Spaceflight is associated with deregulation in the immune system. Head-down bed rest (HDBR) at -6° is believed to be the most practical model for examining multi-system responses to microgravity in humans during spaceflight. In the present study, a 45-day HDBR was performed to investigate the alterations in human immune cell distributions and their functions in response to various stimuli. The effect of countermeasure, Rhodiola rosea (RR) treatment, was also examined. A significant decrease of interferon-γ (IFN-γ) and interleukin-17 (IL-17) productions by activated T cells, increase of IL-1β and IL-18 by activated B and myeloid cells were observed during HDBR. The upregulation of serum cortisol was correlated with the changes of IL-1 family cytokines. In addition, a significant increase of memory T and B cell and regulatory T cells (Treg) were also detected. The uptake of RR further decreased IFN-γ level and slowed down the upregulation of IL-1 family cytokines. These data suggest that for prolonged HDBR and spaceflight, the decreased protective T cell immunity and enhanced proinflammatory cytokines should be closely monitored. The treatment with RR may play an important role in suppressing proinflammatory cytokines but not in boosting protective T cell immunity.
It has recently been determined that not only Aβ oligomers, but also other Aβ species and amyloidogenic peptides are neurotoxic in Alzheimer disease (AD) and play a pivotal role in AD pathogenesis. In the present study, we attempted to develop new DNA vaccines targeting a wide range of Aβ species. For this purpose, we first performed in vitro assays with newly developed vaccines to evaluate Aβ production and Aβ secretion abilities and then chose an IgL-Aβx4-Fc-IL-4 vaccine (designated YM3711) for further studies. YM3711 was vaccinated to mice, rabbits and monkeys to evaluate anti-Aβ species antibody-producing ability and Aβ reduction effects. It was found that YM3711 vaccination induced significantly higher levels of antibodies not only to Aβ1-42 but also to AD-related molecules including AβpE3-42, Aβ oligomers and Aβ fibrils. Importantly, YM3711 significantly reduced these Aβ species in the brain of model mice. Binding and competition assays using translated YM3711 protein products clearly demonstrated that a large part of antibodies induced by YM3711 vaccination are directed at conformational epitopes of the Aβ complex and oligomers. Taken together, we demonstrate that YM3711 is a powerful DNA vaccine targeting a wide range of AD-related molecules and is worth examining in preclinical and clinical trials.
The aim of this study was to investigate whether intakes of total fat and fat subtypes were associated with esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC), esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC), gastric cardia or gastric non-cardia adenocarcinoma. From 1995–1996, dietary intake data was reported by 494,978 participants of the NIH-AARP cohort. 630 EAC, 215 ESCC, 454 gastric cardia and 501 gastric non-cardia adenocarcinomas accrued to the cohort. Cox proportional hazards regression was used to examine the association between the dietary fat intakes, whilst adjusting for potential confounders. Though apparent associations were observed in energy-adjusted models, multivariate adjustment attenuated results to null (e.g. EAC energy adjusted hazard ratio (HR) and 95% confidence interval (95%CI) 1.66 (1.27–2.18) P for trend <0.01; EAC multivariate adjusted HR (95%CI) 1.17 (0.84–1.64) P for trend=0.58). Similar patterns were also observed for fat subtypes (e.g. EAC saturated fat, energy adjusted HR (95%CI) 1.79 (1.37–2.33) P for trend <0.01; EAC saturated fat, multivariate adjusted HR (95%CI) 1.27 (0.91–1.78) P for trend=0.28). However, in multivariate models an inverse association for polyunsaturated fat (continuous) was seen for EAC in subjects with a body mass index (BMI) in the normal range (18.5–<25 kg/m2) (HR (95%CI) 0.76 (0.63–0.92)), that was not present in overweight subjects (HR (95%CI) 1.04 (0.96–1.14)), or in unstratified analysis (HR (95%CI) 0.97 (0.90–1.05)). P for interaction=0.02. Overall, we found null associations between the dietary fat intakes with esophageal or gastric cancer risk; though a protective effect of polyunsaturated fat intake was seen for EAC in subjects with a normal BMI.
cohort; dietary fat; esophageal neoplasms; stomach neoplasms; prospective
The utility of two-step tuberculin skin testing among adolescents in high tuberculosis prevalence settings is not well established.
To determine the proportion and determinants of a 0-4 mm response to an initial standard tuberculin skin test (TST) and evaluating 'boosting' with repeat testing.
