[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In February 2011, a rare case of congenital Plasmodium vivax malaria was diagnosed in a temperate region of Central China. An infant developed intermittent fever 20 days after delivery. Since this occurred during the non-transmission winter season in a low malaria endemic region and the infant's mother did not have a clear malaria history or showed malaria symptoms at the time of the delivery, malaria infection was not suspected at the beginning. Later, on suspicion of potential malignant haematological illness due to persistence of the fever, bone marrow smear was examined, which revealed infection by P. vivax parasite. This rare case of congenital vivax malaria underlines that malaria diagnosis might need to be included in the healthcare of neonates born in vivax-endemic areas.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Drug resistance has always been one of the most important impediments to global malaria control. Artemisinin resistance has recently been confirmed in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) and efforts for surveillance and containment are intensified. To determine potential mechanisms of artemisinin resistance and monitor the emergence and spread of resistance in other regions of the GMS, we investigated the in vitro sensitivity of 51 culture-adapted parasite isolates from the China-Myanmar border area to four drugs. The 50% inhibitory concentrations (IC 50 s) of dihydroartemisinin, mefloquine and lumefantrine were clustered in a relatively narrow, 3-to 6-fold range, whereas the IC 50 range of artesunate was 12-fold. We assessed the polymorphisms of candidate resistance genes pfcrt, pfmdr1, pfATP6, pfmdr6 and pfMT (a putative metabolite/drug transporter). The K76T mutation in pfcrt reached fixation in the study parasite population, whereas point mutations in pfmdr1 and pfATP6 had low levels of prevalence. In addition, pfmdr1 gene amplification was not detected. None of the mutations in pfmdr1 and pfATP6 was associated significantly with in vitro sensitivity to artemisinin derivatives. The ABC transporter gene pfmdr6 harbored two point mutations, two indels, and number variations in three simple repeats. Only the length variation in a microsatellite repeat appeared associated with altered sensitivity to dihydroartemisinin. The PfMT gene had two point mutations and one codon deletion; the I30N and N496– both reached high levels of prevalence. However, none of the SNPs or haplotypes in PfMT were correlated significantly with resistance to the four tested drugs. Compared with other parasite populations from the GMS, our studies revealed drastically different genotype and drug sensitivity profiles in parasites from the China-Myanmar border area, where artemisinins have been deployed extensively for over 30 years., et al. (2012) In Vitro Sensitivity of Plasmodium falciparum from China-Myanmar Border Area to Major ACT Drugs and Polymorphisms in Potential Target Genes. PLoS ONE 7(5): e30927. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0030927 Editor: Copyright: ß 2012 Wang et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Funding: This study was supported by National Institutes of Health (NIH) international grant (1R01AI075429) to Z. Yang, National Natural Science Foundation of China (no. 30960050), and U19AI089672 from National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist. (ZY) . These authors contributed equally to this work.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Excessive production of proinflammatory cytokines, elicited mostly by Th1 cells, is an important cause of cerebral malaria (CM). Dendritic cells (DCs), a critical link between innate and adaptive immune responses, rely heavily on Toll-like receptor (TLR) signaling. Using C57BL/6 mice infected with Plasmodium berghei ANKA (PbA) as an experimental CM model, we first confirmed that inhibition of TLR9 by suppressive oligodeoxynucleotides protected mice from CM. In addition to being a well-known antimalarial, chloroquine (CQ) has been used as an immunomodulator of endocytic TLRs because it inhibits endosomal acidification. We found that immediately before and shortly after infection by PbA, treatment with a single dose of 50 mg/kg of CQ protected mice from experimental CM. Both CQ treatments significantly inhibited expression of TLR9 and MHC-II on DCs, and reduced the number of myeloid and plasmatocytoid DCs at 3 and 5 days after infection. Consequently, activation of CD4+ T cells, especially the expansion of the Th1 subsets, was dramatically inhibited in CQ treated groups, which was accompanied by a remarkable decline in the production of Th1 type proinflammatory mediators IFN-γ, TNF-α, and nitric oxide. Taken together, these results corroborated the involvement of TLR9 in CM pathogenesis and suggest that interference with the activation of this receptor is a promising strategy to prevent deleterious inflammatory response mediating pathogenesis and severity of malaria.
