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Vertical transmission of zika virus in <i>Aedes albopictus</i>

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 15 October 2020 - 9:00pm

by Zetian Lai, Tengfei Zhou, Shuang Liu, Jiayong Zhou, Ye Xu, Jinbao Gu, Guiyun Yan, Xiao-Guang Chen

Background

Zika virus (ZIKV) is an arthropod-borne flavivirus transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes. Aedes albopictus is an important vector of ZIKV worldwide. To date, most experiments have focused on the vertical transmission of ZIKV in Ae. aegypti, while studies on Ae. albopictus are very limited. To explore vertical transmission in Ae. albopictus, a series of laboratory studies were carried out.

Methodology/Principal findings

In this study, Ae. albopictus were blood-fed with ZIKV-infectious blood, and the ovaries and offspring viral infection rates were analyzed by reverse transcription PCR (RT-PCR), real-time reverse transcription PCR (RT-qPCR) and immunohistochemistry (IHC). ZIKV was detected in the ovaries and oviposited eggs in two gonotrophic cycles. The minimum filial egg infection rates in two gonotrophic cycles were 2.06% and 0.69%, and the effective population transmission rate was 1.87%. The hatching, pupation, and emergence rates of infected offspring were not significantly different from those of uninfected offspring, indicating that ZIKV did not prevent the offspring from completing the growth and development process. ZIKV was detected in three of thirteen C57BL/6 suckling mice bitten by ZIKV-positive F1 females, and the viremia persisted for at least seven days.

Conclusions/Significance

ZIKV can be vertically transmitted in Ae. albopictus via transovarial transmission. The vertical transmission rates in F1 eggs and adults were 2.06% and 1.87%, respectively. Even though the vertical transmission rates were low, the female mosquitoes infected via the congenital route horizontally transmitted ZIKV to suckling mice through bloodsucking. This is the first experimental evidence of offspring with vertically transmitted ZIKV initiating new horizontal transmission. The present study deepens the understanding of the vertical transmission of flaviviruses in Aedes mosquitoes and sheds light on the prevention and control of mosquito-borne diseases.

Epidemiology of tsutsugamushi disease and its relationship with meteorological factors in Xiamen city, China

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 15 October 2020 - 9:00pm

by Li Luo, Zhinan Guo, Zhao Lei, Qingqing Hu, Min Chen, Fanghua Chen, Zeyu Zhao, Jia Rui, Xingchun Liu, Yuanzhao Zhu, Yao Wang, Meng Yang, Tianmu Chen

Tsutsugamushi disease (TD) is an acute infectious disease caused by Orientia tsutsugamushi. This study aimed to analyze the epidemiological features of TD, investigate chigger mites and their hosts, and investigate the meteorological factors affecting TD incidence and the host of O. tsutsugamushi in Xiamen city, China. Data on reported TD cases were collected from 2006 to 2018. Spearman’s correlation test were used for identifying the relationship between meteorological factors and TD incidence and whether meteorological factors affect the host of O. tsutsugamushi. The incidence of reported TD increased gradually from 2006, reached a peak of 4.59 per 100,000 persons in 2014, and then decreased gradually. The TD incidence was seasonal, with epidemic periods occurred mainly in summer and autumn. Patients aged 40–60 years had the highest proportion of cases, accounting for 44.44% of the total cases. Farmers had the largest number of cases among all occupational groups. Rattus Norvegicus was the most common host, accounting for the largest proportion of cases (73.00%), and the highest rat density was observed in March and October every year. There were significant positive correlations between the number of reported cases and average temperature, sunshine duration, and rainfall as well as between rat density and average temperature. On phylogenetic analysis, 7 sequences of hosts and human TD cases obtained from health records demonstrated the highest similarities to the Kato, Karp, and Gilliam strains. No correlations were observed between rat density, and sunshine duration and rainfall. The transmission of TD in Xiamen city, China, was seasonal, and its incidence was affected by several meteorological factors including average temperature, sunshine duration, and rainfall. However, the host of O. tsutsugamushi was only affected by average temperature.

<i>Toxoplasma gondii</i> seropositivity and serointensity and cognitive function in adults

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 15 October 2020 - 9:00pm

by Shawn D. Gale, Lance D. Erickson, Evan L. Thacker, Elizabeth L. Mitchell, Bruce L. Brown, Dawson W. Hedges