Adolescents between 11 and 18 years attending schools/colleges underwent a TST; those with a response of between 0–4 mm had a repeat TST 1-4 weeks later.
Initial TST was done for 6608/6643 participants; 1257 (19%) developed a 0-4 mm response to the initial TST. Younger age and under-nutrition were more likely to be associated with a 0-4 mm response, while the presence of BCG (Bacillus Calmette Guerin) scar and higher socio-economic class were less likely to be associated with a 0-4 mm response. On repeat testing boosting was seen in 13.2% (145/1098; ≥ 6 mm over the initial test) while 4.3% showed boosting using a more conservative cutoff of a repeat TST ≥ 10 mm with an increment of at least 6 mm (47/1098). History of exposure to a tuberculosis (TB) case was associated with enhanced response.
The proportion of adolescents who demonstrated boosting on two-step TST testing in our study was relatively low. As a result repeat testing did not greatly alter the prevalence of TST positivity. However, the two-step TST helps identify individuals who can potentially boost their immune response to a second test, and thus, prevents them from being misclassified as those with newly acquired infection, or tuberculin converters. While two-step tuberculin skin testing may have a limited role in population- level TST surveys, it may be useful where serial tuberculin testing needs to be performed to distinguish those who show an enhanced response or boosters from those who indeed have a new infection, or converters.
Vaccination against influenza is an important means of reducing morbidity and mortality in subjects at risk. The prevalent viral strains responsible for seasonal epidemics usually change annually, but the WHO recommendations for the 2011/2012-season in the Northern hemisphere included the same antigens as for the previous season.
We conducted a single-center, single-arm study involving 62 younger (18–60 years) and 64 older (>60 years) adults to test the immunogenicity, safety and tolerability of a trivalent surface antigen, inactivated influenza vaccine produced in mammalian cell-culture. The vaccine contained 15 µg hemagglutinin of each of the virus strains recommended for the 2011–2012 Northern hemisphere winter season (A/California/7/09 (H1N1)-; A/Perth/16/09 (H3N2)-; B/Brisbane/60/08-like strain) in a non-adjuvanted preservative-free formulation. Antibody response was measured by hemagglutination inhibition 21 days after immunization. Adverse events and safety were assessed using subject diary cards and telephone interviews.
Seroconversion or a 4-fold antibody increase in antibody titers was detectable against A(H1N1) in 68% of both younger and older adults, against A(H3N2) in 53% and 27%, and against the B influenza strain in 35% and 17%. Antibody titers of 40 or more were observed against A(H1N1) in 87% and 90% of younger and older adults, against A(H3N2) in 98% and 98%, and against the B influenza strain in 93% and 90%. Pre-vaccination antibody titers were protective against A(H1N1), A(H3N2) and B in 38%, 58% and 58%, respectively, of younger and in 43%, 88% and 70% of older adults. Among subjects with previous A(H1N1) vaccination only 48% of younger and 47% of older adults had protective A(H1N1) antibodies at inclusion. Adverse reactions were generally mild. The most frequently reported reactions were pain at the injection site, myalgia and fatigue.
The vaccine generated protective antibodies against all three viral strains and had an acceptable safety profile in both younger and older adults.
In preterm infants, a decreased immunological response and lower serological effectiveness are observed after immunizations due to ineffectiveness of both humoral and cellular immune mechanisms.
To determine the effect of 80% neutral oligosaccharides [small-chain galacto-oligosaccharides/long-chain fructo-oligosaccharides (scGOS/lcFOS)] in combination with 20% pectin-derived acidic oligosaccharides (pAOS) on antibody concentrations after DTaP-IPV-Hib immunization in preterm infants.
In this randomized clinical trial, preterm infants with gestational age <32 weeks and/or birth weight <1500 g received enteral supplementation with scGOS/lcFOS/pAOS or placebo (maltodextrin) between days 3 and 30 of life. Blood samples were collected at 5 and 12 months of age.
In total, 113 infants were included. Baseline and nutritional characteristics were not different in both groups. Geometric mean titers were not different after prebiotic supplementation at 5 months, Ptx (37/44 EU/ml), FHA (78/96 EU/ml), Prn (78/80 EU/ml), Diphtheria (0.40/0.57 IU/ml), Tetanus (0.74/0.99 IU/ml) and Hib (0.35/0.63 µg/ml), and at 12 months Ptx (55/66 EU/ml), FHA (122/119 EU/ml), Prn (116/106 Eu/ml), Diphtheria (0.88/1.11 IU/ml), Tetanus (1.64/1.79 IU/ml) and Hib (2.91/2.55 µg/ml).
