N-Methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR)-mediated neurotransmission in the hippocampus is implicated in cognitive and emotional disturbances during stress-related disorders. Here, using quantitative RT-PCR, we investigated the hippocampal expression of NR2A, NR2B and NR1 subunit mRNAs in a mouse stress paradigm that mimics clinically relevant conditions of simultaneously affected emotionality and hippocampus-dependent functions. A 2-week stress procedure, which comprised ethologically valid stressors, exposure to a rat and social defeat, was applied to male C57BL/6J mice. For predation stress, mice were introduced into transparent containers that were placed in a rat home cage during the night; social defeat was applied during the daytime using aggressive CD1 mice. This treatment impaired hippocampus-dependent performance during contextual fear conditioning. A correlation between this behavior and food displacement performance was demonstrated, suggesting that burrowing behavior is affected by the stress procedure and is hippocampus-dependent. Stressed mice (n?=?22) showed behavioral invigoration and anomalous anxiolytic-like profiles in the O-maze and brightly illuminated open field, unaltered short-term memory in the step-down avoidance task and enhanced aggressive traits, as compared to non-stressed mice (n?=?10). Stressed mice showed increased basal serum corticosterone concentrations, hippocampal mRNA expression for the NR2A subunit of the NMDAR and in the NR2A/NR2B ratio; mRNA expression of NR2B and NR1 was unchanged. Thus, stress-induced aberrations in both hippocampal-dependent performance and emotional abnormalities are associated with alterations in hippocampal mRNA NR2A levels and the NR2A/NR2B ratio and not with mRNA expression of NR2B or NR1.
Maternal separation (MS), an early life stressful event, has been demonstrated to trigger neuropsychiatric disorders later in life, in particular depression. Experiments using rodents subjected to MS protocols have been very informative for the establishment of this association. However, the mechanism by which MS leads to neuropsychiatric disorders is far from being understood. This is probably associated with the multifactorial nature of depression but also with the fact that different research MS protocols have been used (that vary on temporal windows and time of exposure to MS). In the present study, MS was induced in rats in two developmental periods: for 6?h per day for 14?days between postnatal days 2-15 (MS2-15) and 7-20 (MS7-20). These two periods were defined to differ essentially on the almost complete (MS2-15) or partial (MS7-20) overlap with the stress hypo-responsive period. Behavioral, immunological, and endocrine parameters, frequently associated with depressive-like behavior, were analyzed in adulthood. Irrespectively from the temporal window, both MS exposure periods led to increased sera corticosterone levels. However, only MS2-15 animals displayed depressive and anxious-like behaviors. Moreover, MS2-15 was also the only group presenting alterations in the immune system, displaying decreased percentage of CD8(+) T cells, increased spleen T cell CD4/CD8 ratio, and thymocytes with increased resistance to dexamethasone-induced cell death. A linear regression model performed to predict depressive-like behavior showed that both corticosterone levels and T cell CD4/CD8 ratio explained 37% of the variance observed in depressive-like behavior. Overall, these findings highlight the existence of "critical periods" for early life stressful events to exert programing effects on both central and peripheral systems, which are of relevance for distinct patterns of susceptibility to emotional disorders later in life.
Bovine tuberculosis (bTB), caused by Mycobacterium bovis, is an infectious disease of cattle that also affects other domestic animals, free-ranging and farmed wildlife, and also humans. In Mozambique, scattered surveys have reported a wide variation of bTB prevalence rates in cattle from different regions. Due to direct economic repercussions on livestock and indirect consequences for human health and wildlife, knowing the prevalence rates of the disease is essential to define an effective control strategy.
Sepsis is the third most common cause of neonatal death, with Group B Streptococcus (GBS) being the leading bacterial agent. The pathogenesis of neonatal septicemia is still unsolved. We described previously that host susceptibility to GBS infection is due to early IL-10 production. In this study, we investigated whether triggering TLR2 to produce IL-10 is a risk factor for neonatal bacterial sepsis. We observed that, in contrast to wild-type (WT) pups, neonatal TLR2-deficient mice were resistant to GBS-induced sepsis. Moreover, if IL-10 signaling were blocked in WT mice, they also were resistant to sepsis. This increased survival rate was due to an efficient recruitment of neutrophils to infected tissues that leads to bacterial clearance, thus preventing the development of sepsis. To confirm that IL-10 produced through TLR2 activation prevents neutrophil recruitment, WT pups were treated with the TLR2 agonist Pam3CSK4 prior to nebulization with the neutrophil chemotactic agent LTB4. Neutrophil recruitment into the neonatal lungs was inhibited in pups treated with Pam3CSK4. However, the migration was restored in Pam3CSK4-treated pups when IL-10 signaling was blocked (either by anti-IL-10R mAb treatment or by using IL-10-deficient mice). Our findings highlight that TLR2-induced IL-10 production is a key event in neonatal susceptibility to bacterial sepsis.
