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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.
Background: Hereditary transthyretin-mediated (hATTR) amyloidosis a hereditary, multi-systemic and life-threatening disease resulting in neuropathy and cardiomyopathy. In the APOLLO study, patisiran, an investigational RNAi therapeutic targeting hepatic TTR production resulted in significant improvement in neuropathy and QoL compared to placebo and was generally well tolerated. Methods: APOLLO, a Phase 3 study of patisiran vs. placebo (NCT01960348) prespecified a cardiac subpopulation (n=126 of 225 total) that included patients with baseline left ventricular (LV) wall thickness ≥ 13mm and no medical history of aortic valve disease or hypertension. Cardiac measures included structure and function by electrocardiography, changes in NT-proBNP and 10-MWT gait speed. Results: At 18 months, patisiran treatment resulted in a mean reduction in LV wall thickness of 1 mm (p=0.017) compared to baseline, which was associated with significant improvements relative to placebo in LV end diastolic volume (+8.31 mL, p=0.036), global longitudinal strain (-1.37%, p=0.015) and NT-proBNP (55% reduction, p=7.7 x 10-8) (Figure 1). Gait speed was also improved relative to placebo (+0.35 m/sec, p=7.4 x 10-9). Rate of death or hospitalization was lower with patisiran. mNIS+7 results in the cardiac subpopulation will also be presented. Conclusions: These data suggest patisiran has the potential to halt or reverse cardiac manifestations of hATTR amyloidosis.
The fraction of organic matter present affects the fragmentation behavior of sialoliths; thus, pretherapeutic information on the degree of mineralization is relevant for a correct selection of lithotripsy procedures. This work proposes a methodology for in vivo characterization of salivary calculi in the pretherapeutic context. Sialoliths were characterized in detail by X-ray computed microtomography (μCT) in combination with atomic emission spectroscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, and transmission electron microscopy. Correlative analysis of the same specimens was performed by in vivo and ex vivo helical computed tomography (HCT) and ex vivo μCT. The mineral matter in the sialoliths consisted essentially of apatite (89 vol%) and whitlockite (11 vol%) with average density of 1.8 g/cm3. In hydrated conditions, the mineral mass prevailed with 53 ± 13 wt%, whereas the organic matter, with a density of 1.2 g/cm3, occupied 65 ± 10% of the sialoliths’ volume. A quantitative relation between sialoliths mineral density and X-ray attenuation is proposed for both HCT and μCT.
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.
Leprosy still represents a serious health problem in a number of countries, including Brazil. Although leprosy has been associated with poverty for a long time, it is still difficult to accurately define this relationship. Here, we evaluated in an endemic municipality the progress from 1995 to 2015 of epidemiological indicators to establish if there were any strong associations between social indicators and the occurrence of leprosy. An ecological study was conducted using the SINAN database (Brazilian leprosy-national notifiable diseases information system) in combination with georeferencing of leprosy cases. The georeferencing used the ArcGis programme and occurrence of cases was evaluated in relation to the Health Vulnerability Index (HVI), an indicator that categorises socio-economic and sanitation factors. The data identified a marked decrease in the overall prevalence of leprosy, a reduction in the new case-detection rate and a reduction in the number of cases with grade 2 disabilities (albeit with transient peaks in 2007 and 2015). Logistic regression analysis showed association of detection rates with elevated HVI. Thus, while the epidemiological indicators point to the elimination of leprosy, there is evidence of hidden cases and an association between higher rates of leprosy detection and greater social vulnerability remain.
Recent open-label trials show that psychedelics, such as ayahuasca, hold promise as fast-onset antidepressants in treatment-resistant depression.
To test the antidepressant effects of ayahuasca, we conducted a parallel-arm, double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial in 29 patients with treatment-resistant depression. Patients received a single dose of either ayahuasca or placebo. We assessed changes in depression severity with the Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) and the Hamilton Depression Rating scale at baseline, and at 1 (D1), 2 (D2), and 7 (D7) days after dosing.