Enteral supplementation of neutral (scGOS/lcFOS) and acidic oligosaccharides (pAOS) does not improve the immunization response in preterm infants.
Controlled-Trials.com ISRCTN16211826 ISRCTN16211826
Cryptococcal meningitis (CM)-related mortality may be prevented by screening patients for sub-clinical cryptococcal antigenaemia (CRAG) at antiretroviral-therapy (ART) initiation and pre-emptively treating those testing positive. Prior to programmatic implementation in South Africa we performed a cost-effectiveness analysis of alternative preventive strategies for CM.
Using South African data we modelled the cost-effectiveness of four strategies for patients with CD4 cell-counts <100 cells/µl starting ART 1) no screening or prophylaxis (standard of care), 2) universal primary fluconazole prophylaxis, 3) CRAG screening with fluconazole treatment if antigen-positive, 4) CRAG screening with lumbar puncture if antigen-positive and either amphotericin-B for those with CNS disease or fluconazole for those without. Analysis was limited to the first year of ART.
The least costly strategy was CRAG screening followed by high-dose fluconazole treatment of all CRAG-positive individuals. This strategy dominated the standard of care at CRAG prevalence ≥0.6%. Although CRAG screening followed by lumbar puncture in all antigen-positive individuals was the most effective strategy clinically, the incremental benefit of LPs and amphotericin therapy for those with CNS disease was small and additional costs were large (US$158 versus US$51per person year; incremental cost effectiveness ratio(ICER) US$889,267 per life year gained). Both CRAG screening strategies are less costly and more clinically effective than current practice. Primary prophylaxis is more effective than current practice, but relatively cost-ineffective (ICER US$20,495).
CRAG screening would be a cost-effective strategy to prevent CM-related mortality among patients initiating ART in South Africa. These findings provide further justification for programmatic implementation of CRAG screening.
Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is responsible for many of the inflammatory responses and pathogenic effects of Gram-negative bacteria, however, it also induces protective immune responses. LPS induces the production of inflammatory cytokines such as TNF-α, IL-6, and IL-12 from dendritic cells (DCs) and macrophages. It is thought that IL-12 is required for one of the protective immune responses induced by LPS, the T helper 1 (Th1)-immune response, which include the production of IFN-γ from Th1cells and IgG2c class switching. Here, we clearly demonstrate that intracellular delivery of LPS by LPS-formulated liposomes (LPS-liposomes) does not induce the production of inflammatory cytokines from DCs, but enhances Th1-immune responses via type-I IFNs, independent of IL-12. Collectively, our results strongly suggest that LPS-liposomes can effectively induce Th1-immune responses without inducing unnecessary inflammation, and may be useful as an immune adjuvant to induce protective immunity.
Background and Objectives
Intentional weight loss, by reducing insulin resistance, results in both better glycemic control and decreased need for anti-diabetic medications. However, not everyone who is successful with weight loss is able to reduce anti-diabetic medication use. In this retrospective cohort study, we assessed the predictive accuracy of baseline triglyceride (TGL)/HDL ratio, a marker of insulin resistance, to screen patients for success in reducing anti-diabetic medication use with weight loss.
Case records of 121 overweight and obese attendees at two outpatient weight management centers were analyzed. The weight loss intervention consisted of a calorie-restricted diet (~1000Kcal/day deficit), a behavior modification plan, and a plan for increasing physical activity.
Mean period of follow-up was 12.5 ± 3.5 months. By study exit, mean weight loss and mean HbA1c% reduction were 15.4 ± 5.5 kgs and 0.5 ± 0.2% respectively. 81 (67%) in the study cohort achieved at least 1 dose reduction of any anti-diabetic medication. Tests for predictive accuracy of baseline TGL/HDL ratio ≤ 3 to determine success with dose reductions of anti-diabetic medications showed a sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, negative predictive value, area under the curve, likelihood ratio (LR) + and LR-of 81, 83, 90, 70, 78, 4.8 and 0.2, respectively. Reproducibility of TGL/HDL ratio was acceptable.
TGL/HDL ratio shows promise as an effective screening tool to determine success with dose reductions of anti-diabetic medications. The results of our study may inform the conduct of a systematic review using data from prior weight loss trials.