Infecting approximately one-third of the world’s human population, Toxoplasma gondii has been associated with cognitive function. Here, we sought to further characterize the association between Toxoplasma gondii and cognitive function in a community sample of adults aged approximately 40 to70 years. Using adjusted linear regression models, we found associations of Toxoplasma gondii seropositivity with worse reasoning (b = -.192, p < .05) and matrix pattern completion (b = -.681, p < .01), of higher anti-Toxoplasma gondii p22 antibody levels with worse reasoning (b = -.078, p < .01) and slower Trails (numeric) performance (b = 5.962, p < .05), of higher anti-Toxoplasma gondii sag1 levels with worse reasoning (b = -.081, p < .05) and worse matrix pattern completion (b = -.217, p < .05), and of higher mean of the anti-Toxoplasma gondii p22 and sag1 levels with worse reasoning (b = -.112, p < .05), slower Trails (numeric) performance (b = 9.195, p < .05), and worse matrix pattern completion (b = -.245, p < .05). Neither age nor educational attainment moderated associations between the measures of Toxoplasma gondii seropositivity or serointensity. Sex, however, moderated the association between the sag1 titer and digit-symbol substitution and the association between the mean of the p22 and sag1 levels and digit-symbol substitution, and income moderated the association between Toxoplasma gondii seropositivity and numeric memory and the association between the p22 level and symbol-digit substitution. Based on the available neuropsychological tasks in this study, Toxoplasma gondii seropositivity and serointensity were associated with some aspects of poorer executive function in adults.

Response of extensively drug resistant <i>Salmonella</i> Typhi to treatment with meropenem and azithromycin, in Pakistan

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 15 October 2020 - 9:00pm

by Sonia Qureshi, Abdullah B. Naveed, Mohammad Tahir Yousafzai, Khalil Ahmad, Sarwat Ansari, Heeramani Lohana, Aimen Mukhtar, Farah Naz Qamar

Introduction

Salmonella Typhi is one of the leading health problems in Pakistan. With the emergence of extensively drug resistant (XDR) Salmonella Typhi, treatment options are limited. Here we report the clinical manifestations and the response to treatment of patients with XDR Typhoid fever. The patients were treated with either Meropenem or Azithromycin or a combination of both.

Methods

We reviewed the records of culture confirmed XDR typhoid who visited Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH), Karachi and Aga Khan Secondary Care Hospital, Hyderabad from April 2017 to June 2018. Symptoms developed during disease, unplanned treatment extension and complications developed while on antimicrobials was recorded. Means with standard deviation were calculated for duration of treatment, time to defervescence, and cost of treatment.

Results

Records of 81 culture confirmed XDR typhoid patients admitted at the AKU hospitals were reviewed. Most, (n = 45; 56%) were male. Mean age of the cases was 8.03 years with range (1–40). About three quarter (n = 66) of the patients were treated as inpatient. Fever and vomiting were the most common symptoms at the time of presentation. Oral azithromycin alone (n = 22; 27%), intravenous meropenem alone (n = 20; 25%), or a combination of azithromycin and meropenem (n = 39; 48%) were the options used for treatment. Average (95% confidence interval) time to defervescence was 7.1(5.5–8.6), 6.7(4.7–8.7), and 6.7(5.5–7.9) days for each treatment option respectively whereas there were 1,0 and 3 treatment failures in each treatment option respectively. Average cost of treatment per day for azithromycin was US$5.87 whereas it was US$88.46 for meropenem.

Conclusion

Patients treated with either Azithromycin, Meropenem alone or in combination showed similar time to defervescence. Because of the lower cost of azithromycin, it is preferable in lower socio-economic areas. Background estimates for power calculation can be made for more robust clinical trials using this observational data.

What happens after a blood meal? A transcriptome analysis of the main tissues involved in egg production in <i>Rhodnius prolixus</i>, an insect vector of Chagas disease

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 15 October 2020 - 9:00pm

by Jimena Leyria, Ian Orchard, Angela B. Lange

The blood-sucking hemipteran Rhodnius prolixus is a vector of Chagas disease, one of the most neglected tropical diseases affecting several million people, mostly in Latin America. The blood meal is an event with a high epidemiological impact since adult mated females feed several times, with each meal resulting in a bout of egg laying, and thereby the production of hundreds of offspring. By means of RNA-Sequencing (RNA-Seq) we have examined how a blood meal influences mRNA expression in the central nervous system (CNS), fat body and ovaries in order to promote egg production, focusing on tissue-specific responses under controlled nutritional conditions. We illustrate the cross talk between reproduction and a) lipids, proteins and trehalose metabolism, b) neuropeptide and neurohormonal signaling, and c) the immune system. Overall, our molecular evaluation confirms and supports previous studies and provides an invaluable molecular resource for future investigations on different tissues involved in successful reproductive events. These analyses serve as a starting point for new investigations, increasing the chances of developing novel strategies for vector population control by translational research, with less impact on the environment and more specificity for a particular organism.

