Despite the clear need to control visceral leishmaniasis (VL), the existing diagnostic tests have serious shortcomings. Here, we introduce an innovative approach to directly identify Leishmania infantum antigens produced in vivo in humans with VL. We combined reverse-phase high-performance liquid chromatography (RP-HPLC) with mass spectrometry and categorized three distinct L. infantum proteins presumably produced in bone marrow/spleen/liver and excreted in the urine of patients with VL. The genes coding for these proteins (L. infantum iron superoxide dismutase, NCBI accession number XP_001467866.1; L. infantum tryparedoxin, NCBI accession number XP_001466642.1; and L. infantum nuclear transport factor 2, NCBI accession number XP_001463738.1) were cloned, and the recombinant molecules were produced in Escherichia coli. Antibodies to these proteins were produced in rabbits and chickens and were used to develop a capture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) designed to detect these L. infantum antigens in the urine of VL patients. Specificity of the antibodies was confirmed by a Western blot analysis using both recombinant proteins and whole parasite extract. Importantly, a urinary antigen detection assay assembled with pairs of antibodies specific for each of these antigens identified 17 of 19 patients with VL. These results indicate that an improved antigen detection assay based on L. infantum proteins present in the urine of patients with VL may represent an important new strategy for the development of a specific and accurate diagnostic test that has the potential to both distinguish active VL from asymptomatic infection and serve as an important tool to monitor therapy efficacy.
Picture Archiving and Communication Systems (PACS) have been widely deployed in healthcare institutions, and they now constitute a normal commodity for practitioners. However, its installation, maintenance, and utilization are still a burden due to their heavy structures, typically supported by centralized computational solutions. In this paper, we present Dicoogle, a PACS archive supported by a document-based indexing system and by peer-to-peer (P2P) protocols. Replacing the traditional database storage (RDBMS) by a documental organization permits gathering and indexing data from file-based repositories, which allows searching the archive through free text queries. As a direct result of this strategy, more information can be extracted from medical imaging repositories, which clearly increases flexibility when compared with current query and retrieval DICOM services. The inclusion of P2P features allows PACS internetworking without the need for a central management framework. Moreover, Dicoogle is easy to install, manage, and use, and it maintains full interoperability with standard DICOM services.
PACS; Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM); Medical imaging; Peer-to-peer; Computer communication networks; Open source; PACS implementation; Information storage and retrieval
Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is a serious lethal parasitic disease caused by Leishmania donovani in Asia and by Leishmania infantum chagasi in Southern Europe and South America. VL is endemic in 47 countries with an annual incidence estimated to be 500,000 cases. This high incidence is due in part to the lack of an efficacious vaccine. Here, we introduce an innovative approach to directly identify parasite vaccine candidate antigens that are abundantly produced in vivo in humans with VL. We combined RP-HPLC and mass spectrometry and categorized three L. infantum chagasi proteins, presumably produced in spleen, liver, and bone marrow lesions and excreted in the patients’ urine. Specifically, these proteins were the following: Li-isd1 (XP_001467866.1), Li-txn1 (XP_001466642.1), and Li-ntf2 (XP_001463738.1). Initial vaccine validation studies were performed with the rLi-ntf2 protein produced in E. coli mixed with the adjuvant BpMPLA-SE. This formulation stimulated potent Th1 response in BALB/c mice. Compared to control animals, mice immunized with Li-ntf2 + BpMPLASE had a marked parasite burden reduction in spleens at 40 days post-challenge with virulent L. infantum chagasi. These results strongly support the proposed antigen discovery strategy of vaccine candidates to kala-azar and opens novel possibilities for vaccine development to other serious infectious diseases.
