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European Journal of Microbiology and Immunology
Authors: Markus M. Heimesaat, André Fischer, Anja A. Kühl, Ulf B. Göbel, Illana Gozes, and Stefan Bereswill

The octapeptide NAP has been shown to exert neuroprotective properties. Here, we investigated potential anti-inflammatory effects of NAP in an acute ileitis model. To address this, C57BL/6j mice were perorally infected with Toxoplasma gondii (day 0). Within 1 week postinfection (p.i.), placebo (PLC)-treated mice developed acute ileitis due to Th1-type immune responses. Mice that were subjected to intraperitoneal NAP treatment from day 1 until day 6 p.i., however, developed less distinct macroscopic and microscopic disease as indicated by less body weight loss, less distinct histopathological ileal changes, and lower ileal apoptotic, but higher proliferating cell numbers, less abundance of neutrophils, macrophages, monocytes, and T lymphocytes, but higher numbers of regulatory T cells in the ileal mucosa and lamina propria, and lower concentrations of pro-inflammatory mediators in the ilea as compared to PLC controls at day 7 p.i. Remarkably, NAP-mediated anti-inflammatory effects could also be observed in extra-intestinal compartments including liver and spleen. Strikingly, lower MCP-1, TNF, and IL-12p70 serum concentrations in NAP as compared to PLC-treated mice at day 7 p.i. indicate a pronounced systemic anti-inflammatory effect of NAP in acute ileitis. These findings provide first evidence for NAP as a potential novel treatment option in intestinal inflammation.

Open access

From year to year, it is important to get an overview of the occurrence of causative agents in febrile neutropenic patients to determine the empiric treatment. Thus our aims were to evaluate a four-year period regarding the prevalence of bloodstream infections and the most important causative agents. During this period, 1,361 patients were treated in our hematology ward because of various hematological disorders. 812 febrile episodes were recorded in 469 patients. At that time, 3,714 blood culture (BC) bottles were sent for microbiological investigations, 759 of them gave positive signal. From the majority of positive blood culture bottles (67.1%), Gram-positive bacteria, mainly coagulase-negative staphylococci (CNS), were grown. Gram-negative bacteria were isolated from 32.9% of the positive blood culture bottles, in these cases the leading pathogen was Escherichia coli. The high prevalence of CNS was attributed to mainly contamination, while lower positivity rate for Gram-negative bacteria was associated with the use of broad-spectrum empiric antibiotic treatment.

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

Increased levels of the matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs)-2 and -9 (also referred to gelatinase-A and -B, respectively) can be detected in the inflamed gut. We have recently shown that synthetic gelatinase blockage reduces colonic apoptosis and pro-inflammatory immune responses following murine Campylobacter (C.) jejuni infection. In order to dissect whether MMP-2 and/or MMP-9 is involved in mediating C. jejuni-induced immune responses, infant MMP-2-/-, MMP-9-/-, and wildtype (WT) mice were perorally infected with the C. jejuni strain B2 immediately after weaning. Whereas, at day 2 postinfection (p.i.), fecal C. jejuni B2 loads were comparable in mice of either genotype, mice expelled the pathogen from the intestinal tract until day 4 p.i. Six days p.i., colonic MMP-2 but not MMP-9 mRNA was upregulated in WT mice. Remarkably, infected MMP-2-/- mice exhibited less frequent abundance of blood in feces, less distinct colonic histopathology and apoptosis, lower numbers of effector as well as innate and adaptive immune cells within the colonic mucosa, and higher colonic IL-22 mRNA levels as compared to infected WT mice. In conclusion, these results point towards an important role of MMP-2 in mediating C. jejuni-induced intestinal immunopathogenesis.

Open access

Raw milk is a recognized source of Campylobacter outbreaks, but pasteurization is an effective way to eliminate the causative agent of Campylobacteriosis. Whereas breastfeeding is protective against infectious diseases, consumption of formula milk is thought to be not. However, in relation to Campylobacter, such data is currently unavailable. Although both pasteurized and formula milk are pathogen free and prepared in a quality controlled manner, the effect they have on the virulence of Campylobacter species is unknown. Here, we studied the effect of cow, goat, horse, and formula milk on Campylobacter invasion into intestinal epithelial Caco-2 cells, a pathogenic feature of this bacterial species, using a gentamicin exclusion invasion assay. We found that all milk products modulated the invasion of Campylobacter species into the Caco-2 cells in a dose-dependent manner. Control experiments showed that the milks were not toxic for the Caco-2 cells and that the effect on invasion is caused by heat labile (e.g., milk proteins) or heat stable (e.g., sugar/lipids) components depending on the Campylobacter species studied. This in vitro study shows for the first time that pasteurized and formula milk affect the invasion of Campylobacter. We recommend a prospective study to examine whether pasteurized and formula milk affect Campylobacteriosis.

