ResearchPad - antimalarials https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Single-cell transcription analysis of <i>Plasmodium vivax</i> blood-stage parasites identifies stage- and species-specific profiles of expression]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14651 Analysis of individual Plasmodium vivax parasites reveals the tight control of the expression of most genes during the intra-erythrocytic cycle and the differentiation of male and female gametocytes, and highlights differences between the development of P. vivax and P. falciparum.

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<![CDATA[Quantification of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase activity by spectrophotometry: A systematic review and meta-analysis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14551 Complete cure of vivax malaria, the most geographically widespread malaria species, requires the use of 8-aminoquinoline drugs to clear dormant liver stages of the parasite (‘radical cure’); however, these drugs can cause severe haemolysis in individuals with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency.Ultraviolet (UV) spectrophotometry is used as the reference test to measure G6PD activity, for validating new point-of-care diagnostics, and to determine population-specific definitions of G6PD deficiency.Currently, there is no universal threshold to define G6PD deficiency, and each laboratory must invest time and resources to derive site- and laboratory-specific definitions of G6PD deficiency.What did the researchers do and find?We pooled measurements of G6PD activity from studies conducted across different countries and laboratories worldwide.We assessed the comparability of spectrophotometry results between these laboratories to see whether a universal definition and diagnostic cutoff for G6PD deficiency could be determined.There was substantial variation in the performance and absolute measurements of spectrophotometry conducted in different laboratories, hindering the definition of a universal cutoff for G6PD deficiency.What do these findings mean?These findings highlight the importance of quality-control measures to minimise the influence of laboratory procedures on observed measurements.The data suggest that while a robust universal, assay-specific G6PD activity cutoff value can be established for diagnosis of severe G6PD deficiency (<30% normal enzyme activity), this approach is less robust for diagnosing intermediate G6PD deficiency.Newly developed diagnostic assays that are less sensitive to laboratory conditions and require less sample preparation are required and may help provide more standardised quantitative G6PD activity measurements across different contexts. ]]> <![CDATA[Algorithms for sequential interpretation of a malaria rapid diagnostic test detecting two different targets of Plasmodium species to improve diagnostic accuracy in a rural setting (Nanoro, Burkina Faso)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6dc99fd5eed0c484529f2d

Background

Malaria rapid diagnostic tests (RDT) have limitations due to the persistence of histidine-rich protein 2 (HRP2) antigen after treatment and low sensitivity of Plasmodium lactate dehydrogenase (pLDH) based RDTs. To improve the diagnosis of malaria in febrile children, two diagnostic algorithms, based on sequential interpretation of a malaria rapid diagnostic test detecting two different targets of Plasmodium species and followed by expert microscopy, were evaluated.

Methods

Two diagnostic algorithms were evaluated using 407 blood samples collected between April and October 2016 from febrile children and the diagnostic accuracy of both algorithms was determined. Algorithm 1: The result of line T1-HRP2 were read first; if negative, malaria infection was considered to be absent. If positive, confirmation was done with the line T2-pLDH. If T2-pLDH test was negative, the malaria diagnosis was considered as “inconclusive” and microscopy was performed; Algorithm 2: The result of line T2-pLDH were read first; if positive, malaria infection was considered to be present. If negative, confirmation was done with the line T1-HRP2. If T1-HRP2 was positive the malaria diagnosis was considered as “inconclusive” and microscopy was performed. In absence of malaria microscopy, a malaria infection was ruled out in children with an inconclusive diagnostic test result when previous antimalarial treatment was reported.

Results

For single interpretation, the sensitivity of PfHRP2 was 98.4% and the specificity was 74.2%, and for the pLDH test the sensitivity was 89.3% and the specificity was 98.8%. Malaria was accurately diagnosed using both algorithms in 84.5% children. The algorithms with the two-line malaria RDT classified the test results into two groups: conclusive and inconclusive results. The diagnostic accuracy for conclusive results was 98.3% using diagnostic algorithm 1 and 98.6% using algorithm 2. The sensitivity and specificity for the conclusive results were 98.2% and 98.4% for algorithm 1, and 98.6% and 98.4% for algorithm 2, respectively. There were 63 (15.5%) children who had an “inconclusive” result for whom expert microscopy was needed. In children with inconclusive results (PfHRP2+/pLDH- only) previous antimalarial treatment was reported in 16 children with malaria negative microscopy (16/40; 40%) and 1 child with malaria positive microscopy (1/23; 4.3%).

