ResearchPad - pathology-and-laboratory-medicine https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Placental transfer of Letermovir &amp; Maribavir in the <i>ex vivo</i> human cotyledon perfusion model. New perspectives for <i>in utero</i> treatment of congenital cytomegalovirus infection]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_11236 Congenital cytomegalovirus infection can lead to severe sequelae. When fetal infection is confirmed, we hypothesize that fetal treatment could improve the outcome. Maternal oral administration of an effective drug crossing the placenta could allow fetal treatment. Letermovir (LMV) and Maribavir (MBV) are new CMV antivirals, and potential candidates for fetal treatment.MethodsThe objective was to investigate the placental transfer of LMV and MBV in the ex vivo method of the human perfused cotyledon. Term placentas were perfused, in an open-circuit model, with LMV or MBV at concentrations in the range of clinical peak plasma concentrations. Concentrations were measured using ultraperformance liquid chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry. Mean fetal transfer rate (FTR) (fetal (FC) /maternal concentration), clearance index (CLI), accumulation index (AI) (retention of each drug in the cotyledon tissue) were measured. Mean FC were compared with half maximal effective concentrations of the drugs (EC50(LMV) and EC50(MBV)).ResultsFor LMV, the mean FC was (± standard deviation) 1.1 ± 0.2 mg/L, 1,000-fold above the EC50(LMV). Mean FTR, CLI and AI were 9 ± 1%, 35 ± 6% and 4 ± 2% respectively. For MBV, the mean FC was 1.4 ± 0.2 mg/L, 28-fold above the EC50(MBV). Mean FTR, CLI and AI were 10 ± 1%, 50 ± 7% and 2 ± 1% respectively.ConclusionsDrugs’ concentrations in the fetal side should be in the range for in utero treatment of fetuses infected with CMV as the mean FC was superior to the EC50 for both molecules. ]]> <![CDATA[A model for the assessment of bluetongue virus serotype 1 persistence in Spain]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_11225 Bluetongue virus (BTV) is an arbovirus of ruminants that has been circulating in Europe continuously for more than two decades and has become endemic in some countries such as Spain. Spain is ideal for BTV epidemiological studies since BTV outbreaks from different sources and serotypes have occurred continuously there since 2000; BTV-1 has been reported there from 2007 to 2017. Here we develop a model for BTV-1 endemic scenario to estimate the risk of an area becoming endemic, as well as to identify the most influential factors for BTV-1 persistence. We created abundance maps at 1-km2 spatial resolution for the main vectors in Spain, Culicoides imicola and Obsoletus and Pulicaris complexes, by combining environmental satellite data with occurrence models and a random forest machine learning algorithm. The endemic model included vector abundance and host-related variables (farm density). The three most relevant variables in the endemic model were the abundance of C. imicola and Obsoletus complex and density of goat farms (AUC 0.86); this model suggests that BTV-1 is more likely to become endemic in central and southwestern regions of Spain. It only requires host- and vector-related variables to identify areas at greater risk of becoming endemic for bluetongue. Our results highlight the importance of suitable Culicoides spp. prediction maps for bluetongue epidemiological studies and decision-making about control and eradication measures.

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<![CDATA[New estimates of the Zika virus epidemic attack rate in Northeastern Brazil from 2015 to 2016: A modelling analysis based on Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) surveillance data]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7754 The mandatory reporting of the Zika virus (ZIKV) disease began region-wide in February 2016, and it is believed that ZIKV cases could have been highly under-reported before that. Given the Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is relatively well reported, the GBS surveillance data has the potential to act as a reasonably reliable proxy for inferring the true ZIKV epidemics. We developed a mathematical model incorporating weather effects to study the ZIKV-GBS epidemics and estimated the key epidemiological parameters. It was found that the attack rate of ZIKV was likely to be lower than 33% over the two epidemic waves. The risk rate from symptomatic ZIKV case to develop GBS was estimated to be approximately 0.0061%. The analysis suggests that it would be difficult for another ZIKV outbreak to appear in Northeastern Brazil in the near future.

