[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The role of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) in the exacerbation of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is still uncertain. We prospectively investigated the presence of EBV and HCMV infection in both epithelial and immune cells of colonic mucosa of IBD patients, both refractory and responders to standard therapies, in comparison with patients suffering from irritable bowel syndrome who were considered as controls, by using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction, immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization, in an attempt to assess viral localization, DNA load, life cycle phase and possible correlation with disease activity indexes. We obtained clear evidence of the presence of high DNA loads of both viruses in either enterocytes or immune cells of refractory IBD patients, whereas we observed low levels in the responder group and an absence of detectable copies in all cell populations of controls. Remarkably, the values of EBV and HCMV DNA in inflamed mucosa were invariably higher than in non-inflamed areas in both IBD groups, and the EBV DNA loads in the cell populations of diseased mucosa of refractory IBD patients positively correlated with the severity of mucosal damage and clinical indexes of activity. Moreover, EBV infection resulted the most prevalent either alone or in combination with HCMV, while immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization did not allow us to distinguish between the different phases of viral life cycle. Finally, as regards treatment, these novel findings could pave the way for the use of new antiviral molecules in the treatment of this condition.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2015 · Immunologic Research
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In 2013, the majority of the WHO/EUR countries reported an annual incidence of >1 case per one million population indicating that the elimination target is far from being met. Thus, there is the urgent need to uncover and analyze chains of measles virus (MV) transmission with the objective to identify vulnerable groups and avoid possible routes of introduction of MV variants in the European population. The analysis of molecular epidemiology of MV B3 strains identified in 2014 has shown that 4 different variants co-circulated in Italy, including the strain that caused a cruise-line ship outbreak at the beginning of the year. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2015 · Journal of Medical Virology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The PA protein of Influenza A virus (IAV) encoded by segment 3 acts as a specialized RNA endonuclease in the transcription
of the viral genome. The same genomic segment encodes for a second shorter protein, termed PA-X, with the first 191 N-terminal
aminoacids (aa) identical to PA, but with a completely different C-ter domain of 61 aa, due to a ribosomal frameshifting.
In addition, it has been shown that several IAV isolates encode for a naturally truncated PA-X variant, PAXΔC20, missing the
last 20 aa. The biochemical properties of PA-X and PAXΔC20 have been poorly investigated so far. Here, we have carried out
an enzymatic characterization of PA-X and its naturally deleted form, in comparison with PA from the human IAV strain A/WSN/33
(H1N1). Our results showed, to the best of our knowledge for the first time, that PA-X possesses an endonucleolytic activity.
Both PA and PA-X preferentially cut single stranded RNA regions, but with some differences. In addition, we showed that PAXΔC20
has severely reduced nuclease activity. These results point to a previously undetected role of the last C-ter 20 aa for the
catalytic activity of PA-X and support distinct roles for these proteins in the viral life cycle.
Full-text · Article · Sep 2015 · Nucleic Acids Research
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Influenza A viruses are characterised by their rapid evolution, and the appearance of point mutations in the viral hemagglutinin (HA) domain causes seasonal epidemics. The A(H3N2) virus has higher mutation rate than the A(H1N1) virus. The aim of this study was to reconstruct the evolutionary dynamics of the A(H3N2) viruses circulating in Italy between 2004 and 2012 in the light of the forces driving viral evolution.
Phylodinamic analyses were made using a Bayesian method, and codon-specific positive selection acting on the HA coding sequence was evaluated.
Global and local phylogenetic analyses showed that the Italian strains collected between 2004 and 2012 grouped into five significant Italian clades that included viral sequences circulating in different epidemic seasons. The time of the most recent common ancestor (tMRCA) of the tree root was between May and December 2003. The tMRCA estimates of the major clades suggest that the origin of a new viral strain precedes the effective circulation of the strain in the Italian population by 6-31 months, thus supporting a central role of global migration in seeding the epidemics in Italy. The study of selection pressure showed that four codons were under positive selection, three of which were located in antigenic sites. Analysis of population dynamics showed the alternation of periods of exponential growth followed by a decrease in the effective number of infections corresponding to epidemic and inter-epidemic seasons.
