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We have previously shown that Arcobacter butzleri infection induces Toll-like receptor (TLR) -4 dependent immune responses in perorally infected gnotobiotic IL-10−/− mice. Here, we analyzed TLR-4-dependent expression of genes encoding inflammatory mediators and matrix-degrading gelatinases MMP-2 and -9 in the small and large intestines of gnotobiotic TLR-4-deficient IL-10−/− mice that were perorally infected with A. butzleri strains CCUG 30485 or C1, of human and chicken origin, respectively. At day 6 following A. butzleri infection, colonic mucin-2 mRNA, as integral part of the intestinal mucus layer, was downregulated in the colon, but not ileum, of IL-10−/− but not TLR-4−/− IL-10−/− mice. CCUG 30485 strain-infected TLR-4-deficient IL-10−/− mice displayed less distinctly upregulated IFN-γ, IL-17A, and IL-1β mRNA levels in ileum and colon, which was also true for colonic IL-22. These changes were accompanied by upregulated colonic MMP-2 and ileal MMP-9 mRNA exclusively in IL-10−/− mice. In conclusion, TLR-4 is essentially involved in A. butzleri mediated modulation of gene expression in the intestines of gnotobiotic IL-10−/− mice.

Open access

Influenza A virus (IAV) infection causes an acute respiratory disease characterized by a strong inflammatory immune response and severe immunopathology. Proinflammatory mechanisms are well described in the murine IAV infection model, but less is known about the mechanisms leading to the resolution of inflammation. Here, we analyzed the contribution of CD11b+Ly6C++Ly6G cells to this process. An accumulation of CD11b+Ly6C++Ly6G cells within the lungs was observed during the course of IAV infection. Phenotypic characterization of these CD11b+Ly6C++Ly6G cells by flow cytometry and RNA-Seq revealed an activated phenotype showing both pro- and anti-inflammatory features, including the expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) by a fraction of cells in an IFN-γ-dependent manner. Moreover, CD11b+Ly6C++Ly6G cells isolated from lungs of IAV-infected animals displayed suppressive activity when tested in vitro, and iNOS inhibitors could abrogate this suppressive activity. Collectively, our data suggest that during IAV infection, CD11b+Ly6C++Ly6G cells acquire immunoregulatory function, which might contribute to the prevention of pathology during this life-threatening disease.

Open access
European Journal of Microbiology and Immunology
Authors: Richard E. Rothman, Lauren Sauer, and Charlotte A. Gaydos
Open access

Lyme disease is a tick-borne multisystemic disease caused by Borrelia burgdorferi. Administering antibiotics is the primary treatment for this disease; however, relapse often occurs when antibiotic treatment is discontinued. The reason for relapse remains unknown, but recent studies suggested the possibilities of the presence of antibiotic resistant Borrelia persister cells and biofilms.

In this study, we evaluated the effectiveness of whole leaf Stevia extract against B. burgdorferi spirochetes, persisters, and biofilm forms in vitro. The susceptibility of the different forms was evaluated by various quantitative techniques in addition to different microscopy methods. The effectiveness of Stevia was compared to doxycycline, cefoperazone, daptomycin, and their combinations. Our results demonstrated that Stevia had significant effect in eliminating B. burgdorferi spirochetes and persisters. Subculture experiments with Stevia and antibiotics treated cells were established for 7 and 14 days yielding, no and 10% viable cells, respectively compared to the above-mentioned antibiotics and antibiotic combination. When Stevia and the three antibiotics were tested against attached biofilms, Stevia significantly reduced B. burgdorferi forms. Results from this study suggest that a natural product such as Stevia leaf extract could be considered as an effective agent against B. burgdorferi.

Open access

Ocular toxoplasmosis is a vision-threatening disease and the major cause of posterior uveitis worldwide. In spite of the continuing global burden of ocular toxoplasmosis, many critical aspects of disease including the therapeutic approach to ocular toxoplasmosis are still under debate. To assist in addressing many aspects of the disease, numerous experimental models of ocular toxoplasmosis have been established. In this article, we present an overview on in vitro, ex vivo, and in vivo models of ocular toxoplasmosis available to date.

