[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Naegleria fowleri is an amoeboflagellate responsible for the fatal central nervous system (CNS) disease primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM). This amoeba gains access to the CNS by invading the olfactory mucosa and crossing the cribriform plate. Studies using a mouse model of infection have shown that the host secretes mucus during the very early stages of infection, and this event is followed by an infiltration of neutrophils into the nasal cavity. In this study, we investigated the role of N. fowleri trophozoites in inducing the expression and secretion of airway mucin and pro-inflammatory mediators. Using the human mucoepidermal cell line NCI-H292, we demonstrated that N. fowleri induced the expression of the MUC5AC gene and protein and the pro-inflammatory mediators interleukin-8 (IL-8) and interleukin-1 beta (IL-1 beta), but not tumour necrosis factor-alpha or chemokine c-c motif ligand 11 (eotaxin). Since the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) is a common phenomenon involved in the signalling pathways of these molecules, we analysed if trophozoites were capable of causing ROS production in NCI-H292 cells by detecting oxidation of the fluorescent probe 2,7-dichlorofluorescein diacetate. NCI-H292 cells generated ROS after 15-30 min of trophozoite stimulation. Furthermore, the expression of MUC5AC, IL-8 and IL-1 beta was inhibited in the presence of the ROS scavenger DMSO. In addition, the use of an epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitor decreased the expression of MUC5AC and IL-8, but not IL-1 beta. We conclude that N. fowleri induces the expression of some host innate defence mechanisms, such as mucin secretion (MUC5AC) and local inflammation (IL-8 and IL-1 beta) in respiratory epithelial cells via ROS production and suggest that these innate immune mechanisms probably prevent most PAM infections.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The human large intestine can harbor two morphologically similar amoebae; the invasive Entamoeba histolytica and the non-invasive Entamoeba dispar. Whereas E. histolytica can produce intestinal and extra-intestinal lesions, E. dispar is present in non-symptomatic carriers. Although biochemical, genetic and proteomic studies have identified clear differences between these Entamoebae, it has become clear that several molecules, once assumed to be involved in tissue destruction, exist in both the virulent and the avirulent species. As surface molecules may play a role in invasion and could therefore determine which amoebae are invasive, we analyzed the glycoconjugate composition of E. histolytica and E. dispar using lectins. There was a significant difference between E. histolytica and E. dispar in the expression of glycoconjugates containing d-mannose and N-acetyl-alpha-D-galactosamine residues, but not between virulent and avirulent strains of E. histolytica. N-glycoconjugates with terminal alpha (1-3)-linked mannose residues participate in the adhesion and subsequent cytotoxicity of E. histolytica to cultured hamster hepatocytes. One of them probably is the Gal/GalNAc lectin.
Parasitology International 04/2009; 58(2):171-7. · 2.30 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Naegleria fowleri is the aetiological agent of primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM). This parasite invades its host by penetrating the olfactory mucosa. During the initial stages of infection, the host response is initiated by the secretion of mucus that traps the trophozoites. Despite this response, some trophozoites are able to reach, adhere to and penetrate the epithelium. In the present work, we evaluated the effect of mucins on amoebic adherence and cytotoxicity to Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells and the MUC5AC-inducing cell line NCI-H292. We showed that mucins inhibited the adhesion of amoebae to both cell lines; however, this inhibition was overcome in a time-dependent manner. N. fowleri re-established the capacity to adhere faster than N. gruberi. Moreover, mucins reduced the cytotoxicity to target cells and the progression of the illness in mice. In addition, we demonstrated mucinolytic activity in both Naegleria strains and identified a 37 kDa protein with mucinolytic activity. The activity of this protein was inhibited by cysteine protease inhibitors. Based on these results, we suggest that mucus, including its major mucin component, may act as an effective protective barrier that prevents most cases of PAM; however, when the number of amoebae is sufficient to overwhelm the innate immune response, the parasites may evade the mucus by degrading mucins via a proteolytic mechanism.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Naegleria fowleri is a free-living amoeba and the etiologic agent of primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM). Trophozoites reach the brain by penetrating the olfactory epithelium, and invasion of the olfactory bulbs results in an intense inflammatory reaction. The contribution of the inflammatory response to brain damage in experimental PAM has not been delineated. Using both optical and electron microscopy, we analyzed the morphologic changes in the brain parenchyma due to inflammation during experimental PAM. Several N. fowleri trophozoites were observed in the olfactory bulbs 72 h post-inoculation, and the number of amoebae increased rapidly over the next 24 h. Eosinophils and neutrophils surrounding the amoebae were then noted at later times during infection. Electron microscopic examination of the increased numbers of neutrophils and the interactions with trophozoites indicated an active attempt to eliminate the amoebae. The extent of inflammation increased over time, with a predominant neutrophil response indicating important signs of damage and necrosis of the parenchyma. These data suggest a probable role of inflammation in tissue damage. To test the former hypothesis, we used CD38-/- knockout mice with deficiencies in chemotaxis to compare the rate of mortality with the parental strain, C57BL/6J. The results showed that inflammation and mortality were delayed in the knockout mice. Based on these results, we suggest that the host inflammatory response and polymorphonuclear cell lysis contribute to a great extent to the central nervous system tissue damage.
