pathogenicity evidence that had not been previously observed in flavivirus infections. In contrast to other flaviviruses, electron microscopy studies have shown that ZIKV may replicate in viroplasm-like structures. Flaviviruses produce an ensemble of structurally different virions, collectively contributing to tissue tropism and virus dissemination. OBJECTIVES AND METHODS In this work, the Aedes albopictus mosquito cell lineage (C6/36 cells) and kidney epithelial cells from African green monkeys (Vero cells) were infected with samples of the main circulating arboviruses in Brazil [DENV-1, DENV-2, DENV-3, DENV-4, ZIKV, Yellow Fever virus (YFV) and Chikungunya virus (CHIKV)], and ultrastructural studies by transmission electron microscopy were performed. FINDINGS We observed that ZIKV, the DENV serotypes, YFV and CHIKV particles are spherical. ZIKV, DENV-1, -2, -3 and -4 presented diameters of 40-50 nm, and CHIKV presented approximate diameters of 50-60 nm. Viroplasm-like structures was observed in ZIKV replication cycle. MAIN CONCLUSIONS The morphogenesis of these arboviruses is similar to what has been presented in previous studies. However, we understand that further studies are needed to investigate the relationship between viroplasm-like structures and ZIKV replication dynamics.
Abstract in English:The mosquito Culex pipiens s.s. L. occurs as two bioforms that differ in physiology and behaviour affecting virus transmission cycles. To assess the occurrence of Cx. pipiens bioforms in the southernmost limit of its distribution, specimens were collected aboveground in southern Buenos Aires Province and east Patagonia, Argentina. Ten larvae and 25 adults were individually processed and identified by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification of Ace-2 and CQ11 loci. Culex quinquefasciatus Say (one larva, two adults), Cx. pipiens f. molestus (one larva, one adult) and one adult of hybrid origin were identified in Buenos Aires Province; only Cx. pipiens f. molestus was recorded in Patagonia (eight larvae, 21 adults). The potential absence of bioform pipiens and its implications in arbovirus enzootic cycles is discussed.
Abstract in English:Oropouche virus (OROV) is an arthropod-borne virus of the Peribunyaviridae family, transmitted to humans primarily by Culicoides paraensis. It is one of the main arboviruses infecting humans in Brazil, primarily in the Amazon Region. Here, we report the detection of OROV in the saliva and urine of a patient whose samples were collected five days after the onset of symptoms. Nucleotide sequencing and phylogenetic analysis further confirmed the results. To our knowledge, this is the first study reporting the detection of OROV in the saliva and urine of an infected patient. In addition, the results of our study expand the current knowledge pertaining to the natural history of Oropouche fever.
Abstract in English:Oral transmission of Chagas disease has been increasing in Latin American countries. The present study aimed to investigate changes in hepatic function, coagulation factor levels and parasite load in human acute Chagas disease (ACD) secondary to oral Trypanosoma cruzi transmission. Clinical and epidemiological findings of 102 infected individuals attended in the State of Pará from October 2013 to February 2016 were included. The most common symptoms were fever (98%), asthenia (83.3%), face and limb edema (80.4%), headache (74.5%) and myalgia (72.5%). The hepatic enzymes alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) of 30 ACD patients were higher compared with controls, and this increase was independent of the treatment with benznidazole. Moreover, ACD individuals had higher plasma levels of activated protein C and lower levels of factor VII of the coagulation cascade. Patients with the highest parasite load had also the most increased transaminase levels. Also, ALT and AST were associated moderately (r = 0.429) and strongly (r = 0.595) with parasite load respectively. In conclusion, the present study raises the possibility that a disturbance in coagulation and hepatic function may be linked to human ACD.
Abstract in English:Genes associated with wound healing have been shown to be risk factors for cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) which is caused by Leishmania braziliensis. In this study, we examined whether the genes previously associated with CL influenced the clinical outcome. Patients were genotyped and retrospectively classified as responders, who were cured with a single course of pentavalent antimony (Sbv), or as refractories, who did not respond to Sbv. Patients characterised as responders showed a stronger response to the leishmanin skin test (LST) when compared to the refractory subjects (p = 0.0003). Furthermore, we observed an association between the FLI1 CC genotype and an increased size of ulcers (p = 0.0170). We suggest that the leishmanin skin test may be a predictive tool for therapeutic outcome and reinforce FLI1 as a potential influencer of susceptibility and lesion size in CL.
