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There is no suitable vaccine against human visceral leishmaniasis (VL) and available drugs are toxic and/or present high cost. In this context, diagnostic tools should be improved for clinical management and epidemiological evaluation of disease. However, the variable sensitivity and/or specificity of the used antigens are limitations, showing the necessity to identify new molecules to be tested in a more sensitive and specific serology. In the present study, an immunoproteomics approach was performed in Leishmania infantum promastigotes and amastigotes employing sera samples from VL patients. Aiming to avoid undesired cross-reactivity in the serological assays, sera from Chagas disease patients and healthy subjects living in the endemic region of disease were also used in immunoblottings. The most reactive spots for VL samples were selected, and 29 and 21 proteins were identified in the promastigote and amastigote extracts, respectively. Two of them, endonuclease III and GTP-binding protein, were cloned, expressed, purified and tested in ELISA experiments against a large serological panel, and results showed high sensitivity and specificity values for the diagnosis of disease. In conclusion, the identified proteins could be considered in future studies as candidate antigens for the serodiagnosis of human VL.
Frailty is associated with cognitive decline in older adults. However, the mechanisms explaining this relationship are poorly understood. We hypothesized that sleep quality may mediate the relationship between frailty and cognition.
154 participants aged between 50-90 years (mean = 69.1 years, SD = 9.2 years) from the McKnight Brain Registry were included.
Participants underwent a full neuropsychological evaluation, frailty and subjective sleep quality assessments. Direct relationships between frailty and cognitive function were assessed using linear regression models. Statistical mediation of these relationships by sleep quality was assessed using nonparametric bootstrapping procedures.
Frailty severity predicted weaker executive function (B = −2.77, β = −0.30, 95% CI = −4.05 – −1.29) and processing speed (B = −1.57, β = −0.17, 95% CI = −3.10 – −0.16). Poor sleep quality predicted poorer executive function (B = −0.47, β = −0.21, 95% CI = −0.79 – −0.08), processing speed (B = −0.64, β = −0.28, 95% CI = −0.98 – −0.31), learning (B = −0.42, β = −0.19, 95% CI = −0.76 – −0.05) and delayed recall (B = −0.41, β = −0.16, 95% CI = −0.80 – −0.31). Poor sleep quality mediated the relationships between frailty severity and executive function (B = −0.66, β = −0.07, 95% CI = −1.48 – −0.39), learning (B = −0.85, β = −0.07, 95% CI = −1.85 – −0.12), delayed recall (B = −0.47, β = −0.08, 95% CI = −2.12 – −0.39) and processing speed (B = −0.90, β = −0.09, 95% CI = −1.85 – −0.20).
Relationships between frailty severity and several cognitive outcomes were significantly mediated by poor sleep quality. Interventions to improve sleep quality may be promising avenues to prevent cognitive decline in frail older adults.
Disease surveillance in wildlife populations presents a logistical challenge, yet is critical in gaining a deeper understanding of the presence and impact of wildlife pathogens. Erinaceus coronavirus (EriCoV), a clade C Betacoronavirus, was first described in Western European hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus) in Germany. Here, our objective was to determine whether EriCoV is present, and if it is associated with disease, in Great Britain (GB). An EriCoV-specific BRYT-Green® real-time reverse transcription PCR assay was used to test 351 samples of faeces or distal large intestinal tract contents collected from casualty or dead hedgehogs from a wide area across GB. Viral RNA was detected in 10.8% (38) samples; however, the virus was not detected in any of the 61 samples tested from Scotland. The full genome sequence of the British EriCoV strain was determined using next generation sequencing; it shared 94% identity with a German EriCoV sequence. Multivariate statistical models using hedgehog case history data, faecal specimen descriptions and post-mortem examination findings found no significant associations indicative of disease associated with EriCoV in hedgehogs. These findings indicate that the Western European hedgehog is a reservoir host of EriCoV in the absence of apparent disease.
In the current study, phage-exposed mimotopes as targets against tegumentary leishmaniasis (TL) were selected by means of bio-panning cycles employing sera of TL patients and healthy subjects, besides the immune stimulation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) collected from untreated and treated TL patients and healthy subjects. The clones were evaluated regarding their specific interferon-γ (IFN-γ) and interleukin-4 (IL-4) production in the in vitro cultures, and selectivity and specificity values were calculated, and those presenting the best results were selected for the in vivo experiments. Two clones, namely A4 and A8, were identified and used in immunization protocols from BALB/c mice to protect against Leishmania amazonensis infection. Results showed a polarized Th1 response generated after vaccination, being based on significantly higher levels of IFN-γ, IL-2, IL-12, tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF); which were associated with lower production of specific IL-4, IL-10 and immunoglobulin G1 (IgG1) antibodies. Vaccinated mice presented significant reductions in the parasite load in the infected tissue and distinct organs, when compared with controls. In conclusion, we presented a strategy to identify new mimotopes able to induce Th1 response in PBMCs from TL patients and healthy subjects, and that were successfully used to protect against L. amazonensis infection.
The island of Gran Canaria is regularly affected by dust falls due to its proximity to the Saharan desert. Climatic oscillations may affect the Saharan dust input to the island. Geochemical, mineralogical, and textural analysis was performed on a well-developed and representative early Pleistocene paleosol to examine Saharan dust contribution to Gran Canaria. Significant and variable Saharan dust content was identified in addition to weathering products such as iron oxides and clay minerals. Variations in quartz and iron oxide concentrations in the paleosol likely reflect different Saharan dust input in more/less-contrasted rhexistasic/biostatic climatic conditions. Linking the quartz content in Canarian soils, the Ingenio paleosol, and two Canarian loess-like deposits to different ages from the Quaternary, we hypothesized that the dust input should be lower (about 33–38%) throughout the early to middle Pleistocene than during the late Quaternary. The Saharan dust input to the Gran Canaria profile in the Pleistocene persisted in spite of climatic variations.