Our analyses suggest that a complex interaction between the immune status of the population, migrations, and a few selective sweeps drive the influenza A(H3N2) virus evolution. Our findings suggest the possibility of the year-round survival of local strains even in temperate zones, a hypothesis that warrants further investigation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
Direct-acting antiviral agents (DAAs) combined with pegylated-interferon (PegIFN) and ribavirin (RBV) are still a standard treatment in patients with genotype 1HCV infection. However, virologic response could be impaired by baseline or early selection of resistant HCV strains.
The aim of this study was to determine the onset and persistence of resistance-associated mutations (RAMs) in the NS3 and NS5B genes of DAA-naïve patients failing treatment.
Direct sequencing of HCV NS3 was performed in 49 DAA-naïve patients with HCV genotype 1 infection.
Eight out of 23 patients (34.7%) failed PegIFN/RBV/telaprevir during the 12-weeks of therapy. Treatment failure was associated with the development of RAMs at amino-acids 36,54,80 and 155 of the HCV protease in 6/8 patients (75%). Among patients treated with PegIFN/RBV/boceprevir treatment, 4/18 (22.2%) failed therapy. Of these, 2 (50%) carried virus strains which developed a RAM at amino-acids 54 and 155. Among HCV strains with RAMs, 7 belonged to genotype 1a and 1 to 1b. Finally, in 6/10 (60%) patients, drug-resistant variants could still be detected for up to 3-7 months after stopping therapy.
A higher rate (p=0.49) of treatment failure was observed in patients receiving telaprevir- compared to the boceprevir-based combination. In addition, compared with genotype 1b, genotype 1a was associated with higher rates (p=0.01) of treatment failure due to virus resistant strains. Resistance testing at baseline and during DAA treatment should be taken into consideration when treating patients with new HCV combination therapies.
No preview · Article · Sep 2015 · Journal of clinical virology: the official publication of the Pan American Society for Clinical Virology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Since December 2013, chikungunya virus (CHIKV) spread in many countries of the Western Hemisphere, and during the last year some cases of infected European travelers, coming back from the Caribbean, have been reported. The risk of acquiring severe travel-related illness is higher in immunocompromised subjects, such as patient with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection or solid organ transplant recipients. We reported the first case, to our knowledge, of CHIKV infection in an HIV-infected kidney transplant recipient.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To evaluate the role of human bocavirus (hBoV) as a causative agent of respiratory disease, the importance of the viral load in respiratory disease type and severity and the pathogenicity of the different hBoV species, we studied all hBoV-positive nasopharyngeal samples collected from children who attended an emergency room for a respiratory tract infection during three winters (2009-2010, 2011-2012, and 2013-2014). Human bocavirus was detected using the respiratory virus panel fast assay and real-time PCR. Of the 1,823 nasopharyngeal samples, 104 (5.7%) were positive for hBoV; a similar prevalence was observed in all three periods studied. Among hBoV-infected children, 53.8% were between 1-2 years old, and hBoV was detected alone in 57/104 (54.8%) cases. All of the detected hBoV strains belonged to genotype 1. The median hBoV load was significantly higher in samples containing strains with both the N546H and T590S mutations compared to other samples (p<0.05). Children with a single hBoV-1 infection more frequently had upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs) than those who were co-infected (37.0% vs 17.8%, respectively, p = 0.04). The duration of hospitalization was longer among children with high viral loads than that observed among children with low viral loads (8.0 ±2.2 days vs 5.0 ±1.5 days, respectively, p = 0.03), and the use of aerosol therapy was more frequent among children with high viral loads than among those with low viral loads (77.1% vs 55.7%, respectively, p = 0.04). This study shows that hBoV is a relatively uncommon but stable infectious agent in children and that hBoV1 seems to be the only strain detected in Italy in respiratory samples. From a clinical point of view, hBoV1 seems to have in the majority of healthy children relatively low clinical relevance. Moreover, the viral load influences only the duration of hospitalization and the use of aerosol therapy without any association with the site of the respiratory disease.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Infection and sepis are major health problems in cancer patients. There is a need for the identification and validation of biomarkers to improve thier early diagnosis and treatment. Emerging evidence showed that neutrophil CD64 is a highly sensitive and specific marker for systemic infection and sepis in critically ill patiens with variuous diseases but data on patients bearing solid tumors are sill lacking. Using a dedicated flow cytometric assay we evaluated neutrophil CD64 expression in patients with advanced cancer without active infections to verify if it could be utilized as a reliable biomarker of early infections also in oncologic patients.