Shortening tuberculosis (TB) treatment duration is a research priority. This paper presents data from a prematurely terminated randomized clinical trial, of 4-month moxifloxacin or gatifloxacin regimens, in South India.
Newly diagnosed, sputum-positive HIV-negative pulmonary TB patients were randomly allocated to receive gatifloxacin or moxifloxacin, along with isoniazid and rifampicin for 4 months with pyrazinamide for first 2 months (G or M) or isoniazid and rifampicin for 6 months with ethambutol and pyrazinamide for first 2 months (C). All regimens were administered thrice-weekly. Clinical and bacteriological assessments were done monthly during treatment and for 24 months post-treatment. The Data and Safety Monitoring Board recommended termination of the trial due to high TB recurrence rates in the G and M regimens.
Of 416 patients in intent-to-treat analysis, 6 (5%) of 124, 2 (2%) of 110 and 2 (2%) of 137 patients with drug-susceptible TB in the G, M and C arms respectively had unfavorable response at the end of treatment; during the next 24 months, 17 (15%) of 115, 11 (11%) of 104 and 8 (6%) of 132 patients respectively, had TB recurrence. Of 38 drug-resistant patients 1 of 8 and 3 of 26 in the G and C arms respectively had unfavourable response at the end of treatment; and TB recurrence occurred in 2 of 7 and 2 of 23 patients, respectively. The differences in TB recurrence rates between the G and C arms was statistically significant (p = 0.02). Gastro-intestinal symptoms occurred in 23%, 22% and 9% of patients in the G, M and C arms respectively, but most reactions were mild and manageable with symptomatic measures; 1% required regimen modification.
4-month thrice-weekly regimens of gatifloxacin or moxifloxacin with isoniazid, rifampicin and pyrazinamide, were inferior to standard 6-month treatment, in patients with newly diagnosed sputum positive pulmonary TB.
Clinical Trials Registry of India CTRI/2012/10/003060
We aimed to estimate the Lanzhou lamb rotavirus (LLR) vaccination coverage (VC) and timeliness among children aged 2 to 59 months in Guangzhou, China.
An electronic system-based VC survey was conducted using stratified cluster random sampling.
We reported an overall Lanzhou lamb rotavirus vaccine coverage of 25.3% among children aged 2-59 months (2-8 months, 2.6%) in Guangzhou, China.
Great efforts should be taken to increase LLR VC in eligible children in Guangzhou, China.
M. tuberculosis remains one of the world’s deadliest pathogens in part because of its ability to establish persistent, latent infections, which can later reactivate to cause disease. In regions of the globe where disease is endemic, as much as 50% of the population is thought to be latently infected, complicating diagnosis and tuberculosis control. The tools most commonly used for diagnosis of latent M. tuberculosis infection are the tuberculin skin test and the newer interferon-gamma release assays, both of which rely on an antigen-specific memory response as an indicator of infection. It is clear that the two tests, do not always give concordant results, but the factors leading to this are only partially understood.
In this study we examined 245 healthy school children aged from 12 to 20 years from Addis Ababa, a tuberculosis-endemic region, characterised them with regard to response in the tuberculin skin test and QuantIFERON™ test and assessed factors that might contribute to discordant responses.
Although concordance between the tests was generally fair (90% concordance), there was a subset of children who had a positive QuantIFERON™ result but a negative tuberculin skin test. After analysis of multiple parameters the data suggest that discordance was most strongly associated with the presence of parasites in the stool.
Parasitic gut infections are frequent in most regions where M. tuberculosis is endemic. This study, while preliminary, suggests that the tuberculin skin test should be interpreted with caution where this may be the case.
Latent tuberculosis; QuantiFERON; TST; Adolescents; Children; Parasites
Acute kidney injury (AKI) requiring renal replacement therapy (RRT) in critically ill patients results in a high hospital mortality. Outcome prediction in this selected high-risk collective is challenging due to the lack of appropriate biomarkers. The aim of this study was to identify outcome-specific biomarkers in this patient population.