International immunopharmacology 05/2012; 13(4):392-7. · 2.21 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The number of Anopheles gambiae and Anopheles arabiensis females that used each of the 33 sampled breeding sites in west Kenya was estimated by microsatellite markers and related
statistics to test the hypothesis that conspecific females share aquatic sites. Totally, 166 An. gambiae and 168 An. arabiensis larvae were identified and were genotyped. The mean number of larvae per breeding site was 8.3 for An. gambiae and 8.4 for An. arabiensis. The likelihood method estimated that, for An. gambiae, the mean number of females that would have laid eggs per breeding site was 5.2 and ranged from 2 to 9, and for An. arabiensis, the mean was 5.0 with a range of 2–10. The clustering method estimated that the mean number of females laying eggs per breeding
site was 6.8 for An. gambiae. The results provide molecular evidence that females of one or both species share breeding sites.
Journal of Insect Behavior 04/2012; 21(1):24-33. · 0.90 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The distribution and prevalence of infections with species of Sarcocystis in domestic fowl in Asia are poorly known. Here, ducks, pigeons, and chickens from Yunnan Province, China were examined for evidence of parasitic infection with Sarcocystis spp. One hundred and ninety one chickens, 514 ducks, and nine pigeons were investigated. Whereas the ducks and pigeons lacked tissue cysts in their muscle, brain or peripheral nervous system, cysts of Sarcocystis wenzeli were identified in 17 of 191 chickens (8.9%). Morphologically, the cysts were thread-like, ranging in size from 334-3169 × 41-117 μm (mean 1093 × 65 μm). Cysts were septate with dense, short finger-like protrusions which appeared radially striated. The cyst wall was 1.4-3.5 μm (mean 2.4 μm) thick. The bradyzoites were lancet shaped and measured 12.2-17.7 × 1.8-2.9 μm (mean 14.6 × 2.5 μm). Ultrastucturally, the primary sarcocyst wall had stubby villar protrusions, corresponding to the 'type 9' class previously designated. The protrusions measured 0.87-1.89 × 0.47-0.91 μm (mean 1.27 × 0.59 μm; n = 57). These findings confirm previous work from the vicinity of Kunming concerning the occurrence of S. wenzeli in chickens, and its use of both cats and dogs as definitive hosts, but indicate that corresponding infections may not occur in the regional domestic flocks of other types of fowl.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The recent emergence of artemisinin (ART) resistance in Plasmodium falciparum in western Cambodia, manifested as delayed parasite clearance, is a big threat to the long-term efficacy of this family of antimalarial drugs. Among the multiple candidate genes associated with ART resistance in P. falciparum, the sarcoplasmic/endoplasmic reticulum Ca(2+)-ATPase PfATP6 has been postulated as a specific target of ARTs. The PfATP6 gene harbors multiple single-nucleotide polymorphisms in field parasite populations, and S769N has been associated with decreased sensitivity to artemether in parasite populations from French Guiana. In this study, we used an allelic exchange strategy to engineer parasite lines carrying the S769N mutations in P. falciparum strain 3D7 and evaluated whether introduction of this mutation modulated parasite sensitivity to ART derivatives. Using three transgenic lines carrying the 769N mutation and two transgenic lines carrying the wild-type 769S as controls, we found that S769N did not affect PfATP6 gene expression. We compared the sensitivities of these parasite lines to three ART derivatives, artemether, artesunate, and dihydroartemisinin, in 18 biological experiments and detected no significant effect of the S769N mutation on parasite response to these ART derivatives. This study provides further evidence for the lack of association of PfATP6 with ART resistance.
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 02/2012; 56(5):2546-52. · 4.57 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Clinical immunity to malaria in human populations is developed after repeated exposure to malaria. Regulation and balance of host immune responses may lead to optimal immunity against malaria parasite infection. Polysaccharides (ABPS) derived from the Chinese herb ox knee Achyranthes bidentata possess immuno-modulatory functions. The aim of this study is to use the rodent malaria model Plasmodium yoelii 17XL (P. y17XL) to examine whether pretreatment with ABPS will modulate host immunity against malaria infection and improve the outcome of the disease.
To determine whether ABPS could modulate immunity against malaria, mice were pretreated with ABPS prior to blood-stage infection by P. y17XL. Host survival and parasitaemia were monitored daily. The effect of pretreatment on host immune responses was studied through the quantitation of cytokines, dendritic cell populations, and natural regulatory T cells (Treg).
Pretreatment with ABPS prior to infection significantly extended the survival time of mice after P. y17XL infection. At three and five days post-infection, ABPS pretreated mice developed stronger Th1 immune responses against malaria infection with the number of F4/80+CD36+ macrophages and levels of IFN-γ, TNF-α and nitric oxide being significantly higher than in the control group. More importantly, ABPS-treated mice developed more myeloid (CD11c+CD11b+) and plasmacytoid dendritic cells (CD11c+CD45R+/B220+) than control mice. ABPS pretreatment also resulted in modulated expression of MHC-II, CD86, and especially Toll-like receptor 9 by CD11c+ dendritic cells. In comparison, pretreatment with ABPS did not alter the number of natural Treg or the production of the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10.