Abstract in English:The geographic distribution of Aedes (Stegomyia) aegypti (L.) in South America has been expanding during the last decades. Herein we present two new distribution records that extend its southern limits towards localities with extremer environmental conditions than reported to date. San Antonio Oeste constitutes the southernmost finding for the continent (40º44’S), whereas Tandil is the infested locality with the coldest mean annual temperature in Argentina (14.17ºC). The projection of a previous distribution model for Ae. aegypti predicts these two cities as positive and suggests several other localities with suitable conditions for vector proliferation beyond its assumed distribution limits.
Abstract in English:Schistosomiasis mansoni presents many clinical manifestations during migration of schistosomes in their hosts, including diarrhea, hepatomegaly, splenomegaly, liver abscesses, skinlesions, brain tumors and myeloradiculopathy. No lesions have been reported in skeletal striated muscles due to schistosomiasis mansoni in the literature. This short communication reports the histopathological findings on skeletal musculature in a murine model of neuroeschistosomiasis mansoni. Lesions were found in the tongue, masseter muscle, buccinator muscle, digastric muscle and temporalis muscle. Worm recovery was carried out to confirm the infection. We describe here, for the first time in the literature, injuries in the skeletal musculature due to Schistosoma mansoni nfection.
Abstract in English:Bacillus Calmette Guerin (BCG) vaccines comprise a family of related strains. Whole genome sequencing has allowed the better characterisation of the differences between many of the BCG vaccines. As sequencing technologies improve, updating of publicly available sequence data becomes common practice. We hereby announce the draft genome of four commonly used BCG vaccines in Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela.
Abstract in English:Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection depends on viral polyprotein processing, catalysed by the main proteinase (Mpro). The solution of the SARS-CoV-2 Mpro structure allowed the investigation of potential inhibitors. This work aims to provide first evidences of the applicability of commercially approved drugs to treat coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19). We screened 4,334 compounds to found potential inhibitors of SARS-CoV-2 replication using an in silico approach. Our results evidenced the potential use of coagulation modifiers in COVID-19 treatment due to the structural similarity of SARS-CoV-2 Mpro and human coagulation factors thrombin and Factor Xa. Further in vitro and in vivo analysis are needed to corroborate these results.
Abstract in English:In Argentina, many Flavivirus were recognised including West Nile virus (WNV). During 2009 several strains of Culex Flavivirus (CxFV), an insect-specific flavivirus, were isolated in the same region where circulation of WNV was detected. Hence, the objective of this study was to analyse the effect of co-infection in vitro assays using CxFV and WNV Argentinean strains in order to evaluate if CxFV could affect WNV replication. Our results showed that WNV replication was suppressed when multiplicity of infection (MOI) for CxFV was 10 or 100 times higher than WNV. Nevertheless, in vivo assays are necessary in order to evaluate the superinfection exclusion potential.
Abstract in English:In January and February 2019, a malacological survey was conducted in the area surrounding the residence of a 12-year-old child that had contracted cerebral angiostrongyliasis in the municipality of Macapá, capital of the Amapá State, northern Brazil. The serological examination was positive for Angiostrongylus cantonensis infection, the principal etiological agent of this parasitosis. A sample of 54 molluscs was artificially and individually digested for parasitological analysis, containing 38 specimens of Achatina fulica, nine specimens of Bulimulus tenuissimus and seven specimens of Sarasinula linguaeformis. A. fulica was the most abundant mollusc, and the only species infected with A. cantonensis, as well as presenting co-infections with other nematodes. This is the first report of cerebral angiostrongyliasis in the Amazon Region, and the first record of A. fulica infected with A. cantonensis in Amapá. These findings highlight the potential risks of human angiostrongyliasis, and the need to implement public health measures to control the spread of the disease.
Abstract in English:Corona virus disease (COVID-19) presents a serious threat to global health. A historical timeline of early molecular diagnostics from government alert (January 22) (D) was presented. After in silico analysis, Brazilian Army Institute of Biology (IBEx-RJ) tested samples in house using real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) (fast mode) based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations. First cases from Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, IBEx, and diagnosis team were reported in D36, D44, D66, and D74 respectively. Therefore, after 1300 tests, we recommend N1/N2 primer sets (CDC) for preliminary and Charité protocol confirmation in case of positive results. Moreover, every professional should be tested before starting work, in addition to weekly tests for everyone involved.
