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Animal Diseases - Top 30 Publications

Biochemical characterisation of a Kunitz-type inhibitor from Tamarindus indica L. seeds and its efficacy in reducing plasma leptin in an experimental model of obesity.

A trypsin inhibitor isolated from tamarind seed (TTI) has satietogenic effects in animals, increasing the cholecystokinin (CCK) in eutrophy and reducing leptin in obesity. We purified TTI (pTTI), characterised, and observed its effect upon CCK and leptin in obese Wistar rats. By HPLC, and after amplification of resolution, two protein fractions were observed: Fr1 and Fr2, with average mass of [M + 14H]+ = 19,594,690 Da and [M + 13H]+ = 19,578,266 Da, respectively. The protein fractions showed 54 and 53 amino acid residues with the same sequence. pTTI presented resistance to temperature and pH variations; IC50 was 2.7 × 10-10 mol.L-1 and Ki was 2.9 × 10-11 mol.L-1. The 2-DE revealed spots with isoelectric points between pH 5 and 6, and one near pH 8. pTTI action on leptin decrease was confirmed. We conclude that pTTI is a Kunitz trypsin inhibitor with possible biotechnological health-related application.

Serological prevalence of Coxiella burnetii in dairy goats and ewes diagnosed with adverse pregnancy outcomes in Greece.

<i>Coxiella burnetii</i> is an obligatory intracellular bacterial pathogen causing the zoonotic disease Q fever. The most common reservoirs of <i>C. burnetii</i> are wild mammals, birds and ticks. Pregnant domestic ruminants infected with this bacterium are also a major source of human infection.

Streptococcus suis: a re-emerging pathogen associated with occupational exposure to pigs or pork products. Part I - Epidemiology.

<i>Streptococcus suis</i> (ex Elliot 1966, Kilpper-Bälz & Schleifer 1987) is a facultatively anaerobic Gram-positive ovoid or coccal bacterium surrounded by a polysaccharide capsule. Based on the antigenic diversity of the capsule, <i>S. suis</i> strains are classified serologically into 35 serotypes. <i>Streptococcus suis</i> is a commensal of pigs, commonly colonizing their tonsils and nasal cavities, mostly in weaning piglets between 4-10 weeks of age. This species occurs also in cattle and other mammals, in birds and in humans. Some strains, mostly those belonging to serotype 2, are also pathogenic for pigs, as well as for other animals and humans. Meningitis is the primary disease syndrome caused by <i>S. suis</i>, both in pigs and in humans. It is estimated that meningitis accounted for 68.0% of all cases of human disease reported until the end of 2012, followed by septicaemia (including life-threatening condition described as 'streptococcal toxic shock-like syndrome' - STSLS), arthritis, endocarditis, and endophthalmitis. Hearing loss and/or ves tibular dysfunction are the most common sequelae after recovery from meningitis caused by <i>S. suis</i>, occurring in more than 50% of patients. In the last two decades, the number of reported human cases due to <i>S. suis</i> has dramatically increased, mostly due to epidemics recorded in China in 1998 and 2005, and the fulminant increase in morbidity in the countries of south-eastern Asia, mostly Vietnam and Thailand. Out of 1,642 cases of <i>S. suis</i> infections identified between 2002-2013 worldwide in humans, 90.2% occurred in Asia, 8.5% in Europe and 1.3% in other parts of the globe. The human disease has mostly a zoonotic and occupational origin and occurs in pig breeders, abattoir workers, butchers and workers of meat processing facilities, veterinarians and meat inspectors. Bacteria are transmitted to workers by close contact with pigs or pig products, usually through contamination of minor cuts or abrasions on skin of hands and/or arms, or by pig bite. A different epidemiologic situation occurs in the Southeast Asian countries where most people become infected by habitual consumption of raw or undercooked pork, blood and offal products in the form of traditional dishes. Prevention of <i>S. suis</i> infections in pigs includes vaccination, improvement in pig-raising conditions, disinfection and/or fumigation of animal houses, and isolation of sick animals at the outbreak of disease. Prevention of human infections comprises: protection of skin from pig bite or injury with sharp tools by people occupationally exposed to pigs and pig products, prompt disinfection and dressing of wounds and abrasions at work, protection of the respiratory tract by wearing appropriate masks or repirators, consulting a doctor in the case of febrile illness after exposure to pigs or pork meat, avoidance of occupations associated with exposure to pigs and pork by immunocompomised people, avoidance of consumption of raw pork or pig blood, adequate cooking of pork, and health education.