Pretreatment with the immuno-modulatory ABPS selectively enhanced Th1 immune responses to control the proliferation of malaria parasites, and prolonged the survival of mice during subsequent malaria infection.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Plasmodium vivax is the most widely distributed human malaria parasite outside of Africa, and its range extends well into the temperate zones. Previous studies provided evidence for vivax population differentiation, but temperate vivax parasites were not well represented in these analyses. Here we address this deficit by using complete mitochondrial (mt) genome sequences to elucidate the broad genetic diversity and population structure of P. vivax from temperate regions in East and Southeast Asia.
From the complete mtDNA sequences of 99 clinical samples collected in China, Myanmar and Korea, a total of 30 different haplotypes were identified from 26 polymorphic sites. Significant differentiation between different East and Southeast Asian parasite populations was observed except for the comparison between populations from Korea and southern China. Haplotype patterns and structure diversity analysis showed coexistence of two different groups in East Asia, which were genetically related to the Southeast Asian population and Myanmar population, respectively. The demographic history of P. vivax, examined using neutrality tests and mismatch distribution analyses, revealed population expansion events across the entire P. vivax range and the Myanmar population. Bayesian skyline analysis further supported the occurrence of ancient P. vivax population expansion.
This study provided further resolution of the population structure and evolution of P. vivax, especially in temperate/warm-temperate endemic areas of Asia. The results revealed divergence of the P. vivax populations in temperate regions of China and Korea from other populations. Multiple analyses confirmed ancient population expansion of this parasite. The extensive genetic diversity of the P. vivax populations is consistent with phenotypic plasticity of the parasites, which has implications for malaria control.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: P. vivax infection is characterised by relapsing fever, indicating reinfection by previously hidden parasites in the host. Relapsed infection can lead to the activation of the memory T cell pool, which may lead to protective immunity. This study aims to characterise immune responses in acute P. vivax-infected patients living in an area of central China characterised by only P. vivax infection.
We conducted a cross-sectional immune-phenotypic analysis of adults using the following inclusion criteria: acute P. vivax infection (N = 37), a history of P. vivax infection (N = 17), and no known history of P. vivax infection (N = 21). We also conducted a 2-week longitudinal analysis following acute P. vivax infection, in which PBMC proliferation was measured in response to P. vivax and P. falciparum blood stage lysates. Using flow cytometry, we showed elevated memory T cells in the blood during acute P. vivax infection. The levels of γδ T cells were two-fold higher than those measured in naive controls. This result suggested that in the two populations, memory and γδ T cells promptly responded to P. vivax parasites. Interestingly, P. falciparum antigens stimulated T cells obtained from P. vivax-infected patients during a day 14-convalescence, whereas lymphocytes from the naïve control group responded to a lower degree of convalescence.
Cell-mediated immunity during the convalescent period of the P. vivax-infected hosts was comprised of T cells that were specifically able to recognise P. falciparum antigens. Although the magnitude of the response was only half that measured after stimulation with P. vivax antigens, the matter of cross-antigenic stimulation is of great interest.
PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(9):e45971. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Transmission-blocking vaccines (TBVs) have been considered an important strategy for disrupting the malaria transmission cycle, especially for Plasmodium vivax malaria, which undergoes gametocytogenesis earlier during infection. Pvs25 and Pvs28 are transmission-blocking vaccine candidates for P. vivax malaria. Assessment of genetic diversity of the vaccine candidates will provide necessary information for predicting the performance of vaccines, which will guide us during the development of malaria vaccines.
We sequenced the coding regions of pvs25 and pvs28 from 30 P. vivax isolates from Yunnan Province, identifying five amino acid haplotypes of Pvs25 and seven amino acid haplotypes of Pvs28. Among a total of four mutant residues, the predominant haplotype of Pvs25 only had the I130T substitution. For Pvs28, a total of eight amino acid substitutions were identified. The predominant haplotype of Pvs28 had two substitution at positions 52 (M52L) and 140 (T140S) with 5-6 GSGGE/D tandem repeats at the end of fourth EGF-like domain. Most amino acid substitutions were common with previous reports from South Asian isolates. Although the nucleotide diversity of pvs28 (π = 0.0034 ± 0.0012) was significantly higher than pvs25 (π = 0.0013 ± 0.0009), it was still conserved when compared with the blood stage vaccine candidates.