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<![CDATA[Potency and breadth of human primary ZIKV immune sera shows that Zika viruses cluster antigenically as a single serotype]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7747 The recent emergence of Zika virus as an important human pathogen has raised questions about the durability and breadth of Zika virus immunity following natural infection in humans. While global epidemic patterns suggest that Zika infection elicits a protective immune response that is likely to offer long-term protection against repeat infection by other Zika viruses, only one study to date has formally examined the ability of human Zika immune sera to neutralize different Zika viruses. That study was limited because it evaluated human immune sera no more than 13 weeks after Zika virus infection and tested a relatively small number of Zika viruses. In this study, we examine twelve human Zika immune sera as far as 3 years after infection and test the sera against a total of eleven Zika virus isolates. Our results confirm the earlier study and epidemic patterns that suggest Zika virus exists in nature as a single serotype, and infection with one Zika virus can be expected to elicit protective immunity against repeat infection by any Zika virus for years to decades after the first infection.

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<![CDATA[Medusa: Software to build and analyze ensembles of genome-scale metabolic network reconstructions]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7734 Uncertainty in the structure and parameters of networks is ubiquitous across computational biology. In constraint-based reconstruction and analysis of metabolic networks, this uncertainty is present both during the reconstruction of networks and in simulations performed with them. Here, we present Medusa, a Python package for the generation and analysis of ensembles of genome-scale metabolic network reconstructions. Medusa builds on the COBRApy package for constraint-based reconstruction and analysis by compressing a set of models into a compact ensemble object, providing functions for the generation of ensembles using experimental data, and extending constraint-based analyses to ensemble scale. We demonstrate how Medusa can be used to generate ensembles and perform ensemble simulations, and how machine learning can be used in conjunction with Medusa to guide the curation of genome-scale metabolic network reconstructions. Medusa is available under the permissive MIT license from the Python Packaging Index (https://pypi.org) and from github (https://github.com/opencobra/Medusa), and comprehensive documentation is available at https://medusa.readthedocs.io/en/latest.

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<![CDATA[Interventions to improve self-management of adults living with HIV on Antiretroviral Therapy: A systematic review]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7726 Since its initial recognition, HIV has been responsible for around 35 million deaths globally. The introduction of Antiretroviral Therapy has helped to reduce mortality from HIV. However, the resulting increased longevity has influenced the experience of people living with HIV, which now manifests as a chronic condition requiring effective self-management. This review aimed to identify and evaluate the effectiveness of interventions to improve self-management of adults living with HIV on Antiretroviral therapy.MethodsThe review included published experimental studies addressing interventions to improve self-management of adults living with HIV on Antiretroviral Therapy. Studies were included if they addressed two or more outcomes of self-management, as defined by the Theory of Individual and Family Self-Management. The search covered four databases and was limited to papers published in the English language from 2001 to March 30, 2019. The reference lists of included studies were further searched for additional studies. Two independent reviewers using the Joanna Briggs Institute Meta-Analysis of Statistics Assessment and Review Instrument (JBI SUMARI) assessed the methodological quality of the reviewed papers. Data extraction was undertaken using the JBI SUMARI standardized data extraction tool. As the included papers were not homogeneous, it was not possible to conduct a meta-analysis. A narrative synthesis was undertaken to synthesize the findings of the included studies.ResultsThe search identified 337 articles from which 10 experimental and 2 quasi-experimental studies were included. The total participant sample in the included studies was 1661 adults living with HIV. The overall evidence quality of the findings was considered moderate. Many of the studies included in this review comprised multi-component interventions to improve self-management. Skills training, in conjunction with other forms of interventions, particularly phone counseling, was commonly employed and generally effective in improving self-management outcomes. Counseling with a symptom management manual was another employed and effective intervention, followed by technology-assisted self-management interventions. The most common outcomes measured were maintaining medication adherence and quality of life, followed by symptom management, self-efficacy, coping, and social support.ConclusionsInterventions to improve self-management varied across studies. However, promising outcomes achieved in the majority of studies through interventions comprising a combination of skills training, phone counseling, counseling with symptom management manuals, and technology-assisted interventions. ]]> <![CDATA[Is postural dysfunction related to sarcopenia? A population-based study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7695 Postural dysfunction is one of the most common community health symptoms and frequent chief complaints in hospitals. Sarcopenia is a syndrome characterized by degenerative loss of skeletal muscle mass, muscle quality, and muscle strength, and is the main contributor to musculoskeletal impairment in the elderly. Previous studies reported that loss of muscle mass is associated with a loss of diverse functional abilities. Meanwhile, there have been limited studies concerning postural dysfunction among older adults with sarcopenia. Although sarcopenia is primarily a disease of the elderly, its development may be associated with conditions that are not exclusively seen in older persons. Also, recent studies recognize that sarcopenia may begin to develop earlier in life. The objective of this paper was to investigate the association between the prevalence of sarcopenia and postural dysfunction in a wide age range of adults using data from a nationally representative cohort study in Korea. Korean National Health & Nutrition Exhibition Survey V (KNHANES V, 2010–2012) data from the fifth cross-sectional survey of the South Korean population performed by the Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare were used. Appendicular skeletal muscle mass (ASM)/height (ht)2 was used to define sarcopenia, and the Modified Romberg test using a foam pad (“foam balance test”) was performed to evaluate postural dysfunction. ASM/ht2 was lower in women and significantly decreased with age in men. Subjects with sarcopenia were significantly more likely to fail the foam balance test, regardless of sex and age. Regression analysis showed a significant relationship between sarcopenia and postural dysfunction (OR: 2.544, 95% CI: 1.683–3.846, p<0.001). Multivariate regression analysis revealed that sarcopenia (OR: 1.747, 95% CI: 1.120–2.720, p = 0.014) and age (OR: 1.131, 95% CI: 1.105–1.158, p<0.001) are independent risk factors for postural instability. In middle age subjects, the adjusted OR for sarcopenia was 3.344 (95% CI: 1.350–8.285) (p = 0.009). The prevalence of postural dysfunction is higher in sarcopenia patients, independent of sex and age.

