[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Single-dose mass drug administration of azithromycin (AZT) is underway to eliminate trachoma worldwide. Studies in Ethiopia showed a reduction in all-cause childhood deaths after administration. To examine the effect of single-dose AZ MDA on prevalent malaria infections in a large prospective cohort of children and parents in Dodoma Province, Tanzania, we quantified the temporal prevalence of malaria parasitemia by real-time PCR for 6 months after single-dose AZT. In the first month after treatment but not in subsequent months, Plasmodium falciparum infections were reduced by 73% (95% CI 43%-89%) in treatment versus control villages and differences remained significant (p = 0.00497) in multivariate models with village-level random effects. Genetic sequencing of P. falciparum ribosomal L4 protein showed no mutations associated with AZT resistance. AZT mass drug administration caused a transient, 1-month antimalarial effect without selecting for P. falciparum ribosomal L4 resistance mutations in a region with a 10-year history of treating trachoma with this drug.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Obligate intracellular pathogenic bacteria evolved to manipulate their host cells with a limited range of proteins constrained by their compact genomes. The harsh environment of a phagocytic defense cell is one that challenges the majority of commensal and pathogenic bacteria; yet, these are the obligatory vertebrate homes for important pathogenic species in the Anaplasmataceae family. Survival requires that the parasite fundamentally alter the native functions of the cell to allow its entry, intracellular replication, and transmission to a hematophagous arthropod. The small genomic repertoires encode several eukaryotic-like proteins, including ankyrin A (AnkA) of Anaplasma phagocytophilum and Ank200 and tandem-repeat containing proteins of Ehrlichia chaffeensis that localize to the host cell nucleus and directly bind DNA. As a model, A. phagocytophilum AnkA appears to directly alter host cell gene expression by recruiting chromatin modifying enzymes such as histone deacetylases and methyltransferases or by acting directly on transcription in cis. While cis binding could feasibly alter limited ranges of genes and cellular functions, the complex and dramatic alterations in transcription observed with infection are difficult to explain on the basis of individually targeted genes. We hypothesize that nucleomodulins can act broadly, even genome-wide, to affect entire chromosomal neighborhoods and topologically associating chromatin domains by recruiting chromatin remodeling complexes or by altering the folding patterns of chromatin that bring distant regulatory regions together to coordinate control of transcriptional reprogramming. This review focuses on the A. phagocytophilum nucleomodulin AnkA, how it impacts host cell transcriptional responses, and current investigations that seek to determine how these multifunctional eukaryotic-like proteins facilitate epigenetic alterations and cellular reprogramming at the chromosomal level.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Anaplasma phagocytophilum, an obligate intracellular bacterium, modifies functions of its in vivo host, the neutrophil. The challenges of using neutrophils ex vivo necessitate cell line models. However, cell line infections do not currently mimic ex vivo neutrophil infection characteristics. To understand these discrepancies, we compared infection of cell lines to ex vivo human neutrophils and differentiated hematopoietic stem cells with regard to infection capacity, oxidative burst, host defense gene expression, and differentiation. Using established methods, marked ex vivo neutrophil infection heterogeneity was observed at 24-48 h necessitating cell sorting to obtain homogeneously infected cells at levels observed in vivo. Moreover, gene expression of infected cell lines differed markedly from the prior standard of unsorted infected neutrophils. Differentiated HL-60 cells sustained similar infection levels to neutrophils in vivo and closely mimicked functional and transcriptional changes of sorted infected neutrophils. Thus, care must be exercised using