No preview · Article · Jul 2015 · The New Microbiologica: official journal of the Italian Society for Medical Virology (SIVIM)
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Because swine influenza virus infection is seldom diagnosed in humans, its frequency might be underestimated. We report a immunocompromised hematologic patient with swine influenza A(H3N2) virus in 2014 in Italy. Local pigs were the source of this human infection.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Given the difficulty in establishing the exact time of HCMV transmission from mother to fetus, HCMV intrauterine infection was investigated in 46 infected fetuses/newborns by correlating maternal and fetal parameters with clinical outcome according to the time interval between the onset of maternal infection and prenatal diagnosis. In detail, 17/28 (60.7%) asymptomatic and 18/18 (100%) symptomatic fetuses/newborns were infected as a consequence of a primary maternal HCMV infection acquired ≤8 weeks of gestational age, while 11/28 (39.3%) asymptomatic and 0/18 (0%) symptomatic fetuses/newborns were congenitally infected when maternal infection was acquired >8 weeks'gestation. Symptomatic fetal infections appeared to be associated with a maternal primary infection occurring at ≤ 8 weeks' gestation. Cordocentesis performed at 20 weeks' gestation should be restricted to high risk infected fetuses. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
No preview · Article · Jun 2015 · Journal of Medical Virology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In order to investigate the genetic diversity and patterns of the co-circulating genotypes of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and their possible relationships with the severity of RSV infection, we studied all of the RSV-positive nasopharyngeal samples collected from children during five consecutive winters (2009-2010, 2010-2011, 2011-2012, 2012-2013 and 2013-2014). The RSVs were detected using the respiratory virus panel fast assay and single-tube RT-PCR, their nucleotides were sequenced, and they were tested for positive selection. Of the 165 positive samples, 131 (79.4%) carried RSV-A and 34 (20.6%) RSV-B; both groups co-circulated in all of the study periods, with RSV-A predominating in all the seasons except for winter 2010-2011, which had a predominance of RSV-B. Phylogenetic analysis of the RSV-A sequences identified genotypes NA1 and ON1, the second replacing the first during the last two years of the study period. The RSV-B belonged to genotypes BA9 and BA10. BA9 was detected in all the years of the study whereas BA only desultorily. Comparison of the subjects infected by RSV-A and RSV-B types did not reveal any significant differences, but the children infected by genotype A/NA1 more frequently had lower respiratory tract infections (p<0.0001) and required hospitalisation (p = 0.007) more often than those infected by genotype A/ON1. These findings show that RSV has complex patterns of circulation characterised by the periodical replacement of the predominant genotypes, and indicate that the circulation and pathogenic role of the different RSV strains should be investigated as each may have a different impact on the host. A knowledge of the correlations between types, genotypes and disease severity may also be important in order to be able to include the more virulent strains in future vaccines.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the summer of 2013, an outbreak of West Nile virus (WNV) infection occurred in the Lombardy, a region of northern Italy to the west of districts affected by WNV in previous years. Eighteen cases of human WNV infection were diagnosed-10 cases of acute WNV neuroinvasive disease and eight of WNV fever. In the same period, WNV was detected in birds (one crow) in horses (11 cases) and from mosquitoes (six pools).