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<![CDATA[Functional and structural consequences of epithelial cell invasion by <i>Bordetella pertussis</i> adenylate cyclase toxin]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7693 Bordetella pertussis, the causative agent of whopping cough, produces an adenylate cyclase toxin (CyaA) that plays a key role in the host colonization by targeting innate immune cells which express CD11b/CD18, the cellular receptor of CyaA. CyaA is also able to invade non-phagocytic cells, via a unique entry pathway consisting in a direct translocation of its catalytic domain across the cytoplasmic membrane of the cells. Within the cells, CyaA is activated by calmodulin to produce high levels of cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) and alter cellular physiology. In this study, we explored the effects of CyaA toxin on the cellular and molecular structure remodeling of A549 alveolar epithelial cells. Using classical imaging techniques, biochemical and functional tests, as well as advanced cell mechanics method, we quantify the structural and functional consequences of the massive increase of intracellular cyclic AMP induced by the toxin: cell shape rounding associated to adhesion weakening process, actin structure remodeling for the cortical and dense components, increase in cytoskeleton stiffness, and inhibition of migration and repair. We also show that, at low concentrations (0.5 nM), CyaA could significantly impair the migration and wound healing capacities of the intoxicated alveolar epithelial cells. As such concentrations might be reached locally during B. pertussis infection, our results suggest that the CyaA, beyond its major role in disabling innate immune cells, might also contribute to the local alteration of the epithelial barrier of the respiratory tract, a hallmark of pertussis.