The goal of this study was to analyse the spatial pattern of tuberculosis (TB) mortality using different approaches, namely: mortality rates (MR), spatial relative risks (RR) and Bayesian rates (Global and Local) and their association with human development index (HDI), Global and its three dimensions: education, longevity and income. An ecological study was developed in Curitiba, Brazil based on data from Mortality Information System (2008–2014). Spatial scan statistics were used to compute RR and identify high-risk clusters. Bivariate Local Indicator of Spatial Associations was used to assess associations. MR ranged between 0 and 25.24/100.000 with a mean (standard deviation) of 1.07 (2.66). Corresponding values for spatial RR were 0–27.46, 1.2 (2.99) and for Bayesian rates (Global and Local) were 0.49–1.66, 0.90 (0.19) and 0–6.59, 0.98 (0.80). High-risk clusters were identified for all variables, except for HDI-income and Global Bayesian rate. Significant negative spatial relations were found between MR and income; between RR and HDI global, longevity and income; and Bayesian rates with all variables. Some areas presented different patterns: low social development/low risk and high risk/high development. These results demonstrate that social development variables should be considered, in mortality due TB.
We prove that for a wide family of non-uniformly hyperbolic maps and hyperbolic potentials we have equilibrium stability, i.e. the equilibrium states depend continuously on the dynamics and the potential. For this we deduce that the topological pressure is continuous as a function of the dynamics and the potential. We also prove the existence of finitely many ergodic equilibrium states for non-uniformly hyperbolic skew products and hyperbolic Hölder continuous potentials. Finally, we show that these equilibrium states vary continuously in the
topology within such systems.
In this study, a Leishmania hypothetical protein, LiHyS, was evaluated regarding its antigenicity, immunogenicity and protective efficacy against visceral leishmaniasis (VL). Regarding antigenicity, immunoblottings and an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay using human and canine sera showed high sensitivity and specificity values for the recombinant protein (rLiHyS) in the diagnosis of VL. When evaluating the immunogenicity of LiHyS, which is possibly located in the parasite's flagellar pocket, proliferative assays using peripheral blood mononuclear cells from healthy subjects or VL patients showed a high proliferative index in both individuals, when compared to the results obtained using rA2 or unstimulated cultures. Later, rLiHyS/saponin was inoculated in BALB/c mice, which were then challenged with Leishmania infantum promastigotes. The vaccine induced an interferon-γ, interleukin (IL)-12 and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor production, which was maintained after infection and which was associated with high nitrite and IgG2a antibody levels, as well as low IL-4 and IL-10 production. Significant reductions in the parasite load in liver, spleen, bone marrow and draining lymph nodes were found in these animals. In this context, the present study shows that the rLiHyS has the capacity to be evaluated as a diagnostic marker or vaccine candidate against VL.
Gorgona National Park (GNP) protects the only known feeding aggregation of juvenile green turtles Chelonia mydas on the Pacific coast of Colombia. This study was undertaken to compare the diet of the two known C. mydas morphotypes (black and yellow), and to determine availability, selectivity, and quality of food resources at GNP. Oesophageal lavages and isotopic analysis of epidermal tissue were performed on turtles captured between February and December 2012. Food quantity was estimated by determining per cent cover in quadrats randomly placed on the reefs. Food quality of algae species was estimated by proximate analysis. Food selection was estimated using Ivlev's electivity index, and the trophic level of sea turtles at GNP was calculated. A total of 30 black (mean = 63.9 cm SCL) and 47 yellow (mean = 54.3 cm SCL) morphotype turtles were lavaged. Eight invertebrate and nine algae food items were identified in oesophageal contents. The most frequently found and abundant items in lavages were terrestrial plants, plastic fibres, invertebrates and algae. A total of 27 items, including 15 algae species, were identified on the reefs, of which Cladophora sp. was selected by black turtles, and Hypnea pannosa and Dictyota sp. were selected by both morphotypes; the latter species had the highest protein and lipid content, and low lignin content. A trophic level of 3.5 for black and 3.4 for yellow turtles was calculated. No significant difference in diet between the two morphotypes could be determined through lavage or isotopic analysis.
Probiotic administration can be a nutritional strategy to improve the immune response and growth performance of fish. The current study aimed to evaluate the effects of a probiotic blend (Bacillus sp., Pediococcus sp., Enterococcus sp., Lactobacillus sp.) as a dietary supplement on growth performance, feed utilization, innate immune and oxidative stress responses and intestinal morphology in juvenile Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus). The probiotic was incorporated into a basal diet at three concentrations: 0 g/kg (A0: control), 3 g/kg (A1: 1.0×106 colony forming unit (CFU)/g) and 6 g/kg (A2: 2.3×106 CFU/g diet). After 8 weeks of probiotic feeding, weight and specific growth rate where significantly higher in fish-fed A1 diet than in fish-fed A0. Alternative complement in plasma was significantly enhanced in fish-fed A2 when compared with A0. The hepatic antioxidant indicators were not affected by probiotic supplementation. Villi height and goblet cell counts increased significantly in the intestine of fish-fed A1 and A2 diets compared with A0. The dietary probiotic supplementation was maintained until 20 weeks of feeding. Then the selected immune parameters, digestive enzymes and apparent digestibility of diets were studied. No effect of probiotic feeding was observed after that longer period supplementation. The dietary supplementation of mixed species probiotic may constitute a valuable nutritional approach towards a sustainable tilapia aquaculture. The improvement of the immune responses and intestinal morphology play an important role in increasing growth performance, nutrient absorption and disease resistance in fish, important outcomes in such a competitive and developing aquaculture sector.