139 research outputs found

    Interleukin (IL)-33 is dispensable for Schistosoma mansoni worm maturation and the maintenance of egg-induced pathology in intestines of infected mice

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    Background: Schistosomes are trematode worms that dwell in their definitive host’s blood vessels, where females lay eggs that need to be discharged into the environment with host excreta to maintain their life-cycle. Both worms and eggs require type 2 immunity for their maturation and excretion, respectively. However, the immune molecules that orchestrate such immunity remain unclear. Interleukin (IL)-33 is one of the epithelium-derived cytokines that induce type 2 immunity in tissues. The aim of this study was to determine the role of IL-33 in the maturation, reproduction and excretion of Schistosoma mansoni eggs, and in the maintenance of egg-induced pathology in the intestines of mice. Methods: The morphology of S. mansoni worms and the number of eggs in intestinal tissues were studied at different time points post-infection in S. mansoni-infected IL-33-deficient (IL-33−/−) and wild-type (WT) mice. IL-5 and IL-13 production in the spleens and mesenteric lymph nodes were measured. Tissue histology was performed on the terminal ilea of both infected and non-infected mice. Results: Worms from IL-33−/− and WT mice did not differ morphologically at 4 and 6 weeks post-infection (wpi). The number of eggs in intestinal tissues of IL-33−/− and WT mice differed only slightly. At 6 wpi, IL-33−/− mice presented impaired type 2 immunity in the intestines, characterized by a decreased production of IL-5 and IL-13 in mesenteric lymph nodes and fewer inflammatory infiltrates with fewer eosinophils in the ilea. There was no difference between IL-33−/− and WT mice in the levels of IL-25 and thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) in intestinal tissues. Conclusions: Despite its ability to initiate type 2 immunity in tissues, IL-33 alone seems dispensable for S. mansoni maturation and its absence may not affect much the accumulation of eggs in intestinal tissues. The transient impairment of type 2 immunity observed in the intestines, but not spleens, highlights the importance of IL-33 over IL-25 and TSLP in initiating, but not maintaining, locally-induced type 2 immunity in intestinal tissues during schistosome infection. Further studies are needed to decipher the role of each of these molecules in schistosomiasis and clarify the possible interactions that might exist between them

    Loss of SOCS3 in T helper cells resulted in reduced immune responses and hyperproduction of interleukin 10 and transforming growth factor–β1

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    Suppressor of cytokine signaling (SOCS)3 is a major negative feedback regulator of signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT)3-activating cytokines. Transgenic mouse studies indicate that high levels of SOCS3 in T cells result in type 2 T helper cell (Th2) skewing and lead to hypersensitivity to allergic diseases. To define the physiological roles of SOCS3 in T cells, we generated T cell–specific SOCS3 conditional knockout mice. We found that the mice lacking SOCS3 in T cells showed reduced immune responses not only to ovalbumin-induced airway hyperresponsiveness but also to Leishmania major infection. In vitro, SOCS3-deficient CD4+ T cells produced more transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1 and interleukin (IL)-10, but less IL-4 than control T cells, suggesting preferential Th3-like differentiation. We found that STAT3 positively regulates TGF-β1 promoter activity depending on the potential STAT3 binding sites. Furthermore, chromatin immunoprecipitation assay revealed that more STAT3 was recruited to the TGF-β1 promoter in SOCS3-deficient T cells than in control T cells. The activated STAT3 enhanced TGF-β1 and IL-10 expression in T cells, whereas the dominant-negative form of STAT3 suppressed these. From these findings, we propose that SOCS3 regulates the production of the immunoregulatory cytokines TGF-β1 and IL-10 through modulating STAT3 activation

    A high-intensity cluster of Schistosoma mansoni infection around Mbita causeway, western Kenya: a confirmatory cross-sectional survey