We observed significant antidepressant effects of ayahuasca when compared with placebo at all-time points. MADRS scores were significantly lower in the ayahuasca group compared with placebo at D1 and D2 (p = 0.04), and at D7 (p < 0.0001). Between-group effect sizes increased from D1 to D7 (D1: Cohen's d = 0.84; D2: Cohen's d = 0.84; D7: Cohen's d = 1.49). Response rates were high for both groups at D1 and D2, and significantly higher in the ayahuasca group at D7 (64% v. 27%; p = 0.04). Remission rate showed a trend toward significance at D7 (36% v. 7%, p = 0.054).
To our knowledge, this is the first controlled trial to test a psychedelic substance in treatment-resistant depression. Overall, this study brings new evidence supporting the safety and therapeutic value of ayahuasca, dosed within an appropriate setting, to help treat depression. This study is registered at http://clinicaltrials.gov (NCT02914769).
Monosodium l-glutamate (MSG)-induced obesity is a useful model for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) studies. However, there is limited data on its initiation and progression. Thus, this study aimed to characterize the onset of metabolic and histopathological features of NAFLD and its progression to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) in this model. To perform this study, Swiss mice pups were neonatally injected with MSG (4 g/kg/day, s.c.) or equiosmolar saline and followed up to 60, 120 or 180 days old. At each age, blood, liver, as well as periepididymal and retroperitoneal fat pads were collected for morphometric, biochemical and histological analyses, the later according to NAFLD activity score. MSG mice presented hypertriglyceridemia and central obesity at all ages, but peripheral insulin-resistance was verified only in 120- and 180-day-old mice. Hepatic total fat and triglycerides content were higher in MSG mice at all ages. Accordingly, histopathological analysis showed that 60-day-old MSG mice had microvesicular steatosis with occasional ballooning, which evolved into NASH from 120 days old. Retroperitoneal fat accumulation was the only variable to independently correlate with NAFLD activity total score upon multivariate analysis (R2=71.45%). There were no differences in IL-6 and TNF-α serum levels among groups. Overall, this study shows that NAFLD is a precocious outcome in MSG-obese mice, whereas the period comprised between 60 and 120 days old seems to be a crucial metabolic window for comprehending pathophysiological events involved in NAFLD-to-NASH progression in this model.
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.
American tegumentary leishmaniasis is caused by different species of Leishmania. This protozoan employs several mechanisms to subvert the microbicidal activity of macrophages and, given the limited efficacy of current therapies, the development of alternative treatments is essential. Animal venoms are known to exhibit a variety of pharmacological activities, including antiparasitic effects. Crotoxin (CTX) is the main component of Crotalus durissus terrificus venom, and it has several biological effects. Nevertheless, there is no report of CTX activity during macrophage – Leishmania interactions. Thus, the main objective of this study was to evaluate whether CTX has a role in macrophage M1 polarization during Leishmania infection murine macrophages, Leishmania amazonensis promastigotes and L. amazonensis-infected macrophages were challenged with CTX. MTT [3-(4,5dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyl tetrasodium bromide] toxicity assays were performed on murine macrophages, and no damage was observed in these cells. Promastigotes, however, were affected by treatment with CTX (IC50 = 22·86 µg mL−1) as were intracellular amastigotes. Macrophages treated with CTX also demonstrated increased reactive oxygen species production. After they were infected with Leishmania, macrophages exhibited an increase in nitric oxide production that converged into an M1 activation profile, as suggested by their elevated production of the cytokines interleukin-6 and tumour necrosis factor-α and changes in their morphology. CTX was able to reverse the L. amazonensis-mediated inhibition of macrophage immune responses and is capable of polarizing macrophages to the M1 profile, which is associated with a better prognosis for cutaneous leishmaniasis treatment.