Experimental studies on ocular toxoplasmosis have recently focused on mice. However, the majority of murine models established so far are based on intraperitoneal and intraocular infection with Toxoplasma gondii. We therefore also present results obtained in an in vivo model using peroral infection of C57BL/6 and NMRI mice that reflects the natural route of infection and mimics the disease course in humans. While advances have been made in ex vivo model systems or larger animals to investigate specific aspects of ocular toxoplasmosis, laboratory mice continue to be the experimental model of choice for the investigation of ocular toxoplasmosis.

Open access
European Journal of Microbiology and Immunology
Authors: Cosme Alvarado-Esquivel, Luis Francisco Sánchez-Anguiano, Jesús Hernández-Tinoco, Emilio Arreola-Cháidez, Juan López, Karla Itzel Salcido-Meraz, Sergio Estrada-Martínez, José Antonio Navarrete-Flores, Alma Rosa Pérez-Álamos, Marcia Hernández-Ochoa, Elizabeth Rábago-Sánchez, and Oliver Liesenfeld

Through an age- and sex-matched case-control study, we sought to determine whether female sex workers have an increased risk of Toxoplasma gondii exposure and to determine the sociodemographic, work, clinical, and behavioral characteristics of these workers associated with T. gondii exposure. Female workers (n = 136) and controls (n = 272) were examined with enzyme-linked immunoassays (EIA) for the presence of anti-Toxoplasma IgG and IgM antibodies. IgM positive sera were additionally tested with enzyme linked-fluorescence immunoassay (ELFA). Anti-T. gondii IgG antibodies were found in 21 (15.44%) of 136 cases and in 10 (3.67%) of 272 controls (OR = 4.05; 95% CI: 1.84–8.89; P = 0.0001). Anti-T. gondii IgG levels higher than 150 IU/ml were found in 13 (9.6%) of 136 cases and in 8 (2.9%) of 272 controls (P = 0.007). Anti-T. gondii IgM antibodies were found in two cases and in six controls by EIA, but all were negative by ELFA. T. gondii seropositivity was associated with being born out of Durango State (OR = 10.47; 95% CI: 2.9–36.8; P < 0.01), injuries during sex work (OR = 6.30; 95% CI: 1.1–33.7; P = 0.03), and soil contact (OR = 4.11; 95% CI: 1.2–14.0; P = 0.02). This is the first report of an association of T. gondii infection and female sex workers.

Open access

Rapid and accurate diagnosis of influenza is important for patient management and infection control. We determined the performance of the cobas® Influenza A/B assay, a rapid automated nucleic acid assay performed on the cobas® Liat System for qualitative detection of influenza A and influenza B from nasopharyngeal (NP) swab specimens. Retrospective frozen and prospectively collected NP swabs from patients with signs and symptoms of influenza collected in universal transport medium (UTM) were tested at multiple sites including CLIA-waived sites using the cobas® Influenza A/B assay. Results were compared to the Prodesse ProFlu+ assay and to viral culture. Compared to the Prodesse ProFlu+ Assay, sensitivities of the cobas® Influenza A/B assay for influenza A and B were 97.7 and 98.6%, respectively; specificity was 99.2 and 99.4%. Compared to viral culture, the cobas® Influenza A/B assay showed sensitivities of 97.5 and 96.9% for influenza virus A and B, respectively; specificities were 97.9% for both viruses. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR)/sequencing showed that the majority of viral culture negative but cobas® Influenza A/B positive results were true positive results, indicating that the cobas® Influenza A/B assay has higher sensitivity compared to viral culture.

In conclusion, the excellent accuracy, rapid time to result, and remarkable ease of use make the cobas® Influenza A/B nucleic acid assay for use on the cobas® Liat System a highly suitable point-of-care solution for the management of patients with suspected influenza A and B infection.

Open access
European Journal of Microbiology and Immunology
Authors: U. Erben, N. N. Pawlowski, M. M. Heimesaat, C. Loddenkemper, K. Doerfel, S. Spieckermann, B. Siegmund, and A. A. Kühl

Targeting human CD2 with the monoclonal antibody (mAb) CB.219 reduces intestinal inflammation in a colitis model where T cells carry human CD2. Here, we asked whether this mAb has adverse effects on infection control.