Leishmania infantum chagasi; vaccine; ntf2; kala-azar; visceral leishmaniasis; urine
Malnutrition during critical periods in early life may increase the subsequent risk of hypertension and metabolic diseases in adulthood, but the underlying mechanisms are still unclear. We aimed to evaluate the effects of post-weaning protein malnutrition on blood pressure and vascular reactivity in aortic rings (conductance artery) and isolated-perfused tail arteries (resistance artery) from control (fed with Labina®) and post-weaning protein malnutrition rats (offspring that received a diet with low protein content for three months). Systolic and diastolic blood pressure and heart rate increased in the post-weaning protein malnutrition rats. In the aortic rings, reactivity to phenylephrine (10−10–3.10−4 M) was similar in both groups. Endothelium removal or L-NAME (10−4 M) incubation increased the response to phenylephrine, but the L-NAME effect was greater in the aortic rings from the post-weaning protein malnutrition rats. The protein expression of the endothelial nitric oxide isoform increased in the aortic rings from the post-weaning protein malnutrition rats. Incubation with apocynin (0.3 mM) reduced the response to phenylephrine in both groups, but this effect was higher in the post-weaning protein malnutrition rats, suggesting an increase of superoxide anion release. In the tail artery of the post-weaning protein malnutrition rats, the vascular reactivity to phenylephrine (0.001–300 µg) and the relaxation to acetylcholine (10−10–10−3 M) were increased. Post-weaning protein malnutrition increases blood pressure and induces vascular dysfunction. Although the vascular reactivity in the aortic rings did not change, an increase in superoxide anion and nitric oxide was observed in the post-weaning protein malnutrition rats. However, in the resistance arteries, the increased vascular reactivity may be a potential mechanism underlying the increased blood pressure observed in this model.
This study describes the application of the LongSAGE methodology to study the gene expression profile in promastigotes of Leishmania infantum chagasi. A tag library was created using the LongSAGE method and consisted of 14,208 tags of 17 bases. Of these, 8,427 (59.3%) were distinct. BLAST research of the 1,645 most abundant tags showed that 12.8% of them identified the coding sequences of genes, while 82% (1,349/1,645) identified one or more genomic sequences that did not correspond with open reading frames. Only 5.2% (84/1,645) of the tags were not aligned to any position in the L. infantum genome. The UTR size of Leishmania and the lack of CATG sites in some transcripts were decisive for the generation of tags in these regions. Additional analysis will allow a better understanding of the expression profile and discovering the key genes in this life cycle.
Drug-dosing recommendations for visceral leishmaniasis (VL) treatment are based on the patients' weight or age. A current lack of demographic and anthropometric data on patients hinders (1) the ability of health providers to properly prepare for patient management, (2) an informed drug procurement for disease control, and (3) the design of clinical trials and development of new drug therapies in the different endemic areas. We present information about the age, gender, weight, and height of 29,570 consecutive VL patients presenting to 20 locations in six geographic endemic regions of Brazil, East Africa, Nepal, and India between 1997 and 2009. Our compilation shows substantial heterogeneity in the types of patients seeking care for VL at the clinics within the different locations. This suggests that drug development, procurement, and perhaps even treatment protocols, such as the use of the potentially teratogenic drug miltefosine, may require distinct strategies in these geographic settings.
A low ratio of omega-6/omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids is associated with healthy bone properties. However, fatty diets can induce obesity. Our objective was to evaluate intra-abdominal adiposity, insulin, and bone growth in rats fed a high-fat diet containing low ratios of omega-6/omega-3 provided in canola oil.
After weaning, rats were grouped and fed either a control diet (7S), a high-fat diet containing soybean oil (19S) or a high-fat diet of canola oil (19C) until they were 60 days old. Differences were considered to be significant if p<0.05.
After 60 days, the 19S and 19C groups showed more energy intake, body density growth and intra-abdominal fat mass. However, the 19S group had a higher area (200%) and a lower number (44%) of adipocytes, while the 7S and 19C groups did not differ. The serum concentrations of glucose and insulin and the insulin resistance index were significantly increased in the 19C group (15%, 56%, and 78%, respectively) compared to the 7S group. Bone measurements of the 19S and 19C groups showed a higher femur mass (25%) and a higher lumbar vertebrae mass (11%) and length (5%). Computed tomography analysis revealed more radiodensity in the proximal femoral epiphysis and lumbar vertebrae of 19C group compared to the 7S and 19S groups.
Our results suggest that the amount and source of fat used in the diet after weaning increase body growth and fat depots and affect insulin resistance and, consequently, bone health.