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<![CDATA[Abrogation of pathogenic attributes in drug resistant <i>Candida auris</i> strains by farnesol]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7651 Candida auris, a decade old Candida species, has been identified globally as a significant nosocomial multidrug resistant (MDR) pathogen responsible for causing invasive outbreaks. Biofilms and overexpression of efflux pumps such as Major Facilitator Superfamily and ATP Binding Cassette are known to cause multidrug resistance in Candida species, including C. auris. Therefore, targeting these factors may prove an effective approach to combat MDR in C. auris. In this study, 25 clinical isolates of C. auris from different hospitals of South Africa were used. All the isolates were found capable enough to form biofilms on 96-well flat bottom microtiter plate that was further confirmed by MTT reduction assay. In addition, these strains have active drug efflux mechanism which was supported by rhodamine-6-G extracellular efflux and intracellular accumulation assays. Antifungal susceptibility profile of all the isolates against commonly used drugs was determined following CLSI recommended guidelines. We further studied the role of farnesol, an endogenous quorum sensing molecule, in modulating development of biofilms and drug efflux in C. auris. The MIC for planktonic cells ranged from 62.5–125 mM, and for sessile cells was 125 mM (4h biofilm) and 500 mM (12h and 24h biofilm). Furthermore, farnesol (125 mM) also suppresses adherence and biofilm formation by C. auris. Farnesol inhibited biofilm formation, blocked efflux pumps and downregulated biofilm- and efflux pump- associated genes. Modulation of C. auris biofilm formation and efflux pump activity by farnesol represent a promising approach for controlling life threatening infections caused by this pathogen.

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<![CDATA[Virulence factors and antibiograms of <i>Escherichia coli</i> isolated from diarrheic calves of Egyptian cattle and water buffaloes]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_8462 Diarrhea caused by Escherichia coli in calves is an important problem in terms of survivability, productivity and treatment costs. In this study, 88 of 150 diarrheic animals tested positive for E. coli. Of these, 54 samples had mixed infection with other bacterial and/or parasitic agents. There are several diarrheagenic E. coli pathotypes including enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC), Shiga-toxin producing E. coli (STEC), enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC) and necrotoxigenic E. coli (NTEC). Molecular detection of virulence factors Stx2, Cdt3, Eae, CNF2, F5, Hly, Stx1, and ST revealed their presence at 39.7, 27.2, 19.3, 15.9, 13.6, 9.0, 3.4, and 3.4 percent, respectively. As many as 13.6% of the isolates lacked virulence genes and none of the isolate had LT or CNF1 toxin gene. The odds of isolating ETEC from male calves was 3.6 times (95% CI: 1.1, 12.4; P value = 0.042) that of female calves, whereas the odds of isolating NTEC from male calves was 72.9% lower (95% CI: 91.3% lower, 15.7% lower; P value = 0.024) than that in females. The odds of isolating STEC in winter was 3.3 times (95% CI: 1.1, 10.3; P value = 0.037) that of spring. Antibiograms showed 48 (54.5%) of the isolates to be multi-drug resistant. The percent resistance to tetracycline, streptomycin, ampicillin, and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole was 79.5, 67.0, 54.5, and 43.0, respectively. Ceftazidime (14.8%), amoxicillin-clavulanic acid (13.6%) and aztreonam (11.3%) showed the lowest resistance, and none of the isolates was resistant to imipenem. The results of this study can help improve our understanding of the epidemiological aspects of E. coli infection and to devise strategies for protection against it. The prevalence of E. coli pathotypes can help potential buyers of calves to avoid infected premises. The antibiograms in this study emphasizes the risks associated with the random use of antibiotics.