The thymus is required for T cell differentiation; a process that depends on which antigens are encountered by thymocytes, the environment surrounding the differentiating cells, and the thymic architecture. These features are altered by local infection of the thymus and by the inflammatory mediators that accompany systemic infection. Although once believed to be an immune privileged site, it is now known that antimicrobial responses are recruited to the thymus. Resolving infection in the thymus is important because chronic persistence of microbes impairs the differentiation of pathogen-specific T cells and diminishes resistance to infection. Understanding how these mechanisms contribute to disease susceptibility, particularly in infants with developing T cell repertoires, requires further investigation.
CD4(+) regulatory T cells (Tregs) are essential for the maintenance of the immune systems equilibrium, by dampening the activation of potential auto-reactive T cells and avoiding excessive immune activation. To correctly perform their function, Tregs must be maintained at the right proportion with respect to effector T cells. Since this equilibrium is frequently disrupted in individuals infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), we hypothesize that its deregulation could hamper immune reconstitution in patients with poor CD4(+) T cell recovery under highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). We analysed Tregs percentages amongst CD4(+) T cells in 53 HIV-infected patients under HAART, with suppression of viral replication and distinct levels of immune reconstitution. As controls, 51 healthy individuals were also analysed. We observed that amongst the patients with Nadir values (the lowest CD4(+) T cell counts achieved) <200 cells/µL, the individuals with high Tregs percentages (?10% of total CD4(+) T cells) had the worse CD4(+) T cell reconstitution. In accordance, the well-described direct correlation between the Nadir value and CD4(+) T cell reconstitution is clearly more evident in individuals with high Tregs proportions. Furthermore, we observed a strong negative correlation between Tregs percentages and CD4(+) T cell recovery among immunological non-responder HIV(+) individuals. All together, this work shows that high Tregs frequency is an important factor associated with sub-optimal CD4(+) T cell recovery. This is particularly relevant for immunological non-responders with low Nadir values. Our results suggest that the Tregs proportion might be of clinical relevance to define cut-offs for HAART initiation.
The thymus is a target of multiple pathogens. How the immune system responds to thymic infection is largely unknown. Despite being considered an immune-privileged organ, we detect a mycobacteria-specific T cell response in the thymus following dissemination of Mycobacterium avium or Mycobacterium tuberculosis. This response includes proinflammatory cytokine production by mycobacteria-specific CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells, which stimulates infected cells and controls bacterial growth in the thymus. Importantly, the responding T cells are mature peripheral T cells that recirculate back to the thymus. The recruitment of these cells is associated with an increased expression of Th1 chemokines and an enrichment of CXCR3(+) mycobacteria-specific T cells in the thymus. Finally, we demonstrate it is the mature T cells that home to the thymus that most efficiently control mycobacterial infection. Although the presence of mature T cells in the thymus has been recognized for some time, to our knowledge, these data are the first to show that T cell recirculation from the periphery to the thymus is a mechanism that allows the immune system to respond to thymic infection. Maintaining a functional thymic environment is essential to maintain T cell differentiation and prevent the emergence of central tolerance to the invading pathogens.
Lipocalin-2 (LCN2), an iron-related protein well described to participate in the innate immune response, has been shown to modulate spine morphology and to regulate neuronal excitability. In accordance, LCN2-null mice are reported to have stress-induced anxiety. Here we show that, under standard housing conditions, LCN2-null mice display anxious and depressive-like behaviors, as well as cognitive impairment in spatial learning tasks. These behavioral alterations were associated with a hyperactivation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and with an altered brain cytoarchitecture in the hippocampus. More specifically, we found that the granular and pyramidal neurons of the ventral hippocampus, a region described to be associated with emotion, were hypertrophic, while neurons from the dorsal hippocampus, a region implicated in memory and cognition, were atrophic. In addition, LCN2-null mice presented synaptic impairment in hippocampal long-term potentiation. Whether the LCN2 effects are mediated through modulation of the level of corticosteroids or through a novel mechanism, the present observations bring further into light this immune-related protein as a player in the fine-tuning of behavior and of synaptic activity.