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    In Kenya, communities residing along the shores and islands of Lake Victoria bear a substantial burden ofschistosomiasis. Although there is a school-based deworming program in place, the transmission of Schistosomamansoni varies even at a fine scale. Given the focal nature of schistosomes’ transmission, we aim to identify areaswith high intensity of S. mansoni infection in Mbita, Homabay County, western Kenya, for prioritized integratedcontrol measures. Our findings confirm a high intensity of S. mansoni infection cluster around Mbita causeway.While the current efforts to curtail morbidity due to schistosomiasis through preventive chemotherapy in schoolsare crucial, fine-scale mapping of risk areas is necessary for specific integrated control measures

    Leishmania major Strain-Dependent Macrophage Activation Contributes to Pathogenicity in the Absence of Lymphocytes

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    Infection of C57BL/6 wild-type mice with Leishmania major 5-ASKH or Friedlin strains results in relatively similar pathogenicity with self-healing lesions within weeks. Parasite clearance depends on nitric oxide production by activated macrophages in response to cytokines produced mainly by CD41 Th1 cells. In contrast, C57BL/6 Rag2 knockout mice, which lack T and B lymphocytes, show distinct pathologies during infection with these strains. Despite of the similar parasite number, the 5-ASKH infection induced severe inflammation rather than the Friedlin. To determine the immunological factors behind this phenomenon, we infected C57BL/6 Rag2 knockout mice with these two strains and compared immune cell kinetics and macrophage activation status. Compared with the Friedlin strain, the 5-ASKH strain elicited increased pathology associated with the accumulation of CD11bhigh, Ly6Ghigh neutrophils by week four and increased the expression of macrophage activation markers. We then analyzed the differentially expressed transcripts in infected bone marrow-derived macrophages by RNA sequencing. It showed upregulation of multiple inflammatory transcripts, including Toll-like receptor 1/2 (TLR1/2), CD69, and CARD14, upon 5-ASKH infection. Our findings suggest that different L. major strains can trigger distinct macrophage activation, contributing to the disease outcome observed in the absence of lymphocytes but not in the presence of lymphocytes

    Lymphocytes influence Leishmania major pathogenesis in a strain-dependent manner

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    Cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) is the most common form of leishmaniasis and is caused byseveral species of Leishmania parasite. Clinical presentation of CL varies from a self-healinginfection to a chronic form of the disease determined by the virulence of infecting Leishmaniaspecies and host immune responses to the parasite. Mouse models of CL showcontradictory roles of lymphocytes in pathogenesis, while acquired immune responses areresponsible for host protection from diseases. To reconcile the inconclusive roles ofacquired immune responses in pathogenesis, we infected mice from various genetic backgroundswith two pathogenic strains of Leishmania major, Friedlin or 5ASKH, and assessedthe outcome of the infections. Our findings showed that the genetic backgrounds of L. majordetermine the impact of lymphocytes for pathogenesis. In the absence of lymphocytes, L.major Friedlin induced the lowest inflammatory reaction and pathology at the site of infection,while 5ASKH infection induced a strong inflammatory reaction and severe pathology.Lymphocytes ameliorated 5ASKH mediated pathology, while it exacerbated pathology duringFriedlin infection. Excess inflammatory reactions, like the recruitment of macrophages,neutrophils, eosinophils and production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, together with uncontrolledparasite growth in the absence of lymphocytes during 5ASKH infection may inducesevere pathology development. Taken together our study provides insight into the impact ofdifferences in the genetic background of Leishmania on CL pathogenesis

    What Does Soil-Transmitted Helminth Elimination Look Like? Results From a Targeted Molecular Detection Survey in Japan

