80 research outputs found

    Laboratory studies of photodissociation processes relevant to the formation of cometary radicals

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    The strength of the C2(d 3 Pi g yields a 3 Pi u) Swan band emission in the spectra of cometary comae identifies this species as a prominent constituent of the coma gas. It was previously suggested that the formation of cometary C2 proceeds via the secondary photolysis of the C2H radical. The detection of C2H in the interstellar medium and the recent analysis of the radial variation in C2(delta V=O) surface brightness of Comet Halley support the postulate that C2 is a third-generation molecule. Measurement of the C2 and C2H translational energy distributions produced from the multiphoton dissociation (MPD) of acetylene at 193 nm are identified . Time-resolved FTIR emission studies of the nascent C2H radical formed in the C2H2 yields C2H + H reaction verify that this species is produced both vibrationally and electronically excited. A survey of the internal energy distributions of the C2 fragments produced from the MPD of acetylene using a high intensity ArF laser is currently in progress in the laboratory. Recent experiments have focused on the measurement of rotational energy distribution for the C2(A 1 Pi u, a 3 Pi u) fragments. The C2(a 3 Pi u) detection capability is currently being improved by performing this experiment in a molecular beam, thus allowing for discrimination between initial emission and laser-induced fluorescence (LIF). Although the experiments performed to date provide considerable evidence in support of C2H yields C2 + H reaction, there is an important distinction to be made when comparing the laboratory conditions to those typically found in comets. The C2H radicals generated in the laboratory experiments are formed vibrationally and/or electronically excited. Any rotationally/vibrationally excited C2H present in cometary comae will quickly undergo radiative relaxation in the infrared to their lowest rotational and vibrational state. Experiments are currently under way to confirm the cometary formation of C2 via the VUV dissociation of cold C2H

    How “Humane” Is Your Endpoint?—Refining the Science-Driven Approach for Termination of Animal Studies of Chronic Infection

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    Public concern on issues such as animal welfare or the scientific validity and clinical value of animal research is growing, resulting in increasing regulatory demands for animal research. Abiding to the most stringent animal welfare standards, while having scientific objectives as the main priority, is often challenging. To do so, endpoints of studies involving severe, progressive diseases need to be established considering how early in the disease process the scientific objectives can be achieved. We present here experimental studies of tuberculosis (TB) in mice as a case study for an analysis of present practice and a discussion of how more refined science-based endpoints can be developed. A considerable proportion of studies in this field involve lethal stages, and the establishment of earlier, reliable indicators of disease severity will have a significant impact on animal welfare. While there is an increasing interest from scientists and industry in moving research in this direction, this is still far from being reflected in actual practice. We argue that a major limiting factor is the absence of data on biomarkers that can be used as indicators of disease severity. We discuss the possibility of complementing the widely used weight loss with other relevant biomarkers and the need for validation of these parameters as endpoints. Promotion of ethical guidelines needs to be coupled with systematic research in order to develop humane endpoints beyond the present euthanasia of moribund animals. Such research, as we propose here for chronic infection, can show the way for the development and promotion of welfare policies in other fields of research. Research on chronic infection relies heavily on the use of animals, as only the integral animal body can model the full aspect of an infection. That animals are generally made to develop a disease in infection studies exacerbates the tension between human benefit and animal well-being, which characterizes all biomedical research with animals. Scientists typically justify animal research with reference to potential human benefits, but if accepting the assumption that human benefits can offset animal suffering, it still needs to be argued that the same benefits could not be achieved with less negative effects on animal welfare. Reducing the animal welfare problems associated with research (“refinement” [1]) is therefore crucial in order to render animal-based research less of an ethical problem and to assure public trust in research. Studies that are designed to measure time of death or survival percentages present a particularly challenging situation in which at least some of the animals are made to die from the disease. These studies are frequent in experimental research on severe infections. The scientific community, industry, and regulatory authorities have responded to the ethical concerns over studies in which animals die from severe disease by developing new policies and guidelines for the implementation of humane endpoints as a key refinement measure (e.g., [2]–[4]). The most widely used definition considers a humane endpoint to be the earliest indicator in an animal experiment of severe pain, severe distress, suffering, or impending death [5], underlining that ideally such indicators should be identified before the onset of the most severe effects. Euthanizing animals, rather than awaiting their “spontaneous” death, is important to avoid unnecessary suffering in studies in which data on survival is thought to be required for scientific or legal reasons. However, several questions remain open regarding how humane endpoints are to be applied to address real animal welfare problems. We used TB experiments in mice as a case study to highlight the potential to establish biomarkers of disease progress that can replace survival time as a measure of disease severity.Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (SFRH/BD/38337/2007)

    Animal welfare in studies on murine tuberculosis : assessing progress over a 12-year period and the need for further improvement

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    There is growing concern over the welfare of animals used in research, in particular when these animals develop pathology. The present study aims to identify the main sources of animal distress and to assess the possible implementation of refinement measures in experimental infection research, using mouse models of tuberculosis (TB) as a case study. This choice is based on the historical relevance of mouse studies in understanding the disease and the present and long-standing impact of TB on a global scale. Literature published between 1997 and 2009 was analysed, focusing on the welfare impact on the animals used and the implementation of refinement measures to reduce this impact. In this 12-year period, we observed a rise in reports of ethical approval of experiments. The proportion of studies classified into the most severe category did however not change significantly over the studied period. Information on important research parameters, such as method for euthanasia or sex of the animals, were absent in a substantial number of papers. Overall, this study shows that progress has been made in the application of humane endpoints in TB research, but that a considerable potential for improvement remains.Nuno H. Franco is funded by Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (SFRH/BD/38337/2007). This work is funded by FEDER funds through the Operational Competitiveness Programme - COMPETE and by national funds through FCT - Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia under the project FCOMP-01-0124-FEDER-022718 (PEst-C/SAU/LA0002/2011