Anaemia is a frequent complication of chronic infectious diseases but the exact mechanisms by which it develops remain to be clarified. In the present work, we used a mouse model of mycobacterial infection to study molecular alterations of iron metabolism induced by infection. We show that four weeks after infection with Mycobacterium avium BALB/c mice exhibited a moderate anaemia, which was not accompanied by an increase on hepatic hepcidin mRNA expression. Instead, infected mice presented increased mRNA expression of ferroportin (Slc40a1), ceruloplasmin (Cp), hemopexin (Hpx), heme-oxygenase-1 (Hmox1) and lipocalin-2 (Lcn2). Both the anaemia and the mRNA expression changes of iron-related genes were largely absent in C.D2 mice which bear a functional allele of the Nramp1 gene. Data presented in this work suggest that anaemia due to a chronic mycobacterial infection may develop in the absence of elevated hepcidin expression, is influenced by Nramp1 and may involve lipocalin-2.
Nickel speciation was studied in the xylem sap of Alyssum serpyllifolium ssp. lusitanicum, a Ni-hyperaccumulator endemic to the serpentine soils of northeast Portugal. The xylem sap was collected from plants growing in its native habitat and characterized in terms of carboxylic and amino acids content. The speciation of nickel was studied in model and real solutions of xylem sap by voltammetric titrations using Square Wave Voltammetry (SWV). The results showed that Ni transport in the xylem sap occurs mainly as a free hydrated cation (about 70%) and complexed with carboxylic acids, mainly citric acid (18%). Altogether, oxalic acid, malic acid, malonic acid and aspartic acid complexed less than 13% of total Ni. A negligible amount bounded to the amino acids, like glutamic acid and glutamine (<1%). Histidine did not play a role in Ni translocation in the xylem sap of A. serpyllifolium under field conditions. Amino acids are one of the main forms of N transport in the xylem sap, and under field conditions, N is usually a limited nutrient. We hypothesize that the translocation of Ni in the xylem sap as a free ion or chelated with carboxylic acids is cheaper in terms of N resources.
Group B Streptococcus (GBS) is the leading cause of neonatal pneumonia, septicemia, and meningitis. We have previously shown that in adult mice GBS glycolytic enzyme glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) is an extracellular virulence factor that induces production of the immunosuppressive cytokine interleukin-10 (IL-10) by the host early upon bacterial infection. Here, we investigate whether immunity to neonatal GBS infection could be achieved through maternal vaccination against bacterial GAPDH. Female BALB/c mice were immunized with rGAPDH and the progeny was infected with a lethal inoculum of GBS strains. Neonatal mice born from mothers immunized with rGAPDH were protected against infection with GBS strains, including the ST-17 highly virulent clone. A similar protective effect was observed in newborns passively immunized with anti-rGAPDH IgG antibodies, or F(ab)(2) fragments, indicating that protection achieved with rGAPDH vaccination is independent of opsonophagocytic killing of bacteria. Protection against lethal GBS infection through rGAPDH maternal vaccination was due to neutralization of IL-10 production soon after infection. Consequently, IL-10 deficient (IL-10(-/-)) mice pups were as resistant to GBS infection as pups born from vaccinated mothers. We observed that protection was correlated with increased neutrophil trafficking to infected organs. Thus, anti-rGAPDH or anti-IL-10R treatment of mice pups before GBS infection resulted in increased neutrophil numbers and lower bacterial load in infected organs, as compared to newborn mice treated with the respective control antibodies. We showed that mothers immunized with rGAPDH produce neutralizing antibodies that are sufficient to decrease IL-10 production and induce neutrophil recruitment into infected tissues in newborn mice. These results uncover a novel mechanism for GBS virulence in a neonatal host that could be neutralized by vaccination or immunotherapy. As GBS GAPDH is a structurally conserved enzyme that is metabolically essential for bacterial growth in media containing glucose as the sole carbon source (i.e., the blood), this protein constitutes a powerful candidate for the development of a human vaccine against this pathogen.