Serum samples were collected from 101 critically ill patients with AKI at the initiation of RRT in intensive care units (ICUs) of a tertiary care university hospital between August 2008 and March 2011. Measurements of serum levels of cystatin C (CysC), neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin, and interleukin-18 (IL-18) were performed. The primary outcome measure was hospital mortality. The observed overall mortality rate was 56.4% (57/101). Multiple logistic regression analysis indicated that the serum IL-18 and CysC concentrations and Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation III (ACPACHE III) scores determined on the first day of RRT were independent predictors of hospital mortality. The APACHE III score had the best discriminatory power (0.872±0.041, p<0.001), whereas serum IL-18 had the best Youden index (0.65) and the highest correctness of prediction (83%). Cumulative survival rates at 6-month follow-up following hospital discharge differed significantly (p<0.001) for serum IL-18 <1786 pg/ml vs. ≥1786 pg/ml in these critically ill patients.
In this study, we confirmed the grave prognosis for critically ill patients at the commencement of RRT and found a strong correlation between serum IL-18 and the hospital mortality of ICU patients with dialysis-dependent AKI. In addition, we demonstrated that the APACHE III score has the best discriminative power for predicting hospital mortality in these critically ill patients.
Cancer immunotherapy with antigen-loaded dendritic cell-based vaccines can induce clinical responses in some patients, but further optimization is required to unlock the full potential of this strategy in the clinic. Optimization is dependent on being able to monitor the cellular events that take place once the dendritic cells have been injected in vivo, and to establish whether antigen-specific immune responses to the tumour have been induced. Here we describe the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as a simple, non-invasive approach to evaluate vaccine success. By loading the dendritic cells with highly magnetic iron nanoparticles it is possible to assess whether the injected cells drain to the lymph nodes. It is also possible to establish whether an antigen-specific response is initiated by assessing migration of successive rounds of antigen-loaded dendritic cells; in the face of a successfully primed cytotoxic response, the bulk of antigen-loaded cells are eradicated on-route to the node, whereas cells without antigen can reach the node unchecked. It is also possible to verify the induction of a vaccine-induced response by simply monitoring increases in draining lymph node size as a consequence of vaccine-induced lymphocyte trapping, which is an antigen-specific response that becomes more pronounced with repeated vaccination. Overall, these MRI techniques can provide useful early feedback on vaccination strategies, and could also be used in decision making to select responders from non-responders early in therapy.
Russia has very high mortality from cardiovascular disease (CVD), with evidence that heavy drinking may play a role. To throw further light on this association we have studied the association of alcohol with predictors of CVD risk including B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP). Levels of BNP increase primarily in response to abnormal cardiac chamber wall stretch which can occur both as a result of atherosclerosis as well as due to other types of damage to the myocardium. No previous population-based studies have investigated the association with alcohol. We analysed cross-sectional data on drinking behaviour in 993 men aged 25–60 years from the Izhevsk Family Study 2 (IFS2), conducted in the Russian city of Izhevsk in 2008–2009. Relative to non-drinkers, men who drank hazardously had an odds ratio (OR) of being in the top 20 % of the BNP distribution of 4.66 (95 % CI 2.13, 10.19) adjusted for age, obesity, waist–hip ratio, and smoking. Further adjustment for class of hypertension resulted in only slight attenuation of the effect, suggesting that this effect was not secondary to the influence of alcohol on blood pressure. In contrast hazardous drinking was associated with markedly raised ApoA1 and HDL cholesterol levels, but had little impact on levels of ApoB and LDL cholesterol. Similar but less pronounced associations were found in the Belfast (UK) component of the PRIME study conducted in 1991. These findings suggest that the association of heavy drinking with increased risk of cardiovascular disease may be partly due to alcohol-induced non-atherosclerotic damage to the myocardium.
Alcohol; B-type natriuretic peptide; Russia; Cardiovascular disease
Development of a novel and effective vaccine against Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M.tb) is a challenging for preventing TB infection. In this study, a novel nanoparticle-based recombinant DNA vaccine was developed, which contains Esat-6 three T cell epitopes (Esat-6/3e) and fms-like tyrosine kinase 3 ligand (FL) genes (termed Esat-6/3e-FL), and was enveloped with chitosan (CS) nanoparticles (nano-chitosan). The immunologic and protective efficacy of the nano-chitosan-based DNA vaccine (termed nano-Esat-6/3e-FL) was assessed in C57BL/6 mice after intramuscular prime vaccination with the plasmids DNA and nasal boost with the Esat-6/3e peptides. The results showed that the immunized mice remarkably elicited enhanced T cell responses and protection against M.tb H37Rv challenge. These findings indicate that the nano-chitosan can significantly elevate the immunologic and protective effects of the DNA vaccine, and the nano-Esat-6/3e-FL is a useful vaccine for preventing M.tb infection in mice.