Conclusion

The strategy of sequential interpretation of two-line malaria RDT can improve the diagnosis of malaria. However, some cases will still require confirmative testing with microscopy or additional investigations on previous antimalarial treatment.

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<![CDATA[The impact of targeted malaria elimination with mass drug administrations on falciparum malaria in Southeast Asia: A cluster randomised trial]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c706743d5eed0c4847c6ce8

Background

The emergence and spread of multidrug-resistant Plasmodium falciparum in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) threatens global malaria elimination efforts. Mass drug administration (MDA), the presumptive antimalarial treatment of an entire population to clear the subclinical parasite reservoir, is a strategy to accelerate malaria elimination. We report a cluster randomised trial to assess the effectiveness of dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DP) MDA in reducing falciparum malaria incidence and prevalence in 16 remote village populations in Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, where artemisinin resistance is prevalent.

Methods and findings

After establishing vector control and community-based case management and following intensive community engagement, we used restricted randomisation within village pairs to select 8 villages to receive early DP MDA and 8 villages as controls for 12 months, after which the control villages received deferred DP MDA. The MDA comprised 3 monthly rounds of 3 daily doses of DP and, except in Cambodia, a single low dose of primaquine. We conducted exhaustive cross-sectional surveys of the entire population of each village at quarterly intervals using ultrasensitive quantitative PCR to detect Plasmodium infections. The study was conducted between May 2013 and July 2017. The investigators randomised 16 villages that had a total of 8,445 residents at the start of the study. Of these 8,445 residents, 4,135 (49%) residents living in 8 villages, plus an additional 288 newcomers to the villages, were randomised to receive early MDA; 3,790 out of the 4,423 (86%) participated in at least 1 MDA round, and 2,520 out of the 4,423 (57%) participated in all 3 rounds. The primary outcome, P. falciparum prevalence by month 3 (M3), fell by 92% (from 5.1% [171/3,340] to 0.4% [12/2,828]) in early MDA villages and by 29% (from 7.2% [246/3,405] to 5.1% [155/3,057]) in control villages. Over the following 9 months, the P. falciparum prevalence increased to 3.3% (96/2,881) in early MDA villages and to 6.1% (128/2,101) in control villages (adjusted incidence rate ratio 0.41 [95% CI 0.20 to 0.84]; p = 0.015). Individual protection was proportional to the number of completed MDA rounds. Of 221 participants with subclinical P. falciparum infections who participated in MDA and could be followed up, 207 (94%) cleared their infections, including 9 of 10 with artemisinin- and piperaquine-resistant infections. The DP MDAs were well tolerated; 6 severe adverse events were detected during the follow-up period, but none was attributable to the intervention.

Conclusions

Added to community-based basic malaria control measures, 3 monthly rounds of DP MDA reduced the incidence and prevalence of falciparum malaria over a 1-year period in areas affected by artemisinin resistance. P. falciparum infections returned during the follow-up period as the remaining infections spread and malaria was reintroduced from surrounding areas. Limitations of this study include a relatively small sample of villages, heterogeneity between villages, and mobility of villagers that may have limited the impact of the intervention. These results suggest that, if used as part of a comprehensive, well-organised, and well-resourced elimination programme, DP MDA can be a useful additional tool to accelerate malaria elimination.

Trial registration

ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01872702

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<![CDATA[Evaluating the pharmacological response in fluorescence microscopy images: The Δm algorithm]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6dca2ed5eed0c48452a88e

Current drug discovery procedures require fast and effective quantification of the pharmacological response evoked in living cells by agonist compounds. In the case of G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs), the efficacy of a particular drug to initiate the endocytosis process is related to the formation of endocytic vesicles or endosomes and their subsequent internalisation within intracellular compartments that can be observed with high spatial and temporal resolution by fluorescence microscopy techniques. Recently, an algorithm has been proposed to evaluate the pharmacological response by estimating the number of endosomes per cell on time series of images. However, the algorithm was limited by the dependence on some manually set parameters and in some cases the quality of the image does not allow a reliable detection of the endosomes. Here we propose a simple, fast and automated image analysis method—the Δm algorithm- to quantify a pharmacological response with data obtained from fluorescence microscopy experiments. This algorithm does not require individual object detection and computes the relative increment of the third order moment in fluorescence microscopy images after filtering with the Laplacian of Gaussian function. It was tested on simulations demonstrating its ability to discriminate different experimental situations according to the number and the fluorescence signal intensity of the simulated endosomes. Finally and in order to validate this methodology with real data, the algorithm was applied to several time-course experiments based on the endocytosis of the mu opioid receptor (MOP) initiated by different agonist compounds. Each drug displayed a different Δm sigmoid time-response curve and statistically significant differences were observed among drugs in terms of efficacy and kinetic parameters.