Glucocorticoids, namely dexamethasone, are prescribed during late gestation in pregnancies at risk of originating premature newborns, to promote fetal lung maturation. However, adverse early life events have been reported to induce long-lasting changes in the immune and central nervous systems. The accumulating evidence on bidirectional interactions between both systems in psychiatric disorders like depression, prompted us to further investigate the long-term impact of prenatal dexamethasone administration in depressive-like behavior, the immune system and in the ability to mount an immune response to acute infection. The adult male offspring of pregnant dams treated with dexamethasone present depressive-like behavior concomitant with a decrease in CD8(+) T lymphocytes and an increase in B and CD4(+) regulatory T cells. This is accompanied by lower levels of serum interleukin-6 (IL-6) and IL-10. Despite of these differences, when spleen cells are stimulated, in vitro, with lipopolysaccharide, those from adult rats prenatally treated with dexamethasone display a stronger pro-inflammatory cytokine response. However, this immune system profile does not hamper the ability of rats prenatally treated with dexamethasone to respond to acute infection by Listeria monocytogenes. Of notice, L. monocytogenes infection triggers depressive-like behavior in control animals but does not worsen that already present in dexamethasone-treated animals. In summary, prenatal administration of dexamethasone has long-lasting effects on the immune system and on behavior, which are not further aggravated by acute infection with L. monocytogenes.
Although the gene expression profile of several tissues in humans and in rodent animal models has been explored, analysis of the complete choroid plexus (CP) transcriptome is still lacking. A better characterization of the CP transcriptome can provide key insights into its functions as one of the barriers that separate the brain from the periphery and in the production of cerebrospinal fluid.
In this work it is demonstrated that the characterization of c-type haem containing proteins by electrochemical techniques needs to be cautiously performed when using pyrolytic graphite electrodes. An altered form of the cytochromes, which has a redox potential 300 mV lower than that of the native state and displays peroxidatic activity, can be induced by interaction with the pyrolytic graphite electrode. Proper control experiments need to be performed, as altered conformations of the enzymes containing c-type haems can show activity towards the enzyme substrate. The work was focused on the study of the activation mechanism and catalytic activity of cytochrome c peroxidase from Paracoccus pantotrophus. The results could only be interpreted with the assignment of the observed non-turnover and catalytic signals to a non-native conformation state of the electron-transferring haem. The same phenomenon was detected for Met-His monohaem cytochromes (mitochondrial cytochrome c and Desulfovibrio vulgaris cytochrome c-553), as well as for the bis-His multihaem cytochrome c(3) from Desulfovibrio gigas, showing that this effect is independent of the axial coordination of the c-type haem protein. Thus, the interpretation of electrochemical signals of c-type (multi)haem proteins at pyrolytic graphite electrodes must be carefully performed, to avoid misassignment of the signals and incorrect interpretation of catalytic intermediates.
To obtain robust epidemiological information regarding tuberculosis (TB) in wildlife species, appropriate diagnostic methods need to be used. Wild boar (Sus scrofa) recently emerged as a major maintenance host for TB in some European countries. Nevertheless, no data is available to evaluate TB post-mortem diagnostic methods in hunter-harvested wild boar.
Machado-Joseph disease (MJD) is a late-onset neurodegenerative disorder caused by a polyglutamine (polyQ) expansion in the ataxin-3 protein. We generated two transgenic mouse lineages expressing the expanded human ataxin-3 under the control of the CMV promoter: CMVMJD83 and CMVMJD94, carrying Q83 and Q94 stretches, respectively. Behavioral analysis revealed that the CMVMJD94 transgenic mice developed motor uncoordination, intergenerational instability of the CAG repeat and a tissue-specific increase in the somatic mosaicism of the repeat with aging. Histopathological analysis of MJD mice at early and late stages of the disease revealed neuronal atrophy and astrogliosis in several brain regions; however, we found no signs of microglial activation or neuroinflammatory response prior to the appearance of an overt phenotype. In our model, the appearance of MJD-like symptoms was also not associated with the presence of ataxin-3 cleavage products or intranuclear aggregates. We propose the transgenic CMVMJD94 mice as a useful model to study the early stages in the pathogenesis of MJD and to explore the molecular mechanisms involved in CAG repeat instability.
It is widely accepted that the shift in case-fatality rate between waves during the 1918 influenza pandemic was due to a genetic change in the virus. In animal models, the infectious dose of influenza A virus was associated to the severity of disease which lead us to propose a new hypothesis. We propose that the increase in the case-fatality rate can be explained by the dynamics of disease and by a dose-dependent response mediated by the number of simultaneous contacts a susceptible person has with infectious ones.
