Chagas disease (CD) is a tropical neglected illness, affecting mainly populations of low socioeconomic status in Latin America. An estimated 6 to 8 million people worldwide are infected with Trypanosoma cruzi, the etiological agent of CD. Despite being one of the main global health problems, this disease continues without effective treatment during the chronic phase of the infection. The limitation of therapeutic strategies has been one of the biggest challenges on the fight against CD. Nifurtimox and benznidazole, developed in the 1970s, are still the only commercial options with established efficacy on CD. However, the efficacy of these drugs have a proven efficacy only during early infection and the benefits in the chronic phase are questionable. Consequently, there is a growing need for new pharmacological alternatives, either by optimization of existing drugs or by the formulation of new compounds. In the present study, a literature review of the currently adopted therapy, its concomitant combination with other drugs, and potential future treatments for CD was performed, considering articles published from 2012. The revised articles were selected according to the protocol of treatment: evaluation of drug association, drug repositioning and research of new drugs. As a result of the present revision, it was possible to conclude that the use of benznidazole in combination with other compounds showed better results when compared with its use as a single therapy. The search of new drugs has been the strategy most used in pursuing more effective forms of treatment for CD. However, studies have still focused on basic research, that is, they are still in a pre-clinical stage, using methodologies based on in vitro or in animal studies.
BACKGROUND The Trypanosoma cruzi infection endemic in Latin America has now spread to several countries across four continents; this endemic involves triatomine vector-free protists. We hypothesised that the sexual transmission of T. cruzi contributes to the ongoing spread of Chagas disease.OBJECTIVES A short-term longitudinal study was conducted to evaluate this hypothesis.METHODS The study population comprised 109 subjects from four families, among whom 21 had been diagnosed with acute Chagas disease by direct parasitological analysis. Blood mononuclear cells and serum samples were obtained from each study subject once per year for three consecutive years. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and indirect immunofluorescence serological examinations were used to detect specific T. cruzi antibodies. Polymerase chain reaction of T. cruzi DNA revealed 188-nucleotide bands, which hybridised to a specific radiolabelled probe and were confirmed by cloning and sequencing.RESULTS Three independent assessments at different time points revealed T. cruzi nuclear DNA footprints in 76% (83/109) of the study population with active infection. In contrast, the ELISA and indirect immunofluorescence assays detected the T. cruzi antibody in 28.4% (31/109) of the study samples. Moreover, the semen from 82.6% (19/23) of subjects people revealed harboured the 188- bp base pair T. cruzi footprint. Interestingly, the ejaculates of nuclear DNA-positive Chagas patient transmitted the T. cruzi upon peritoneal injection or infusion in the vagina of mice, and amastigotes were detected in the skeletal muscle, myocardium, vas deferens, and uterine tube.MAIN CONCLUSIONS T. cruzi infections can be transmitted from females or males to naïve mates through intercourse, and progeny showed discrepancies between the ratios of nuclear DNA footprints and specific antibody that can be explained by the tolerance attained during early embryo growth. Additional studies are needed to develop drugs to eradicate the infections. Additionally, the importance of a vigorous education, information, and communication program to prevent sexually transmitted Chagas disease in humans cannot be underemphasised.
The data show that exposure to hypoxic conditions (1% O(2)) of rat and human myoblasts altered their proliferation and differentiation processes. They also show that Epo is not an efficient growth factor to counteract this deleterious effect.
Vector-borne pathogens threaten human health worldwide. Despite their critical role in disease prevention, routine surveillance systems often rely on low-complexity pathogen detection tests of uncertain accuracy. In Chagas disease surveillance, optical microscopy (OM) is routinely used for detecting Trypanosoma cruzi in its vectors. Here, we use replicate T. cruzi detection data and hierarchical site-occupancy models to assess the reliability of OM-based T. cruzi surveillance while explicitly accounting for false-negative and false-positive results. We investigated 841 triatomines with OM slides (1194 fresh, 1192 Giemsa-stained) plus conventional (cPCR, 841 assays) and quantitative PCR (qPCR, 1682 assays). Detections were considered unambiguous only when parasitologists unmistakably identified T. cruzi in Giemsa-stained slides. qPCR was >99% sensitive and specific, whereas cPCR was ~100% specific but only ~55% sensitive. In routine surveillance, examination of a single OM slide per vector missed ~50–75% of infections and wrongly scored as infected ~7% of the bugs. qPCR-based and model-based infection frequency estimates were nearly three times higher, on average, than OM-based indices. We conclude that the risk of vector-borne Chagas disease may be substantially higher than routine surveillance data suggest. The hierarchical modelling approach we illustrate can help enhance vector-borne disease surveillance systems when pathogen detection is imperfect.