TSOL18 vaccine and oxfendazole for control of <i>Taenia solium</i> cysticercosis in pigs: A field trial in endemic areas of Tanzania

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 14 October 2020 - 9:00pm

by Mwemezi L. Kabululu, Helena A. Ngowi, James E. D. Mlangwa, Ernatus M. Mkupasi, Uffe C. Braae, Angela Colston, Claudia Cordel, Elizabeth J. Poole, Kristin Stuke, Maria V. Johansen

A field trial was conducted in Tanzania to determine the effectiveness of TSOL18 vaccine used concurrently with oxfendazole (OFZ), and of OFZ alone, on T. solium cysticercosis determined by organ and half carcase dissection of slaughter age pigs. This study followed a quasi-experimental group design. Suitable trial sites were randomly allocated to either treatment group T1 (OFZ treatment alone [30mg/kg, Paranthic 10%]) or T2 (TSOL18 [1ml, Cysvax] plus OFZ). Three 4-monthly treatments were administered to eligible pigs. A random selection of pigs were necropsied at baseline and at endline, 2–3.5 months after the final treatment. Additionally, untreated pigs from T1 and T2 areas were necropsied at endline to provide contemporaneous comparisons with T1 and T2 pigs. Baseline prevalence of viable T. solium cysticerci for T1 was 25.5% (Exact 95% CI: 13.9, 40.3; n = 12/47), and for T2 was 12.0% (CI: 6.4, 20.0; n = 12/100). At endline, prevalence was 2.8% for T1 (CI: 0.1, 14.5, n = 1/36) and 0% for T2 (CI: 0, 4.7, n = 0/77). Among untreated pigs, three had viable cysticerci, one from T1 area (12.5%, CI: 0.3, 52.7; n = 1/8) and two from T2 area (5.7%, CI: 0.7, 19.2, n = 2/35). Fisher’s exact test showed significant changes in prevalence from baseline to endline in both groups (T1: p = 0.005, T2: p = 0.001). Firth’s penalized Maximum Likelihood method suggested the changes were not significant relative to their controls (T1: p = 0.245, T2: p = 0.076). These findings showed a significant reduction in the prevalence of viable cysticerci from baseline to endline after both interventions. However, the changes could not be definitively attributed to the interventions due, in part, to small numbers of control pigs. Concurrent administration of the TSOL18 and OFZ cleared infection among assessed pigs whereas infection remained after treatment with OFZ only. Further studies including larger sample sizes would be required for more definitive conclusions. A One Health approach is recommended for rapid and sustainable impact.

Genomic and transcriptional analysis of genes containing fibrinogen and IgSF domains in the schistosome vector <i>Biomphalaria glabrata</i>, with emphasis on the differential responses of snails susceptible or resistant to <i>Schistosoma mansoni</i>

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 14 October 2020 - 9:00pm

by Lijun Lu, Eric S. Loker, Coen M. Adema, Si-Ming Zhang, Lijing Bu

Achieving a deeper understanding of the factors controlling the defense responses of invertebrate vectors to the human-infecting pathogens they transmit will provide needed new leads to pursue for control. Consequently, we provide new genomic and transcriptomic insights regarding FReDs (containing a fibrinogen domain) and FREPs (fibrinogen domain and one or two IgSF domains) from the planorbid snail Biomphalaria glabrata, a Neotropical vector of Schistosoma mansoni, causative agent of human intestinal schistosomiasis. Using new bioinformatics approaches to improve annotation applied to both genome and RNA-Seq data, we identify 73 FReD genes, 39 of which are FREPs. We provide details of domain structure and consider relationships and homologies of B. glabrata FBG and IgSF domains. We note that schistosome-resistant (BS-90) snails mount complex FREP responses following exposure to S. mansoni infection whereas schistosome-susceptible (M line) snails do not. We also identify several coding differences between BS-90 and M line snails in three FREPs (2, 3.1 and 3.2) repeatedly implicated in other studies of anti-schistosome responses. In combination with other results, our study provides a strong impetus to pursue particular FREPs (2, 3.1, 3.2 and 4) as candidate resistance factors to be considered more broadly with respect to schistosome control efforts, including involving other Biomphalaria species vectoring S. mansoni in endemic areas in Africa.

Tripartite interactions: <i>Leishmania</i>, microbiota and <i>Lutzomyia longipalpis</i>

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 14 October 2020 - 9:00pm

by Thais Bonifácio Campolina, Luis Eduardo Martinez Villegas, Carolina Cunha Monteiro, Paulo Filemon Paolucci Pimenta, Nagila Francinete Costa Secundino