The present study aims to assess the effects of pig’s genotype (lean v. fatty) and dietary protein level (control v. reduced) on intramuscular fat (IMF) content, fatty acid composition and fibre profile of psoas major, a representative red muscle in pig’s carcass scarcely studied relative to white longissimus lumborum. The experiment was conducted on 40 intact male pigs (20 Alentejana purebred and 20 Large White×Landrace×Pietrain crossbred) from 60 to 93 kg of live weight. Pigs were divided and allocated to four dietary groups: control protein diet equilibrated for lysine (17.5% of CP and 0.7% of lysine) and reduced protein diet (RPD) not equilibrated for lysine (13.1% of crude protein and 0.4% of lysine) within a 2×2 factorial arrangement (two genotypes and two diets). Alentejana purebred had higher IMF content (15.7%) and monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) (8.9%), whereas crossbred pigs had higher PM weight (46.3%) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) (20.1%). The genotype also affected colour with higher lightness (15.1%) and yellowness (33.8%) and lower redness (9.9%) scores in crossbred pigs. In line with this, fatty pigs displayed more oxidative fibres (29.5%), whilst lean pigs had more glycolytic (54.4%). Relative to fatty acids, RPD increased MUFA (5.2%) and SFA (3.2%) but decreased PUFA (14.8%). Ultimately, RPD increased IMF content (15.7%) in the red muscle under study, with no impact on glycolytic to oxidative fibre type transformation.
Lithotripsy methods show relatively low efficiency in the fragmentation of sialoliths compared with the success rates achieved in the destruction of renal calculi. However, the information available on the mechanical behavior of sialoliths is limited and their apparently tougher response is not fully understood. This work evaluates the hardness and Young’s modulus of sialoliths at different scales and analyzes specific damage patterns induced in these calcified structures by ultrasonic vibrations, pneumoballistic impacts, shock waves, and laser ablation. A clear correlation between local mechanical properties and ultrastructure/chemistry has been established: sialoliths are composite materials consisting of hard and soft components of mineralized and organic nature, respectively. Ultrasonic and pneumoballistic reverberations damage preferentially highly mineralized regions, leaving relatively unaffected the surrounding organic matter. In contrast, shock waves leach the organic component and lead to erosion of the overall structure. Laser ablation destroys homogeneously the irradiated zones regardless of the mineralized/organic nature of the underlying ultrastructure; however, damage is less extensive than with mechanical methods. Overall, the present results show that composition and internal structure are key features behind sialoliths’ comminution behavior and that the organic matter contributes to reduce the therapeutic efficiency of lithotripsy methods.
This study was aimed to investigate associations between birth weight and multiple adiposity indicators in youth, and to examine potential mediating effects by biological maturation. This was a school-based study involving 981 Brazilian adolescents aged between 10 and 17 years. Birth weight was reported retrospectively by mothers. Maturation was estimated by age of peak height velocity. Adiposity indicators included body mass index (BMI), waist circumference and percent body fat estimated from triceps and subscapular skinfolds. Multilevel mediation analyses were performed using the Sobel test, adjusted for chronological age, gestational age, cardiorespiratory fitness and socio-economic status. Except for body fat in girls, biological maturation partly or fully mediated (P<0.05) positive relationships between birth weight with all other obesity indicators in both sexes with their respective values of indirect effects with 95% confidence intervals: BMI [boys: 0.44 (0.06–0.82); girls: 0.38 (0.13–0.64)], waist circumference [boys: 1.14 (0.22–2.05); girls: 0.87 (0.26–1.48)] and body fat [boys: 0.60 (0.13–1.07)]. To conclude, birth weight is associated with elevated obesity risk in adolescence and biological maturation seems to at least partly mediate this relationship.