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<![CDATA[Adherence to antiretroviral therapy and associated factors among Human immunodeficiency virus positive patients accessing treatment at Nekemte referral hospital, west Ethiopia, 2019]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7637 Antiretroviral therapy has a remarkable clinical effect in reducing the progress of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. The clinical outcome of Anti-Retroviral therapy depends on strict adherence. Poor adherence reduces the effectiveness of antiretroviral therapy and increases viral replication. With changes in service delivery over time and differences in socio-demographic status from region to region, it is essential to measure adherence. Therefore, this study aimed to assess adherence to antiretroviral therapy and its associated factors among HIV/AIDS patients accessing treatment at Nekemte referral hospital, West Ethiopia.MethodsInstitutional based cross-sectional study was conducted on 311 HIV/AIDS patients from March 01 to March 30, 2019. The study participants were selected by a simple random sampling method and interviewed using structured questionnaires. Bivariable logistic regression was conducted to find an association between each independent variable and adherence to antiretroviral medication. Multivariable logistic regression was used to find the independent variables which best predict adherence. The statistical significance was measured using odds ratio at a 95% confidence interval with a p-value of less than 0.05.ResultsOut of a total of 311 patients sampled, 305 were participated in the study, making a response rate of 98.07%. From these 305 study participants,73.1% (95% CI = 68.2, 78.0) were adherent to their medication. Having knowledge about HIV and its treatment (AOR = 8.24, 95% CI: 3.10, 21.92), having strong family/social support (AOR = 6.21, 95% CI: 1.39, 27.62), absence of adverse drug reaction (AOR = 5.33, 95% CI: 1.95, 14.57), absence of comorbidity of other chronic diseases (AOR = 5.72, 95% CI: 1.91, 17.16) and disclosing HIV status to the family (AOR = 5.08, 95% CI: 2.09, 12.34) were significantly associated with an increased likelihood of adherence to antiretroviral medication.ConclusionThe level of adherence to antiretroviral therapy was found low compared to WHO recommendation. The clinician should emphasize reducing adverse drug reaction, detecting and treating co-morbidities early, improving knowledge through health education, and encouraging the patients to disclose their HIV status to their families. ]]> <![CDATA[Incidence and determinants of Implanon discontinuation: Findings from a prospective cohort study in three health zones in Kinshasa, DRC]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7634 Kinshasa is Africa's third largest city and one of the continent’s most rapidly growing urban areas. PMA2020 data showed that Kinshasa has a modern contraceptive prevalence of 26.5% among married women in 2018. In Kinshasa’s method mix, the contraceptive implant recently became the dominant method among contraceptive users married and in union. This study provides insight into patterns of implant use in a high-fertility setting by evaluating the 24-month continuation rate for Implanon NXT and identifying the characteristics associated with discontinuation.MethodologyThis community-based, prospective cohort study followed 531 Implanon users aged 18–49 years at 6, 12 and 24 months. The following information was collected: socio-demographic characteristics, Method Information Index (MII) and contraceptive history. The main outcome variable for this study was implant discontinuation. The incidence rate of discontinuation is presented as events per 1000 person/months (p-m), from the date of enrolment. The Cox proportional hazards modelling was used to measure predictors of discontinuation.ResultsA total of 9158.13 p-m were available for analysis, with an overall incidence rate of 9.06 (95% CI: 9.04–9.08) removals per 1000 p-m. Of nine possible co-variates tested, the likelihood of discontinuation was higher among women who lived in military camps, had less than three children, never used injectables or implants in the past, had experienced heavy/prolonged bleeding, and whose MII score was less than 3.ConclusionIn addition to four client characteristics that predicted discontinuation, we identified one programmatic factor: quality of counseling as measured by the Method Information Index. Community providers in similar contexts should pay more attention to clients having less than three children, new adopters, and to clients living military camps as underserved population, where clients have less access to health facilities. More targeted counselling and follow-up is needed, especially on bleeding patterns. ]]> <![CDATA[Chitosan-propolis nanoparticle formulation demonstrates anti-bacterial activity against Enterococcus faecalis biofilms]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db50ab0ee8fa60bdc122

Propolis obtained from bee hives is a natural substance with antimicrobial properties. It is limited by its insolubility in aqueous solutions; hence ethanol and ethyl acetate extracts of Malaysian propolis were prepared. Both the extracts displayed antimicrobial and anti-biofilm properties against Enterococcus faecalis, a common bacterium associated with hospital-acquired infections. High performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) analysis of propolis revealed the presence of flavonoids like kaempferol and pinocembrin. This study investigated the role of propolis developed into nanoparticles with chitosan for its antimicrobial and anti-biofilm properties against E. faecalis. Bacteria that grow in a slimy layer of biofilm are resistant to penetration by antibacterial agents. The use of nanoparticles in medicine has received attention recently due to better bioavailability, enhanced penetrative capacity and improved efficacy. A chitosan-propolis nanoformulation was chosen based on ideal physicochemical properties such as particle size, zeta potential, polydispersity index, encapsulation efficiency and the rate of release of the active ingredients. This formulation inhibited E. faecalis biofilm formation and reduced the number of bacteria in the biofilm by ~90% at 200 μg/ml concentration. When tested on pre-formed biofilms, the formulation reduced bacterial number in the biofilm by ~40% and ~75% at 200 and 300 μg/ml, respectively. The formulation not only reduced bacterial numbers, but also physically disrupted the biofilm structure as observed by scanning electron microscopy. Treatment of biofilms with chitosan-propolis nanoparticles altered the expression of biofilm-associated genes in E. faecalis. The results of this study revealed that chitosan-propolis nanoformulation can be deemed as a potential anti-biofilm agent in resisting infections involving biofilm formation like chronic wounds and surgical site infections.