Canola oil; Soybean oil; Bone; Computed tomography; Rat
viruses; Herpesviridae infections; human herpesvirus 1; zoonoses; New World monkeys; primates; viruses; Brazil; letter
Leishmania; visceral leishmaniasis; ELISA; dipstick; parasites; letter
vector-borne infections; sand fly; leishmaniasis; kala-azar; Leishmania infantum; Lutzomyia longipalpis; travel; Brazil; letter
The effect of zinc and glutamine on brain development was investigated during the lactation period in Swiss mice.
Malnutrition was induced by clustering the litter size from 6–7 pups/dam (nourished control) to 12–14 pups/dam (undernourished control) following birth. Undernourished groups received daily supplementation with glutamine by subcutaneous injections starting at day 2 and continuing until day 14. Glutamine (100 mM, 40–80μl) was used for morphological and behavioral studies. Zinc acetate was added in the drinking water (500 mg/L) to the lactating dams. Synaptophysin (SYN) and myelin basic protein (MBP) brain expressions were evaluated by immunoblot. Zinc serum and brain levels and hippocampal neurotransmitters were also evaluated.
Zinc with or without glutamine improved weight gain as compared to untreated, undernourished controls. In addition, zinc supplementation improved cliff avoidance and head position during swim behaviors especially on days 9 and 10. Using design-based stereological methods, we found a significant increase in the volume of CA1 neuronal cells in undernourished control mice, which was not seen in mice receiving zinc or glutamine alone or in combination. Undernourished mice given glutamine showed increased CA1 layer volume as compared with the other groups, consistent with the trend toward increased number of neurons. Brain zinc levels were increased in the nourished and undernourished-glutamine treated mice as compared to the undernourished controls on day 7. Undernourished glutamine-treated mice showed increased hippocampal GABA and SYN levels on day 14.
We conclude that glutamine or zinc protects against malnutrition-induced brain developmental impairments.
malnutrition; hippocampus; stereology; ontogeny behavior; suckling mice
Leishmania infantum chagasi is the causative agent of visceral leishmaniasis in Brazil. Polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) analysis of kinetoplast DNA (kDNA) minicircles was used to evaluate genetic profiles of 48 Leishmania infantum chagasi strains from dog and human parasite cultures, fresh collected dog bone marrow aspirates, and from infected sand flies. Results revealed that heterogeneity in kDNA minicircles depends mostly on the source of the samples, with cultured parasites showing a high degree of homogeneity.
Nanocomposites of the self-forming core-shell Co-MgO nanoparticles, which were of approximately 100 nm in diameter, and poly(vinylidene fluoride) (PVDF) polymer have been prepared. When the polymer is crystallized in the α-phase, the introduction of the nanoparticles leads to nucleation of the γ-phase of PVDF, increasing also the melting temperature of the polymer. With the introduction of the Co-MgO particles, the dielectric constant of the material slightly increases and the storage modulus decreases with respect to the values obtained for the pure polymer.
One of the most affected cognitive impairments in children who experienced heavy burdens of diarrhea is semantic fluency, the same impairment that is most affected in Alzheimer’s dementia. These findings are leading us into provocative genetic studies that may elucidate the evolution of such genetic polymorphisms as the APOE alleles. Alternatively, diarrhea could launch the cognitive deficits that might later progress in neurodegenerative diseases. In addition, they suggest that semantic fluency could provide a simple mean to assess cognitive impairment in impoverished settings so as to determine preventive measures.
To evaluate the cytotoxic effects of a bleaching agent composed of 0.01% carbamide peroxide (CP; 2.21μg/ml H2O2) on the MDPC-23 odontoblastic cell line, and to determine whether sodium ascorbate (SA) is capable of reducing, or even eliminating, the toxic effects caused by this bleaching agent.
The cells were seeded in wells and incubated for 48 hours. CP and SA were dissolved in a culture medium (DMEM) in order to obtain experimental extracts. Six groups of cells (n=10) were treated as follows: G1: no treatment (control); G2: 0.25 mM SA/60 min; G3: 0.5 mM SA/60 min; G4: 0.25 mM SA+0.01% CP/60 min; G5: 0.5 mM SA+0.01% CP/60 min; and G6: 0.01% CP/60 min. The cell metabolism was evaluated by MTT assay, and the cell morphology was assessed by scanning electron microscopy. The data obtained were analyzed by 2-way ANOVA and post-hoc Tukey’s test (α=5%).