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<![CDATA[A novel cell-free method to culture Schistosoma mansoni from cercariae to juvenile worm stages for in vitro drug testing]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c58d63ed5eed0c484031973

Background

The arsenal in anthelminthic treatment against schistosomiasis is limited and relies almost exclusively on a single drug, praziquantel (PZQ). Thus, resistance to PZQ could constitute a major threat. Even though PZQ is potent in killing adult worms, its activity against earlier stages is limited. Current in vitro drug screening strategies depend on newly transformed schistosomula (NTS) for initial hit identification, thereby limiting sensitivity to new compounds predominantly active in later developmental stages. Therefore, the aim of this study was to establish a highly standardized, straightforward and reliable culture method to generate and maintain advanced larval stages in vitro. We present here how this method can be a valuable tool to test drug efficacy at each intermediate larval stage, reducing the reliance on animal use (3Rs).

Methodology/Principal findings

Cercariae were mechanically transformed into skin-stage (SkS) schistosomula and successfully cultured for up to four weeks with no loss in viability in a commercially available medium. Under these serum- and cell-free conditions, development halted at the lung-stage (LuS). However, the addition of human serum (HSe) propelled further development into liver stage (LiS) worms within eight weeks. Skin and lung stages, as well as LiS, were submitted to 96-well drug screening assays using known anti-schistosomal compounds such as PZQ, oxamniquine (OXM), mefloquine (MFQ) and artemether (ART). Our findings showed stage-dependent differences in larval susceptibility to these compounds.

Conclusion

With this robust and highly standardized in vitro assay, important developmental stages of S. mansoni up to LiS worms can be generated and maintained over prolonged periods of time. The phenotype of LiS worms, when exposed to reference drugs, was comparable to most previously published works for ex vivo harvested adult worms. Therefore, this in vitro assay can help reduce reliance on animal experiments in search for new anti-schistosomal drugs.

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<![CDATA[A cross-sectional study to identify the distribution and characteristics of licensed and unlicensed private drug shops in rural Eastern Uganda to inform an iCCM intervention to improve health outcomes for children under five years]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c3fa5e0d5eed0c484ca99b7

Introduction

Malaria, pneumonia and diarrhea are leading causes of death in young children in Uganda. Between 50–60% of sick children receive treatment from the private sector, especially drug shops. There is an urgent need to improve quality of care and regulation of private drug shops in Uganda. This study was conducted to determine the distribution, the licensing status and characteristics of drug shops in four sub-districts of Kamuli district.

Methods

This study was part of a pre-post cross sectional study that examined the implementation of an integrated Community Case Management (iCCM) intervention for common childhood illness in rural private drug shops in Kamuli District in Eastern Uganda. This mapping exercise used a snowball sampling technique to identify licensed and unlicensed drug shops and collect information about their characteristics. Data were collected using a questionnaire. GPS data were collected for all drug shops.

Analysis

Quantitative data were analyzed using SPSS for descriptive statistics. Open ended questions were entered into NVivo 10 and analyzed using thematic analysis strategies.

Results

In total, 215 drug shops in 284 villages were located. Of these, 123 (57%) were open and consented to an interview. Only 12 (10%) drug shops were licensed, 93 (76%) were unlicensed, and the licensing status of 18 (15%) was unknown. Most respondents were the owner of the drug shop (88%); most drug sellers reported their qualification as nursing assistants (70%). Drug sellers reported licensing fees and costs of contracting an “in-charge” as barriers to licensing. Nearly all drug shops sold drugs for malaria (91%) and antibiotics (79%).