    A Critical Role for CD8 T Cells in a Nonhuman Primate Model of Tuberculosis

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    The role of CD8 T cells in anti-tuberculosis immunity in humans remains unknown, and studies of CD8 T cell–mediated protection against tuberculosis in mice have yielded controversial results. Unlike mice, humans and nonhuman primates share a number of important features of the immune system that relate directly to the specificity and functions of CD8 T cells, such as the expression of group 1 CD1 proteins that are capable of presenting Mycobacterium tuberculosis lipids antigens and the cytotoxic/bactericidal protein granulysin. Employing a more relevant nonhuman primate model of human tuberculosis, we examined the contribution of BCG- or M. tuberculosis-elicited CD8 T cells to vaccine-induced immunity against tuberculosis. CD8 depletion compromised BCG vaccine-induced immune control of M. tuberculosis replication in the vaccinated rhesus macaques. Depletion of CD8 T cells in BCG-vaccinated rhesus macaques led to a significant decrease in the vaccine-induced immunity against tuberculosis. Consistently, depletion of CD8 T cells in rhesus macaques that had been previously infected with M. tuberculosis and cured by antibiotic therapy also resulted in a loss of anti-tuberculosis immunity upon M. tuberculosis re-infection. The current study demonstrates a major role for CD8 T cells in anti-tuberculosis immunity, and supports the view that CD8 T cells should be included in strategies for development of new tuberculosis vaccines and immunotherapeutics

    Vaccines against Tuberculosis: Where Are We and Where Do We Need to Go?

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    In this review we discuss recent progress in the development, testing, and clinical evaluation of new vaccines against tuberculosis (TB). Over the last 20 years, tremendous progress has been made in TB vaccine research and development: from a pipeline virtually empty of new TB candidate vaccines in the early 1990s, to an era in which a dozen novel TB vaccine candidates have been and are being evaluated in human clinical trials. In addition, innovative approaches are being pursued to further improve existing vaccines, as well as discover new ones. Thus, there is good reason for optimism in the field of TB vaccines that it will be possible to develop better vaccines than BCG, which is still the only vaccine available against TB

    Contained Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection induces concomitant and heterologous protection

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    Progress in tuberculosis vaccine development is hampered by an incomplete understanding of the immune mechanisms that protect against infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), the causative agent of tuberculosis. Although the M72/ASOE1 trial yielded encouraging results (54% efficacy in subjects with prior exposure to Mtb), a highly effective vaccine against adult tuberculosis remains elusive. We show that in a mouse model, establishment of a contained and persistent yet non-pathogenic infection with Mtb ("contained Mtb infection", CMTB) rapidly and durably reduces tuberculosis disease burden after re-exposure through aerosol challenge. Protection is associated with elevated activation of alveolar macrophages, the first cells that respond to inhaled Mtb, and accelerated recruitment of Mtb-specific T cells to the lung parenchyma. Systems approaches, as well as ex vivo functional assays and in vivo infection experiments, demonstrate that CMTB reconfigures tissue resident alveolar macrophages via low grade interferon-γ exposure. These studies demonstrate that under certain circumstances, the continuous interaction of the immune system with Mtb is beneficial to the host by maintaining elevated innate immune responses

    ITK and IL-15 support two distinct subsets of CD8(+) T cells

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    CD8(+) T cells are commonly divided into naïve CD44(lo)CD122(lo) and “memory phenotype” CD44(hi)CD122(hi) cells. Here we show data suggesting that these two cell populations represent independent CD8(+) T cell subsets. Whereas IL-15(−/−) mice lack CD44(hi)CD122(hi) CD8(+) T cells, mice deficient in the kinase ITK lack CD44(lo)CD122(lo) cells among CD8(+) T cells. The same defects were observed during thymus development. CD44(hi)CD122(hi) cells were found among double-positive thymocytes and increased in frequency during CD8 development in wild-type mice. At the mature stage, IL-15(−/−) mice harbored virtually no CD44(hi)CD122(hi) CD8(+) thymocytes. In contrast, ITK(−/−) mice lacked CD44(lo)CD122(lo) CD8(+) cells at this stage. We generated mice with genetic deletions in both IL-15 and ITK and observed a severe reduction of all CD8(+) T cells. The two CD44(lo)CD122(lo) and CD44(hi)CD122(hi) CD8(+) T cell subsets differed in the periphery in that natural killer (NK) receptor expression was found only on CD44(hi)CD122(hi) CD8(+) T cells. This expression was paralleled by their ability to respond to both T cell receptor and NK receptor engagements. In contrast, CD44(lo)CD122(lo) CD8(+) T cells mounted stronger responses to T cell receptor stimulation but failed to recognize NK receptor ligands. Thus, whereas ITK-dependent CD44(lo)CD122(lo) CD8(+) T cells appear to represent conventional CD8(+) T cells, IL-15-dependent CD44(hi)CD122(hi) CD8(+) T cells may have functions in both adaptive and innate immunity