The microbial consortium associated with sandflies has gained relevance, with its composition shifting throughout distinct developmental stages, being strongly influenced by the surroundings and food sources. The bacterial components of the microbiota can interfere with Leishmania development inside the sandfly vector. Microbiota diversity and host-microbiota-pathogen interactions regarding New World sandfly species have yet to be thoroughly studied, particularly in Lutzomyia longipalpis, the primary vector of visceral leishmaniasis in Brazil.The native microbiota of different developmental stages and physiological conditions of Lu. longipalpis (Lapinha Cave), was described by culturing and 16s rRNA gene sequencing. The 16s rRNA sequencing of culture-dependent revealed 13 distinct bacterial genera (Bacillus, Enterococcus, Erwinia, Enterobacter, Escherichia, Klebsiella, Lysinibacillus, Pseudocitrobacter, Providencia, Pseudomonas, Serratia, Staphylococcus and Solibacillus). The in vitro and in vivo effects of each one of the 13 native bacteria from the Lu. longipalpis were analyzed by co-cultivation with promastigotes of L.i. chagasi, L. major, L. amazonensis, and L. braziliensis. After 24 h of co-cultivation, a growth reduction observed in all parasite species. When the parasites were co-cultivated with Lysinibacillus, all parasites of L. infantum chagasi and L. amazonensis died within 24 hours. In the in vivo co-infection of L.chagasi, L. major and L. amazonensis with the genera Lysinibacillus, Pseudocitrobacter and Serratia it was possible to observe a significant difference between the groups co-infected with the bacterial genera and the control group.These findings suggest that symbiont bacteria (Lysinibacillus, Serratia, and Pseudocitrobacter) are potential candidates for paratransgenic or biological control. Further studies are needed to identify the nature of the effector molecules involved in reducing the vector competence for Leishmania.

Dried blood spot cards: A reliable sampling method to detect human antibodies against rabies virus

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 13 October 2020 - 9:00pm

by Laura Doornekamp, Carmen W. E. Embregts, Georgina I. Aron, Simone Goeijenbier, David A. M. C. van de Vijver, Eric C. M. van Gorp, Corine H. GeurtsvanKessel

Background

Although preventable by vaccination for more than a century, rabies virus still causes numerous fatalities every year. To determine antibody levels in humans, blood collected with a finger prick and applied on dried blood spot (DBS) cards is an alternative for venipuncture. The use of DBS is specifically valuable in remote areas, as it is easy to perform, store and transport. Therefore, the technique is frequently used for epidemiological studies of tropical diseases. Up to present, determination of rabies virus antibody levels on human DBS has not been validated.

Methodology/Principal findings

We evaluated the use of human DBS for rabies serology and analyzed 99 pre- or post-vaccination serum and DBS samples with a fluorescent antibody virus neutralization test (FAVNt), which is the gold standard to detect protective antibody levels, and a Bio-Rad Platelia Rabies II ELISA. Sensitivity and specificity of DBS eluates tested with the FAVNt were 97% and 92%, respectively and 87% and 96% when tested with the Platelia-II ELISA. Antibody levels measured in serum with the FAVNt, correlated best with antibody levels measured in DBS with the FAVNt (R = 0.88).

Conclusions/Significance

This is the first study that applies DBS for reliable detection of human antibodies against rabies virus. Both the FAVNt and Platelia-II ELISA demonstrate an acceptable performance on DBS, providing opportunities for rabies serology in remote areas. This technique could drastically ease studies evaluating (novel) rabies vaccination strategies and monitoring persisting immunity in humans at risk, living in rabies endemic regions.

Interventions for the management of snakebite envenoming: An overview of systematic reviews

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 13 October 2020 - 9:00pm

by Soumyadeep Bhaumik, Deepti Beri, Zohra S. Lassi, Jagnoor Jagnoor

Introduction

Snakebite is a neglected tropical disease that leads to more than 120,000 deaths every year. In 2019, World Health Organization (WHO) launched a strategy to decrease its global burden by 2020. There is a range of issues around different interventions for the management of snakebite. Decisions around these interventions should be informed by evidence from systematic reviews (SR).

Methods

An overview of SRs was conducted by searching 12 electronic databases, PROSPERO, contacting experts and screening the bibliography of included reviews. Screening, data extraction, and quality assessment (through AMSTAR-2) was done by at least two overview authors independently with discrepancies sorted by consensus. A narrative synthesis was conducted.

Principle findings

The overview found 13 completed SRs that has looked at various aspects of management of snakebite envenomation. There was one SR on first aid, nine on effectiveness and safety of snake anti-venom (SAV), two on drugs to prevent adverse reactions due to SAV therapy, and one on surgical interventions for management of snakebite envenomation. All, except one, SR was appraised to have critically low confidence as per AMSTAR-2 Criteria. Evidence base was restricted to few studies for most interventions.

Discussion

High quality evidence from SRs is required to inform guidelines and health system decisions which can bring down the burden of snakebite. The review indicates the need to fund high-quality SRs, evidence gaps and core outcome sets which can inform guideline recommendations, funding priorities for conduct of future trials. Variation in species distribution as well as intra-species variation in venom composition implies the need for conduct of region or, nation or state (sub-national) specific randomised controlled trials and SRs on different SAVs and their dosing regimens.