ex vivo neutrophils for A. phagocytophilum infection studies because a major determinant of transcriptional and functional changes among all cells was the intracellular bacteria quantity. Furthermore, comparisons of ex vivo neutrophils and the surrogate HL-60 cell model allowed the determination that specific cellular functions and transcriptional programs are targeted by the bacterium without significantly modifying differentiation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Molecular diagnosis of malaria offers many potential advantages over microscopy, including speciation of malaria in an era wherein experienced microscopists are few. We developed high-throughput multiplex 5'nuclease quantitative PCR (qPCR) assays, with the potential to support large studies, to specifically identify Plasmodium falciparum, P. vivax, P. ovale, P. malariae, and P. knowlesi. We compared qPCR to microscopy and confirmed discordant results with alternative-target PCR. The assays specifically detected 1 to 6 parasites/μL of blood. The clinical sensitivity (95% confidence interval, CI) of the 4-plex assay to detect microscopically-confirmed malaria was P. falciparum 95.8% (88.3, 99.1), P. vivax 89.5% (75.2, 97.1), P. ovale 94.1% (71.3, 99.9), and P. malariae 100% (66.4, 100) and the specificity (95% CI) was P. falciparum 98.6% (92.4, 100), P. vivax 99% (84.8, 100), P. ovale 98.4% (94.4, 99.8), and P. malariae 99.3% (95.9, 100). Clinical specificity for those without malaria was 100%. The clinical sensitivity of the 5-plex assay for confirmed P. knowlesi malaria was 100% (69.2, 100) and the clinical specificity 100% (87.2, 100). Coded retesting and testing by alternative-target PCR showed improved sensitivity and specificity of multiplex qPCR versus microscopy. Additionally, 91.7% (11/12) samples of uncertain species by microscopy were speciated identically by both our multiplex qPCR assay and alternative-target PCR, including 9 P. falciparum infections. Multiplex qPCR can rapidly and simultaneously identify all 5 Plasmodium species known to cause malaria in humans, and offers an alternative or adjunct to microscopy for clinical diagnosis as well as a needed high-throughput tool for research.
Journal of clinical microbiology 06/2013; · 4.16 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Human granulocytic anaplasmosis (HGA) is caused by the obligate intracellular bacterium, Anaplasma phagocytophilum. The proinflammatory cytokine, IFN-γ is necessary for innate immunity and plays an important role in the induction of severe histopathology in A. phagocytophilum-infected mice and disease in horses and humans. In this study, we examined the role of activation of signal transducer and activator of transcription (Stat) 1 phosphorylation with A. phagocytophilum infection, and found it to be markedly increased at day 7 post infection compared to mock-infected controls. This increase in phosphorylated Stat1 (pStat1) was significantly correlated with IFN-γ production and inflammatory tissue injury. Since pStat1 operates as a transcription factor central to the generation of effectors of inflammatory injury, these data suggest that Stat1 signaling is involved in IFN-γ-mediated immunopathologic lesions and disease in A. phagocytophilum infection and could be an important target for intervention of disease.
Microbiology and Immunology 12/2012; · 1.55 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bacterial pathogens can alter global host gene expression via histone modifications and chromatin remodeling in order to subvert host responses, including those involved with innate immunity, allowing for bacterial survival. Shigella flexneri, Listeria monocytogenes, Chlamydia trachomatis, and Anaplasma phagocytophilum express effector proteins that modify host histones and chromatin structure. A. phagocytophilum modulates granulocyte respiratory burst in part by dampening transcription of several key phagocyte oxidase genes. The A. phagocytophilum protein AnkA localizes to the myeloid cell nucleus where it binds AT-rich regions in the CYBB promoterand decreases its transcription. AT-rich regions of DNA are characteristic of matrix attachment regions (MARs) which are critical for chromatin structure and transcription. MAR-binding proteins, such as SATB1, interact with histone modifying enzymes resulting in altered gene expression. With A. phagocytophilum infection, histone deacetylase 1 (HDAC1) expression is increased and histone H3 acetylation is decreased at the CYBB promoter, suggesting a role for AnkA in altering host epigenetics and modulating gene transcription, at this, and perhaps other loci. This review will focus on how bacterial pathogens alter host epigenetics, by specifically examining A. phagocytophilum AnkA cis-regulation of CYBB transcription and epigenetic changes associated with infection.