Parasitology International 10/2008; 57(3):307-13. · 2.30 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Acanthamoeba spp. are free-living amoebae that cause amoebic granulomatous encephalitis, skin lesions, and ocular amoebic keratitis in humans. Several authors have suggested that proteases could play a role in the pathogenesis of these diseases. In the present work, we performed a partial biochemical characterization of proteases in crude extracts of Acanthamoeba spp. and in conditioned medium using 7.5% SDS-PAGE copolymerized with 0.1% m/v gelatin as substrate. We distinguished a total of 17 bands with proteolytic activity distributed in two species of Acanthamoeba. The bands ranged from 30 to 188 kDa in A. castellanii and from 34 to 144 kDa in A. polyphaga. Additionally, we showed that the pattern of protease activity differed in the two species of Acanthamoeba when pH was altered. By using protease inhibitors, we found that the proteolytic activities belonged mostly to the serine protease family and secondly to cysteine proteases and that the proteolytic activities from A. castellanii were higher than those in A. polyphaga. Furthermore, aprotinin was found to inhibit crude extract protease activity on Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) monolayers. These data suggest that protease patterns could be more complex than previously reported.
Canadian Journal of Microbiology 02/2006; 52(1):16-23. · 1.20 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Acanthamoeba castellani and Acanthamoeba polyphaga are free-living amebae that cause keratitis and granulomatous encephalitis in humans. We have analyzed the early morphological and electrophysiological changes occurring during the in vitro interaction of cultured amebae with intact or physically damaged corneas obtained from hamsters. Both species of Acanthamoeba produced similar cytopathic changes, as seen by light microscopy and scanning electron microscopy. After adhesion to the epithelial surface, trophozoites formed clumps and migrated toward the cell borders, causing the separation of adjacent cells at 1 h of coculture. At later stages (2 to 4 h), some amebae were found under desquamating epithelial cells whereas others were seen associated with damaged cells or forming amebostome-like structures to ingest detached epithelial cells. Control corneas incubated in culture medium conditioned with amebae showed a cytoplasmic vacuolization and blurring of the epithelial-stromal junction. The early stages of corneal epithelial damage caused by amebae were also analyzed by measuring the transepithelial resistance changes in corneas mounted in Ussing chambers. Both species of Acanthamoeba caused a rapid decrease in electrical resistance. The present observations demonstrate that under in vitro conditions, Acanthamoeba trophozoites rapidly cause significant damage to the corneal epithelium. Furthermore, in our experimental model, previous physical damage to the corneas was not a prerequisite for the development of amebic corneal ulcerations.
Infection and Immunity 07/2004; 72(6):3245-51. · 4.07 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In this work, we analyzed the in vitro interaction of human secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA) antibodies with Naegleria fowleri trophozoites and the capacity of these antibodies to inhibit amoeba adherence to collagen type I. We also studied N. fowleri antigens that are recognized by sIgA, using immunoblot assays. Immunocytochemical analysis of the interaction showed a redistribution of antigens on the surface of trophozoites by sIgA antibodies. Ultrastructural analysis of antibody-amoeba interaction showed that besides the patching and cap formation, parasites were capable of eliminating the antigen-antibody complex produced on the surface. sIgA antibodies were capable of inhibiting the in vitro adhesion of trophozoites to collagen type I. We suggest that nonsymptomatic infections by N. fowleri may stimulate a local specific immunity that prevents trophozoite adhesion and invasion of nasal mucosa.
Canadian Journal of Microbiology 04/2003; 49(3):164-70. · 1.20 Impact Factor