The majority of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) infections remain asymptomatic with only up to 10% progressing to clinical tuberculosis. However, the constituents of the effective “protective immunity” against tuberculosis responsible for containing most infections remain unknown. Evaluating gene transcriptional profiles in tuberculosis clinical cohorts is one approach to understanding the spectrum of tuberculosis progression. It is clear that apoptosis plays a role in the control of tuberculosis but the utility of apoptosis-related genes as surrogate markers of protection against tuberculosis has not been well investigated. To characterize potential surrogate markers that could discriminate different phases of the clinical tuberculosis spectrum, we investigated gene expression of several TNF-alpha dependent apoptotic genes (TNFR1, TNFR2, FLICE, FLIPs) by real-time RT-PCR of peripheral blood cells from cohorts of individuals with active tuberculosis or potential exposure to tuberculosis.
Newly diagnosed tuberculosis patients (n = 23), their close household contacts (n = 80), and community controls (n = 46) were tested at intervals over a period of up to two years. Latent infection or previous Mtb contact was assessed by ELISPOT and TST and complete blood counts were performed during the follow up.
Results showed significant upregulation of FLIPs expression by infected individuals regardless of clinical status at entry to the study. A higher percentage of lymphocytes was found in the infected household contacts that remained healthy. In contrast, in individuals with active TB, a significant upregulation of TNFR2 expression, a significantly higher percentage of monocytes and a significantly decreased lymphocyte count were seen, compared to subjects that remained healthy. Moreover, the household contacts who subsequently developed signs of TB also had a significantly high number of monocytes.
These data suggest tuberculosis may be associated with decreased T-cell survival (perhaps due to apoptosis) while inhibition of apoptosis in monocytes could lead to a relative increase in these cells: a situation predicted to favour Mtb.
The efficiency of various investigations and diagnostic criteria used in diagnosis of allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA) remain unknown, primarily because of the lack of a gold standard. Latent class analysis (LCA) can provide estimates of sensitivity and specificity in absence of gold standard. Herein, we report the performance of various investigations and criteria employed in diagnosis of ABPA.
Consecutive subjects with asthma underwent all the following investigations Aspergillus skin test, IgE levels (total and A.fumigatus specific), Aspergillus precipitins, eosinophil count, chest radiograph, and high-resolution computed tomography (HRCT) of the chest. We used LCA to estimate the performance of various diagnostic tests and criteria in identification of ABPA.
There were 372 asthmatics with a mean age of 35.9 years. The prevalence of Aspergillus sensitization was 53.2%. The sensitivity and specificity of various tests were Aspergillus skin test positivity (94.7%, 79.7%); IgE levels>1000 IU/mL (97.1%, 37.7%); A.fumigatus specific IgE levels>0.35 kUA/L (100%, 69.3%); Aspergillus precipitins (42.7%, 97.1%); eosinophil count>1000 cells/µL (29.5%, 93.1%); chest radiographic opacities (36.1%, 92.5%); bronchiectasis (91.9%, 80.9%); and, high-attenuation mucus (39.7%, 100%). The most accurate criteria was the Patterson criteria using six components followed by the Agarwal criteria. However, there was substantial decline in accuracy of the Patterson criteria if components of the criteria were either increased or decreased from six.
A.fumigatus specific IgE levels and high-attenuation mucus were found to be the most sensitive and specific test respectively in diagnosis of ABPA. The Patterson criteria remain the best diagnostic criteria however they have good veridicality only if six criteria are used.
White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) experimentally infected with a virulent strain of Mycobacterium bovis have been shown to transmit the bacterium to other deer and cattle (Bos taurus) by sharing of pen waste and feed. The risk of transmission of M. bovis bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine from orally vaccinated white-tailed deer to other deer and cattle, however, is not well understood. In order to evaluate this risk, we orally vaccinated 14 white-tailed deer with 1×109 colony forming units BCG in lipid-formulated baits and housed them with nine non-vaccinated deer. Each day we exposed the same seven naïve cattle to pen space utilized by the deer to look for transmission between the two species. Before vaccination and every 60 days until the end of the study, we performed tuberculin skin testing on deer and cattle, as well as interferon-gamma testing in cattle, to detect cellular immune response to BCG exposure. At approximately 27 weeks all cattle and deer were euthanized and necropsied. None of the cattle converted on either caudal fold, comparative cervical tests, or interferon-gamma assay. None of the cattle were culture positive for BCG. Although there was immunological evidence that BCG transmission occurred from deer to deer, we were unable to detect immunological or microbiological evidence of transmission to cattle. This study suggests that the risk is likely to be low that BCG-vaccinated white-tailed deer would cause domestic cattle to react to the tuberculin skin test or interferon-gamma test through exposure to a BCG-contaminated environment.