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<![CDATA[Disruption of the microbiota affects physiological and evolutionary aspects of insecticide resistance in the German cockroach, an important urban pest]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c1ab85ad5eed0c484027b42

The German cockroach, Blatella germanica, is a common pest in urban environments and is among the most resilient insects in the world. The remarkable ability of the German cockroach to develop resistance when exposed to toxic insecticides is a prime example of adaptive evolution and makes control of this insect an ongoing struggle. Like many other organisms, the German cockroach is host to a diverse community of symbiotic microbes that play important roles in its physiology. In some insect species, there is a strong correlation between the commensal microbial community and insecticide resistance. In particular, several bacteria have been implicated in the detoxification of xenobiotics, including synthetic insecticides. While multiple mechanisms that mediate insecticide resistance in cockroaches have been discovered, significant knowledge gaps still exist in this area of research. Here, we examine the effects of altering the microbiota on resistance to a common insecticide using antibiotic treatments. We describe an indoxacarb-resistant laboratory strain in which treatment with antibiotic increases susceptibility to orally administered insecticide. We further reveal that this strains harbors a gut microbial community that differs significantly from that of susceptible cockroaches in which insecticide resistance is unaffected by antibiotic. More importantly, we demonstrate that transfer of gut microbes from the resistant to the susceptible strain via fecal transplant increases its resistance. Lastly, our data show that antibiotic treatment adversely affects several reproductive life-history traits that may contribute to the dynamics of resistance at the population level. Together these results suggest that the microbiota contributes to both physiological and evolutionary aspects of insecticide resistance and that targeting this community may be an effective strategy to control the German cockroach.

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<![CDATA[Antibiotic susceptibility testing of Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae field isolates from Central Europe for fifteen antibiotics by microbroth dilution method]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c1966cfd5eed0c484b52f44

Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae infections are responsible for significant economic losses in the swine industry. Commercially available vaccines are not able to inhibit the colonisation of the respiratory tract by M. hyopneumoniae absolutely, therefore vaccination can be completed with antibiotic treatment to moderate clinical signs and improve performances of the animals. Antibiotic susceptibility testing of M. hyopneumoniae is time-consuming and complicated; therefore, it is not accomplished routinely. The aim of this study was to determine the in vitro susceptibility to 15 different antibiotics of M. hyopneumoniae isolates originating from Hungarian slaughterhouses and to examine single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in genes affecting susceptibility to antimicrobials. Minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) values of the examined antibiotics against 44 M. hyopneumoniae strains were determined by microbroth dilution method. While all of the tested antibiotics were effective against the majority of the studied strains, high MIC values of fluoroquinolones (enrofloxacin 2.5 μg/ml; marbofloxacin 5 μg/ml) were observed against one strain (MycSu17) and extremely high MIC values of macrolides and lincomycin (tilmicosin, tulathromycin and lincomycin >64 μg/ml; gamithromycin 64 μg/ml; tylosin 32 μg/ml and tylvalosin 2 μg/ml) were determined against another, outlier strain (MycSu18). Amino acid changes in the genes gyrA (Gly81Ala; Ala83Val; Glu87Gly, according to Escherichia coli numbering) and parC (Ser80Phe/Tyr; Asp84Asn) correlated with decreased antibiotic susceptibility to fluoroquinolones and a SNP in the nucleotide sequence of the 23S rRNA (A2059G) was found to be associated with increased MIC values of macrolides. The correlation was more remarkable when final MIC values were evaluated. This study presented the antibiotic susceptibility profiles of M. hyopneumoniae strains circulating in the Central European region, demonstrating the high in vitro efficacy of the tested agents. The observed high MIC values correlated with the SNPs in the examined regions and support the relevance of susceptibility testing and directed antibiotic therapy.

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<![CDATA[Adaptive plasticity in the gametocyte conversion rate of malaria parasites]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c256c7dd5eed0c484474e45

