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Little is known about the role of NK cells or their interplay with other immune cells during opportunistic infections. Using our murine model of Pneumocystis pneumonia, we found that loss of NK cells during immunosuppression results in substantial Pneumocystis lung burden. During early infection of C57B/6 CD4+ T cell depleted mice, there were significantly less NK cells in the lung tissue compared to CD4+ T cell intact animals, and the NK cells present demonstrated decreased upregulation of the activation marker NKp46 and production of the effector cytokine, IFN-γ. Furthermore, co-incubation studies revealed a significant increase in fungal killing when NK cells were combined with CD4+ T cells compared to either cell alone which was coincident with a significant increase in perforin production by NK cells. Finally, however, we found through adoptive transfer that memory CD4+ T cells are required for significant NK cell upregulation of the activation marker NKG2D and production of IFN-γ, granzyme B and perforin during Pneumocystis infection. To the best of our knowledge, this study is the first to not only demonstrate a role for NK cells in immunity to Pneumocystis pneumonia, but also to establish a functional relationship between CD4+ T cells and NK cells in the host response to an opportunistic fungal pathogen.
PMCID: PMC3711123  PMID: 23203926
2.  Suppression of the Macrophage Proteasome by Ethanol Impairs MHC Class I Antigen Processing and Presentation 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e56890.
Alcohol binge-drinking (acute ethanol consumption) is immunosuppressive and alters both the innate and adaptive arms of the immune system. Antigen presentation by macrophages (and other antigen presenting cells) represents an important function of the innate immune system that, in part, determines the outcome of the host immune response. Ethanol has been shown to suppress antigen presentation in antigen presenting cells though mechanisms of this impairment are not well understood. The constitutive and immunoproteasomes are important components of the cellular proteolytic machinery responsible for the initial steps critical to the generation of MHC Class I peptides for antigen presentation. In this study, we used an in-vitro cell culture model of acute alcohol exposure to study the effect of ethanol on the proteasome function in RAW 264.7 cells. Additionally, primary murine peritoneal macrophages obtained by peritoneal lavage from C57BL/6 mice were used to confirm our cell culture findings. We demonstrate that ethanol impairs proteasome function in peritoneal macrophages through suppression of chymotrypsin-like (Cht-L) proteasome activity as well as composition of the immunoproteasome subunit LMP7. Using primary murine peritoneal macrophages, we have further demonstrated that, ethanol-induced impairment of the proteasome function suppresses processing of antigenic proteins and peptides by the macrophage and in turn suppresses the presentation of these antigens to cells of adaptive immunity. The results of this study provide an important mechanism to explain the immunosuppressive effects of acute ethanol exposure.
PMCID: PMC3581560  PMID: 23451104
3.  Free radical scavenging capacity, anticandicidal effect of bioactive compounds from Sida Cordifolia L., in combination with nystatin and clotrimazole and their effect on specific immune response in rats 
Infectious diseases caused by fungi are still a major threat to public health, despite numerous efforts by researchers. Use of ethnopharmacological knowledge is one attractive way to reduce empiricism and enhance the probability of success in new drug-finding efforts. In this work, the total alkaloid compounds (AC) from Sida cordifolia L. (Malvaceae) have been investigated for their free radical scavenging capacity, antifungal and immunostimulatory properties.
The antifungal activity was investigated against five candida strains using the microplate dilution method and the Fractional Inhibitory Concentration Index (FICI) of compounds was evaluated. The antioxidant activity of the samples was evaluate using three separate methods, at last, the immunostimulatory effect on immunosuppressed wistar rats was performed.
As for the antifungal activity, result varied according to microorganism. The results obtained in this antifungal activity were interesting and indicated a synergistic effect between alkaloid compounds and the antifungal references such as Nystatin and Clotrimazole. Antioxidant capacity noticed that the reduction capacity of DPPH radicals obtained the best result comparatively to the others methods of free radical scavenging. Our results showed a low immunostimulatory effect and this result could be explained by the lack of biologically active antioxidants such as polyphenol compounds lowly contained in the alkaloid compounds.
The results of this study showed that alkaloid compounds in combination with antifungal references (Nystatin and Clotrimazole) exhibited antimicrobial effects against candida strains tested. The results supported the utilization of these plants in infectious diseases particularly in treatment of candida infections.
PMCID: PMC3576270  PMID: 23268761
4.  Toxicity assessment and analgesic activity investigation of aqueous acetone extracts of Sida acuta Burn f . and Sida cordifolia L. (Malvaceae), medicinal plants of Burkina Faso 
Sida acuta Burn f. and Sida cordifolia L. (Malvaceae) are traditionally used in Burkina Faso to treat several ailments, mainly pains, including abdominal infections and associated diseases. Despite the extensive use of these plants in traditional health care, literature provides little information regarding their toxicity and the pharmacology. This work was therefore designed to investigate the toxicological effects of aqueous acetone extracts of Sida acuta Burn f. and Sida cordifolia L. Furthermore, their analgesic capacity was assessed, in order to assess the efficiency of the traditional use of these two medicinal plants from Burkina Faso.