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: The 2-tier serologic testing protocol for Lyme disease has a number of shortcomings including low sensitivity in early disease; increased cost, time, and labor; and subjectivity in the interpretation of immunoblots. METHODS: The diagnostic accuracy of a single-tier commercial C6 ELISA kit was compared with 2-tier testing. RESULTS: The C6 ELISA was significantly more sensitive than 2-tier testing with sensitivities of 66.5% (95% confidence interval [CI] 61.7-71.1) and 35.2% (95% CI 30.6-40.1), respectively (P < 0.001) in 403 sera from patients with erythema migrans. The C6 ELISA had sensitivity statistically comparable to 2-tier testing in sera from Lyme disease patients with early neurologic manifestations (88.6% versus 77.3%, P = 0.13) or arthritis (98.3% versus 95.6%, P = 0.38). The specificities of C6 ELISA and 2-tier testing in over 2200 blood donors, patients with other conditions, and Lyme disease vaccine recipients were found to be 98.9% and 99.5%, respectively (P < 0.05, 95% CI surrounding the 0.6 percentage point difference of 0.04 to 1.15). CONCLUSIONS: Using a reference standard of 2-tier testing, the C6 ELISA as a single-step serodiagnostic test provided increased sensitivity in early Lyme disease with comparable sensitivity in later manifestations of Lyme disease. The C6 ELISA had slightly decreased specificity. Future studies should evaluate the performance of the C6 ELISA compared with 2-tier testing in routine clinical practice.
Diagnostic microbiology and infectious disease 10/2012; · 2.45 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The present study aims to detect and characterize by molecular techniques, the presence of tick-borne pathogens in wild captive carnivore blood samples from Brazil. Blood was collected from 76 Brazilian felids, 23 exotic felids, 3 European wolves (Canis lupus), and 97 Brazilian canids maintained in captivity in zoos located in São Paulo and Mato Grosso states, Brazil. DNA of each sample was used in PCR reactions for Ehrlichia, Anaplasma, and Rickettsia identification. The blood from 10/100 (10%) of canids (1 European wolf, 3 bush dogs, and 6 crab-eating foxes) and from 21/99 (21%) felids (4 pumas, 6 little spotted cats, 4 ocelots, 3 jaguarundis, 1 tiger, and 3 lions) contained fragments of 16S rRNA gene of Ehrlichia spp. Fragments of Anaplasma spp. groESL and 16S rRNA genes were detected in the blood of 1/100 (1%) canids (1 bush dog) and in 4/99 (3%) felids (4 little spotted cats), respectively. Rickettsia species infections were not identified. The present work showed that new strains of Ehrlichia and Anaplasma spp. circulate among wild carnivores in Brazil.
Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases 06/2012; 3(4):247-53. · 2.35 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We studied rickettsioses in southern Sri Lanka. Of 883 febrile patients with paired serum samples, 156 (17.7%) had acute rickettsioses; rickettsioses were unsuspected at presentation. Additionally, 342 (38.7%) had exposure to spotted fever and/or typhus group rickettsioses and 121 (13.7%) scrub typhus. Increased awareness of rickettsioses and better tests are needed.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Brazilian Spotted Fever is a disease caused by Rickettsia rickettsii, and is transmitted to humans and animals by Amblyomma spp. The objective of this work was to study the epidemiology of spotted fever group rickettsiae in rural areas of Northern Parana. In Alvorada do Sul municipality, 88 humans, 83 dogs, and 18 horses were sampled, and in Arapongas municipality, 138 humans, 90 dogs and 18 horses were studied. All the sera were tested by IFA in which R. rickettsii and R. parkeri were used as antigens, considering titers ? 