Abstract in English:Paracoccidioides spp. isolation from environmental samples is rare and hardly reproducible. Molecular techniques have facilitated the fungal detection. However, it can be still difficult. Some strategies to enhance the capacity of DNA detection have been adopted, including the analysis of soil samples belonging to the habitat of animals from which Paracoccidioides spp. have already been isolated, notably armadillo burrows. To date, the detection of Paracoccidioides spp. has not yet been reported from outbreak hotspots. Clusters and outbreaks of acute paracoccidioidomycosis (PCM), usually a more severe clinical form, have currently occurred in urban areas being associated to climate changes, deforestation, and great constructions. These occurrences potentially signalise the fungus’ environmental niche, a riddle not yet solved. The authors performed an environmental investigation in a deeply disturbed area, after a highway construction in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where a recent outbreak of acute PCM occurred. Specific DNA sequences of Paracoccidioides brasiliensis were detected in shallow soil samples around the highway, reinforcing the association between the road construction and this PCM outbreak.
Abstract in English:This study presents preliminary results from a sewage-based surveillance to monitor the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in the municipality of Niterói, State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. By using ultracentrifugation method associated to quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) we detected SARS-CoV-2 in 41.6% (5/12) of raw sewage samples obtained from sewage treatment plants and sewers network in the city. This pioneer study carried out in Brazil aims to subsidise information for health surveillance concerning the viral circulation in different areas of the city and, revealed the insertion and importance of environmental virology in health public policies.
Abstract in English:In an enclosure with nine collared peccaries (Pecari tajacu) from the Rio de Janeiro city Zoo, Brazil, one specimen was found dead and two others developed prostration, apathy and dehydration, resulting on its death. Necropsy of two animals pointed to pulmonary and renal damage. Histological examination revealed vasculitis in spleen from both P. tajacu, suggesting a systemic viral infection. Lungs from one specimen showed fibrinoid vasculitis, alveolar damage with hyaline membrane, and interstitial lymphocytes infiltration. Virome analysis in anal wash samples from the latter two animals revealed a new type of Betacoronavirus, lineage A, provisionally named Ptajacu-CoV.
Abstract in English:In the near future, the overlap of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and dengue epidemics is a concrete threat in tropical regions. Co-epidemics of COVID-19 and dengue could be an overwhelming challenge for health systems in low- and middle-income countries. In this work, we investigated potential serological cross-reactions between COVID-19 and dengue patients. Among 32 COVID-19 positive sera, no positive Dengue virus (DENV) IgG/IgM results were observed. On the other hand, one false-positive result was observed among 44 DENV-positive sera tested for COVID-19 antibodies with each of the two rapid tests used. Further data on accuracy of COVID-19 diagnostic test are urgently warranted.
Abstract in English:Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) rapidly spread around the world during 2020, but the precise time in which the virus began to spread locally is difficult to trace for most countries. Here, we estimate the probable onset date of the community spread of SARS-CoV-2 for heavily affected countries from Western Europe and the Americas on the basis of the cumulative number of deaths reported during the early stage of the epidemic. Our results support that SARS-CoV-2 probably started to spread locally in all western countries analysed between mid-January and mid-February 2020, thus long before community transmission was officially recognised and control measures were implemented.
Abstract in English:Respiratory failure (RF) is the main cause of hospital admission in HIV/AIDS patients. This study assessed comorbidities and laboratory parameters in HIV/AIDS inpatients with RF (N = 58) in relation to those without RF (N = 36). Tuberculosis showed a huge relative risk and platelet counts were slightly higher in HIV/AIDS inpatients with RF. A flow cytometry assay for reactive oxygen species (ROS) showed lower levels in platelets of these patients in relation to the healthy subjects. However, when stimulated with adrenaline, ROS levels increased in platelets and platelet-derived microparticles of HIV/AIDS inpatients, which may increase the risk of RF during HIV and tuberculosis (HIV-TB) coinfection.
Abstract in English:The human-adapted strains of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC) comprise seven phylogenetic lineages originally associated with their geographical distribution. Here, we report the genomes of three drug-resistant clinical isolates of the Latin American-Mediterranean (LAM) family collected in Kazakhstan. We utilised whole-genome sequencing to study the distribution and drug resistance of these isolates. Phylogenetic analysis grouped the genomes described in this study with the sequences from Russia, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan belonging to the LAM family. One isolate has acquired extensive drug resistance to seven antituberculosis drugs. Our results suggest at least two multi-drug resistant (MDR)/extensively drug-resistant (XDR)-associated genotypes of the LAM family circulate in Kazakhstan.
Abstract in English:Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) surveillance, in Brazil, initiated shortly after its description, in China. Our aim was to detect severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and additional pathogens in samples from the initial phase of the outbreak in Brazil, from late February to late March. From 707 samples analysed, 29 (4.1%) were SARS-CoV-2 positive. Fever and cough were their most prevalent symptoms. Co-detection of rhinovirus was observed in 2 (6.9%) cases. Additional pathogens were identified in 66.1% of the SARS-CoV-2 negative cases, mainly rhinovirus and influenza A(H1N1)pdm09. Thus, we emphasise the importance of differential diagnosis in COVID-19 suspected cases.
