Biofilm production has been implicated as a potential virulence factor of some Candida species responsible for catheter-related fungemia in patients receiving parenteral nutrition. We therefore compared clinical bloodstream isolates representing seven different Candida species to each other and to those from other anatomical sites for the capacity to form biofilms in glucose-containing medium. Potential associations between the capacity to form biofilms and the clinical characteristics of fungemia were also analyzed. Isolates included the following from nonneutropenic patients: 101 bloodstream isolates (35 C. parapsilosis, 30 C. albicans, 18 C. tropicalis, 8 C. glabrata, and 10 other Candida species isolates) and 259 clinical isolates from other body sites (116 C. albicans, 53 C. glabrata, 43 C. tropicalis, 17 C. parapsilosis, and 30 other Candida species isolates). Organisms were grown in Sabouraud dextrose broth (SDB) containing a final concentration of 8% glucose to induce biofilm formation, as published previously. Biofilm production was determined by both visual and spectrophotometric methods. In this medium, biofilm production by C. albicans isolates was significantly less frequent (8%) than that by non-C. albicans Candida species (61%; P < 0.0001). The overall proportion of non-C. albicans Candida species isolates from the blood that produced biofilms was significantly higher than that of non-C. albicans Candida isolates obtained from other sites (79% versus 52%; P ؍ 0.0001). Bloodstream isolates of C. parapsilosis alone were significantly more likely to be biofilm positive than were C. parapsilosis isolates from other sites (86% versus 47%; P ؍ 0.0032). Non-C. albicans Candida species, including C. parapsilosis, were more likely to be biofilm positive if isolates were derived from patients whose candidemia was central venous catheter (CVC) related (95%; P < 0.0001) and was associated with the use of total parenteral nutrition (TPN) (94%; P < 0.005). These data suggest that the capacity of Candida species isolates to produce biofilms in vitro in glucose-containing SDB may be a reflection of the pathogenic potential of these isolates to cause CVC-related fungemia in patients receiving TPN.
Background. Candida haemulonii, a yeast species that often exhibits antifungal resistance, rarely causes human infection. During 2004-2006, unusual yeast isolates with phenotypic similarity to C. haemulonii were recovered from 23 patients (8 patients with fungemia and 15 patients with chronic otitis media) in 5 hospitals in Korea. Methods. Isolates were characterized using D1/D2 domain and ITS gene sequencing, and the susceptibility of the isolates to 6 antifungal agents was tested in vitro. Results. Gene sequencing of the blood isolates confirmed C. haemulonii group I (in 1 patient) and Candida pseudohaemulonii (in 7 patients), whereas all isolates recovered from the ear were a novel species of which C. haemulonii is its closest relative. The minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) ranges of amphotericin B, fluconazole, itraconazole, and voriconazole for all isolates were 0.5-32 microg/mL (MIC(50), 1 microg/mL), 2-128 microg/mL (MIC(50), 4 microg/mL), 0.125-4 microg/mL (MIC(50), 0.25 microg/mL), and 0.03-2 microg/mL (MIC(50), 0.06 microg/mL), respectively. All isolates were susceptible to caspofungin (MIC, 0.125-0.25 microg/mL) and micafungin (MIC, 0.03-0.06 microg/mL). All cases of fungemia occurred in patients with severe underlying diseases who had central venous catheters. Three patients developed breakthrough fungemia while receiving antifungal therapy, and amphotericin B therapeutic failure, which was associated with a high MIC of amphotericin B (32 microg/mL), was observed in 2 patients. Conclusions. Candida species that are closely related to C. haemulonii are emerging sources of infection in Korea. These species show variable patterns of susceptibility to amphotericin B and azole antifungal agents.
Since the first report of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) in 2012 in Saudi Arabia, no standard treatment guideline has been set despite the virulence of MERS-coronavirus (CoV) and the high case-fatality rate. The outbreak in South Korea in 2015 demonstrates that MERS outbreaks can occur outside of the Middle East. The combination of ribavirin and interferon-α has been the most widely used therapy for this infection. However, due to the varying results of treatment with these drugs, a new antiviral combination regimen is urgently needed. This is a case report of use of lopinavir/ritonavir-based combination antiviral therapy for a patient with MERS-CoV infection.
Mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells contribute to protection against certain microorganism infections and play an important role in mucosal immunity. However, the role of MAIT cells remains enigmatic in autoimmune diseases. In this study, we examined the level and function of MAIT cells in patients with rheumatic diseases. MAIT cell, cytokine, and programmed death-1 (PD-1) levels were measured by flow cytometry. Circulating MAIT cell levels were significantly reduced in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and rheumatoid arthritis patients. In particular, this MAIT cell deficiency was more prominent in CD8+ and double-negative T cell subsets, and significantly correlated with disease activity, such as SLE disease activity index and 28-joint disease activity score. Interestingly, MAIT cell frequency was significantly correlated with NKT cell frequency in SLE patients. IFN-γ production in MAIT cells was impaired in SLE patients, which was due to an intrinsic defect in the Ca2+/calcineurin/NFAT1 signaling pathway. In SLE patients, MAIT cells were poorly activated by α-galactosylceramide–stimulated NKT cells, thereby showing the dysfunction between MAIT cells and NKT cells. Notably, an elevated expression of PD-1 in MAIT cells and NKT cells was associated with SLE. In rheumatoid arthritis patients, MAIT cell levels were significantly higher in synovial fluid than in peripheral blood. Our study primarily demonstrates that MAIT cells are numerically and functionally deficient in SLE. In addition, we report a novel finding that this MAIT cell deficiency is associated with NKT cell deficiency and elevated PD-1 expression. These abnormalities possibly contribute to dysregulated mucosal immunity in SLE.
Objective. To determine the cytotoxicity of natural killer (NK) cells and the level of differentiation of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) into NK cells in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).Methods. Patients with SLE (n ؍ 108), rheumatoid arthritis (RA; n ؍ 90), Behçet's disease (n ؍ 39), or ankylosing spondylitis (n ؍ 41) and healthy control subjects (n ؍ 173) were enrolled in the study. NK cell levels, NK cell cytotoxicities, and lymphokine-activated killer (LAK) activities against K562 cells were measured by flow cytometry. Gene expression was assessed by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. NK cells were differentiated from peripheral blood and bone marrow HSCs in vitro.Results. Percentages and absolute numbers of NK cells, cytotoxicities, and LAK activities were significantly lower in the peripheral blood of SLE and RA patients than in that of healthy controls. In particular, this NK cell deficiency was more prominent in patients with lupus nephritis and those with thrombocytopenia. Notably, purified NK cells derived from SLE patients, but not RA patients, were found to have lower cytotoxicities and LAK activities than those from healthy controls. This defect of NK cells in SLE patients was found to be related to lower numbers of NK precursors and to the down-regulation of perforin and granzyme in NK cells. The proliferative capacity of HSCs, the percentages of NK cells differentiated from HSCs, and NK cell cytotoxicities were significantly lower in SLE patients.Conclusion. In SLE patients, circulating levels of NK cells were diminished and their cytotoxicities were impaired. Furthermore, the differentiation of HSCs into NK cells was found to be defective. These abnormalities possibly contribute to immune system dysregulation in SLE.
Mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells are an antimicrobial MR1-restricted T cell subset and play an important role in immune defense response to bacteria. However, little is known about the role of MAIT cells in cancer. The aims of this study were to examine the level and function of MAIT cells in cancer patients and to evaluate the clinical relevance of MAIT cell levels. Ninety-nine patients with cancer and 20 healthy controls were included in this study. Circulating MAIT cell levels were significantly reduced in patients with mucosal-associated cancers (MACs), such as gastric, colon and lung cancers, but their capacities for IFN-γ, IL-17, or TNF-α production were preserved. This MAIT cell deficiency was significantly correlated with N staging and carcinoembryonic antigen level. Percentages of MAIT cells were significantly higher in cancer tissue than in peripheral blood and immunofluorescent labeling showed MAIT cell infiltration into colon cancer tissues. Circulating MAIT cells exhibited high levels of CCR6 and CXCR6, and their corresponding chemokines, such as CCL20 and CXCL16, were strongly expressed in colon cancer tissues. Activated MAIT cells not only had lymphokine-activated killer activity, but they also had direct cytotoxicity on K562 cells via degranulation of granzyme B and perforin. This study primarily demonstrates that circulating MAIT cells are reduced in MAC patients due to migration to mucosal cancer tissues and they have the potential to kill cancer cells. In addition, this circulating MAIT cell deficiency is related to the degree of cancer progression in mucosal tissues.
Our data show that NKT cell levels and functions are defective in SLE patients. Furthermore, these deficiencies were found to reflect disease activity. It would appear that these NKT cell abnormalities could contribute to immune system dysregulation in SLE.
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