The ability of the thymus to generate a population of T cells that is, for the most part, self-restricted and self-tolerant depends to a great extent on the Ags encountered during differentiation. We recently showed that mycobacteria disseminate to the thymus, which raised the questions of how mycobacteria within the thymus influence T cell differentiation and whether such an effect impacts host-pathogen interactions. Athymic nude mice were reconstituted with thymic grafts from Mycobacterium avium-infected or control noninfected donors. T cells generated from thymi of infected donors seemed generally normal, because they retained the ability to reconstitute the periphery and to respond to unspecific stimuli in vitro as well as to antigenic stimulation with third-party Ags, such as OVA, upon in vivo immunization. However, these cells were unable to mount a protective immune response against a challenge with M. avium. The observation that thymic infection interferes with T cell differentiation, generating T cells that are tolerant to pathogen-specific Ags, is of relevance to understand the immune response during chronic persistent infections. In addition, it has potential implications for the repertoire of T cells generated in patients with a mycobacterial infection recovering from severe lymphopenia, such as patients coinfected with HIV and receiving antiretroviral therapy.
Tuberculosis has been diagnosed in wild boar (Sus scrofa) in several European countries during the last decade; however, almost no information has been reported to date for Portugal. This study aimed to investigate tuberculosis in wild boar in Portugal through characterization of Mycobacterium bovis infection and identification of disease risk factors. Tissue samples were obtained from hunted wild boar during the 2005 and 2006 hunting seasons. Samples were inspected for gross lesions and processed for culture. Acid-fast bacterial isolates were identified by polymerase chain reaction and spoligotyping. Associations between tuberculosis in wild boar and several variables linked to wild ungulate diversity and relative abundance, livestock density, and cattle tuberculosis incidence were investigated. Mycobacterium bovis isolates were identified in 18 of 162 wild boars from three of eight study areas. Infection rates ranged from 6% (95% confidence interval [CI(P95%)] = 1-21%) to 46% (CI(P95%) = 27-67%) in the three infected study areas; females in our sample were at greater risk of being infected than males (odds ratio = 4.33; CI(P95%) = 3.31-5.68). Spoligotyping grouped the M. bovis isolates in three clusters and one isolate was a novel spoligotype not previously reported in international databases. Detection of M. bovis was most consistently associated with variables linked to wild ungulate relative abundance, suggesting that these species, particularly the wild boar, might act as maintenance hosts in Portugal.
The magnitude of antigen-specific CD8+ T cell responses is not fixed but correlates with the severity of infection. Although by definition T cell response size is the product of both the capacity to recruit naïve T cells (clonal selection) and their subsequent proliferation (clonal expansion), it remains undefined how these two factors regulate antigen-specific T cell responses. We determined the relative contribution of recruitment and expansion by labeling naïve T cells with unique genetic tags and transferring them into mice. Under disparate infection conditions with different pathogens and doses, recruitment of antigen-specific T cells was near constant and close to complete. Thus, naïve T cell recruitment is highly efficient, and the magnitude of antigen-specific CD8+ T cell responses is primarily controlled by clonal expansion.
Chronic systemic inflammation triggers alterations in the central nervous system that may relate to the underlying inflammatory component reported in neurodegenerative disorders such as multiple sclerosis and Alzheimers disease. However, it is far from being understood whether and how peripheral inflammation contributes to induce brain inflammatory response in such illnesses. As part of the barriers that separate the blood from the brain, the choroid plexus conveys inflammatory immune signals into the brain, largely through alterations in the composition of the cerebrospinal fluid.
Knowledge of xylem sap chemical composition is important to the understanding of translocation, detoxification and tolerance mechanisms. However, the small amount of sample available often hampers its characterisation. Hence, low volume consumption techniques are needed for xylem sap analysis.