Sexually reproducing parasites, such as malaria parasites, experience a trade-off between the allocation of resources to asexual replication and the production of sexual forms. Allocation by malaria parasites to sexual forms (the conversion rate) is variable but the evolutionary drivers of this plasticity are poorly understood. We use evolutionary theory for life histories to combine a mathematical model and experiments to reveal that parasites adjust conversion rate according to the dynamics of asexual densities in the blood of the host. Our model predicts the direction of change in conversion rates that returns the greatest fitness after perturbation of asexual densities by different doses of antimalarial drugs. The loss of a high proportion of asexuals is predicted to elicit increased conversion (terminal investment), while smaller losses are managed by reducing conversion (reproductive restraint) to facilitate within-host survival and future transmission. This non-linear pattern of allocation is consistent with adaptive reproductive strategies observed in multicellular organisms. We then empirically estimate conversion rates of the rodent malaria parasite Plasmodium chabaudi in response to the killing of asexual stages by different doses of antimalarial drugs and forecast the short-term fitness consequences of these responses. Our data reveal the predicted non-linear pattern, and this is further supported by analyses of previous experiments that perturb asexual stage densities using drugs or within-host competition, across multiple parasite genotypes. Whilst conversion rates, across all datasets, are most strongly influenced by changes in asexual density, parasites also modulate conversion according to the availability of red blood cell resources. In summary, increasing conversion maximises short-term transmission and reducing conversion facilitates in-host survival and thus, future transmission. Understanding patterns of parasite allocation to reproduction matters because within-host replication is responsible for disease symptoms and between-host transmission determines disease spread.

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<![CDATA[E4orf1: A protein for enhancing glucose uptake despite impaired proximal insulin signaling]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c12cf46d5eed0c4849142a4

Background

Type 2 diabetes is often linked with impaired proximal insulin signaling. Hence, a therapeutic agent that enhances cellular glucose uptake without requiring proximal insulin signaling would be desirable for improving glycemic control. The E4orf1 peptide (E4) derived from human adenovirus 36 (Ad36) promotes cellular glucose uptake in vitro and in vivo, independent of insulin. E4 bypasses a part of insulin signaling to upregulate cellular glucose uptake. We tested the hypothesis that E4 requires the distal but not proximal insulin signaling to enhance cellular glucose disposal.

Methods

3T3-L1 preadipocytes inducibly expressing E4 or a null vector (NV) were treated with inhibitor of insulin receptor (S961), inhibitor of insulin like growth factor-1receptor (IGF-1R) (Picropodophyllin, PPP), PPP+S961, or phosphatidyl inositol-3 kinase (PI3K) inhibitor (Wortmannin, WM). We used PPP and S961 to block the proximal insulin signaling, or WM to block the distal insulin signaling. Cells were exposed to 0 or 100nM insulin.

Results

As expected, when the proximal or distal insulin signaling was blocked in NV cells, insulin could not enhance pAKT protein abundance, Glut4 translocation, or glucose uptake. Whereas, E4 cells significantly increased pAKT abundance, Glut4 translocation and glucose uptake independent of the presence of insulin or proximal insulin signaling. Enhanced glucose disposal in E4 cells was completely abrogated when the distal insulin signaling was blocked.

Conclusions

E4 bypasses the proximal insulin signaling but uses the distal insulin signaling to activate pAkt and in turn Glut4 translocation to improve cellular glucose uptake. E4 offers a promising template to improve glycemic control when the proximal insulin signaling is impaired.

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<![CDATA[Quality of medicines in southern Togo: Investigation of antibiotics and of medicines for non-communicable diseases from pharmacies and informal vendors]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c09944ad5eed0c4842ae97d

Substandard and falsified medicines represent a serious threat for public health and patient safety. Especially in low and middle-income countries, the prevalence of substandard and falsified medicines is reportedly high. However, reliable information on the prevalence of poor-quality medicines is scarce. In this study, 12 essential medicines, including antibiotics, antidiabetics, cardiac drugs and antiasthmatic drugs, were collected from six informal vendors and six licensed pharmacies in the southern part of Togo (regions Maritime and Plateaux). A mystery shopper approach was used in both types of outlets. In total, 64 samples were collected from licensed pharmacies and 30 from informal vendors. Both availability of medicines and prices of medicines were higher in licensed pharmacies than in informal vendors. 92 medicine samples were analyzed by visual examination, followed by chemical analysis for the content and for the dissolution of the active pharmaceutical ingredients according to the respective monographs of the United States Pharmacopoeia. 7 samples (8%) did not comply with the pharmacopoeial specifications, and one sample (1%) showed even extreme deviations. None of the samples was obviously falsified. However, one sample of amoxicillin capsules contained only 47% of the declared content of the active pharmaceutical ingredient, indicating that it may represent amoxicillin capsules 250 mg, rather than 500mg as declared on the label. Medicines stated to originate from Asia (i.e. mainly from India and China) showed a significantly higher proportion (24%) of non-compliant samples than those from Africa and Europe (4%, p = 0.007). High failure rates were observed in medicines both from informal vendors (13%) and from licensed pharmacies (5%), but the difference between both groups was not statistically significant (p = 0.152). The observed high prevalence of substandard medicines requires action from regulatory authorities and health care providers. Testing of selected samples for related substances indicated that inappropriate transport and storage conditions may have been an important cause for substandard quality.