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    Background: Japan is one of the few countries believed to have eliminated soil-transmitted helminths (STHs). In 1949, the national prevalence of Ascaris lumbricoides was 62.9%, which decreased to 0.6% in 1973 due to improvements in infrastructure, socioeconomic status, and the implementation of national STH control measures. The Parasitosis Prevention Law ended in 1994 and population-level screening ceased in Japan; therefore, current transmission status of STH in Japan is not well characterized. Sporadic cases of STH infections continue to be reported, raising the possibility of a larger-scale recrudescence of STH infections. Given that traditional microscopic detection methods are not sensitive to low-intensity STH infections, we conducted targeted prevalence surveys using sensitive PCR-based assays to evaluate the current STH-transmission status and to describe epidemiological characteristics of areas of Japan believed to have achieved historical elimination of STHs. Methods: Stool samples were collected from 682 preschool- and school-aged children from six localities of Japan with previously high prevalence of STH. Caregivers of participants completed a questionnaire to ascertain access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), and potential exposures to environmental contamination. For fecal testing, multi-parallel real-time PCR assays were used to detect infections of Ascaris lumbricoides, Necator americanus, Ancylostoma duodenale and Trichuris trichiura. Results: Among the 682 children, no positive samples were identified, and participants reported high standards of WASH. Conclusions: To our knowledge, this is the first STH-surveillance study in Japan to use sensitive molecular techniques for STH detection. The results suggest that recrudescence of STH infections has not occurred, and that declines in prevalence have been sustained in the sampled areas. These findings suggest that reductions in prevalence below the elimination thresholds, suggestive of transmission interruption, are possible. Additionally, this study provides circumstantial evidence that multi-parallel real-time PCR methods are applicable for evaluating elimination status in areas where STH prevalence is extremely low.[Figure not available: see fulltext.

    Anti-Trypanosoma cruzi activity of Coptis rhizome extract and its constituents

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    Background:Current therapeutic agents, including nifurtimox and benznidazole, are not sufficiently effective in the chronic phase of Trypanosoma cruzi infection and are accompanied by various side effects. In this study, 120 kinds of extracts from medicinal herbs used for Kampo formulations and 94 kinds of compounds isolated from medicinal herbs for Kampo formulations were screened for anti-T. cruzi activity in vitro and in vivo.Methods:As an experimental method, a recombinant protozoan cloned strain expressing luciferase, namely Luc2-Tulahuen, was used in the experiments. The in vitro anti-T. cruzi activity on epimastigote, trypomastigote, and amastigote forms was assessed by measuring luminescence intensity after treatment with the Kampo extracts or compounds. In addition, the cytotoxicity of compounds was tested using mouse and human feeder cell lines. The in vivo anti-T. cruzi activity was measured by a murine acute infection model using intraperitoneal injection of trypomastigotes followed by live bioluminescence imaging.Results:As a result, three protoberberine-type alkaloids, namely coptisine chloride, dehydrocorydaline nitrate, and palmatine chloride, showed strong anti-T. cruzi activities with low cytotoxicity. The IC50 values of these compounds differed depending on the side chain, and the most effective compound, coptisine chloride, showed a significant effect in the acute infection model.Conclusions:For these reasons, coptisine chloride is a hit compound that can be a potential candidate for anti-Chagas disease drugs. In addition, it was expected that there would be room for further improvement by modifying the side chains of the basic skeleton

    Prevalence and risk factors of Schistosoma mansoni infection among children under two years of age in Mbita, Western Kenya.