64 positive. Ticks collected from dogs and horses were tested by PCR. In Alvorada do Sul, 24% and 16.1% of humans, 55.6% and 22.2% of horses and, 22.9% and 18.1% of dogs were seropositive for R rickettsii and R. parkeri, respectively. In Arapongas, 9.4% and 4.3% of the humans, 5.6% and 5.6% of horses and, 13.3% and 12.2% of the dogs were seropositive for R. rickettsii and R. parkeri, respectively. PCR detected seven ticks with gltA sequences that showed similarity with R. bellii. The presence of antibodies to R. parkeri and R. rickettsii in dogs, horses and humans demonstrates a potential risk for spotted fever group rickettsiae in these areas.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Anaplasma phagocytophilum causes granulocytic anaplasmosis, an acute disease in humans that is also often subclinical. However, 36% are hospitalized, 7% need intensive care, and the case fatality rate is 0.6%. The biological basis for severe disease is not understood. Despite A. phagocytophilum's mechanisms to subvert neutrophil antimicrobial responses, whether these mechanisms lead to disease is unclear. In animals, inflammatory lesions track with IFNγ and IL-10 expression and infection of Ifng(-/-) mice leads to increased pathogen load but inhibition of inflammation. Suppression of STAT signaling in horses impacts IL-10 and IFN-γ expression, and also suppresses disease severity. Similar inhibition of inflammation with infection of NKT-deficient mice suggests that innate immune responses are key for disease. With severe disease, tissues can demonstrate hemophagocytosis, and measures of macrophage activation/hemophagocytic syndromes (MAS/HPS) support the concept of human granulocytic anaplasmosis as an immunopathologic disease. MAS/HPS are related to defective cytotoxic lymphocytes that ordinarily diminish inflammation. Pilot studies in mice show cytotoxic lymphocyte activation with A. phagocytophilum infection, yet suppression of cytotoxic responses from both NKT and CD8 cells, consistent with the development of MAS/HPS. Whether severity relates to microbial factors or genetically determined diversity in human immune and inflammatory response needs more investigation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We conducted a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial to establish the efficacy of atovaquone-proguanil to prevent malaria with the goal of simulating weekly dosing in a human Plasmodium falciparum challenge model.
Thirty volunteers randomly received 1 of the following dose regimens: (1) 250 milligrams of atovaquone and 100 milligrams of proguanil (250/100 milligrams) 1 day prior to infectious mosquito challenge (day -1), (2) 250/100 milligrams on day 4 after challenge, (3) 250/100 milligrams on day -7, (4) 500 milligrams of atovaquone and 200 milligrams of proguanil (500/200 milligrams) on day -7 or, (5) 1000 milligrams of atovaquone and 400 milligrams of proguanil (1000/400 milligrams) on day -7. All regimens included matching placebo such that all volunteers received identical pill numbers. Six volunteers served as open-label infectivity controls. Volunteers underwent mosquito sporozoite challenge with P. falciparum 3D7 strain. Follow-up consisted of serial microscopy and close clinical monitoring for 90 days.
Six of 6 infectivity controls developed parasitemia as expected. Two of 5 evaluable volunteers receiving 250/100 milligrams 7 days prior to challenge and 1 of 6 volunteers receiving 1000/400 milligrams 7 days prior to challenge were microscopically diagnosed with malaria. All other volunteers were protected. Atovaquone exposure (area under the curve) during liver stage development was low in 2 of 3 volunteers with prophylactic failure (423 and 199 ng/mL × days compared with a mean for protected volunteers of 1903 ng/mL × days), as was peak concentration (165 and 81 ng/mL compared with a mean of 594 ng/mL in volunteers with prophylactic success). Elimination half-life was short in volunteers with prophylactic failure (2.4, 2.0, and 3.3 days compared with a mean of 4.1 days in volunteers with prophylactic success).