Pulmonary tuberculosis (TB), caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, is the leading cause of death due to a bacterial pathogen. Emerging epidemiologic evidence suggests that the leading risk factor associated with TB mortality is cigarette smoke exposure. Despite this, it remains poorly understood what is the effect of cigarette smoke exposure on anti-TB immunity and whether its potential detrimental effect can be reversed by cigarette smoking cessation. In our current study, we have investigated the impact of both continuous and discontinuous cigarette smoke exposure on the development of anti-mycobacterial type 1 immunity in murine models. We find that while continuous cigarette smoke exposure severely impairs type 1 immunity in the lung, a short-term smoking cessation allows rapid restoration of anti-mycobacterial immunity. The ability of continuous cigarette smoke exposure to dampen type 1 protective immunity is attributed locally to its affects on innate immune cells in the lung. Continuous cigarette smoke exposure locally, by not systemically, impairs APC accumulation and their production of TNF, IL-12, and RANTES, blunts the recruitment of CD4+IFN-γ+ T cells to the lung, and weakens the formation of granuloma. On the other hand, smoking cessation was found to help restore type 1 immunity by rapidly improving the functionality of lung APCs, enhancing the recruitment of CD4+IFN-γ+ T cells to the lung, and promoting the formation of granuloma. Our study for the first time demonstrates that continuous, but not discontinuous, cigarette smoke exposure severely impedes the lung expression of anti-TB Th1 immunity via inhibiting innate immune activation and lung T cell recruitment. Our findings thus suggest cigarette smoking cessation to be beneficial to the control of pulmonary TB.
Various epidemics have arisen in rural locations through human-animal interaction, such as the H1N1 outbreak of 2009. Through collaboration with local government officials, we have surveyed a rural county and its communities and collected a dataset characterizing the rural population. From the respondents’ answers, we build a social (face-to-face) contact network. With this network, we explore the potential spread of epidemics through a Susceptible-Latent-Infected-Recovered (SLIR) disease model. We simulate an exact model of a stochastic SLIR Poisson process with disease parameters representing a typical influenza-like illness. We test vaccine distribution strategies under limited resources. We examine global and location-based distribution strategies, as a way to reach critical individuals in the rural setting. We demonstrate that locations can be identified through contact metrics for use in vaccination strategies to control contagious diseases.
The protection against pneumococcal infections provided by currently available pneumococcal polysaccharide conjugate vaccines are restricted to the limited number of the serotypes included in the vaccine. In the present study, we evaluated the distribution of the pneumococcal capsular type and surface protein A (PspA) family of pneumococcal isolates from upper respiratory tract infections in Japan.
A total of 251 S. pneumoniae isolates from patients seeking treatment for upper respiratory tract infections were characterized for PspA family, antibiotic resistance and capsular type.
Among the 251 pneumococci studied, the majority (49.4%) was identified as belonging to PspA family 2, while most of the remaining isolates (44.6%) belonged to family 1. There were no significant differences between the distributions of PspA1 versus PspA2 isolates based on the age or gender of the patient, source of the isolates or the isolates’ susceptibilities to penicillin G. In contrast, the frequency of the mefA gene presence and of serotypes 15B and 19F were statistically more common among PspA2 strains.
The vast majority of pneumococci isolated from the middle ear fluids, nasal discharges/sinus aspirates or pharyngeal secretions represented PspA families 1 and 2. Capsular serotypes were generally not exclusively associated with certain PspA families, although some capsular types showed a much higher proportion of either PspA1 or PspA2. A PspA-containing vaccine would potentially provide high coverage against pneumococcal infectious diseases because it would be cross-protective versus invasive disease with the majority of pneumococci infecting children and adults.
Pre-eclampsia is the leading cause of maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality with incompletely understood etiopathogenesis. The purpose of the current study is to determine whether there is a relationship between the presence of autoantibodies against β1, β2 and α1 adrenoreceptors and severe pre-eclampsia.