Suppression of inflammatory genes expression in the injured host intestinal wall during <i>Mesocestoides vogae</i> tetrathyridium larvae migration

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 13 October 2020 - 9:00pm

by Kei Hayashi, Rinako Sugisawa, Taizo Saito, Toshiyasu Matsui, Yuji Taniguchi, Tatiana Batanova, Tokuma Yanai, Jun Matsumoto, Katsuya Kitoh, Yasuhiro Takashima

Mesocestoides vogae is a cestode parasite of the family Mesocestoididae (order Cyclophyllidea). Its larvae, tetrathyridium, are approximately 1 mm long and 300 μm wide and infect a wide range of host species including humans. Tetrathyridium migrate through the intestinal wall to invade the peritoneal cavity. Despite intestinal penetration by such a large-sized parasite, symptomatic intestinal disorders are not common during the migration period. In this study, the dynamics of tetrathyridia migration and their pathogenicity towards intestinal tissues were examined in mice infected orally with these parasites. Most tetrathyridia were found to migrate through the intestinal wall, moving into the peritoneal cavity or liver 24 to 48 hours after the oral infections. Next, the pathogenicity of tetrathyridium in the intestinal wall was histopathologically evaluated, and tissue injury from tetrathyridium migration was confirmed. Inflammatory foci were observed as tetrathyridium migration tracks from 48 hours after oral infection; however, the number of inflammatory foci had decreased by half more than 48 hours later. Therefore, we examined the gene expression levels of the macrophage driving cytokine, IL-1β, and the eosinophil recruiting chemokine, CCL11, by quantitative reverse-transcriptase PCR. The expression levels of these genes in the infected group were significantly lower than those of the non-infected group at 48 hours post-infection. Although the immunomodulating ability of the excretory-secretory products released from tetrathyridium has been previously shown by in vitro assays, the significance of this ability in their lifecycle has remained unclear. In this study, we discovered that tetrathyridium causes temporal inflammation in the intestinal wall during penetration and large-scale migration in this organ, but tetrathyridium simultaneously suppresses the host’s inflammatory gene expression, might to be a strategy that reduces inflammatory responses and increases survival of the parasite.

Dengue epidemic in a non-endemic zone of Bangladesh: Clinical and laboratory profiles of patients

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 13 October 2020 - 9:00pm

by Abdur Rafi, Ashrafun Nahar Mousumi, Reejvi Ahmed, Rezwanul Haque Chowdhury, Abdul Wadood, Golam Hossain

Backgrounds

Approximately, half of the population in the world including tropical and sub-tropical climates region is at risk of dengue. Being an endemic country, Bangladesh has experienced the largest dengue epidemic in 2019. The present study aimed at evaluating the clinical and laboratory profile of dengue patients in northern Bangladesh during the epidemic.

Methods

This cross-sectional study included 319 serologically confirmed dengue patients admitted in Shaheed Ziaur Rahman Medical College Hospital in Bogra district. It is one of the main tertiary care hospitals in northern Bangladesh. Data were collected from July to September 2019. Patients’ clinical and laboratory data were extracted from clinical records. Patients were classified into two classes according to the WHO 2009 dengue classification such as (i) non-severe dengue and (ii) severe dengue. Chi-square test and independent t-test were used in this study.

Results

Of the 319 patients, 94.1% had non-severe dengue and the remaining 5.9% had severe dengue (severe plasma leakage 68.4%, severe organ involvement 68.4%, and severe clinical bleeding 10.5%). Most of the patients were suffering from primary dengue infection. The most common clinical presentation was fever followed by headache and myalgia. Vomiting and abdominal pain were the most prevalent warning signs. The common hematological findings on admission were leukopenia (63.3%), thrombocytopenia (30.4%) and increased hematocrit (26.6%). Raised serum ALT or AST was observed in 14.1% cases whereas raised serum creatinine was observed in 6.6% cases. Signs of plasma leakage (pleural effusion, respiratory distress, and ascites, rise of hematocrit >20% during hospital stay) and hepatic or renal involvement (serum ALT >42UI/L or serum creatinine >1.2 mg/dL) on admission were mostly associated with severe dengue.

Conclusion

The study provides clinical evidence on presentation as well as hematological and biochemical profile of dengue patients in northern Bangladesh that should be implicated in effective patient management.

Drug effects on metabolic profiles of Schistosoma mansoni adult male parasites detected by <sup>1</sup>H-NMR spectroscopy

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 12 October 2020 - 9:00pm

by Alessandra Guidi, Greta Petrella, Valentina Fustaino, Fulvio Saccoccia, Sara Lentini, Roberto Gimmelli, Giulia Di Pietro, Alberto Bresciani, Daniel Oscar Cicero, Giovina Ruberti