Abstract in English:Angiostrongylus costaricensis is the causative agent of abdominal angiostrongyliasis, a zoonotic infection that may produce severe eosinophilic enterocolitis or hepatitis in humans. Parasites are usually not released in stools and serology has an important role in diagnosis. Since cross-reactivity is demonstrated between A. costaricensis and another metastrongylid worm, A. cantonensis, we tested heterologous recombinant galectin as a probe in an immunochromatographic rapid diagnostic test (ICT-RDT) for detection of anti-A. costaricensis antibodies. Almost all (11/12) positive control sera from A. costaricensis infected patients were positive at ICT RDT. These are preliminary indications that r-galectin ICT-RDT is useful for diagnosing A. costaricensis infection.
Abstract in English:Although Leishmania infantum is well-known as the aethiological agent of visceral leishmaniasis (VL), in some Central American countries it may cause atypical non-ulcerated cutaneous leishmaniasis (NUCL). However, the mechanisms favoring its establishment in the skin are still unknown. Lipophosphoglycan (LPG) is the major Leishmania multivirulence factor involved in parasite-host interaction. In the case of viscerotropic L. infantum, it causes an immunosuppression during the interaction with macrophages. Here, we investigated the biochemical and functional roles of LPGs from four dermotropic L. infantum strains from Honduras during in vitro interaction with murine macrophages. LPGs were extracted, purified and their repeat units analysed. They did not have side chains consisting of Gal(β1,4)Man(α1)-PO4 common to all LPGs. Peritoneal macrophages from BALB/c and C57BL/6 were exposed to LPG for nitric oxide (NO) and cytokine (TNF-α and, IL-6) production. LPGs from dermotropic strains from Honduras triggered higher NO and cytokine levels compared to those from viscerotropic strains. In conclusion, LPGs from dermotropic strains are devoid of side-chains and exhibit high pro-inflammatory activity.
Abstract in English:A new coronavirus [severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)] is currently causing a life-threatening pandemic. In this study, we report the complete genome sequencing and genetic characterisation of a SARS-CoV-2 detected in Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil, and the protocol we designed to generate high-quality SARS-CoV-2 full genome data. The isolate was obtained from an asymptomatic carrier returning from Madrid, Spain. Nucleotide sequence analysis showed a total of nine mutations in comparison with the original human case in Wuhan, China, and support this case as belonging to the recently proposed lineage A.2. Phylogeographic analysis further confirmed the likely European origin of this case. To our knowledge, this is the first SARS-CoV-2 genome obtained from the North Brazilian Region. We believe that the information generated in this study may contribute to the ongoing efforts toward the SARS-CoV-2 emergence.
Abstract in English:We aimed to investigate the association of CD14 -260C/T (rs2569190) polymorphism and Chagas cardiomyopathy and the functional characteristics of CD14+ and CD14- monocytes upon infection with Trypanosoma cruzi. We observed an association between the T- genotype (absence of allele -260T) related to low CD14 expression and the dilated cardiomyopathy type of Chagas disease. Furthermore, we observed that CD14- monocytes showed a more activated profile upon in vitro infection with T. cruzi than CD14+ monocytes. Our findings suggest that T- genotype is associated with susceptibility to develop Chagas dilated cardiomyopathy, likely linked to the T. cruzi-induced inflammatory profile of CD14- monocytes.
Abstract in English:Giardiasis is an infectious disease caused by Giardia duodenalis. The pro-drug metronidazole (MTZ) is the first-line treatment for giardiasis. Parasite’s proteins as pyruvate:ferredoxin oxidoreductase (PFOR), ferredoxin (Fd), nitroreductase-1 (NR-1) and thioredoxin reductase (TrxR) participate in MTZ activation. Here, we showed Giardia trophozoites long-term exposed to MTZ presented higher IC50 than controls, showing the drug influenced the parasite survival. That reduction in MTZ’s susceptibility does not seem to be related to mutations in the genes pfor, fd, nr-1 or trxr. It points that different mechanism as alterations in other metabolic pathways can account for Giardia resistance to MTZ therapy.