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<![CDATA[The tetraspanin CD9 facilitates MERS-coronavirus entry by scaffolding host cell receptors and proteases]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/598bdfb5fa495b7488185485

Infection by enveloped coronaviruses (CoVs) initiates with viral spike (S) proteins binding to cellular receptors, and is followed by proteolytic cleavage of receptor-bound S proteins, which prompts S protein-mediated virus-cell membrane fusion. Infection therefore requires close proximity of receptors and proteases. We considered whether tetraspanins, scaffolding proteins known to facilitate CoV infections, hold receptors and proteases together on cell membranes. Using knockout cell lines, we found that the tetraspanin CD9, but not the tetraspanin CD81, formed cell-surface complexes of dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DPP4), the MERS-CoV receptor, and the type II transmembrane serine protease (TTSP) member TMPRSS2, a CoV-activating protease. This CD9-facilitated condensation of receptors and proteases allowed MERS-CoV pseudoviruses to enter cells rapidly and efficiently. Without CD9, MERS-CoV viruses were not activated by TTSPs, and they trafficked into endosomes to be cleaved much later and less efficiently by cathepsins. Thus, we identified DPP4:CD9:TTSP as the protein complexes necessary for early, efficient MERS-CoV entry. To evaluate the importance of these complexes in an in vivo CoV infection model, we used recombinant Adenovirus 5 (rAd5) vectors to express human DPP4 in mouse lungs, thereby sensitizing the animals to MERS-CoV infection. When the rAd5-hDPP4 vectors co-expressed small RNAs silencing Cd9 or Tmprss2, the animals were significantly less susceptible, indicating that CD9 and TMPRSS2 facilitated robust in vivo MERS-CoV infection of mouse lungs. Furthermore, the S proteins of virulent mouse-adapted MERS-CoVs acquired a CD9-dependent cell entry character, suggesting that CD9 is a selective agent in the evolution of CoV virulence.

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<![CDATA[Comparing in vitro and in vivo virulence phenotypes of Burkholderia pseudomallei type G strains]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db52ab0ee8fa60bdc780

Burkholderia pseudomallei (Bpm) is a saprophytic rod-shaped gram-negative bacterium and the causative agent of melioidosis. This disease has previously been described as endemic in areas such as northern Australia and Southeast Asia, but, more recently, a better understanding of the epidemiology of melioidosis indicated that the disease is distributed worldwide, including regions of the Americas and Africa. A 16S-23S rDNA internal transcribed spacer (ITS) typing system has been developed for Bpm and has revealed that ITS types C, E, and hybrid CE are mainly associated with Australia and Southeast Asia while type G strains are more associated with cases of melioidosis in the Western Hemisphere. The purpose of the current study was to determine the in vitro and in vivo virulence profiles of the understudied Bpm type G strains Ca2009, Ca2013a, Mx2013, and 724644 and compared such phenotypes to the commonly studied Bpm type C strain K96243. We evaluated virulence by measuring invasion/uptake and survival of these Bpm strains in murine respiratory epithelial LA-4 cells and alveolar macrophage MH-S cells using different multiplicity of infections (MOIs of 1 and 10). We also calculated the lethal dose 50 values (LD50) in BALB/c mice that were inoculated intranasally with either Ca2009, Ca2013a, or Mx2013. Overall, the virulence and lethality phenotypes of Bpm type G strains were similar to the Bpm type C strain K96243. Additional comparative analyses between the Bpm ITS types may lead to a better understanding of the contribution of the ITS type to the epidemiology and ecology of Bpm strains.