Single-dose atovaquone-proguanil provides effective malaria chemoprophylaxis against P. falciparum challenge at dosing intervals supportive of weekly dosing. Postexposure prophylaxis 4 days after challenge was 100% effective.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To determine the proportion of fevers caused by leptospirosis, we obtained serum specimens and epidemiologic and clinical data from patients in Galle, Sri Lanka, March-October 2007. Immunoglobulin M ELISA was performed on paired serum specimens to diagnose acute (seroconversion or 4-fold titer rise) or past (titer without rise) leptospirosis and seroprevalence (acute). We compared (individually) the diagnostic yield of acute-phase specimens and clinical impression with paired specimens for acute leptospirosis. Of 889 patients with paired specimens, 120 had acute leptosoirosis and 241 had past leptospirosis. The sensitivity and specificity of acute-phase serum specimens were 17.5% (95% confidence interval [CI] 11.2%-25.5%) and 69.2% (95% CI 65.5%-72.7%), respectively, and of clinical impression 22.9% (95% CI 15.4%-32.0%) and 91.7% (95% CI 89.2%-93.8%), respectively. For identifying acute leptospirosis, clinical impression is insensitive, and immunoglobulin M results are more insensitive and costly. Rapid, pathogen-based tests for early diagnosis are needed.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Advocacy for Lyme disease has become an increasingly important part of an antiscience movement that denies both the viral cause of AIDS and the benefits of vaccines and that supports unproven (sometimes dangerous) alternative medical treatments. Some activists portray Lyme disease, a geographically limited tick-borne infection, as a disease that is insidious, ubiquitous, difficult to diagnose, and almost incurable; they also propose that the disease causes mainly non-specific symptoms that can be treated only with long-term antibiotics and other unorthodox and unvalidated treatments. Similar to other antiscience groups, these advocates have created a pseudoscientific and alternative selection of practitioners, research, and publications and have coordinated public protests, accused opponents of both corruption and conspiracy, and spurred legislative efforts to subvert evidence-based medicine and peer-reviewed science. The relations and actions of some activists, medical practitioners, and commercial bodies involved in Lyme disease advocacy pose a threat to public health.
The Lancet Infectious Diseases 09/2011; 11(9):713-9. · 19.97 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Spotted fever is a disease caused by bacteria from the genus Rickettsia of the spotted fever group (SFG). Rickettsia rickettsii is likely the main agent of Brazilian spotted fever (BSF). With the objective of gathering information on the circulation of SFG rickettsiae in Londrina, Parana state, ticks from dogs and horses and also blood from dogs, horses and humans were collected in a neighbourhood of the city which presented potential for circulation of rickettsiae between hosts and vectors. Amblyomma cajennense, Dermacentor nitens, and Rhipicephalus sanguineus ticks were subjected to Polymerase Chain Reaction targeting a fragment of the Rickettsia gltA gene. This specific gene encodes the enzyme citrate synthase of Rickettsia spp., and results on all ticks were negative. Human and animal sera were tested by Indirect Immunofluorescence Assay in which R. rickettsii and R. parkeri were used as antigens. Sera from 4.7% human, 2.7% canine and 38.5% equine were positive for R. rickettsii. For R. parkeri, 0.9% human, 2.7% canine and 11.5% equine samples were positive. All samples reactive to R. parkeri also reacted to R. rickettsii. An epidemiological questionnaire was applied, but there were no statistically significant results. Comparison of our serological results with previous studies in Brazil, among BSF endemic and non-endemic areas, indicates that there is no established rickettsial infection in the study area, a statement corroborated with our molecular analysis. Nonetheless, as humans of the present study are highly exposed to tick infestations, health education within the population is needed to obtain efficient tick control.