Schistosomiasis is one of the most devastating neglected tropical parasitic diseases caused by trematodes of the genus Schistosoma. Praziquantel (PZQ) is today the only drug used in humans and animals for the treatment of schistosomiasis but unfortunately it is poorly effective on larval and juvenile stages of the parasite. Therefore, it is urgent the discovery of new drug targets and compounds. We have recently showed that the anti-anginal drug perhexiline maleate (PHX) is very active on multiple developmental stages of Schistosoma mansoni in vitro. It is well known that PHX impacts the lipid metabolism in mammals, but the final target on schistosomes still remains unknown. The aim of this study was to evaluate the ability of 1H nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy in revealing metabolic perturbations due to PHX treatment of S. mansoni adult male worms. The effects of PHX were compared with the ones induced by vehicle and gambogic acid, in order to detect different metabolic profiles and specificity of the PHX action. Remarkably a list of metabolites associated to PHX-treatment was identified with enrichment in several connected metabolic pathways including also the Kennedy pathway mediating the glycerophospholipid metabolism. Our study represents the first 1H-NMR metabolomic approach to characterize the response of S. mansoni to drug treatment. The obtained “metabolic fingerprint” associated to PHX treatment could represent a strategy for displaying cellular metabolic changes for any given drug and to compare compounds targeting similar or distinct biochemical pathways.

Differential pathogenesis of Usutu virus isolates in mice

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 12 October 2020 - 9:00pm

by Sarah C. Kuchinsky, Seth A. Hawks, Eric C. Mossel, Sheryl Coutermarsh-Ott, Nisha K. Duggal

Usutu virus (USUV; Flavivirus), a close phylogenetic and ecological relative of West Nile virus, is a zoonotic virus that can cause neuroinvasive disease in humans. USUV is maintained in an enzootic cycle between Culex mosquitoes and birds. Since the first isolation in 1959 in South Africa, USUV has spread throughout Africa and Europe. Reported human cases have increased over the last few decades, primarily in Europe, with symptoms ranging from mild febrile illness to severe neurological effects. In this study, we investigated whether USUV has become more pathogenic during emergence in Europe. Interferon α/β receptor knockout (Ifnar1-/-) mice were inoculated with recent USUV isolates from Africa and Europe, as well as the historic 1959 South African strain. The three tested African strains and one European strain from Spain caused 100% mortality in inoculated mice, with similar survival times and histopathology in tissues. Unexpectedly, a European strain from the Netherlands caused only 12% mortality and significantly less histopathology in tissues from mice compared to mice inoculated with the other strains. Viremia was highest in mice inoculated with the recent African strains and lowest in mice inoculated with the Netherlands strain. Based on phylogenetics, the USUV isolates from Spain and the Netherlands were derived from separate introductions into Europe, suggesting that disease outcomes may differ for USUV strains circulating in Europe. These results also suggest that while more human USUV disease cases have been reported in Europe recently, circulating African USUV strains are still a potential major health concern.

Adults from Kisumu, Kenya have robust γδ T cell responses to <i>Schistosoma mansoni</i>, which are modulated by tuberculosis

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 12 October 2020 - 9:00pm

by Taryn A. McLaughlin, Jeremiah Khayumbi, Joshua Ongalo, Daniel Matete, Joan Tonui, Benson Muchiri, Loren E. Sasser, Angela Campbell, Salim Allana, Samuel Gurrion Ouma, Felix Odhiambo Hayara, Neel R. Gandhi, Cheryl L. Day

Schistosoma mansoni (SM) is a parasitic helminth that infects over 200 million people and causes severe morbidity. It undergoes a multi-stage life cycle in human hosts and as such stimulates a stage-specific immune response. The human T cell response to SM is complex and varies throughout the life cycle of SM. Relative to the wealth of information regarding the immune response to SM eggs, little is known about the immune response to the adult worm. In addition, while a great deal of research has uncovered mechanisms by which co-infection with helminths modulates immunity to other pathogens, there is a paucity of data on the effect of pathogens on immunity to helminths. As such, we sought to characterize the breadth of the T cell response to SM and determine whether co-infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) modifies SM-specific T cell responses in a cohort of HIV-uninfected adults in Kisumu, Kenya. SM-infected individuals were categorized into three groups by Mtb infection status: active TB (TB), Interferon-γ Release Assay positive (IGRA+), and Interferon-γ Release Assay negative (IGRA-). U.S. adults that were seronegative for SM antibodies served as naïve controls. We utilized flow cytometry to characterize the T cell repertoire to SM egg and worm antigens. We found that T cells had significantly higher proliferation and cytokine production in response to worm antigen than to egg antigen. The T cell response to SM was dominated by γδ T cells that produced TNFα and IFNγ. Furthermore, we found that in individuals infected with Mtb, γδ T cells proliferated less in response to SM worm antigens and had higher IL-4 production compared to naïve controls. Together these data demonstrate that γδ T cells respond robustly to SM worm antigens and that Mtb infection modifies the γδ T cell response to SM.