Synthetic peptides corresponding to amino acid sequences of the second extracellular loops of β1, β2 and α1 adrenoreceptors were synthesized as antigens to test 34 patients with severe pre-eclampsia, 36 normal pregnancy women and 40 non-pregnant controls for the presence of autoantibodies using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The respective frequencies of autoantibodies against β1, β2 and α1 adrenoreceptors were 50.0% (17/34), 52.9% (18/34) and 55.9% (19/34) in patients with severe pre-eclampsia, 19.4% (7/36) (p = 0.011), 19.4% (7/36) (p = 0.006) and 17.6% (6/36) (p = 0.001) in normal pregnancy women and 10% (4/40), 7.5% (3/40) and 10% (4/40) (p<0.001) in non-pregnant controls. Titers of these autoantibodies were also significantly increased in patients with severe pre-eclampsia. By logistic regression analysis, the presence of these three autoantibodies significantly increased the risk of neonatal death (odds ratio, 13.5; 95% confidence interval, 1.3–141.3; p = 0.030) and long-term neonatal hospitalization (odds ratio, 5.0; 95% confidence interval, 1.3–19.1; p = 0.018). The risk of hypertension and fetal distress were also associated with the presence of these three autoantibodies.
This novel pilot study demonstrated for the first time that the presence of autoantibodies against β1, β2 and α1 adrenoreceptors are increased in patients with severe pre-eclampsia. Pregnant women who are positive for the three autoantibodies are at increased risks of neonatal mortality and morbidity. We posit that these autoantibodies may be involved in the pathogenesis of severe pre-eclampsia.
Research institutions differ in their willingness to defer to a single, central institutional review board (IRB) for multicenter clinical trials, despite statements from the FDA, OHRP, and NIH in support of using central IRBs to improve the efficiency of conducting trials. The Clinical Trials Transformation Initiative (CTTI) supported this project to solicit current perceptions of barriers to the use of central IRBs and to formulate potential solutions. We held discussions with IRB experts, interviewed representatives of research institutions, and held an expert meeting with diverse stakeholder groups and thought leaders. We found that many perceived barriers relate to conflating responsibilities of the institution with the ethical review responsibilities of the IRB. We identified the need for concrete tools to help research institutions separate institutional responsibilities from ethical responsibilities required of the IRB. One such tool is a document we created that delineates these responsibilities and how they might be assigned to each entity, or, in some cases, both entities. This tool and project recommendations will be broadly disseminated to facilitate the use of central IRBs in multicenter trials. The ultimate goal is to increase the nation’s capacity to efficiently conduct the large number of high-quality trials.
To investigate the relationship among angiogenic cytokines, fibrinolytic activity and effusion size in parapneumonic effusion (PPE) and their clinical importance.
From January 2008 through December 2010, 26 uncomplicated (UPPE) and 38 complicated (CPPE) PPE were studied. Based on chest ultrasonography, there were non-loculated in 30, uni-loculated in 12, and multi-loculated effusions in 22 patients. The effusion size radiological scores, and effusion vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), interleukin (IL)-8, plasminogen activator inhibitor type-1 (PAI-1) and tissue type plasminogen activator (tPA) were measured on admission. Treatment outcome and pleural fibrosis, defined as radiological residual pleural thickening (RPT), were assessed at 6-month follow-up.
The effusion size and effusion VEGF, IL-8 and PAI-1/tPA ratio were significantly higher in CPPE than in UPPE, and significantly higher in multi-loculated PPE than in non-locualted and uni-loculated PPE, respectively. VEGF (cutoff value 1975 pg/ml) and IL-8 (cutoff value 1937 pg/ml) seemed best to discriminate between UPPE and CPPE. VEGF, IL-8 and effusion size correlated positively with PAI-1/tPA ratio in both UPPE and CPPE. Moreover, the level of VEGF, but not IL-8, correlated positively with effusion size in all patients (r = 0.79, p<0.001) and in UPPE (r = 0.64, p<0.001) and CPPE (r = 0.71, p<0.001) groups. The patients with higher VEGF or greater effusion were prone to have medical treatment failure (n = 10; VEGF, odds ratio 1.01, p = 0.02; effusion size, odds ratio 1.26, p = 0.01). Additionally, ten patients with RPT had larger effusion size and higher levels of VEGF and PAI-1/tPA ratio than did those without.
In PPE, VEGF and IL-8 levels are valuable to identify CPPE, and higher VEGF level or larger effusion is associated with decreased fibrinolytic activity, development of pleural loculation and fibrosis, and higher risk of medical treatment failure.