Date: 
01/09/2013
Investigation Line: 

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To determine the ability of recombinant antigens to detect cases of infection with Trypanosoma cruzi among cases of infection with Leishmania spp. by serological methods.

METHODS:

Sera from 41 patients infected with Leishmania spp. were evaluated with ELISA using single (FRA, CP1 and TSSAVI) or pooled (commercial Rec-ELISA) recombinant proteins or homogenate antigens (commercial H-ELISA). As there is no gold standard antigen to discriminate Chagas disease from leishmaniasis, the correlation of results between defined antigens and the homogenate was made with Kappa Index (KI), the level of correlation considered being used as a criterion of specificity.

RESULTS:

Single recombinant antigens and Rec-ELISA showed good correlation (KI > 0.8). A low correlation (KI < 0.66) was observed between the results from single recombinant antigens or the commercial recombinant kit and H-ELISA.

CONCLUSIONS:

The highly correlated results between T. cruzi single or pooled recombinant proteins are indicative of the usefulness of recombinant antigens for Chagas diagnosis. Our results also indicate that in the city of Oran in Argentina, between 12% and 17% of patients with leishmaniasis are also infected with Chagas disease. The high KI values between TSSAVI and the other recombinant proteins suggest that in these patients, the infection may be caused by T. cruzi II and/or V and/or VI lineages.

Date: 
09/05/2013
Investigation Line: 
Date: 
01/10/2013
Investigation Line: 

Abstract

A total of 221 children from two rural settlements in Northeast Argentina were examined for T. cruzi infection. Blood samples were taken for serology tests and PCR assays. In addition, T. cruzi Discrete Typing Units (DTUs) were determined by hybridization with specific DNA probes of the minicircle hypervariable regions (mHVR). Serological results indicated that 26% (57/215) were reactive against T. cruzi antigens. PCR analyses were performed on seropositive samples showing presence of parasite DNA in 31 out of 53 samples (58.5%). All seropositive children underwent specific chemotherapy with Benznidazole (5mg/kg/day) for a period of two months and were monitored two and five years after treatment. Overall the treatment was well tolerated and low side effects were observed. Serological conversion was observed at two years post -treatment in one child form Pampa Ávila and at five years in two children from Tres Estacas. However, at the end of the follow-up period, T. cruzi DNA could not be detected by PCR in samples from treated children, except in two cases. In addition, the results of hybridizations with specific DNA probes showed that DTU TcV was detected in 68% (21/31), TcVI in 7% (2/31) and TcV/VI in 3% (1/31) of the samples. Altogether, results of the follow-up of treated children showed a low rate of seroconversion; however trend toward seroconversion was evident at five years post-treatment. On the other hand, detection of T. cruzi DNA by PCR significantly decreased after Benznidazole treatment. The existence of data regarding serological and molecular follow-ups from controlled studies in the Chaco Region will be important for future treatment efforts against T. cruzi infection in this region. The results obtained in the present study represent a contribution in this regard.

Date: 
01/01/2013
Investigation Line: 

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The analytical validation of sensitive, accurate and standardized Real-Time PCR methods for Trypanosoma cruzi quantification is crucial to provide a reliable laboratory tool for diagnosis of recent infections as well as for monitoring treatment efficacy.

METHODS/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:

We have standardized and validated a multiplex Real-Time quantitative PCR assay (qPCR) based on TaqMan technology, aiming to quantify T. cruzi satellite DNA as well as an internal amplification control (IAC) in a single-tube reaction. IAC amplification allows rule out false negative PCR results due to inhibitory substances or loss of DNA during sample processing. The assay has a limit of detection (LOD) of 0.70 parasite equivalents/mL and a limit of quantification (LOQ) of 1.53 parasite equivalents/mL starting from non-boiled Guanidine EDTA blood spiked with T. cruzi CL-Brener stock. The method was evaluated with blood samples collected from Chagas disease patients experiencing different clinical stages and epidemiological scenarios: 1- Sixteen Venezuelan patients from an outbreak of oral transmission, 2- Sixty three Bolivian patients suffering chronic Chagas disease, 3- Thirty four Argentinean cases with chronic Chagas disease, 4- Twenty seven newborns to seropositive mothers, 5- A seronegative receptor who got infected after transplantation with a cadaveric kidney explanted from an infected subject.

CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE:

The performing parameters of this assay encourage its application to early assessment of T. cruzi infection in cases in which serological methods are not informative, such as recent infections by oral contamination or congenital transmission or after transplantation with organs from seropositive donors, as well as for monitoring Chagas disease patients under etiological treatment.

Date: 
01/05/2013
Investigation Line: 

Abstract

Strongyloides stercoralis infections have a worldwide distribution with a global burden in terms of prevalence and morbidity that is largely ignored. A public health response against soil-transmitted helminth (STH) infections should broaden the strategy to include S. stercoralis and overcome the epidemiological, diagnostic, and therapeutic challenges that this parasite poses in comparison to Ascaris lumbricoides, Trichuris trichiura, and hookworms. The relatively poor sensitivity of single stool evaluations, which is further lowered when quantitative techniques aimed at detecting eggs are used, also complicates morbidity evaluations and adequate drug efficacy measurements, since S. stercoralis is eliminated in stools in a larval stage. Specific stool techniques for the detection of larvae of S. stercoralis, like Baermann's and Koga's agar plate, despite superiority over direct techniques are still suboptimal. New serologies using recombinant antigens and molecular-based techniques offer new hopes in those areas. The use of ivermectin rather than benzimidazoles for its treatment and the need to have curative regimens rather than lowering the parasite burden are also unique for S. stercoralis in comparison to the other STH due to its life cycle, which allows reproduction and amplification of the worm burden within the human host. The potential impact on STH of the benzimidazoles/ivermectin combinations, already used for control/elimination of lymphatic filariasis, should be further evaluated in public health settings. While waiting for more effective single-dose drug regimens and new sensitive diagnostics, the evidence and the tools already available warrant the planning of a common platform for STH and S. stercoralis control.

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