For acute toxicity test, mice were injected different doses of each extract by intraperitoneal route and the LD50 values were determined. For the subchronic toxicity evaluation, Wistar albinos rats were treated by gavage during 28 days at different doses of aqueous acetone extracts and then haematological and biochemical parameters were determined. The analgesic effect was evaluated in mice by the acetic-acid writhing test and by the formalin test.
For the acute toxicity test, the LD50 values of 3.2 g/kg and 3.4 g/kg respectively for S. acuta Burn f. and S. cordifolia L. were obtained. Concerning the haematological and biochemical parameters, data varied widely (increase or decrease) according to dose of extracts and weight of rats and did not show clinical correlations. The extracts have produced significant analgesic effects by the acetic acid writhing test and by the hot plate method (p <0.05) and a dose-dependent inhibition was observed.
The overall results of this study may justify the traditional uses of S. acuta and S. cordifolia .
PMCID: PMC3478230  PMID: 22883637
5.  Antibacterial activity against β- lactamase producing Methicillin and Ampicillin-resistants Staphylococcus aureus: fractional Inhibitory Concentration Index (FICI) determination 
The present study reports the antibacterial capacity of alkaloid compounds in combination with Methicillin and Ampicillin-resistants bacteria isolated from clinical samples. The resistance of different bacteria strains to the current antibacterial agents, their toxicity and the cost of the treatment have led to the development of natural products against the bacteria resistant infections when applied in combination with conventional antimicrobial drugs.
The antibacterial assays in this study were performed by using inhibition zone diameters, MIC, MBC methods, the time-kill assay and the Fractional Inhibitory Concentration Index (FICI) determination. On the whole, fifteen Gram-positive bacterial strains (MRSA/ARSA) were used. Negative control was prepared using discs impregnated with 10 % DMSO in water and commercially available Methicillin and Ampicillin from Alkom Laboratories LTD were used as positive reference standards for all bacterial strains.
We noticed that the highest activities were founded with the combination of alkaloid compounds and conventional antibiotics against all bacteria strains. Then, results showed that after 7 h exposition there was no viable microorganism in the initial inoculums.
The results of this study showed that alkaloid compounds in combination with conventional antibiotics (Methicillin, Ampicillin) exhibited antimicrobial effects against microorganisms tested. These results validate the ethno-botanical use of Cienfuegosia digitata Cav. (Malvaceae) in Burkina Faso. Moreover, this study demonstrates the potential of this herbaceous as a source of antibacterial agent that could be effectively used for future health care purposes.
PMCID: PMC3464800  PMID: 22716026
6.  Inhaled fluticasone propionate impairs pulmonary clearance of Klebsiella Pneumoniae in mice 
Respiratory Research  2012;13(1):40.
Recent trials demonstrate increased pneumonia risk in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients treated with the inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) fluticasone propionate (FP). There is limited work describing FP effects on host defenses against bacterial pneumonia.
C57BL/6 mice received daily, nose-only exposure to nebulized FP or vehicle for 8 days, followed by pulmonary challenge with Klebsiella pneumoniae. Bacterial burden, phagocytosis, leukocyte recruitment, cytokine expression, nitric oxide release, and survival were measured.
Inhaled FP increased bacterial burden in lungs and blood 48 h after infection but affected neither in vivo phagocytosis of bacteria by alveolar macrophages (AM) nor alveolar neutrophil recruitment. AM from FP-treated mice showed impaired expression of infection induced TNF-alpha, IP-10 (CXCL-10), and interleukin 6 (IL-6), and AM also showed a trend towards impaired intracellular pathogen control following in vivo infection. In vitro FP treatment resulted in a dose-dependent impairment of cytokine expression by AM. Furthermore, infection-induced nitric oxide (but not hydrogen peroxide) production was impaired by FP in vivo and in vitro. FP decreased survival in this model.
Exposure to inhaled FP impairs pulmonary clearance of K. pneumoniae in mice, an effect associated with greater systemic bacteremia and death. Decreased AM cytokine and nitric oxide expression parallel the failure to control infection. These results support the study of ICS effects on human pulmonary host defenses.
PMCID: PMC3426464  PMID: 22651370
7.  Antimicrobial activity of polyphenol-rich fractions from Sida alba L. (Malvaceae) against co-trimoxazol-resistant bacteria strains 
The increased resistance of microorganisms to the currently used antimicrobials has lead to the evaluation of other agents that might have antimicrobial activity. Medicinal plants are sources of phytochemicals which are able to initiate different biological activities including antimicrobials
Materials and methods
In vitro antibacterial (MIC, MBC and time-kill studies) of polyphenol-rich fractions from Sida alba L. (Malvaceae) was assessed using ten bacteria strains (Gram-negative and Gram-positive).