In the present study we show that recombinant bacterial CotA-laccase from Bacillus subtilis is able to decolourise, at alkaline pH and in the absence of redox mediators, a variety of structurally different synthetic dyes. The enzymatic biotransformation of the azo dye Sudan Orange G (SOG) was addressed in more detail following a multidisciplinary approach. Biotransformation proceeds in a broad span of temperatures (30-80 degrees C) and more than 98% of Sudan Orange G is decolourised within 7h by using 1 U mL(-1) of CotA-laccase at 37 degrees C. The bell-shape pH profile of the enzyme with an optimum at 8, is in agreement with the pH dependence of the dye oxidation imposed by its acid-basic behavior as measured by potentiometric and electrochemical experiments. Seven biotransformation products were identified using high-performance liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry and a mechanistic pathway for the azo dye conversion by CotA-laccase is proposed. The enzymatic oxidation of the Sudan Orange G results in the production of oligomers and, possibly polymers, through radical coupling reactions. A bioassay based on inhibitory effects over the growth of Saccharomyces cerevisiae shows that the enzymatic bioremediation process reduces 3-fold the toxicity of Sudan Orange G.
An increasing body of evidence implicates proinflammatory cytokines in psychiatric disorders, namely, in depression. Of notice, recent studies showed that anti-inflammatory cytokines, such as IL-10, also modulate depressive-like behavior. In this article, we propose that the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10 is a putative link between two of the most widely reported phenomenon observed in depressed patients: the disruption of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and the imbalanced production of cytokines. If so, IL-10 might represent a novel target for antidepressant therapy.
PM(10) continental rural background aerosols were collected during a summer field campaign (August-September 2006) at Lamas de Olo in the upper zone of the Alvão Natural Park, a mountain region of northern Portugal. In addition to the determination of the carbonaceous content by a thermal-optical method, the organic speciation of aerosols was performed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry in an effort to evaluate photo-oxidation products of biogenic volatile organic compounds and other markers for source characterization. The detailed analysis revealed relatively high concentrations of polyols and short-chain dicarboxylic, tricarboxylic, hydroxycarboxylic, and oxocarboxylic acids, many of which are thought to be indicators of secondary aerosol formation, accounting for about 70% of global chromatographically resolved mass. Major photo-oxidation products of alpha- and beta-pinene have been detected. The tracers for the photo-oxidation of isoprene comprise two diastereoisomeric 2-methyltetrols, C(5)-alkene triols, and 2-methylglyceric acid, which have only recently been elucidated. In addition, the occurrence of levoglucosan and other biomass combustion tracers indicates that the site was affected by wildfires. This source contributed to more than 80% of the organic carbon mass during a period of strong forest fire influence.
We report a morality rate of 33% among 403 children with bacterial meningitis in Angola. A fatal outcome was associated with impaired consciousness, severe dyspnea, and seizures, and severe neurological sequelae (found in 25% of our patients) was associated with delayed presentation to the hospital, impaired consciousness, and seizures. Being underweight was of secondary importance. Treatment with ceftriaxone, rather than with penicillin plus chloramphenicol, did not improve outcome.
The choroid plexus, being part of the blood-brain barriers and responsible for the production of cerebrospinal fluid, is ideally positioned to transmit signals into and out of the brain. This study, using microarray analysis, shows that the mouse choroid plexus displays an acute-phase response after an inflammatory stimulus induced in the periphery by lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Remarkably, the response is specific to a restricted number of genes (out of a total of 24,000 genes analyzed, 252 are up-regulated and 173 are down-regulated) and transient, as it returns to basal conditions within 72 h. The up-regulated genes cluster into families implicated in immune-mediated cascades and in extracellular matrix remodeling, whereas those down-regulated participate in maintenance of the barrier function. Importantly, several acute-phase proteins, whose blood concentrations rise in response to inflammation, may contribute to the effects observed in vivo after LPS injection, as suggested by the differential response of primary choroid plexus epithelial cell cultures to LPS alone or to serum collected from animals exposed to LPS. By modulating the composition of the cerebrospinal fluid, which will ultimately influence the brain parenchyma, the choroid plexus response to inflammation may be of relevance in brain homeostasis in health and disease.
Behçets disease (BD) is a systemic vasculitis disorder of unknown etiology, characterized by relapsing episodes of oral aphthous ulcers, genital ulcers, skin lesions and ocular lesions. It can affect other systems including vascular, gastrointestinal and neurological systems. It occurs most frequently in an area that coincides with the Old Silk Route (between latitudes 30 degrees and 45 degrees north in Asia and Europe). BD is slightly more frequent and has a worse clinical course in men. It is believed to be due to an auto-immune process triggered by an infectious or environmental agent in a genetically predisposed individual. HLA-B51 is the most strongly associated risk factor. The International Study Group (ISG) for Behçets Disease created a set of criteria for the diagnosis of BD. Available treatments include corticosteroids, azathioprine, cychlophosphamide, cyclosporine A, interferon-alpha, anti-tumour necrosis factor alpha agents, among others. BD has a variable course characterized by relapses and remissions. Prognosis depends on the clinical involvement. Loss of visual acuity and neurological disease are major causes of morbidity and disability.