Structural features and development of an assay platform of the parasite target deoxyhypusine synthase of <i>Brugia malayi</i> and <i>Leishmania major</i>

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 12 October 2020 - 9:00pm

by Suélen Fernandes Silva, Angélica Hollunder Klippel, Priscila Zonzini Ramos, André da Silva Santiago, Sandro Roberto Valentini, Mario Henrique Bengtson, Katlin Brauer Massirer, Elizabeth Bilsland, Rafael Miguez Couñago, Cleslei Fernando Zanelli

Deoxyhypusine synthase (DHS) catalyzes the first step of the post-translational modification of eukaryotic translation factor 5A (eIF5A), which is the only known protein containing the amino acid hypusine. Both proteins are essential for eukaryotic cell viability, and DHS has been suggested as a good candidate target for small molecule-based therapies against eukaryotic pathogens. In this work, we focused on the DHS enzymes from Brugia malayi and Leishmania major, the causative agents of lymphatic filariasis and cutaneous leishmaniasis, respectively. To enable B. malayi (Bm)DHS for future target-based drug discovery programs, we determined its crystal structure bound to cofactor NAD+. We also reported an in vitro biochemical assay for this enzyme that is amenable to a high-throughput screening format. The L. major genome encodes two DHS paralogs, and attempts to produce them recombinantly in bacterial cells were not successful. Nevertheless, we showed that ectopic expression of both LmDHS paralogs can rescue yeast cells lacking the endogenous DHS-encoding gene (dys1). Thus, functionally complemented dys1Δ yeast mutants can be used to screen for new inhibitors of the L. major enzyme. We used the known human DHS inhibitor GC7 to validate both in vitro and yeast-based DHS assays. Our results show that BmDHS is a homotetrameric enzyme that shares many features with its human homologue, whereas LmDHS paralogs are likely to form a heterotetrameric complex and have a distinct regulatory mechanism. We expect our work to facilitate the identification and development of new DHS inhibitors that can be used to validate these enzymes as vulnerable targets for therapeutic interventions against B. malayi and L. major infections.

Comparison and clinical validation of qPCR assays targeting Leishmania 18S rDNA and HSP70 genes in patients with American Tegumentary Leishmaniasis

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 12 October 2020 - 9:00pm

by Camila Patricio Braga Filgueira, Otacilio Cruz Moreira, Lilian Motta Cantanhêde, Heloísa Martins Teixeira de Farias, Renato Porrozzi, Constança Britto, Mariana Côrtes Boité, Elisa Cupolillo

Leishmaniasis is a worldwide neglected disease, encompassing asymptomatic infections and different clinical forms, such as American Tegumentary Leishmaniasis (ATL) which is part of the complex of diseases caused by protozoan parasites from Leishmania genus, transmitted by sand fly vectors. As a neglected disease, much effort is still needed in treatment and diagnosis. Currently, ATL diagnosis is mainly made by parasite detection by microscopy. The sensitivity of the method varies, and factors such as collection procedures interfere. Molecular approaches, specially based on Real Time PCR (qPCR) technique, has been widely used to detect Leishmania infection and to quantify parasite load, once it is a simple, rapid and sensitive methodology, capable to detect low parasite concentrations and less prone to variability. Although many studies have been already published addressing the use of this technique, an improvement on these methodologies, including an analytical validation, standardization and data association is demanded. Moreover, a proper validation by the assay by the use of clinical samples is still required. In this sense, the purpose of the present work is to compare the performance of qPCR using two commonly used targets (18S rDNA and HSP70) with an internal control (RNAse P) in multiplex reactions. Additionally, we validated reactions by assaying 88 samples from patients presenting different clinical forms of leishmaniasis (cutaneous, mucosal, recent and old lesions), representing the diversity found in Brazil’s Amazon Region. Following the methodology proposed herein, the results indicate the use of both qPCR assays, 18S rDNA and HSP70, to achieve a very good net sensitivity (98.5%) and specificity (100%), performing simultaneous or sequential testing, respectively. With this approach, our main goal is to conclude the first step of a further multicenter study to propose the standardization of detection and quantification of Leishmania.

Cardiovascular disease risk factors and markers of oxidative stress and DNA damage in leprosy patients in Southern Nigeria

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 12 October 2020 - 9:00pm

by Iya Eze Bassey, Inyeneobong Ernest Inyang, Uwem Okon Akpan, Idongesit Kokoabasi Paul Isong, Bassey Edward Icha, Victoria Micheal Ayawan, Racheal Ekanem Peter, Hopefaith Adode Itita, Prince Ukam Odumusor, Eyoanwan Graziani Ekanem, Okon Ekwerre Essien