Genetic analysis revealed limited genetic diversity of pvs25 and pvs28, suggesting antigenic diversity may not be a particular problem for Sal I based TBVs in most P. vivax-endemic areas of China.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The emergence and spread of multidrug-resistant Plasmodium falciparum and recent detection of potential artemisinin-resistant strains in Southeast Asia highlight the importance of developing novel antimalarial therapies. Using a previously generated stable transgenic P. falciparum line with high-level firefly luciferase expression, we report the adaptation, miniaturization, optimization, and validation of a high-throughput screening assay in 384-well plates. Assay conditions, including the percentage of parasitemia and hematocrit, were optimized. Parameters of assay robustness, including Z'-value, coefficient variation (CV), and signal-to-background (S/B) ratio, were determined. The LOPAC(1280) small-compound library was used to validate this assay. Our results demonstrated that this assay is robust and reliable, with an average Z'-value of >0.7 and CV of <10%. Moreover, this assay showed a very low background, with the S/B ratio up to 71. Further, identified hits were selected and confirmed using a SYBR Green I-based confirmatory assay. It is evident that this assay is suitable for large-scale screening of chemical libraries for antimalarial drug discovery.
Assay and Drug Development Technologies 11/2011; 10(1):61-8. · 1.90 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Malaria parasites have evolved a complicated life cycle alternating between two hosts. Gametocytes are produced in the vertebrate hosts and are obligatory for natural transmission of the parasites through mosquito vectors. The mechanism of sexual development in Plasmodium has been the focus of extensive studies. In the postgenomic era, the advent of genome-wide analytical tools and genetic manipulation technology has enabled rapid advancement of our knowledge in this area. Patterns of gene expression during sexual development, molecular distinction of the two sexes, and mechanisms underlying subsequent formation of gametes and their fertilization have been progressively elucidated. However, the triggers and mechanism of sexual development remain largely unknown. This article provides an update of our understanding of the molecular and cellular events associated with the decision for commitment to sexual development and regulation of gene expression during gametocytogenesis. Insights into the molecular mechanisms of gametocyte development are essential for designing proper control strategies for interruption of malaria transmission and ultimate elimination.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: CD4(+) CD25(+) regulatory T (Treg) cells expressing Foxp3(+) play a critical role in maintaining immune homoeostasis and controlling excessive immune responses. However, controversy about the immunoregulatory role of Treg cells exists in malaria studies. Given the role of maintenance of Foxp3 expression in Treg cells' activities, we investigated whether anti-CD25 mAb (7D4 clone) treatment affects Foxp3 expression in CD4(+) T cells in DBA/2 mice infected with Plasmodium chabaudi chabaudi AS (P. c. chabaudi AS). We found that DBA/2 mice succumbed to P. c. chabaudi AS infection, which was accompanied by increased expression of Foxp3 in CD4(+) T cells at the peak parasitemia. In contrast, Foxp3 expression was impaired in CD25-depleted mice with 7D4 mAb treatment, leading to delayed parasitemia and extended survival of infected mice. Production of IFN-γ, TNF-α and IL-6, as well as NO was significantly enhanced in CD25-depleted mice. The majority of CD4(+) CTLA-4(+) cells expressed high levels of Foxp3 (Foxp3(hi) cells) in control mice with P. c. chabaudi AS infection. However, the number of CD4(+) Foxp3(hi) CTLA-4(+) cells was reduced in CD25-depleted mice. Together, these data suggest that CD4(+) Foxp3(hi) CTLA-4(+) cells may be involved in regulating the intensity of pro-inflammatory responses via CTLA-4.
Scandinavian Journal of Immunology 09/2011; 75(1):46-53. · 2.20 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This article documents the addition of 92 microsatellite marker loci to the Molecular Ecology Resources Database. Loci were developed for the following species: Anopheles minimus, An. sinensis, An. dirus, Calephelis mutica, Lutjanus kasmira, Murella muralis and Orchestia montagui. These loci were cross-tested on the following species: Calephelis arizonensi, Calephelis borealis, Calephelis nemesis, Calephelis virginiensis and Lutjanus bengalensis.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the face of recent increase of Plasmodium vivax malaria in central China, we conducted a study to evaluate in vitro susceptibility of temperate-zone P. vivax parasites to antimalarial drugs. During 2005-2006, in vitro drug susceptibility was measured for 42 clinical P. vivax isolates by using a schizont maturation inhibition technique. Geometric means of 50% inhibitory concentrations (IC(50)s) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were 10.87 (4.50-26.26) ng/mL for chloroquine, 4.21 (1.88-9.42-8) ng/mL for mefloquine, 11.82 (6.20-22.56) ng/mL for quinine, 0.13 (0.09-0.20) ng/mL for artesunate, 18.32 (8.08-41.50) ng/mL for pyrimethamine, and 17.73 (10.29-30.57) ng/mL for piperaquine. The IC(50) for chloroquine was lower than those obtained from isolates from Thailand and South Korea, suggesting that chloroquine remained effective against P. vivax malaria in central China. The results further indicated that temperate-zone P. vivax isolates from China were more susceptible to chloroquine, quinine, and mefloquine than isolates from Thailand.