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<![CDATA[Therapeutic potential of CPI-613 for targeting tumorous mitochondrial energy metabolism and inhibiting autophagy in clear cell sarcoma]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b28b8b3463d7e14181b1865

Clear cell sarcoma (CCS) is an aggressive type of soft tissue tumor that is associated with high rates of metastasis. In the present study, we found that CPI-613, which targets tumorous mitochondrial energy metabolism, induced autophagosome formation followed by lysosome fusion in HS-MM CCS cells in vitro. Interestingly, CPI-613 along with chloroquine, which inhibits the fusion of autophagosomes with lysosomes, significantly induced necrosis of HS-MM CCS cell growth in vitro. Subsequently, we established a murine orthotropic metastatic model of CCS and evaluated the putative suppressive effect of a combination of CPI-613 and chloroquine on CCS progression. Injection of HS-MM into the aponeuroses of the thigh, the most frequently affected site in CCS, resulted in massive metastasis in SCID-beige mice. By contrast, intraperitoneal administration of CPI-613 (25 mg/kg) and chloroquine (50 mg/kg), two days a week for two weeks, significantly decreased tumor growth at the injection site and abolished metastasis. The present results imply the inhibitory effects of a combination of CPI-613 and chloroquine on the progression of CCS.

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<![CDATA[Hyperspectral Imaging Using Intracellular Spies: Quantitative Real-Time Measurement of Intracellular Parameters In Vivo during Interaction of the Pathogenic Fungus Aspergillus fumigatus with Human Monocytes]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9e1ab0ee8fa60b69b1f

Hyperspectral imaging (HSI) is a technique based on the combination of classical spectroscopy and conventional digital image processing. It is also well suited for the biological assays and quantitative real-time analysis since it provides spectral and spatial data of samples. The method grants detailed information about a sample by recording the entire spectrum in each pixel of the whole image. We applied HSI to quantify the constituent pH variation in a single infected apoptotic monocyte as a model system. Previously, we showed that the human-pathogenic fungus Aspergillus fumigatus conidia interfere with the acidification of phagolysosomes. Here, we extended this finding to monocytes and gained a more detailed analysis of this process. Our data indicate that melanised A. fumigatus conidia have the ability to interfere with apoptosis in human monocytes as they enable the apoptotic cell to recover from mitochondrial acidification and to continue with the cell cycle. We also showed that this ability of A. fumigatus is dependent on the presence of melanin, since a non-pigmented mutant did not stop the progression of apoptosis and consequently, the cell did not recover from the acidic pH. By conducting the current research based on the HSI, we could measure the intracellular pH in an apoptotic infected human monocyte and show the pattern of pH variation during 35 h of measurements. As a conclusion, we showed the importance of melanin for determining the fate of intracellular pH in a single apoptotic cell.

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<![CDATA[The Interactions of P-Glycoprotein with Antimalarial Drugs, Including Substrate Affinity, Inhibition and Regulation]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db10ab0ee8fa60bcbe0f

The combination of passive drug permeability, affinity for uptake and efflux transporters as well as gastrointestinal metabolism defines net drug absorption. Efflux mechanisms are often overlooked when examining the absorption phase of drug bioavailability. Knowing the affinity of antimalarials for efflux transporters such as P-glycoprotein (P-gp) may assist in the determination of drug absorption and pharmacokinetic drug interactions during oral absorption in drug combination therapies. Concurrent administration of P-gp inhibitors and P-gp substrate drugs may also result in alterations in the bioavailability of some antimalarials. In-vitro Caco-2 cell monolayers were used here as a model for potential drug absorption related problems and P-gp mediated transport of drugs. Artemisone had the highest permeability at around 50 x 10−6 cm/sec, followed by amodiaquine around 20 x 10−6 cm/sec; both mefloquine and artesunate were around 10 x 10−6 cm/sec. Methylene blue was between 2 and 6 x 10−6 cm/sec depending on the direction of transport. This 3 fold difference was able to be halved by use of P-gp inhibition. MRP inhibition also assisted the consolidation of the methylene blue transport. Mefloquine was shown to be a P-gp inhibitor affecting our P-gp substrate, Rhodamine 123, although none of the other drugs impacted upon rhodamine123 transport rates. In conclusion, mefloquine is a P-gp inhibitor and methylene blue is a partial substrate; methylene blue may have increased absorption if co-administered with such P-gp inhibitors. An upregulation of P-gp was observed when artemisone and dihydroartemisinin were co-incubated with mefloquine and amodiaquine.