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<![CDATA[Barriers to linking high-risk jail detainees to HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N6cdd8894-eb56-44cf-b406-5a297c3ac14c

Individuals involved in the criminal justice (CJ) system continue to be at disproportionate risk for HIV infection, and often have a greater prevalence of substance use and sexual related risk behaviors relative to their non-CJ involved peers. Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), a once daily antiretroviral medicine, is an evidence-based approach for reducing the risk of contracting HIV but limited data exist regarding the use of PrEP among CJ populations, especially in the U.S. South. This study was conducted at the Pulaski County Regional Detention Facility (PCRDF) in Little Rock, Arkansas (AR), the largest county jail in the state. We explored knowledge about PrEP and HIV, perceptions about PrEP feasibility in both the jail and community settings and barriers to PrEP program implementation, through in-depth qualitative interviews with 21 jail detainees. We purposively sampled individuals based on specific self-reported risk behavior, including sexual risk (both heterosexual and same-sex) and drug related risk (e.g. IDU), among all eligible individuals. We identified five primary themes from the interviews: 1) accessing healthcare during community reentry was a low priority; 2) perception of risk and interaction with people with HIV was low; 3) there are many barriers to disclosing HIV risk behaviors in jail settings; 4) knowledge of PrEP is low but willingness to use is high; and 5) multiple barriers exist to PrEP uptake post-release. Our findings are contextually unique and therefore have important implications for future implementation of PrEP access either within jail settings or linkage to PrEP post release.

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<![CDATA[Highly efficient serum-free manipulation of miRNA in human NK cells without loss of viability or phenotypic alterations is accomplished with TransIT-TKO]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N4e6e8e95-63ae-420d-a6d7-c2f1aa3d99e6

Natural killer (NK) cells are innate lymphocytes with functions that include target cell killing, inflammation and regulation. NK cells integrate incoming activating and inhibitory signals through an array of germline-encoded receptors to gauge the health of neighbouring cells. The reactive potential of NK cells is influenced by microRNA (miRNA), small non-coding sequences that interfere with mRNA expression. miRNAs are highly conserved between species, and a single miRNA can have hundreds to thousands of targets and influence entire cellular programs. Two miRNA species, miR-155-5p and miR-146a-5p are known to be important in controlling NK cell function, but research to best understand the impacts of miRNA species within NK cells has been bottlenecked by a lack of techniques for altering miRNA concentrations efficiently and without off-target effects. Here, we describe a non-viral and straightforward approach for increasing or decreasing expression of miRNA in primary human NK cells. We achieve >90% transfection efficiency without off-target impacts on NK cell viability, education, phenotype or function. This opens the opportunity to study and manipulate NK cell miRNA profiles and their impacts on NK cellular programs which may influence outcomes of cancer, inflammation and autoimmunity.

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<![CDATA[Blood co-expression modules identify potential modifier genes of diabetes and lung function in cystic fibrosis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N07a3560c-fa96-4eb5-821e-9292b7a2bef0

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a rare genetic disease that affects the respiratory and digestive systems. Lung disease is variable among CF patients and associated with the development of comorbidities and chronic infections. The rate of lung function deterioration depends not only on the type of mutations in CFTR, the disease-causing gene, but also on modifier genes. In the present study, we aimed to identify genes and pathways that (i) contribute to the pathogenesis of cystic fibrosis and (ii) modulate the associated comorbidities. We profiled blood samples in CF patients and healthy controls and analyzed RNA-seq data with Weighted Gene Correlation Network Analysis (WGCNA). Interestingly, lung function, body mass index, the presence of diabetes, and chronic P. aeruginosa infections correlated with four modules of co-expressed genes. Detailed inspection of networks and hub genes pointed to cell adhesion, leukocyte trafficking and production of reactive oxygen species as central mechanisms in lung function decline and cystic fibrosis-related diabetes. Of note, we showed that blood is an informative surrogate tissue to study the contribution of inflammation to lung disease and diabetes in CF patients. Finally, we provided evidence that WGCNA is useful to analyze–omic datasets in rare genetic diseases as patient cohorts are inevitably small.

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<![CDATA[Clustered micronodules as predominant manifestation on CT: A sign of active but indolently evolving pulmonary tuberculosis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N48b20e2f-c3ed-4c3c-a251-c583ed3c8c8a

Objective

To investigate the prevalence, patient characteristics, and natural history of clustered micronodules (CMs) in active pulmonary tuberculosis.