Abstract in English:We evaluated sweat, blood and urine specimens obtained from an ongoing cohort study in Brazil. Samples were collected at pre-established intervals after the initial rash presentation and tested for Zika virus (ZIKV) RNA presence by real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR). From 254 participants with confirmed infection, ZIKV RNA was detected in the sweat of 46 individuals (18.1%). Sweat presented a median cycle threshold (Ct) of 34.74 [interquartile range (IQR) 33.44-36.04], comparable to plasma (Ct 35.96 - IQR 33.29-36.69) and higher than urine (Ct 30.78 - IQR 28.72-33.22). Concomitant detection with other specimens was observed in 33 (72%) of 46 participants who had a positive result in sweat. These findings represent an unusual and not yet investigated virus shedding through eccrine glands.
Abstract in English:Outbreaks of a vesiculopustular disease in dairy cattle and milkers have been frequently reported in Brazil since 1999 when the vaccinia virus strain Cantagalo was first isolated in the State of Rio de Janeiro. However, the genomic diversity of the viral isolates associated with these outbreaks is not well known, particularly in the southeastern states that represent the focal point of virus spread to other regions. Here, we report the genomic sequences and an analysis of the polymorphic site profiles and genotypic diversity of four clinical isolates of vaccinia virus strain Cantagalo collected from 1999 to 2006 in southeastern Brazil.
Abstract in English:Phylogenetic analyses were crucial to elucidate the origin and spread of the pandemic human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) group M virus, both during the pre-epidemic period of cryptic dissemination in human populations as well as during the epidemic phase of spread. The use of phylogenetics and phylodynamics approaches has provided important insights to track the founder events that resulted in the spread of HIV-1 strains across vast geographic areas, specific countries and within geographically restricted communities. In the recent years, the use of phylogenetic analysis combined with the huge availability of HIV sequences has become an increasingly important approach to reconstruct HIV transmission networks and understand transmission dynamics in concentrated and generalised epidemics. Significant efforts to obtain viral sequences from newly HIV-infected individuals could certainly contribute to detect rapidly expanding HIV-1 lineages, identify key populations at high-risk and understand what public health interventions should be prioritised in different scenarios.
Abstract in English:The coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic challenges public health systems around the world. Tropical countries will face complex epidemiological scenarios involving the simultaneous transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) with viruses transmitted by Aedes aegypti. The occurrence of arboviral diseases with COVID-19 in the Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region presents challenges and opportunities for strengthening health services, surveillance and control programs. Financing of training, equipment and reconversion of hospital spaces will have a negative effect on already the limited resource directed to the health sector. The strengthening of the diagnostic infrastructure reappears as an opportunity for the national reference laboratories. Sharing of epidemiological information for the modeling of epidemiological scenarios allows collaboration between health, academic and scientific institutions. The fear of contagion by COVID-19 is constraining people with arboviral diseases to search for care which can lead to an increase in serious cases and could disrupt the operation of vector-control programs due to the reluctance of residents to open their doors to health personnel. Promoting intense community participation along with the incorporation of long lasting innovations in vector control offers new opportunities for control. The COVID-19 pandemic offers challenges and opportunities that must provoke positive behavioral changes and encourage more permanent self-care actions.
Abstract in English:Despite the medical advances and interventions to improve the quality of life of those in intensive care, people with cancer or severely immunocompromised or other susceptible hosts, invasive fungal diseases (IFD) remain severe and underappreciated causes of illness and death worldwide. Therefore, IFD continue to be a public health threat and a major hindrance to the success of otherwise life-saving treatments and procedures. Globally, hundreds of thousands of people are affected every year with Candida albicans, Aspergillus fumigatus, Cryptococcus neoformans, Pneumocystis jirovecii, endemic dimorphic fungi and Mucormycetes, the most common fungal species causing invasive diseases in humans. These infections result in morbidity and mortality rates that are unacceptable and represent a considerable socioeconomic burden. Raising the general awareness of the significance and impact of IFD in human health, in both the hospital and the community, is hence critical to understand the scale of the problem and to raise interest to help fighting these devastating diseases.
Abstract in English:Scientists have increasingly recognised that low methodological and analytical rigour combined with publish-or-perish incentives can make the published scientific literature unreliable. As a response to this, large-scale systematic replications of the literature have emerged as a way to assess the problem empirically. The Brazilian Reproducibility Initiative is one such effort, aimed at estimating the reproducibility of Brazilian biomedical research. Its goal is to perform multicentre replications of a quasi-random sample of at least 60 experiments from Brazilian articles published over a 20-year period, using a set of common laboratory methods. In this article, we describe the challenges of managing a multicentre project with collaborating teams across the country, as well as its successes and failures over the first two years. We end with a brief discussion of the Initiative’s current status and its possible future contributions after the project is concluded in 2021.