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<![CDATA[Prevalence of G6PD deficiency in selected populations from two previously high malaria endemic areas of Sri Lanka]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db51ab0ee8fa60bdc46e

Glucose-6-Phosphate Dehydrogenase (G6PD) enzyme deficiency is known to offer protection against malaria and an increased selection of mutant genes in malaria endemic regions is expected. However, anti-malarial drugs such as primaquine can cause haemolytic anaemia in persons with G6PD deficiency. We studied the extent of G6PD deficiency in selected persons attending Teaching Hospitals of Anuradhapura and Kurunegala, two previously high malaria endemic districts in Sri Lanka. A total of 2059 filter-paper blood spots collected between November 2013 and June 2014 were analysed for phenotypic G6PD deficiency using the modified WST-8/1-methoxy PMS method. Each assay was conducted with a set of controls and the colour development assessed visually as well as with a microplate reader at OD450-630nm. Overall, 142/1018 (13.95%) and 83/1041 (7.97%) were G6PD deficient in Anuradhapura and Kurunegala districts respectively. The G6PD prevalence was significantly greater in Anuradhapura when compared to Kurunegala (P<0.0001). Surprisingly, females were equally affected as males in each district: 35/313 (11.18%) males and 107/705 (15.18%) females were affected in Anuradhapura (P = 0.089); 25/313 (7.99%) males and 58/728 (7.97%) females were affected in Kurunegala (P = 0.991). Prevalence was greater among females in Anuradhapura than in Kurunegala (P<0.05), while no such difference was observed between the males (P>0.05). Severe deficiency (<10% normal) was seen among 28/1018 (2.75%) in Anuradhapura (7 males; 21 females) and 17/1041 (1.63%) in Kurunegala (7 males; 10 females). Enzyme activity between 10–30% was observed among 114/1018 (11.20%; 28 males; 86 females) in Anuradhapura while it was 66/1041 (6.34%; 18 males; 48 females) in Kurunegala. Screening and educational programmes for G6PD deficiency are warranted in these high risk areas irrespective of gender for the prevention of disease states related to this condition.

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<![CDATA[Malaria Incidence Rates from Time Series of 2-Wave Panel Surveys]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dab4ab0ee8fa60bac63f

Methodology to estimate malaria incidence rates from a commonly occurring form of interval-censored longitudinal parasitological data—specifically, 2-wave panel data—was first proposed 40 years ago based on the theory of continuous-time homogeneous Markov Chains. Assumptions of the methodology were suitable for settings with high malaria transmission in the absence of control measures, but are violated in areas experiencing fast decline or that have achieved very low transmission. No further developments that can accommodate such violations have been put forth since then. We extend previous work and propose a new methodology to estimate malaria incidence rates from 2-wave panel data, utilizing the class of 2-component mixtures of continuous-time Markov chains, representing two sub-populations with distinct behavior/attitude towards malaria prevention and treatment. Model identification, or even partial identification, requires context-specific a priori constraints on parameters. The method can be applied to scenarios of any transmission intensity. We provide an application utilizing data from Dar es Salaam, an area that experienced steady decline in malaria over almost five years after a larviciding intervention. We conducted sensitivity analysis to account for possible sampling variation in input data and model assumptions/parameters, and we considered differences in estimates due to submicroscopic infections. Results showed that, assuming defensible a priori constraints on model parameters, most of the uncertainty in the estimated incidence rates was due to sampling variation, not to partial identifiability of the mixture model for the case at hand. Differences between microscopy- and PCR-based rates depend on the transmission intensity. Leveraging on a method to estimate incidence rates from 2-wave panel data under any transmission intensity, and from the increasing availability of such data, there is an opportunity to foster further methodological developments, particularly focused on partial identifiability and the diversity of a priori parameter constraints associated with different human-ecosystem interfaces. As a consequence there can be more nuanced planning and evaluation of malaria control programs than heretofore.