Thanks to their point-like structure and to their lack of significant proper motion, quasars represent the ideal objects for modeling quasi-inertial directions in space. For that reason the present primary conventional reference frame, the ICRF-2, is constructed from the set of the celestial coordinates of a sample of extragalactic objects, whose the very large majority are quasars. Thus any newly discovered quasar must be considered as a potential future ideal astrometric marker. Therefore compiling all the recorded quasars at a given epoch looks as a useful task. This constitutes the aim of the LQAC (Large Quasar Astrometric Catalogue). We present here the contents of the future release of this catalogue quoted as the LQAC-4, insisting on the related strategy of compilation. Preliminary results concerning the cross-identification with the Gaia DR1 catalogue are emphasized
Parasites of the genera Plasmodium and Haemoproteus (Apicomplexa: Haemosporida) are a diverse group of pathogens that infect birds nearly worldwide. Despite their ubiquity, the ecological and evolutionary factors that shape the diversity and distribution of these protozoan parasites among avian communities and geographic regions are poorly understood. Based on a survey throughout the Neotropics of the haemosporidian parasites infecting manakins (Pipridae), a family of Passerine birds endemic to this region, we asked whether host relatedness, ecological similarity and geographic proximity structure parasite turnover between manakin species and local manakin assemblages. We used molecular methods to screen 1343 individuals of 30 manakin species for the presence of parasites. We found no significant correlations between manakin parasite lineage turnover and both manakin species turnover and geographic distance. Climate differences, species turnover in the larger bird community and parasite lineage turnover in non-manakin hosts did not correlate with manakin parasite lineage turnover. We also found no evidence that manakin parasite lineage turnover among host species correlates with range overlap and genetic divergence among hosts. Our analyses indicate that host switching (turnover among host species) and dispersal (turnover among locations) of haemosporidian parasites in manakins are not constrained at this scale.
The behavior of Active Regions (ARs) is directly related to the occurrence of some remarkable phenomena in the Sun such as solar flares or coronal mass ejections (CME). In this sense, changes in the magnetic field of the region can be used to uncover other relevant features like the evolution of the ARs magnetic structure and the plasma flow related to it. In this work we describe the evolution of the magnetic structure of the active region AR NOAA12443 observed from 2015/10/30 to 2015/11/10, which may be associated with several X-ray flares of classes C and M. The analysis is based on observations of the solar surface and atmosphere provided by HMI and AIA instruments on board of the SDO spacecraft. In order to investigate the magnetic energy buildup and release of the ARs, we shall employ potential and linear force free extrapolations based on the solar surface magnetic field distribution and the photospheric velocity fields.
We quantify the increasing use of complex mathematics and show that the increase is unique to economics in the social sciences. Donald F. Gordon hypothesized that mathematics in economics would most likely be useful in manipulating long chains of relationships, precisely in the instances where the theory was least likely to be valid. Time bedevils long chains of economic reasoning, because the ceteris paribus assumption requires the stability of all links. We find that the rate of hypothesis testing in articles citing mathematically complex articles is less than 2 percent and summarize a variety of tests and other evidence that supports Gordon’s hypothesis. A major factor in the rise in mathematical complexity may be the decline in comments, replies, and rejoinders debating earlier publications; the decline has been rapid, as editors have become increasingly “hostile” toward perspectives other than the ones they have previously published. We conclude by emphasizing that (1) prominent journals in economics are devoting more space to mathematically complex articles despite their inconsequential operational harvest; (2) the “appropriate” balance between mathematical complexity and operationalism, as well as the relative merits of “stylized facts” versus observational reality, should be considered in editorial decision making; and, finally, (3) the academic debate that addresses empirical replication and verification, the appropriateness of model formulation, and the crucial matters of history and circumstance, which are the measures of all research in the social sciences, is vital.
This paper describes the diversity of rodent fauna in an area endemic for hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome (HCPS) in Brazil, the population dynamics and the relationship of rodents with hantavirus in the Cerrado (savanna-like) biome. Additionally, an analysis is made of the partial S segment sequences of the hantaviruses obtained from serologically confirmed human HCPS cases and from rodent specimens. Rodents were collected during four campaigns. Human serum samples were collected from suspected cases of HCPS at hospitals in the state of Minas Gerais. The samples antibody-reactive by ELISA were processed by RT–PCR. The PCR product was amplified and sequenced. Hantavirus was detected only in Necromys lasiurus, the wild rodent species most prevalent in the Cerrado biome (min-max: 50–83·7%). All the six human serum samples were hantavirus seropositive and five showed amplified PCR products. The analysis of the nucleotide sequences showed the circulation of a single genotype, the Araraquara hantavirus. The environmental changes that have occurred in the Cerrado biome in recent decades have favoured N. lasiurus in interspecific competition of habitats, thus increasing the risk of contact between humans and rodent species infected with hantavirus. Our data corroborate the definition of N. lasiurus as the main hantavirus reservoir in the Cerrado biome.