There is growing concern over the welfare of animals used in research, in particular when these animals develop pathology. The present study aims to identify the main sources of animal distress and to assess the possible implementation of refinement measures in experimental infection research, using mouse models of tuberculosis (TB) as a case study. This choice is based on the historical relevance of mouse studies in understanding the disease and the present and long-standing impact of TB on a global scale. Literature published between 1997 and 2009 was analysed, focusing on the welfare impact on the animals used and the implementation of refinement measures to reduce this impact. In this 12-year period, we observed a rise in reports of ethical approval of experiments. The proportion of studies classified into the most severe category did however not change significantly over the studied period. Information on important research parameters, such as method for euthanasia or sex of the animals, were absent in a substantial number of papers. Overall, this study shows that progress has been made in the application of humane endpoints in TB research, but that a considerable potential for improvement remains.
LuxR regulators are a widely studied group of bacterial helix-turn-helix (HTH) transcription factors involved in the regulation of many genes coding for important traits at an ecological and medical level. This regulatory family is particularly known by their involvement in quorum-sensing (QS) mechanisms, i.e., in the bacterial ability to communicate through the synthesis and binding of molecular signals. However, these studies have been mainly focused on gram-negative organisms, and the presence of LuxR regulators in the gram-positive Actinobacteria phylum is still poorly explored. In this manuscript, the presence of LuxR regulators among Actinobacteria was assayed using a domain-based strategy. A total of 991 proteins having one LuxR domain were identified in 53 genome-sequenced actinobacterial species, of which 59% had an additional domain. In most cases (53%) this domain was REC (receiver domain), suggesting that LuxR regulators in Actinobacteria may either function as single transcription factors or as part of two-component systems. The frequency, distribution and evolutionary stability of each of these sub-families of regulators was analyzed and contextualized regarding the ecological niche occupied by each organism. The results show that the presence of extra-domains in the LuxR-regulators was likely driven by a general need to physically uncouple the signal sensing from the signal transduction. Moreover, the total frequency of LuxR regulators was shown to be dependent on genetic, metabolic and ecological variables. Finally, the functional annotation of the LuxR regulators revealed that the bacterial ecological niche has biased the specialization of these proteins. In the case of pathogens, our results suggest that LuxR regulators can be involved in virulence and are therefore promising targets for future studies in the health-related biotechnology field.
Thymic atrophy has been described as a consequence of infection by several pathogens and shown to be induced through diverse mechanisms. Using the mouse model of Mycobacterium avium infection, we show in this study that the production of NO from IFN-?-activated macrophages plays a major role in mycobacterial infection-induced thymic atrophy. Our results show that disseminated infection with a highly virulent strain of M. avium, but not with a low-virulence strain, led to a progressive thymic atrophy. Thymic involution was prevented in genetically manipulated mice unable to produce IFN-? or the inducible NO synthase. In addition, mice with a selective impairment of IFN-? signaling in macrophages were similarly protected from infection-induced thymic atrophy. A slight increase in the concentration of corticosterone was found in mice infected with the highly virulent strain, and thymocytes presented an increased susceptibility to dexamethasone-induced death during disseminated infection. The administration of an antagonist of glucocorticoid receptors partially reverted the infection-induced thymic atrophy. We observed a reduction in all thymocyte populations analyzed, including the earliest thymic precursors, suggesting a defect during thymic colonization by T cell precursors and/or during the differentiation of these cells in the bone marrow in addition to local demise of thymic cells. Our data suggest a complex picture underlying thymic atrophy during infection by M. avium with the participation of locally produced NO, endogenous corticosteroid activity, and reduced bone marrow seeding.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a demyelinating disease that causes major neurological disability in young adults. A definitive diagnosis at the time of the first episode is still lacking, but since early treatment leads to better prognosis, the search for early biomarkers is needed. Here we characterized the transcriptome of the choroid plexus (CP), which is part of the blood-brain barriers (BBBs) and the major site of cerebrospinal fluid production, in the experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) mouse model of MS. In addition, cerebrospinal fluid samples from two cohorts of patients with MS and with optic neuritis (ON) were analyzed to confirm the clinical relevance of the findings. Genes encoding for adhesion molecules, chemokines and cytokines displayed the most altered expression, supporting the role of CP as a site of immune-brain interaction in MS. The gene encoding for lipocalin 2 was the most up-regulated; notably, the cerebrospinal fluid lipocalin 2 levels coincided with the active phases of the disease. Immunostaining revealed that neutrophils infiltrating the CP were the source of the increased lipocalin 2 expression in this structure. However, within the brain, lipocalin 2 was also detected in astrocytes, particularly in regions typically affected in patients with MS. The increase of lipocalin 2 in the cerebrospinal fluid and in astrocytes was reverted by natalizumab treatment. Most importantly, the results obtained in the murine model were translatable into humans since patients from two different cohorts presented increased cerebrospinal fluid lipocalin 2 levels. The findings support lipocalin 2 as a valuable molecule for the diagnostic/monitoring panel of MS.