Materials and methods

From January 2013 through July 2018, 833 consecutive patients with bacteriologically or polymerase chain reaction–proven active pulmonary tuberculosis were retrospectively evaluated. CMs were defined as a localized aggregation of multiple dense discrete micronodules, which primarily distributed around small airways distal to the level of the segmental bronchus: small airways surrounded by CMs maintained luminal patency and the CMs might coalesce into a larger nodule. The patients were dichotomized according to whether the predominant computed tomography (CT) abnormalities were CMs. We analyzed radiologic and pathologic findings in patients whose predominant diagnostic CT abnormalities were CMs, along with those of incidental pre-diagnostic CT scans, if available. Chi-square, McNemar, Student t-test and Wilcoxon-signed rank test were performed.

Results

CMs were the predominant CT abnormality in 2.6% of the patients (22/833, 95% CI, 1.8–4.0%) with less sputum smear-positivity (4.8% vs 31.0%; p = .010) and a similar proportion of immunocompromised status (40.9% vs 46.0%; p = .637) than those without having CMs as the predominant CT abnormality. The time interval for minimal radiologic progression was 6.4 months. The extent of CMs increased with disease progression, frequently accompanied by consolidation and small airway wall thickening. Pathologically, smaller CMs were non-caseating granulomas confined to the peribronchiolar interstitium, whereas larger CMs were caseating granulomas involving lung parenchyma. Two of the five patients with a pre-diagnostic CT scan obtained more than 50 months pre-diagnosis showed an incipient stage of CMs, in which they were small peribronchiolar nodules.

Conclusion

Active pulmonary tuberculosis manifested predominantly as CMs in 2.6% of patients, with scarce of acid-fast bacilli smear-positivity and no association with impaired host immunity. CMs indolently progressed, accompanied by consolidation and small airway wall thickening, and originated from small nodules.

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<![CDATA[Streptococcal H2O2 inhibits IgE-triggered degranulation of RBL-2H3 mast cell/basophil cell line by inducing cell death]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Nadf2e0c3-9608-4100-a6fa-f03310d30959

Mast cells and basophils are central players in allergic reactions triggered by immunoglobulin E (IgE). They have intracellular granules containing allergic mediators (e.g., histamine, serotonin, inflammatory cytokines, proteases and β-hexosaminidase), and stimulation by IgE-allergen complex leads to the release of such allergic mediators from the granules, that is, degranulation. Mast cells are residents of mucosal surfaces, including those of nasal and oral cavities, and play an important role in the innate defense system. Members of the mitis group streptococci such as Streptococcus oralis, are primary colonizers of the human oral cavity. They produce hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) as a by-product of sugar metabolism. In this study, we investigated the effects of streptococcal infection on RBL-2H3 mast cell/basophil cell line. Infection by oral streptococci did not induce degranulation of the cells. Stimulation of the RBL-2H3 cells with anti-dinitrophenol (DNP) IgE and DNP-conjugated human serum albumin triggers degranulation with the release of β-hexosaminidase. We found that S. oralis and other mitis group streptococci inhibited the IgE-triggered degranulation of RBL-2H3 cells. Since mitis group streptococci produce H2O2, we examined the effect of S. oralis mutant strain deficient in producing H2O2, and found that they lost the ability to suppress the degranulation. Moreover, H2O2 alone inhibited the IgE-induced degranulation. Subsequent analysis suggested that the inhibition of degranulation was related to the cytotoxicity of streptococcal H2O2. Activated RBL-2H3 cells produce interleukin-4 (IL-4); however, IL-4 production was not induced by streptococcal H2O2. Furthermore, an in vivo study using the murine pollen-induced allergic rhinitis model suggested that the streptococcal H2O2 reduces nasal allergic reaction. These findings reveal that H2O2 produced by oral mitis group streptococci inhibits IgE-stimulated degranulation by inducing cell death. Consequently, streptococcal H2O2 can be considered to modulate the allergic reaction in mucosal surfaces.

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