Open access

Four species of Lejeunea viz., L. discreta, L. kashyapii, L. mehrana and L. parva are reported here for the first time from Meghalaya. Of which, Lejeunea kashyapii and L. mehrana are endemic, earlier reported from Sikkim only. The taxonomic description and illustrations of all are provided in present communication.

Open access
European Journal of Microbiology and Immunology
Authors: Ting Fu, Eva B. Znalesniak, Thomas Kalinski, Luisa Möhle, Aindrila Biswas, Franz Salm, Ildiko Rita Dunay, and Werner Hoffmann

The peptide trefoil factor family 3 (TFF3) is a major constituent of the intestinal mucus, playing an important role in the repair of epithelial surfaces. To further understand the role of TFF3 in the protection of intestinal epithelium, we tested the influence of TFF3 in a murine Toxoplasma gondii-induced ileitis model. Surprisingly, TFF3KO mice showed a reduced immune response in the ileum when compared to wild-type animals. Interleukin-12 and interferon-γ expression levels as well as the number of CD4+ lymphocytes were reduced in the infected TFF3KO mice. These effects were in line with the trend of elevated parasite levels in the ileum. Moreover, TFF1 expression was upregulated in the spleen of infected mice. These initial results indicate that TFF3 is involved in the immune pathology of T. gondii infection-induced intestinal inflammation. Thus far, the mechanisms of how TFF3 influences the immune response are not fully understood. Further studies should identify if TFF3 affects mucus sensing of dendritic cells and how TFF3 is involved in regulating the immune response as an intrinsic secretory peptide of immune cells.

Open access

We compared the performance of an in-house and a commercial malaria polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay using freeze–thawed hemolytic blood samples.

A total of 116 freeze–thawed ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid (EDTA) blood samples of patients with suspicion of malaria were analyzed by an in-house as well as by a commercially available real-time PCR.

Concordant malaria negative PCR results were reported for 39 samples and malaria-positive PCR results for 67 samples. The inhouse assay further detected one case of Plasmodium falciparum infection, which was negative in the commercial assay as well as five cases of P. falciparum malaria and three cases of Plasmodium vivax malaria, which showed sample inhibition in the commercial assay. The commercial malaria assay was positive in spite of a negative in-house PCR result in one case. In all concordant results, cycle threshold values of P. falciparum-positive samples were lower in the commercial PCR than in the in-house assay.

Although Ct values of the commercial PCR kit suggest higher sensitivity in case of concordant results, it is prone to inhibition if it is applied to hemolytic freeze–thawed blood samples. The number of misidentifications was, however, identical for both real-time PCR assays.

Open access

This study mathematically correlates incidence of cotton leaf curl virus (CLCuV), environmental factors (i.e., rainfall, humidity and temperature), and silverleaf whitefly population in agricultural system of Pakistan. It has been concluded that the disease is directly linked with rainfall and humidity. The third most influential factor in defining CLCuV incidence is the vector population, which is also strictly dependent upon monthly mean temperature of Pakistan. Developed mathematical interrelation is capable of predicting disease incidence of future months. Therefore, it will help agriculturists to control disease in agricultural areas of Pakistan. It is strongly advised on the basis of current research that vector population controlling practices should be immediately applied after detecting small elevations in mean monthly temperature.

Open access

Detection of IgG and IgM antibodies is commonly performed for the diagnosis of infection with Toxoplasma gondii. We determined the accuracy of the Elecsys Toxo IgG and IgM test at four European laboratories compared to local reference methods. Coefficients of variation for reproducibility ranged from 1.0 to 6.5% for IgG and from 0.8 to 3.2% for IgM. Seroconversion panels revealed high overall concordance with the reference tests. The Elecsys test detected IgG antibodies earlier than the Cobas Core IgG test in 19 of 47 panels; persisting IgM antibodies were observed in the VIDAS but not the Elecsys test in five of 47 panels. In 31.4% of latent stage sera with persistent IgM antibodies (positive LIASON IgM), the Elecsys IgM test gave negative results indicating increased “clinical” specificity. Sensitivity and specificity of the Elecsys IgG assay ranged from 99.45 to 100% and 87.50–99.80%, respectively, and 91.11–95.74 and 98.45–99.79% for the Elecsys IgM assay, respectively.

In conclusion, excellent reproducibility and accuracy make the Elecsys Toxo G and M tests highly suitable for the detection of anti-T. gondii IgG and IgM antibodies. The lower detection rates for persistent IgM in the Elecsys IgM test increase “clinical” specificity and decrease the need for follow-up testing.

Open access

We report the case of a nosocomial infection due to Enterococcus cecorum isolated from a blood culture of a 75-year-old septic male patient. Matrix-assisted laser desorption–ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) and Vitek 2 succeeded in identification of the isolate.

Open access