Highlights The SARS-CoV-2 and dengue syndemic is a reality in several countries worldwide. Prior dengue infection did not impact clinical parameters of COVID-19 patients. Active dengue fever worsened the pulmonary function of COVID-19 patients. Active and prior dengue infection were associated with an increase in blood glucose levels.
Chagas disease (CD), caused by the protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi ( T. cruzi ), is the main parasitic disease in the Western Hemisphere. Unfortunately, its physiopathology is not completely understood, and cardiomegaly development is hard to predict. Trying to explain tissue lesion and the fact that only a percentage of the infected individuals develops clinical manifestations, a variety of mechanisms have been suggested as the provokers of CD, such as parasite persistence and autoimmune responses. However, holistic analysis of how parasite and host-related elements may connect to each other and influence clinical outcome is still scarce in the literature. Here, we investigated murine models of CD caused by three different pathogen strains: Colombian, CL Brener and Y strains, and employed parasitological and immunological tests to determine parasite load, antibody reactivity, and cytokine production during the acute and chronic phases of the disease. Also, we developed a quantitative PCR (qPCR) protocol to quantify T. cruzi kDNA minicircle integration into the mammalian host genome. Finally, we used a correlation analysis to interconnect parasite- and host-related factors over time. Higher parasite load in the heart and in the intestine was significantly associated with IgG raised against host cardiac proteins. Also, increased heart and bone marrow parasitism was associated with a more intense leukocyte infiltration. kDNA integration rates correlated to the levels of IgG antibodies reactive to host cardiac proteins and interferon production, both influencing tissue inflammation. In conclusion, our results shed light into how inflammatory process associates with parasite load, kDNA transfer to the host, autoreactive autoantibody production and cytokine profile. Altogether, our data support the proposal of an updated integrative theory regarding CD pathophysiology.
Erythropoietin (Epo) and vascular growth factor (VEGF) are known to be involved in the regulation of cellular activity when oxygen transport is reduced as in anaemia or hypoxic conditions. Because it has been suggested that Epo could play a role in skeletal muscle development, regeneration, and angiogenesis, we aimed to assess Epo deficiency in both normoxia and hypoxia by using an Epo-deficient transgenic mouse model (Epo-TAgh). Histoimmunology, ELISA and real time RT-PCR did not show any muscle fiber atrophy or accumulation of active HIF-1α but an improvement of microvessel network and an upregulation of VEGFR2 mRNA in Epo-deficient gastrocnemius compared with Wild-Type one. In hypoxia, both models exhibit an upregulation of VEGF120 and VEGFR2 mRNA but no accumulation of Epo protein. EpoR mRNA is not up-regulated in both Epo-deficient and hypoxic gastrocnemius. These results suggest that muscle deconditioning observed in patients suffering from renal failure is not due to Epo deficiency.
BackgroundNeotropical primates are important sylvatic hosts of Trypanosoma cruzi, the etiological agent of Chagas disease. Infection is often subclinical, but severe disease has been described in both free-ranging and captive primates. Panstrongylus megistus, a major T. cruzi vector, was found infesting a small-primate unit at Brasília zoo (ZooB), Brazil. ZooB lies close to a gallery-forest patch where T. cruzi circulates naturally. Here, we combine parasitological and molecular methods to investigate a focus of T. cruzi infection involving triatomine bugs and Neotropical primates at a zoo located in the Brazilian Savannah.MethodsWe assessed T. cruzi infection in vectors using optical microscopy (n = 34) and nested PCR (n = 50). We used quantitative PCR (qPCR) to examine blood samples from 26 primates and necropsy samples from two primates that died during the study. We determined parasite lineages in five vectors and two primates by comparing glucose-6-phosphate isomerase (G6pi) gene sequences.ResultsTrypanosoma cruzi was found in 44 vectors and 17 primates (six genera and eight species); one Mico chrysoleucus and one Saguinus niger had high parasitaemias. Trypanosoma cruzi DNA was detected in three primates born to qPCR-negative mothers at ZooB and in the two dead specimens. One Callithrix geoffroyi became qPCR-positive over a two-year follow-up. All G6pi sequences matched T. cruzi lineage TcI.ConclusionsOur findings strongly suggest vector-borne T. cruzi transmission within a small-primate unit at ZooB – with vectors, and perhaps also parasites, presumably coming from nearby gallery forest. Periodic checks for vectors and parasites would help eliminate T. cruzi transmission foci in captive-animal facilities. This should be of special importance for captive-breeding programs involving endangered mammals, and would reduce the risk of accidental T. cruzi transmission to keepers and veterinarians.Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13071-016-1334-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
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