121 research outputs found

    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

    Circulating microRNAs as Biomarkers of Hepatic Fibrosis in Schistosomiasis Japonica Patients in the Philippines

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    Host-derived microRNAs (miRNAs) play important regulatory roles in schistosomiasis-induced hepatic fibrosis. This study analyzed selected serum miRNAs among Filipino schistosomiasis japonica patients with ultrasound (US)-detectable hepatic fibrosis. A prospective cohort study design with convenience sampling was employed from 2017 to 2019. The study sites were eight endemic barangays in Leyte, Philippines. Eligible chronic schistosomiasis patients with varying severities of hepatic fibrosis were enrolled in the cohort and serially examined at 6, 12, and 24 months from baseline. Baseline serum miR-146a-5p, let-7a-5p, miR-150-5p, miR-122-5p, miR-93-5p, and miR200b-3p were measured using RT-qPCR. A total of 136 chronic schistosomiasis patients were included in this prospective cohort study. Approximately, 42.6% had no fibrosis, 22.8% had mild fibrosis, and 34.6% had severe fibrosis at baseline The serum levels of the antifibrotic miR-146a (p < 0.0001), miR-150 (p = 0.0058), and let-7a (p < 0.0001) were significantly lower in patients with hepatic fibrosis while the profibrotic miR-93 (p = 0.0024) was elevated. miR-146a-5p (AUC = 0.90, 95% CI [0.84, 0.96], p < 0.0001) has the most promising potential to differentiate patients with (n = 78) versus without (n = 58) hepatic fibrosis. The baseline level of serum miR-146-5p was significantly different in patients with progressive fibrosis (n = 17) compared to those who never developed fibrosis (n = 30, p < 0.01) or those who had fibrosis reversal (n = 20, p < 0.01) after 24 months. These findings demonstrate the potential utility of serum miRNAs, particularly of miR-146a, as a supplementary tool for assessing hepatic fibrosis in chronic schistosomiasis japonica patients

    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.

    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.

    Meningitis patients with Angiostrongylus cantonensis may present without eosinophilia in the cerebrospinal fluid in northern Vietnam.

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    BACKGROUND: Eosinophilic meningitis (EM) is a rare clinical syndrome caused by both infectious and noninfectious diseases. In tropical pacific countries, Angiostrongylus cantonensis is the most common cause. However, the EM definition varies in the literature, and its relation to parasitic meningitis (PM) remains unclear. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Adult and adolescent patients of 13 years old or above with suspected central nervous system (CNS) infections with abnormal CSF findings were prospectively enrolled at a tertiary referral hospital in Hanoi, Vietnam from June 2012 to May 2014. Patients with EM or suspected PM (EM/PM) were defined by the presence of either ≥10% eosinophils or an absolute eosinophil cell counts of ≥10/mm3 in the CSF or blood eosinophilia (>16% of WBCs) without CSF eosinophils. In total 679 patients were enrolled: 7 (1.03%) had ≥10% CSF eosinophilia, 20 (2.95%) had ≥10/mm3 CSF eosinophilia, and 7 (1.03%) had >16% blood eosinophilia. The patients with ≥10% CSF eosinophilia were significantly younger (p = 0.017), had a lower body temperature (p = 0.036) than patients with ≥10/mm3 CSF eosinophilia among whom bacterial pathogens were detected in 72.2% (13/18) of those who were tested by culture and/or PCR. In contrast, the characteristics of the patients with >16% blood eosinophilia resembled those of patients with ≥10% CSF eosinophilia. We further conducted serological tests and real-time PCR to identify A. cantonensis. Serology or real-time PCR was positive in 3 (42.8%) patients with ≥10% CSF eosinophilia and 6 (85.7%) patients with >16% blood eosinophilia without CSF eosinophils but none of patients with ≥10/mm3 CSF eosinophilia. CONCLUSIONS: The etiology of PM in northern Vietnam is A. cantonensis. The eosinophil percentage is a more reliable predictor of parasitic EM than absolute eosinophil count in the CSF. Patients with PM may present with a high percentage of eosinophils in the peripheral blood but not in the CSF

    Oncomelania hupensis quadrasi: Snail intermediate host of Schistosoma japonicum in the Philippines

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    Oncomelania hupensis quadrasi is the snail intermediate host of Schistosoma japonicum in the Philippines. It was discovered by Dr. Marcos Tubangui in 1932 more than two decades after the discovery of the disease in the country in 1906. This review, the first for O. h. quadrasi, presents past and present works on the taxonomy, biology, ecology, control, possible paleogeographic origin of the snail intermediate host and future in research, control and surveillance of the snail. Extensive references are made of other subspecies of O. hupensis such as the subspecies in China for which majority of the advances has been accomplished. Contrasting views on whether the snail is to be considered an independent species of Oncomelania or as one of several subspecies of Oncomelania hupensis are presented. Snail control methods such as chemical methods using synthetic and botanical molluscicides, environmental manipulation and biological control are reviewed. Use of technologies such as Remote Sensing, Geographical Information System and landscape genetics is stressed for snail surveillance. Control and prevention efforts in the Philippines have consistently focused on mass drug administration which has proved inadequate in elimination of the disease. An integrated approach that includes snail control, environmental sanitation and health education has been proposed. Population movement such as migration for employment and economic opportunities and ecotourism and global climate change resulting in heavy rains and flooding challenge the gains of control and elimination efforts. Concern for possible migration of snails to non-endemic areas is expressed given the various changes both natural and mostly man-made favoring habitat expansion
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