All test bacteria were susceptible to the polyphenol-rich fractions. Time-kill results showed that after 5 h exposition there was no viable microorganism in the initial inoculum and the effect of polyphenol-rich fractions was faster on Enterococcus faecalis (Gram-positive bacterium) comparatively to the other bacteria strains.
The data analysis indicates that the tested of polyphenol-rich fractions has significant effects when compared with the standard antibiotic. These results therefore justify the traditional use of sida alba L., alone or in combination with other herbs to treat bacterial infections.
PMCID: PMC3316130  PMID: 22364123
8.  Dichrostachys cinerea (L.) Wight et Arn (Mimosaceae) hydro-alcoholic extract action on the contractility of tracheal smooth muscle isolated from guinea-pig 
Dichrostachys cinerea (L.) Wight et Arn. (Mimosaceae) is largely used in ethno-medically across Africa, and mainly employed for the treatment of asthma in Ivory Coast and Gabon. The paper analyses the relaxation induced by the methanolic extract of D. cinerea (Edici) in the guinea-pig trachea preparations (GPTPs). Purpose: This study aimed to bring out the scientific basis to the use of this plant leading to the validation of this phytomedicine.
The aorta obtained from guinea-pigs was immediately placed in a Mac Ewen solution. Experiments were performed in preparations suspended between two L-shaped stainless steel hooks in a 10 ml organ bath containing Mac Ewen solution. The isometric contractile force of the aorta strips of guinea-pig were recorded by using a strain gauge. The different drugs were directly administered into the organ bath and the magnitude of GPTPs was evaluated.
Phytochemical analysis of the methanolic extract of Dichrostachys cinerea (Edici) using chemical methods revealed the presence of flavenoids, tannins, sterols, triterpenes and polyphenols. Pharmacological studies performed in GPTPs show that of Dichrostachys cinerea (0.1 mg/ml - 2 mg/ml) evoked a broncho-constriction in GPTPs. Whereas, at concentration up to 2 mg/ml, Edici induced a significant dose-dependent relaxation in the GPTPs. KCl-, ACh- or histamine-evoked contractions of isolated trachea was significantly inhibited by increasing concentrations of Edici (3.5-10 mg/ml). Edici (10 mg/ml) as well as promethazine (0.25 mg/ml) significantly inhibited contractions induced by increasing concentrations of histamine (1×10-7-1×10-4mg/ml). In the presence of atropine at a concentration of 10-6mg/ml, contractile response curve (CRC) evoked by ACh (1×10-5-1×10-2 mg/ml) was significantly abolished in concentration-dependent manner. Edici did not significantly reduced ACh evoked contraction (10-5-10-2mg/ml).
These observations suggest that Edici could act through two mechanisms: firstly by activation of β-adrenergic or histaminergic receptors; and secondly muscarinic receptors may not be greatly involved, that justifying the use of the extract in traditional Medicine in Africa.
PMCID: PMC3068131  PMID: 21414220
9.  Interleukin-12 and Host Defense against Murine Pneumocystis Pneumonia▿  
Infection and Immunity  2008;76(5):2130-2137.
Little is known about the role of the cytokine interleukin-12 (IL-12) in Pneumocystis pneumonia or its potential use as immunotherapy. We asked whether release of IL-12 is part of the normal host response to this infection and whether local treatment with IL-12 or gene transfer of IL-12 could accelerate clearance of infection. IL-12 was assayed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay in normal mice and in mice deficient in IL-12 after inoculation of Pneumocystis carinii. P. carinii-infected mice were treated with local instillation of IL-12 and gene transfer of the IL-12 gene. Inoculation of P. carinii into normal mice evoked a brisk release of IL-12 into lung tissue, and IL-12 P35-deficient mice showed delayed clearance of infection measured by PCR for P. carinii rRNA. In control mice, intranasal recombinant IL-12 accelerated clearance of infection, and this was associated with increased recruitment of inflammatory cells into lavage fluid and increased release of tumor necrosis factor alpha, IL-12, and gamma interferon. Similar results were observed in infected mice depleted of CD4+ lymphocytes by using in vivo transfer of the IL-12 gene in a replication-deficient adenoviral vector. IL-12 is part of the normal host response to infection with P. carinii. IL-12 therapy can enhance host resistance to infection in both normal mice and mice depleted of CD4+ T lymphocytes. A treatment effect of IL-12 is mediated through enhanced inflammatory cell recruitment into lung tissue and increased tissue concentrations of proinflammatory cytokines.
PMCID: PMC2346719  PMID: 18332204

Results 1-9 (9)