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1.  Direct sequencing for rapid detection of multidrug resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis strains in Morocco 
Background
Tuberculosis (TB) is a major public health problem with high mortality and morbidity rates, especially in low-income countries. Disturbingly, the emergence of multidrug resistant (MDR) and extensively drug resistant (XDR) TB cases has worsened the situation, raising concerns of a future epidemic of virtually untreatable TB. Indeed, the rapid diagnosis of MDR TB is a critical issue for TB management. This study is an attempt to establish a rapid diagnosis of MDR TB by sequencing the target fragments of the rpoB gene which linked to resistance against rifampicin and the katG gene and inhA promoter region, which are associated with resistance to isoniazid.
Methods
For this purpose, 133 sputum samples of TB patients from Morocco were enrolled in this study. One hundred samples were collected from new cases, and the remaining 33 were from previously treated patients (drug relapse or failure, chronic cases) and did not respond to anti-TB drugs after a sufficient duration of treatment. All samples were subjected to rpoB, katG and pinhA mutation analysis by polymerase chain reaction and DNA sequencing.
Results
Molecular analysis showed that seven strains were isoniazid-monoresistant and 17 were rifampicin-monoresistant. MDR TB strains were identified in nine cases (6.8%). Among them, eight were traditionally diagnosed as critical cases, comprising four chronic and four drug-relapse cases. The last strain was isolated from a new case. The most recorded mutation in the rpoB gene was the substitution TCG > TTG at codon 531 (Ser531 Leu), accounting for 46.15%. Significantly, the only mutation found in the katG gene was at codon 315 (AGC to ACC) with a Ser315Thr amino acid change. Only one sample harbored mutation in the inhA promoter region and was a point mutation at the −15p position (C > T).
Conclusion
The polymerase chain reaction sequencing approach is an accurate and rapid method for detection of drug-resistant TB in clinical specimens, and could be of great interest in the management of TB in critical cases to adjust the treatment regimen and limit the emergence of MDR and XDR strains.
doi:10.2147/IDR.S47724
PMCID: PMC3875366  PMID: 24399879
Morocco; Mycobacterium tuberculosis; multidrug resistance; rpoB; katG; inhA promoter
2.  Analysis of mutations in the E6 oncogene of human papillomavirus 16 in cervical cancer isolates from Moroccan women 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2013;13:378.
Background
Worldwide, cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in women. High-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) play a crucial role in the etiology of cervical cancer and the most prevalent genotype is HPV16. HPV 16 intratypic variants have been reported to differ in their prevalence, biological and biochemical properties. The present study was designed to analyze and identify HPV type 16 E6 variants among patients with cervical cancer in Morocco.
Methods
A total of 103 HPV16 positive samples were isolated from 129 cervical cancer cases, and variant status was subsequently determined by DNA sequencing of the E6 gene.
Results
Isolates from patients were grouped into the European (E), African (Af) and North-American (NA1) phylogenetic clusters with a high prevalence of E lineage (58.3%). The Af and NA1 variants were detected in 31.1% and 11.6% of the HPV16 positive specimens, respectively, whereas, only 3% of cases were prototype E350T. No European-Asian (EA), Asian (As) or Asian-American (AA) variants were observed in our HPV16-positive specimens. At the amino acid level, the most prevalent non-synonymous variants were L83V (T350G), H78Y (C335T), E113D (A442C), Q14D (C143G/G145T) and R10I (G132T), and were observed respectively in 65%, 41.8%, 38.8%, 30.1% and 23.3% of total samples.
Moreover, HPV16 European variants were mostly identified in younger women at early clinical diagnosis stages. Whereas, HPV16 Af variants were most likely associated with cervical cancer development in older women with pronounced aggressiveness.
Conclusion
This study suggests a predominance of E lineage strains among Moroccan HPV 16 isolates and raises the possibility that HPV16 variants have a preferential role in progression to malignancy and could be associated with the more aggressive nature of cervical cancer.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-13-378
PMCID: PMC3751500  PMID: 23953248
Cervical cancer; Human papillomavirus 16; Variants; E6; Morocco
3.  Prevalence and risk factors of hepatitis B and C virus infections among the general population and blood donors in Morocco 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:50.
Background
Viral hepatitis is a serious public health problem affecting billions of people globally. Limited information is available on this issue in Morocco. This cross-sectional study was undertaken with the aim of determining the seroprevalence and risk factors of hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) among the general population and among blood donors.