The percentages of cell metabolism were as follows: G1 (control)=100%; G2=110.06%, G3=108.57%, G4=90.35%, G5=97.63%, and G6=66.88%. Group 6 presented a statistically lower cell metabolism than did the other groups, and the cells that remained on the substrate exhibited changes in their morphology. SA decreased the cytotoxic effects caused by CP, demonstrating its protective effect against the toxic components of this dental product.
It was concluded that CP gel has cytopathic effects on MDPC-23 odontoblastic cells, even at low concentrations such as 0.01%. SA at 0.25 mM, and that 0.5 mM is able to protect these cultured cells against the cytotoxic effects of CP.
Bleaching agent; Carbamide peroxide; Odontoblasts; Sodium ascorbate; Cytotoxicity
Sand flies deliver Leishmania parasites to a host alongside salivary molecules that affect infection outcomes. Though some proteins are immunogenic and have potential as markers of vector exposure, their identity and vector specificity remain elusive.
We screened human, dog, and fox sera from endemic areas of visceral leishmaniasis to identify potential markers of specific exposure to saliva of Lutzomyia longipalpis. Human and dog sera were further tested against additional sand fly species. Recombinant proteins of nine transcripts encoding secreted salivary molecules of Lu. longipalpis were produced, purified, and tested for antigenicity and specificity. Use of recombinant proteins corresponding to immunogenic molecules in Lu. longipalpis saliva identified LJM17 and LJM11 as potential markers of exposure. LJM17 was recognized by human, dog, and fox sera; LJM11 by humans and dogs. Notably, LJM17 and LJM11 were specifically recognized by humans exposed to Lu. longipalpis but not by individuals exposed to Lu. intermedia.
Salivary recombinant proteins are of value as markers of vector exposure. In humans, LJM17 and LJM11 emerged as potential markers of specific exposure to Lu. longipalpis, the vector of Leishmania infantum chagasi in Latin America. In dogs, LJM17, LJM11, LJL13, LJL23, and LJL143 emerged as potential markers of sand fly exposure. Testing these recombinant proteins in large scale studies will validate their usefulness as specific markers of Lu. longipalpis exposure in humans and of sand fly exposure in dogs.
Leishmania parasites are transmitted by the bite of an infected vector sand fly that injects salivary molecules into the host skin during feeding. Certain salivary molecules can produce antibodies and can be used as an indicator of exposure to a vector sand fly and potentially the disease it transmits. Here we identified potential markers of specific exposure to the sand fly Lutzomyia longipalpis, the vector of visceral leishmaniasis in Latin America. Initially, we determined which of the salivary proteins produce antibodies in humans, dogs, and foxes from areas endemic for the disease. To identify potential specific markers of vector exposure, we produced nine different recombinant salivary proteins from Lu. longipalpis and tested for their recognition by individuals exposed to another human-biting sand fly, Lu. intermedia, that transmits cutaneous leishmaniasis and commonly occurs in the same endemic areas as Lu. longipalpis. Two of the nine salivary proteins were recognized only by humans exposed to Lu. longipalpis, suggesting they are immunogenic proteins and may be useful in epidemiological studies. The identification of specific salivary proteins as potential markers of exposure to vector sand flies will increase our understanding of vector–human interaction, bring new insights to vector control, and in some instances act as an indicator for risk of acquiring disease.