The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene 08/2011; 85(2):197-201. · 2.53 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sarcocystis nesbitti was first described by Mandour in 1969 from rhesus monkey muscle. Its definitive host remains unknown. 18S rRNA gene of S. nesbitti was amplified, sequenced, and subjected to phylogenetic analysis. Among those congeners available for comparison, it shares closest affinity with those species of Sarcocystis which use snakes as definitive hosts. We therefore hypothesize that a snake may serve as the definitive host for S. nesbitti.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Genetic diversity and population structure of Plasmodium vivax parasites are valuable to the prediction of the origin and spread of novel variants within and between populations, and to the program evaluation of malaria control measures. Using two polymorphic genetic markers, the merozoite surface protein genes PvMSP-3α and PvMSP-3β, we investigated the genetic diversity of four Southeast Asian P. vivax populations, representing both subtropical and temperate strains with dramatically divergent relapse patterns. PCR amplification of PvMSP-3α and PvMSP-3β genes detected three and four major size polymorphisms among the 235 infections examined, respectively, while restriction analysis detected 15 and 19 alleles, respectively. Samples from different geographical areas differed dramatically in their PvMSP-3α and PvMSP-3β allele composition and frequency. Samples tended to cluster on the basis of their PCR-RFLP polymorphism. These results indicated that different parasite genotypes were circulating in each endemic area, and that geographic isolation may exist. Multiple infections were detected in all four parasite populations, ranging from 20.5% to 31.8%, strongly indicating that P. vivax populations were highly diverse and multiple clonal infections are common in these malaria-hypoendemic regions of Southeast Asia.
Infection, genetics and evolution: journal of molecular epidemiology and evolutionary genetics in infectious diseases 05/2011; 11(6):1419-25. · 3.22 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite significant improvement in the malaria situation of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), malaria control for the region continues to face a multitude of challenges. The extremely patchy malaria distribution, especially along international borders, makes disease surveillance and targeted control difficult. The vector systems are also diverse with dramatic differences in habitat ecology, biting behavior, and vectorial capacity, and there is a lack of effective transmission surveillance and control tools. Finally, in an era of heavy deployment of artemisinin-based combination therapies, the region acts as an epicenter of drug resistance, with the emergence of artemisinin resistant Plasmodium falciparum posing a threat to both regional and global malaria elimination campaigns. This problem is further exacerbated by the circulation of counterfeit and substandard artemisinin drugs. Accordingly, this Southeast Asian Malaria Research Center, consisting of a consortium of US and regional research institutions, has proposed four interlinked projects to address these most urgent problems in malaria control. The aims of these projects will help to substantially improve our understanding of malaria epidemiology, vector systems and their roles in malaria transmission, as well as the mechanisms of drug resistance in parasites. Through the training of next-generation scientists in malaria research, this program will help build up and strengthen regional research infrastructure and capacities, which are essential for sustained malaria control in this region.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: With the genome of the malaria parasite Plasmodium vivax sequenced, it is important to determine the proteomes of the parasite in order to assist efforts in antigen and drug target discovery. Since a method for continuous culture of P. vivax parasite is not available, we tried to study the proteome of the erythrocytic stages using fresh parasite isolates from patients. In schizont-enriched samples, 316 proteins were confidently identified by tandem mass spectrometry. Almost 50% of the identified proteins were hypothetical, while other major categories include proteins with binding function, protein fate, protein synthesis, metabolism and cellular transport. To identify proteins that are recognized by host humoral immunity, parasite proteins were separated by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis and screened by Western blot using an immune serum from a P. vivax patient. Mass spectrometry analysis of protein spots recognized by the serum identified four potential antigens including PV24. The recombinant protein PV24 was recognized by antibodies from vivax malaria patients even during the convalescent period, indicating that PV24 could elicit long-lasting antibody responses in P. vivax patients.
Journal of proteomics 04/2011; 74(9):1701-10. · 5.07 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We performed a molecular epidemiologic survey of mutations associated with drug-resistance genes in Plasmodium falciparum in northeastern Myanmar. In this region, 3 highly mutated drug-resistance haplotypes and 1 associated with decreased quinine susceptibility were prevalent, which suggests that parasites may be resistant to multiple commonly used antimalarial drugs.