Methods
Blood samples from volunteers, have been screened with ELISA tests for detecting the hepatitis-B surface antigen (HBsAg) and anti-HCV. Within the seroreactive patients for HCV in the general population, RT-PCR was performed by the Cobas Ampliprep/Cobas Amplicor.
Results
HCV and HBV-seropositivity was documented in 1.58% and 1.81% out of 41269 and 23578 participants respectively from the general population. Two patients were found to be co-infected. HCV-RNA was detected by PCR in 70.9% of the 195 anti-HCV positive subjects. The anti-HCV prevalence was not different among males and females (P = 0.3). It increased with age; the highest prevalence was observed among subjects with >50 years old (3.12%). Various risk factors for acquiring HCV infection were identified; age, dental treatment, use of glass syringes and surgical history. In addition to these factors, gender and sexual risk behaviors were found to be associated with higher prevalence of hepatitis B. The HBV positivity was significantly higher among males than females participants in all age groups (P < 0.01). The peak was noticed among males aged 30–49 years (2.4%). None of the 152 persons younger than 20 years had HBsAg or anti-HCV. The prevalence of anti-HCV and HBsAg among 169605 blood donors was 0.62% and 0.96% respectively.
Conclusions
Our study provided much important information concerning hepatitis B and C prevalence and risk factors; it confirmed the intermediate endemicity for HCV infection and pointed to a decreasing trend of HBV incidence, which might reclassify Morocco in low HBV endemicity area. This could be attributed primarily to the universal HBV vaccination among infants and healthcare workers over the past 13 years. HCV and HBV infections in the present survey were mainly associated with nosocomial exposures. Prevention and control of HBV infection are needed to reduce HBV transmission between adults.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-50
PMCID: PMC3640941  PMID: 23331910
Hepatitis B; Hepatitis C; Prevalence; General population; Risk factors; Blood donors; Morocco
4.  Aberrant Promoter Methylation and Expression of UTF1 during Cervical Carcinogenesis 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):e42704.
Promoter methylation profiles are proposed as potential prognosis and/or diagnosis biomarkers in cervical cancer. Up to now, little is known about the promoter methylation profile and expression pattern of stem cell (SC) markers during tumor development. In this study, we were interested to identify SC genes methylation profiles during cervical carcinogenesis. A genome-wide promoter methylation screening revealed a strong hypermethylation of Undifferentiated cell Transcription Factor 1 (UTF1) promoter in cervical cancer in comparison with normal ectocervix. By direct bisulfite pyrosequencing of DNA isolated from liquid-based cytological samples, we showed that UTF1 promoter methylation increases with lesion severity, the highest level of methylation being found in carcinoma. This hypermethylation was associated with increased UTF1 mRNA and protein expression. By using quantitative RT-PCR and Western Blot, we showed that both UTF1 mRNA and protein are present in epithelial cancer cell lines, even in the absence of its two main described regulators Oct4A and Sox2. Moreover, by immunofluorescence, we confirmed the nuclear localisation of UTF1 in cell lines. Surprisingly, direct bisulfite pyrosequencing revealed that the inhibition of DNA methyltransferase by 5-aza-2′-deoxycytidine was associated with decreased UTF1 gene methylation and expression in two cervical cancer cell lines of the four tested. These findings strongly suggest that UTF1 promoter methylation profile might be a useful biomarker for cervical cancer diagnosis and raise the questions of its role during epithelial carcinogenesis and of the mechanisms regulating its expression.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0042704
PMCID: PMC3411846  PMID: 22880087
5.  Characterization and antibiotic susceptibility of Listeria monocytogenes isolated from poultry and red meat in Morocco 
This study was carried out on 426 samples of raw meats collected from butcheries and supermarkets in Casablanca, Morocco. The samples were examined for the occurrence of Listeria species. Strains of Listeria monocytogenes were characterized by several biochemical tests and confirmed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). β-hemolytic cultures and nonhemolytic isolates were tested for biochemical properties with the Listeria API test. Among the 43 Listeria species isolates; we identified 10 strains for L. monocytogenes (23.3%), 31 strains for L. innocua (72.1%) and 2 strains for L. welshimeri (4.6%). Strains of L. monocytogenes were separated by multiplex PCR; two serogroups IIb and IVb were thus differentiated. Antibiotic susceptibility of L. monocytogenes to 21 antibiotics was determined by the disk diffusion method. All isolates were susceptible to a wide range of the tested antibiotics with the exception of nalidixic acid, colistine and cephalosporins second and third generation for which they were all resistant.
PMCID: PMC3108722  PMID: 21694879
antibiotic susceptibility; Listeria monocytogenes; meat; PCR

Results 1-5 (5)