Zoonoses and Public Health 09/2011; 58(6):416-23. · 2.09 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Accurate malaria diagnosis has dual roles in identification of symptomatic persons for effective malaria treatment and also enumeration of asymptomatic persons who contribute to the epidemiologic determinants of transmission. Three currently used diagnostic tests, microscopy, rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs), and real-time PCR, all have different sensitivities and specificities, which are parasite density dependent. Here, we compare their concordance among 451 febrile episodes in a cohort of 2,058 children and adults followed over 6 months in a region in central Tanzania with hypoendemic malaria. Microscopy, a histidine-rich protein-based RDT, and two different real-time PCR gene probes detected Plasmodium falciparum in 20, 54, 41, and 78 episodes of fever, respectively. They had complete concordance in only 9 episodes. Real-time PCR with an 18S probe was more sensitive than with a mitochondrial probe for cytochrome b despite higher copy numbers of mitochondrial DNA. Both PCR yields were increased 4-fold by glycogen/acetate precipitation with low-speed centrifugation. Duplicate PCR increases low-density malaria detection. RDT had the highest number of unique positives, presumably from persistent antigen despite the absence of parasites, although RDT did not detect 3 parasitemias with over 1,000 parasites/μl. In a latent class analysis, real-time PCR had significantly higher sensitivity than did microscopy or RDT. Agreement between real-time PCR, RDT, and microscopy was highest in March and April, when both the P. falciparum parasite rate and parasite densities are highest. Real-time PCR is more sensitive and specific than RDT and microscopy in low-prevalence, low-parasite-density settings.
Journal of clinical microbiology 08/2011; 49(11):3885-91. · 4.16 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Anaplasma phagocytophilum is the zoonotic cause of granulocytic anaplasmosis. We hypothesized that immune response, specifically gamma interferon (IFN-γ), plays a role in disease severity. To test this, horses were infected and IFNG expression was pharmacologically downregulated using corticosteroids. Eight horses were infected with A. phagocytophilum; 4 received dexamethasone on days 4 to 8 of infection. Clinical signs, hematologic parameters, and transcription of cytokine/chemokine genes were compared among treated and untreated horses. Infection was quantitated by msp2 real-time PCR and microscopy. As anticipated, there was significantly greater leukopenia, thrombocytopenia, and anemia in infected versus uninfected horses. The A. phagocytophilum load was higher for dexamethasone-treated horses. Dexamethasone reduced IFNG transcription by day 12 and IL-8 and IL-18 by days 7 to 9 and increased IL-4 on day 7. The ratio of IL-10 to IFNG was increased by dexamethasone on day 9. There were no hematologic differences between the infected horses. Dexamethasone suppression of proinflammatory response resulted in delayed infection-induced limb edema and decreased icterus, anorexia, and reluctance to move between days 6 and 9 and lower fever on day 7. These results underscore the utility of the equine model of granulocytic anaplasmosis and suggest that Th1 proinflammatory response plays a role in worsening disease severity and that disease severity can be decreased by modulating proinflammatory response. A role for Th1 response and macrophage activation in hematologic derangements elicited by A. phagocytophilum is not supported by these data and remains unproven.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) assay, with its advantages of simplicity, rapidity and cost effectiveness, has evolved as one of the most sensitive and specific methods for the detection of a broad range of pathogenic microorganisms including African trypanosomes. While many LAMP-based assays are sufficiently sensitive to detect DNA well below the amount present in a single parasite, the detection limit of the assay is restricted by the number of parasites present in the volume of sample assayed; i.e. 1 per µL or 10(3) per mL. We hypothesized that clinical sensitivities that mimic analytical limits based on parasite DNA could be approached or even obtained by simply adding detergent to the samples prior to LAMP assay.
For proof of principle we used two different LAMP assays capable of detecting 0.1 fg genomic DNA (0.001 parasite). The assay was tested on dilution series of intact bloodstream form Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense in human cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) or blood with or without the addition of the detergent Triton X-100 and 60 min incubation at ambient temperature. With human CSF and in the absence of detergent, the LAMP detection limit for live intact parasites using 1 µL of CSF as the source of template was at best 10(3) parasites/mL. Remarkably, detergent enhanced LAMP assay reaches sensitivity about 100 to 1000-fold lower; i.e. 10 to 1 parasite/mL. Similar detergent-mediated increases in LAMP assay analytical sensitivity were also found using DNA extracted from filter paper cards containing blood pretreated with detergent before card spotting or blood samples spotted on detergent pretreated cards.
This simple procedure for the enhanced detection of live African trypanosomes in biological fluids by LAMP paves the way for the adaptation of LAMP for the economical and sensitive diagnosis of other protozoan parasites and microorganisms that cause diseases that plague the developing world.