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1.  Bartonella Species and Trombiculid Mites of Rats from the Mekong Delta of Vietnam 
A survey of Bartonella spp. from 275 rats purchased in food markets (n=150) and trapped in different ecosystems (rice field, forest, and animal farms) (n=125) was carried out during October, 2012–March, 2013, in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam. The overall Bartonella spp. prevalence detected by culture and PCR in blood was 14.9% (10.7–19.1%), the highest corresponding to Rattus tanezumi (49.2%), followed by Rattus norvegicus (20.7%). Trapped rats were also investigated for the presence and type of chiggers (larvae of trombiculid mites), and Bartonella spp. were investigated on chigger pools collected from each rat by RT-PCR. A total of five Bartonella spp. were identified in rats, three of which (B. elizabethae, B. rattimassiliensis, and B. tribocorum) are known zoonotic pathogens. Among trapped rats, factors independently associated with increased prevalence of Bartonella spp. included: (1) Rat species (R. tanezumi); (2) the number of Trombiculini–Blankaartia and Schoengastiini–Ascoschoengastia mites found on rats; and (3) the habitat of the rat (i.e., forest/fields vs. animal farms). The prevalence of Bartonella infection among chiggers from Bartonella spp.–positive R. tanezumi rats was 5/25 (25%), compared with 1/27 (3.7%) among Bartonella spp.–negative R. tanezumi rats (relative risk [RR]=5.4, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.68–43.09). The finding of Bartonella spp.–positive chiggers on Bartonella spp.–negative rats is strongly suggestive of a transovarial transmission cycle. Rats are ubiquitous in areas of human activity and farms in the Mekong Delta; in addition, trapping and trading of rats for food is common. To correctly assess the human risks due to rat trapping, marketing, and carcass dressing, further studies are needed to establish the routes of transmission and cycle of infection. The widespread presence of these zoonotic pathogens in rats and the abundance of human—rat interactions suggest that surveillance efforts should be enhanced to detect any human cases of Bartonella infection that may arise.
PMCID: PMC4307099  PMID: 25629779
Bartonella; Rattus; Chiggers; Vietnam
2.  Acceleration of gene transfection efficiency in neuroblastoma cells through polyethyleneimine/poly(methyl methacrylate) core-shell magnetic nanoparticles 
The purpose of this study was to demonstrate the potential of magnetic poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) core/polyethyleneimine (PEI) shell (mag-PEI) nanoparticles, which possess high saturation magnetization for gene delivery. By using mag-PEI nanoparticles as a gene carrier, this study focused on evaluation of transfection efficiency under magnetic induction. The potential role of this newly synthesized nanosphere for therapeutic delivery of the tryptophan hydroxylase-2 (TPH-2) gene was also investigated in cultured neuronal LAN-5 cells.
The mag-PEI nanoparticles were prepared by one-step emulsifier-free emulsion polymerization, generating highly loaded and monodispersed magnetic polymeric nanoparticles bearing an amine group. The physicochemical properties of the mag-PEI nanoparticles and DNA-bound mag-PEI nanoparticles were investigated using the gel retardation assay, atomic force microscopy, and zeta size measurements. The gene transfection efficiencies of mag-PEI nanoparticles were evaluated at different transfection times. Confocal laser scanning microscopy confirmed intracellular uptake of the magnetoplex. The optimal conditions for transfection of TPH-2 were selected for therapeutic gene transfection. We isolated the TPH-2 gene from the total RNA of the human medulla oblongata and cloned it into an expression vector. The plasmid containing TPH-2 was subsequently bound onto the surfaces of the mag-PEI nanoparticles via electrostatic interaction. Finally, the mag-PEI nanoparticle magnetoplex was delivered into LAN-5 cells. Reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction was performed to evaluate TPH-2 expression in a quantitative manner.
The study demonstrated the role of newly synthesized high-magnetization mag-PEI nanoparticles for gene transfection in vitro. The expression signals of a model gene, luciferase, and a therapeutic gene, TPH-2, were enhanced under magnetic-assisted transfection. An in vitro study in neuronal cells confirmed that using mag-PEI nanoparticles as a DNA carrier for gene delivery provided high transfection efficiency with low cytotoxicity.
The mag-PEI nanoparticle is a promising alternative gene transfection reagent due to its ease of use, effectiveness, and low cellular toxicity. The mag-PEI nanoparticle is not only practical for gene transfection in cultured neuronal cells but may also be suitable for transfection in other cells as well.
PMCID: PMC3373300  PMID: 22701321
magnetic nanoparticle; non-viral vector; gene delivery; tryptophan hydroxylase-2; LAN-5; neuronal cells

Results 1-2 (2)