Leprosy reduces quality of life of affected persons. Oxidative stress caused by reactive oxygen species may play a vital role in the pathogenesis of leprosy. This study evaluated anthropometric indices, fasting plasma glucose (FPG), lipid profile, total antioxidant capacity (TAC), total plasma peroxide (TPP), oxidative stress index (OSI), malondialdehyde (MDA), glutathione (GSH) and 8-hydroxy-2-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdg) in leprosy patients. Sixty test participants of both genders, aged 18–65years and diagnosed of multibacillary leprosy and 30 apparently healthy controls were consecutively recruited for this study. The test participants comprised of 30 patients on multidrug therapy (MDT) and 30 patients relieved from therapy (RFT). Body mass index (BMI), Waist-hip ratio (WHR), FPG, lipid profile, TAC, TPP, OSI, MDA, GSH and 8-OHdg were determined using appropriate methods. Data were analyzed using Analysis of variance; p<0.05 was considered statistically significant. The MDT group had significantly lower BMI (p = 0.0001), Total cholesterol (p = 0.001), HDL-C (p = 0.019), LDL-C (p = 0.005), TAC (p = 0.0001) and higher TPP (p = 0.001), MDA (p = 0.0001), OSI (p = 0.005) and 8-OHdg (p = 0.035) compared to the controls. The RFT group had significantly lower BMI (p = 0.001) Total cholesterol (0.0001), HDL-C (p = 0.006) LDL-C (p = 0.0001), TAC (p = 0.001) and higher WHR (p = 0.010), VLDL-C (p = 0.035), TG (p = 0.023) Atherogenic index of plasma (p = 0.0001) and TPP (p = 0.001), MDA (p = 0.0001) compared to the control group. GSH levels correlated negatively with duration of treatment (r = -0.401, p = 0.028). This study has shown that there is oxidative stress in multibacillary leprosy patients irrespective of drug treatment status. This study also shows that leprosy patients relieved from treatment may be susceptible to cardiovascular events. Antioxidants supplementation may be beneficial in the treatment of leprosy and clinical follow up on patients relieved from treatment may also be necessary to monitor health status and prevent development of cardiovascular events.

Defining a prevalence level to describe the elimination of Lymphatic Filariasis (LF) transmission and designing monitoring & evaluating (M&E) programmes post the cessation of mass drug administration (MDA)

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 12 October 2020 - 9:00pm

by Benjamin S. Collyer, Michael A. Irvine, T. Deidre Hollingsworth, Mark Bradley, Roy M. Anderson

The global decline in prevalence of lymphatic filariasis has been one of the major successes of the WHO’s NTD programme. The recommended strategy of intensive, community-wide mass drug administration, aims to break localised transmission by either reducing the prevalence of microfilaria positive infections to below 1%, or antigen positive infections to below 2%. After the threshold is reached, and mass drug administration is stopped, geographically defined evaluation units must pass Transmission Assessment Surveys to demonstrate that transmission has been interrupted. In this study, we use an empirically parameterised stochastic transmission model to investigate the appropriateness of 1% microfilaria-positive prevalence as a stopping threshold, and statistically evaluate how well various monitoring prevalence-thresholds predict elimination or disease resurgence in the future by calculating their predictive value. Our results support the 1% filaremia prevalence target as appropriate stopping criteria. However, because at low prevalence-levels random events dominate the transmission dynamics, we find single prevalence measurements have poor predictive power for predicting resurgence, which suggests alternative criteria for restarting MDA may be beneficial.

Recombinant CsHscB of carcinogenic liver fluke <i>Clonorchis sinensis</i> induces IL-10 production by binding with TLR2

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 12 October 2020 - 9:00pm

by Chao Yan, Fan Fang, Yu-Zhao Zhang, Xin Dong, Jing Wu, Hai-Liang Liu, Chun-Yang Fan, Stephane Koda, Bei-Bei Zhang, Qian Yu, Liang Wang, Yu-Gang Wang, Jia-Xu Chen, Kui-Yang Zheng

Background

Clonorchis sinensis, a fluke dwelling in the intrahepatic bile ducts causes clonorchiasis, which affect about 15 million people wide-distributed in eastern Asia. During C. sinensis infection, worm-host interaction results in activation of patterns recognition receptors (PRRs) such as Toll-like receptors (TLRs) and further triggers immune responses, which determines the outcome of the infection. However, the mechanisms by which pathogen-associated molecules patterns from C. sinensis interact with TLRs were poorly understood. In the present study, we assumed that the molecules from C. sinensis may regulate host immune responses via TLR2 signaling pathway.

Methodology/Principal findings

In the present study, we have identified a ~34 kDa CsHscB from C. sinensis which physically bound with TLR2 as demonstrated by molecular docking and pull-down assay. We also found that recombinant CsHscB (rCsHscB) potently activates macrophage to express various proteins including TLR2, CD80, MHCII, and cytokines like IL-6, TNF-α, and IL-10, but rCsHscB failed to induce IL-10 in macrophages from Tlr2-/- mice. Moreover, ERK1/2 activation was required for rCsHscB-induced IL-10 production in macrophages. In vivo study revealed that rCsHscB triggered a high production of IL-10 in the wild-type (WT) but not in Tlr2-/- mice. Consistently, the phosphorylation of ERK1/2 was also attenuated in Tlr2-/- mice compared to the WT mice, after the treatment with rCsHscB.

Conclusions/Significance

Our data thus demonstrate that rCsHscB from C. sinensis interacts with TLR2 to be endowed with immune regulatory activities, and may have some therapeutic implications in future beyond parasitology.

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