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    Despite growing evidence that infants and very young children can be infected with schistosomes, the epidemiological features and risk factors are not well described in this age group. We aimed to assess the prevalence of S. mansoni infection in children under two years of age from a population with a known high burden of infection in school-aged children and adults and thus inform the need for interventions in this potentially vulnerable age group. In a cross-sectional study in Mbita Sub-county, along the east coast of Lake Victoria, Western Kenya, we enrolled 361 children aged 6-23 months. The prevalence of S. mansoni infection was detected using the Kato-Katz stool examination and a point-of-care test for urinary circulating cathodic antigen (POC-CCA) (Rapid Medical Diagnostics, Pretoria, South Africa). Three-hundred and five (305) children had complete data of whom 276 (90.5%, 95%CI: 86.6-93.5) children were positive for S. mansoni by the POC-CCA test, while 11 (3.6%, 95%CI: 1.8-6.4) were positive by the Kato-Katz method. All Kato-Katz positive cases were also positive by the POC-CCA test. In multivariable analysis, only geographical area, Rusinga West (AOR = 7.1, 95%CI: 1.4-35.2, P = 0.02), was associated with S. mansoni infection using Kato-Katz test. Independent associations for POC-CCA positivity included age, (12-17 months vs 6-11 months; AOR = 7.8, 95%CI: 1.8-32.6, P = 0.002) and breastfeeding in the previous 24 hours (AOR = 3.4, 95%CI: 1.3-9.0, P = 0.009). We found a potentially very high prevalence of S. mansoni infection among children under two years of age based on POC-CCA test results in Mbita Sub-county, Kenya, which if confirmed strongly supports the need to include infants in public health strategies providing universal prophylactic treatment in high burden settings. Further research is required to determine the accuracy of diagnostic tools to detect light infection among very young children and possible long-term health impacts

    Origin of a novel protein-coding gene family with similar signal sequence in Schistosoma japonicum

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    BackgroundEvolution of novel protein-coding genes is the bedrock of adaptive evolution. Recently, we identified six protein-coding genes with similar signal sequence from Schistosoma japonicum egg stage mRNA using signal sequence trap (SST). To find the mechanism underlying the origination of these genes with similar core promoter regions and signal sequence, we adopted an integrated approach utilizing whole genome, transcriptome and proteome database BLAST queries, other bioinformatics tools, and molecular analyses.ResultsOur data, in combination with database analyses showed evidences of expression of these genes both at the mRNA and protein levels exclusively in all developmental stages of S. japonicum. The signal sequence motif was identified in 27 distinct S. japonicum UniGene entries with multiple mRNA transcripts, and in 34 genome contigs distributed within 18 scaffolds with evidence of genome-wide dispersion. No homolog of these genes or similar domain was found in deposited data from any other organism. We observed preponderance of flanking repetitive elements (REs), albeit partial copies, especially of the RTE-like and Perere class at either side of the duplication source locus. The role of REs as major mediators of DNA-level recombination leading to dispersive duplication is discussed with evidence from our analyses. We also identified a stepwise pathway towards functional selection in evolving genes by alternative splicing. Equally, the possible transcription models of some protein-coding representatives of the duplicons are presented with evidence of expression in vitro.ConclusionOur findings contribute to the accumulating evidence of the role of REs in the generation of evolutionary novelties in organisms\u27 genomes

    Risk Factors and Spatial Distribution of Schistosoma mansoni Infection among Primary School Children in Mbita District, Western Kenya

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    Background:An increasing risk of Schistosoma mansoni infection has been observed around Lake Victoria, western Kenya since the 1970s. Understanding local transmission dynamics of schistosomiasis is crucial in curtailing increased risk of infection.Methodology/Principal Findings:We carried out a cross sectional study on a population of 310 children from eight primary schools. Overall, a total of 238 (76.8%) children were infected with S. mansoni, while seven (2.3%) had S. haematobium. The prevalence of hookworm, Trichuris trichiura and Ascaris lumbricoides were 6.1%, 5.2% and 2.3%, respectively. Plasmodium falciparum was the only malaria parasite detected (12.0%). High local population density within a 1 km radius around houses was identified as a major independent risk factor of S. mansoni infection. A spatial cluster of high infection risk was detected around the Mbita causeway following adjustment for population density and other potential risk factors.Conclusions/Significance:Population density was shown to be a major factor fuelling schistosome infection while individual socio-economic factors appeared not to affect the infection risk. The high-risk cluster around the Mbita causeway may be explained by the construction of an artificial pathway that may cause increased numbers of S. mansoni host snails through obstruction of the waterway. This construction may have, therefore, a significant negative impact on the health of the local population, especially school-aged children who frequently come in contact with lake water
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