Mice expressing human CD2 on T cells (huCD2tg) were orally infected with Toxoplasma (T.) gondii and treated with the human CD2-specific mAb CB.219 in a preventive setting. The intestinal T. gondii loads in CB.219 treated mice did not differ from the control group. Histologically, huCD2tg mice showed moderate ileal inflammation that did not change with CB.219 treatment. In the ileum, CB.219 treatment reduced the protein levels of interferon-γ, transforming growth factor β and interleukin-6, whereas interleukin- 18 mRNA was slightly increased. The infiltration of neutrophils, macrophages, and T cells into the ileum was unaffected by CB.219 treatment. However, CB.219 treatment decreased the numbers of forkhead box P3+ regulatory T cells (Treg) in ileum and liver of huCD2tg mice. This was confirmed in vitro using human peripheral blood mononuclear cells.

Taken together, targeting CD2+ T cells by the human CD2 mAb CB.219 does not prevent beneficial immune reactions necessary for pathogen control. Further experiments will address gut specificity, underlying mechanisms, and general applicability of CB.219 treatment.

Open access
European Journal of Microbiology and Immunology
Authors: Marie E. Alutis, Ursula Grundmann, André Fischer, Ulrike Hagen, Anja A. Kühl, Ulf B. Göbel, Stefan Bereswill, and Markus M. Heimesaat

Matrix metalloproteinases (MMP)-2 and -9 (also referred to gelatinases-A and -B, respectively) are upregulated in the inflamed gut of mice and men. We recently demonstrated that synthetic gelatinase blockage reduced large intestinal pro-inflammatory immune responses and apoptosis following murine Campylobacter (C.) jejuni infection. In order to address which gelatinase mediates C. jejuni-induced immune responses, gnotobiotic MMP-2−/−, MMP-9−/−, and wildtype (WT) mice were generated by broadspectrum antibiotic treatment and perorally infected with C. jejuni strain 81-176. The pathogen stably colonized the murine intestinal tract irrespective of the genotype but did not translocate to extra-intestinal compartments. At days 8 and 14 postinfection (p.i.), less pronounced colonic histopathological changes were observed in infected MMP-2−/− mice, less distinct epithelial apoptosis, but more epithelial proliferation in both MMP-2−/− and MMP-9−/− mice, as compared to WT controls. Reduced immune responses in gelatinase- deficient mice were characterized by lower numbers of effector as well as innate and adaptive immune cells within the colonic mucosa and lamina propria. The expression of IL-22, IL-18, IL-17A, and IL-1β mRNA was higher in the colon of MMP-2−/− as compared to WT mice. In conclusion, both MMP-2 and MMP-9 are differentially involved in mediating C. jejuni-induced intestinal immunopathology.

Open access
European Journal of Microbiology and Immunology
Authors: Markus M. Heimesaat, Gül Karadas, André Fischer, Ulf B. Göbel, Thomas Alter, Stefan Bereswill, and Greta Gölz

Sporadic cases of gastroenteritis have been attributed to Arcobacter butzleri infection, but information about the underlying immunopathological mechanisms is scarce. We have recently shown that experimental A. butzleri infection induces intestinal, extraintestinal and systemic immune responses in gnotobiotic IL-10−/− mice. The aim of the present study was to investigate the immunopathological role of Toll-like Receptor-4, the receptor for lipopolysaccharide and lipooligosaccharide of Gram-negative bacteria, during murine A. butzleri infection. To address this, gnotobiotic IL-10−/− mice lacking TLR-4 were generated by broadspectrum antibiotic treatment and perorally infected with two different A. butzleri strains isolated from a patient (CCUG 30485) or fresh chicken meat (C1), respectively. Bacteria of either strain stably colonized the ilea of mice irrespective of their genotype at days 6 and 16 postinfection. As compared to IL-10−/− control animals, TLR-4−/− IL-10−/− mice were protected from A. butzleri-induced ileal apoptosis, from ileal influx of adaptive immune cells including T lymphocytes, regulatory T-cells and B lymphocytes, and from increased ileal IFN secretion. Given that TLR-4-signaling is essential for A. butzleri-induced intestinal inflammation, we conclude that bacterial lipooligosaccharide or lipopolysaccharide compounds aggravate intestinal inflammation and may thus represent major virulence factors of Arcobacter. Future studies need to further unravel the molecular mechanisms of TLR-4-mediated A. butzleri-host interactions.

Open access