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<![CDATA[A portable image-based cytometer for rapid malaria detection and quantification]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5dab0ee8fa60be0474

Increasing resistance by malaria parasites to currently used antimalarials across the developing world warrants timely detection and classification so that appropriate drug combinations can be administered before clinical complications arise. However, this is often challenged by low levels of infection (referred to as parasitemia) and presence of predominantly young parasitic forms in the patients’ peripheral blood. Herein, we developed a simple, inexpensive and portable image-based cytometer that detects and numerically counts Plasmodium falciparum infected red blood cells (iRBCs) from Giemsa-stained smears derived from infected blood. Our cytometer is able to classify all parasitic subpopulations by quantifying the area occupied by the parasites within iRBCs, with high specificity, sensitivity and negligible false positives (~ 0.0025%). Moreover, we demonstrate the application of our image-based cytometer in testing anti-malarial efficacy against a commercial flow cytometer and demonstrate comparable results between the two methods. Collectively, these results highlight the possibility to use our image-based cytometer as a cheap, rapid and accurate alternative for antimalarial testing without compromising on efficiency and minimal processing time. With appropriate filters applied into the algorithm, to rule out leukocytes and reticulocytes, our cytometer may also be used for field diagnosis of malaria.

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<![CDATA[Assessment of Markers of Antimalarial Drug Resistance in Plasmodium falciparum Isolates from Pregnant Women in Lagos, Nigeria]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da16ab0ee8fa60b7b54c

Background

The use of antimalarial drugs for prevention and treatment is a major strategy in the prevention of malaria in pregnancy. Although sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) is currently recommended for intermittent preventive treatment of malaria during pregnancy in Nigeria, previously used drugs for prophylaxis such as chloroquine (CQ) and pyrimethamine are accessible as they are purchased over the counter. This study describes the markers of absence or presence of resistance to quinoline (Pfcrt and Pfmdr 1) and type 1 antifolate antimalarial medicines (Pfdhfr).

Methods

Plasmodium falciparum-positive dried blood spots from pregnant women attending antenatal clinics for the first time during current pregnancy were investigated for the presence of mutations at codons 72–76 of Plasmodium falciparum chloroquine resistance transporter (Pfcrt) gene by real time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using haplotype-specific probes. PCR followed by sequence analysis was used to identify mutations at codons 86, 184, 1034, 1042 and 1246 of P. falciparum multi-drug resistance-1 (Pfmdr1) gene; and codons 16, 50, 51, 59, 108, 140 and 164 of Pfdhfr gene.

Results

Two haplotypes of Pfcrt (n = 54) were observed: CVMNK 13(24.2%) and CVIET 41 (75.9%) of the samples. The SVMNT haplotype was absent in this population. The Pfmdr1 (n = 28) haplotypes were NYSND 15(53.6%), YYSND 5(17.9%), NFSND 6(21.4%) and YFSND 2(7.1%). The Pfdhfr (n = 15) were ACNCSVI 4(26.7%), and ACICNSVI 1(6.7%) and ACIRNVI 10 (66.7%). The rate of occurrence of Pfcrt 76T, Pfdhfr108N, Pfmdr186Yand184F were 75.9%, 73.3%, 25% and 28.1% respectively. The Pfmdr1 86Y was associated with low parasitaemia (median = 71 parasites/μl, P = 0.024) while Pfcrt 76T was associated with young maternal age (mean 24.1 ± 4.5 years; P = 0.006). The median parasitaemia were similar (P>0.05) in wild and mutant strains of Pfcrt 76, Pfmdr1 184 and Pfdhfr 108. There was no association between gravidity or gestational age of the women and presence of mutations in the Pfcrt, Pfmdr1 or Pfdhfr genes (P>0.05).

Conclusion

Markers of resistance to chloroquine and pyrimethamine were high, whereas cycloguanil-resistance marker was not present in the studied population. The low level of mutations in the Pfmdr1gene indicates likely efficacy of amodiaquine against malaria in pregnancy.

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<![CDATA[A Public Health Paradox: The Women Most Vulnerable to Malaria Are the Least Protected]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da7aab0ee8fa60b984f9

Raquel Gonzalez and colleagues highlight an urgent need to evaluate antimalarials that can be safely administered to HIV-infected pregnant women on antiretroviral treatment and cotrimoxazole prophylaxis.

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