Biological cellular systems are groups of cells sharing a set of characteristics, mainly key function and origin. Phagocytes are crucial in the host defense against microbial infection. The previously proposed phagocyte cell systems including the most recent and presently prevailing one, the mononuclear phagocyte system (MPS), grouped mononuclear cells but excluded neutrophils, creating an unacceptable situation. As neutrophils are archetypical phagocytes that must be members of comprehensive phagocyte systems, Silva recently proposed the creation of a myeloid phagocyte system (MYPS) that adds neutrophils to the MPS. The phagocytes grouped in the MYPS include the leukocytes neutrophils, inflammatory monocytes, macrophages, and immature myeloid DCs. Here the justifications behind the inclusion of neutrophils in a phagocyte system is expanded and the MYPS are further characterized as a group of dedicated phagocytic cells that function in an interacting and cooperative way in the host defense against microbial infection. Neutrophils and macrophages are considered the main arms of this system.
Iron is essential for mammalian cellular homeostasis. However, in excess, it promotes free radical formation and is associated with aging-related progressive deterioration and with neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimers disease (AD). There are no mechanisms to excrete iron, which makes iron homeostasis a very tightly regulated process at the level of the intestinal absorption. Iron is believed to reach the brain through receptor-mediated endocytosis of iron-bound transferrin by the brain barriers, the blood-cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) barrier, formed by the choroid plexus (CP) epithelial cells and the blood-brain barrier (BBB) formed by the endothelial cells of the brain capillaries. Importantly, the CP epithelial cells are responsible for producing most of the CSF, the fluid that fills the brain ventricles and the subarachnoid space. Recently, the finding that the CP epithelial cells display all the machinery to locally control iron delivery into the CSF may suggest that the general and progressive senescence of the CP may be at the basis of the impairment of regional iron metabolism, iron-mediated toxicity, and the increase in inflammation and oxidative stress that occurs with aging and, particularly, in AD.
Many factors have been implicated in the pathogenesis of hypertension, including changes in intracellular concentrations of calcium, sodium, potassium, and magnesium. There is a significant inverse correlation between serum magnesium and incidence of cardiovascular diseases. Magnesium is a mineral with important functions in the body such as antiarrhythmic effect, actions in vascular tone, contractility, glucose metabolism, and insulin homeostasis. In addition, lower concentrations of magnesium are associated with oxidative stress, proinflammatory state, endothelial dysfunction, platelet aggregation, insulin resistance, and hyperglycemia. The conflicting results of studies evaluating the effects of magnesium supplements on blood pressure and other cardiovascular outcomes indicate that the action of magnesium in the vascular system is present but not yet established. Therefore, this mineral supplementation is not indicated as part of antihypertensive treatment, and further studies are needed to better clarify the role of magnesium in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases.
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JoVE Visualize is a tool created to match the last 5 years of PubMed publications to methods in JoVE's video library.
How does it work?
We use abstracts found on PubMed and match them to JoVE videos to create a list of 10 to 30 related methods videos.
Video X seems to be unrelated to Abstract Y...
In developing our video relationships, we compare around 5 million PubMed articles to our library of over 4,500 methods videos. In some cases the language used in the PubMed abstracts makes matching that content to a JoVE video difficult. In other cases, there happens not to be any content in our video library that is relevant to the topic of a given abstract. In these cases, our algorithms are trying their best to display videos with relevant content, which can sometimes result in matched videos with only a slight relation.