[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We investigated whether ELISA using crude antigens from insect and plant trypanosomatids, which are non-pathogenic and easily cultivated in large scale, has the same positivity data as Leishmania (Leishmania) chagasi, the etiological agent of human visceral leishmaniasis (VL) or canine leishmaniasis (CanL), or as T. cruzi, the etiological agent of Chagas disease (CD). The antigens from Crithidia fasciculata, Crithidia luciliae, and Leptomonas seymouri showed 100% cross-reactivity with VL and CanL samples, with no statistically titers differences from L. (L.) chagasi, however, 34% (17/50) of VL samples revealed higher titers using the insect trypanosomatids than the homologous antigen. On the other hand, antigens from Strigomonas culicis, Angomonas deanei, and Phytomonas serpens showed low cross-reactivity with VL and CanL samples. The sera from patients with American tegumentary leishmaniasis showed low levels of cross-reactivity with all trypanosomatids investigated, even with L. (L) chagasi, without titers dissimilarity among them. These parasites were also worthless as antigen source for detection of CD cases, which required homologous antigens to reach 100% positivity. This study showed, by ELISA, that crude extract of Crithidia and Leptomonas have epitopes similar to L. (L.) chagasi, which supports the idea of using them as antigens source for the serodiagnosis of visceral leishmaniasis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Molecular approaches are being used increasingly for epidemiological studies of visceral and cutaneous leishmaniases. Several molecular markers resolving genetic differences between Leishmania parasites at species and strain levels have been developed to address key epidemiological and population genetic questions. The current gold standard, multilocus enzyme typing (MLEE), needs cultured parasites and lacks discriminatory power. PCR assays identifying species directly with clinical samples have proven useful in numerous field studies. Multilocus sequence typing (MLST) is potentially the most powerful phylogenetic approach and will, most probably, replace MLEE in the future. Multilocus microsatellite typing (MLMT) is able to discriminate below the zymodeme level and seems to be the best candidate for becoming the gold standard for distinction of strains. Population genetic studies by MLMT revealed geographical and hierarchic population structure in L. tropica, L. major and the L. donovani complex. The existence of hybrids and gene flow between Leishmania populations suggests that sexual recombination is more frequent than previously thought. However, typing and analytical tools need to be further improved. Accessible databases should be created and sustained for integrating data obtained by different researchers. This would allow for global analyses and help to avoid biases in analyses due to small sample sizes.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To confirm the taxonomic identification of a trypanosomatid found in the hindgut, rectum and Malpighian tubules of dog fleas captured in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil, between April and November of 2005, 910 specimens of Ctenocephalides felis felis were removed from street dogs and dissected, and isolates from their digestive tracts were cultivated in NNN-alpha-MEM medium. Four different morphological forms were observed in culture: long, slender, twisted promastigotes with a long flagellum; short, stubby, non-twisted promastigotes; rounded amastigotes; and cyst-like bodies. Twisted and non-twisted promastigotes were frequently seen forming rosettes, and these two forms presented significant differences (P<0.01) in terms of their morphological characteristics. Unlike the promastigote forms observed throughout the culture period, rounded amastigotes were seen only in the lag phase, and the cyst-like bodies were only seen in the decline phase. The trypanosomatid DNA obtained from the culture was analyzed by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method and found to be negative for Leishmania infantum chagasi. Based on the growth pattern, morphological parameters and molecular analysis, the flagellates were confirmed to be Leptomonas ctenocephali. The significance of this infection for animals is also commented.
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