HIV-2 infection in the majority of infected subjects follows an attenuated disease course that distinguishes it from infection with HIV-1. Antigen-specific T cells are pivotal in the management of chronic viral infections but are not sufficient to control viral replication in HIV-1–positive subjects, and their function in HIV-2 infection is not fully established. In a community-based cohort of HIV-2 long-term nonprogressors in rural Guinea-Bissau, we performed what we believe is the first comprehensive analysis of HIV-2–specific immune responses. We demonstrate that Gag is the most immunogenic protein. The magnitude of the IFN-γ immune response to the HIV-2 proteome was inversely correlated with HIV-2 viremia, and this relationship was specifically due to the targeting of Gag. Furthermore, patients with undetectable viremia had greater Gag-specific responses compared with patients with high viral replication. The most frequently recognized peptides clustered within a defined region of Gag, and responses to a single peptide in this region were associated with low viral burden. The consistent relationship between Gag-specific immune responses and viremia control suggests that T cell responses are vital in determining the superior outcome of HIV-2 infection. A better understanding of how HIV-2 infection is controlled may identify correlates of effective protective immunity essential for the design of HIV vaccines.
In urban Guinea-Bissau, adults with a vaccinia scar had better survival but also a higher prevalence of HIV-2 infection. We therefore investigated the association between vaccinia scar and survival and HIV infection in a rural area of Guinea-Bissau.
In connection with a study of HIV in rural Guinea-Bissau, we assessed vaccinia and BCG scars in 193 HIV-1 or HIV-2 infected and 174 uninfected participants. Mortality was assessed after 2½–3 years of follow-up. The analyses were adjusted for age, sex, village, and HIV status. The prevalence of vaccinia scar was associated with age, village, and HIV-2 status but not with sex and schooling. Compared with individuals without any scar, individuals with a vaccinia scar had better survival (mortality rate ratio (MR) = 0.22 (95% CI 0.08–0.61)), the MR being 0.19 (95% CI 0.06–0.57) for women and 0.40 (95% CI 0.04–3.74) for men. Estimates were similar for HIV-2 infected and HIV-1 and HIV-2 uninfected individuals. The HIV-2 prevalence was higher among individuals with a vaccinia scar compared to individuals without a vaccinia scar (RR = 1.57 (95% CI 1.02–2.36)).
The present study supports the hypothesis that vaccinia vaccination may have a non-specific beneficial effect on adult survival.
The process of elimination of intracellular pathogens, such as Leishmania, requires a Th1 type immune response, whereas a dominant Th2 response leads to exacerbated disease. Experimental human zinc deficiency decreases Th1 but not Th2 immune response. We investigated if zinc and copper levels differ in different clinical forms of leishmaniasis, and if these trace metals might be involved in the immune response towards the parasite.
Blood was collected from 31 patients with either localized cutaneous (LCL), mucosal (ML) or visceral (VL) leishmaniasis, as well as from 25 controls from endemic and non-endemic areas. Anti-Leishmania humoral and cellular immune response were evaluated by quantifying specific plasma IgG, lymphoproliferation and cytokine production, respectively. Plasma levels of Cu and Zn were quantified by atomic absorption spectrophotometry.
A significant decrease in plasma Zn was observed in all three patient groups (p < 0.01 for LCL and ML, p < 0.001 for VL), as compared to controls, but only VL (7/10) and ML (1/7) patients displayed overt Zn deficiency. Plasma Cu was increased in LCL and VL (p < 0.001) but not in ML, and was strongly correlated to anti-Leishmania IgG (Spearman r = 0.65, p = 0.0028). Cu/Zn ratios were highest in patients with deficient cellular (VL<LCL>ML) immune response. Ex vivo production of parasite-induced IFN-γ was negatively correlated to plasma Cu levels in LCL (r = -0.57, p = 0.01). In vitro, increased Cu levels inhibited IFN-γ production.
1. Zn deficiency in VL and ML indicate possible therapeutic administration of Zn in these severe forms of leishmaniasis. 2. Plasma Cu positively correlates to humoral immune response across patient groups. 3. Environmentally or genetically determined increases in Cu levels might augment susceptibility to infection with intracellular pathogens, by causing a decrease in IFN-γ production.
Levels of the serum opsonin mannan-binding lectin (MBL) were directly correlated with the probability of developing visceral leishmaniasis. Monocytes infected with MBL-opsonized Leishmania chagasi promastigotes secreted higher levels of tumor necrosis factor alpha and interleukin-6 than cells infected with nonopsonized parasites. Our findings indicate that MBL can modulate the clinical outcome of infection with L. chagasi and the function of infected macrophages.