A Mouse Model for Oral Mucositis Induced by Cancer Chemotherapy.

Oral mucositis (OM), one of the side-effects induced by chemotherapy, has 40% incidence and the incidence rate increases to approximately 100% in combination with radiotherapy. We describe OM in ICR mice induced using 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) and 20% acetic acid.

Characterization of the acute inflammatory profile and resolution of airway inflammation after Igf1r-gene targeting in a murine model of HDM-induced asthma.

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease characterized by bronchial hyperresponsiveness, mucus overproduction and airway remodeling. Notably, we have recently demonstrated that insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor (IGF1R) deficiency in mice attenuates airway hyperresponsiveness and mucus secretion after chronic house dust mite (HDM) exposure. On this basis, inbred C57BL/6 and Igf1r-deficient mice were given HDM extract to study the acute inflammatory profile and implication of Igf1r in acute asthma pathobiology. Additionally, Igf1r-deficiency was therapeutically induced in mice to evaluate the resolution of HDM-induced inflammation. Acute HDM exposure in inbred C57BL/6 mice led to a progressive increase in inflammation, airway remodeling and associated molecular indicators. Preventively-induced Igf1r-deficiency showed reduced neutrophil and eosinophil numbers in BALF and bone marrow, a significant reduction of airway remodeling and decreased levels of related markers. In addition, therapeutic targeting of Igf1r promoted the resolution of HDM-induced-inflammation. Our results demonstrate for the first time that Igf1r is important in acute asthma pathobiology and resolution of HDM-induced inflammation. Thus, IGF1R is suggested to be a promising candidate for future therapeutic approaches for the treatment and prevention of asthma.

Running wheel exercise reduces α-synuclein aggregation and improves motor and cognitive function in a transgenic mouse model of Parkinson's disease.

Exercise has been recommended to improve motor function in Parkinson patients, but its value in altering progression of disease is unknown. In this study, we examined the neuroprotective effects of running wheel exercise in mice. In adult wild-type mice, one week of running wheel activity led to significantly increased DJ-1 protein concentrations in muscle and plasma. In DJ-1 knockout mice, running wheel performance was much slower and Rotarod performance was reduced, suggesting that DJ-1 protein is required for normal motor activity. To see if exercise can prevent abnormal protein deposition and behavioral decline in transgenic animals expressing a mutant human form of α-synuclein in all neurons, we set up running wheels in the cages of pre-symptomatic animals at 12 months old. Activity was monitored for a 3-month period. After 3 months, motor and cognitive performance on the Rotarod and Morris Water Maze were significantly better in running animals compared to control transgenic animals with locked running wheels. Biochemical analysis revealed that running mice had significantly higher DJ-1, Hsp70 and BDNF concentrations and had significantly less α-synuclein aggregation in brain compared to control mice. By contrast, plasma concentrations of α-synuclein were significantly higher in exercising mice compared to control mice. Our results suggest that exercise may slow the progression of Parkinson's disease by preventing abnormal protein aggregation in brain.

Association of Marek's Disease induced immunosuppression with activation of a novel regulatory T cells in chickens.

Marek's Disease Virus (MDV) is an alphaherpesvirus that infects chickens, transforms CD4+ T cells and causes deadly lymphomas. In addition, MDV induces immunosuppression early during infection by inducing cell death of the infected lymphocytes, and potentially due to activation of regulatory T (Treg)-cells. Furthermore, immunosuppression also occurs during the transformation phase of the disease; however, it is still unknown how the disease can suppress immune response prior or after lymphoma formation. Here, we demonstrated that chicken TGF-beta+ Treg cells are found in different lymphoid tissues, with the highest levels found in the gut-associated lymphoid tissue (cecal tonsil: CT), fostering an immune-privileged microenvironment exerted by TGF-beta. Surprisingly, significantly higher frequencies of TGF-beta+ Treg cells are found in the spleens of MDV-susceptible chicken lines compared to the resistant line, suggesting an association between TGF-beta+ Treg cells and host susceptibility to lymphoma formation. Experimental infection with a virulent MDV elevated the levels of TGF-beta+ Treg cells in the lungs as early as 4 days post infection, and during the transformation phase of the disease in the spleens. In contrast to TGF-beta+ Treg cells, the levels of CD4+CD25+ T cells remained unchanged during the infection and transformation phase of the disease. Furthermore, our results demonstrate that the induction of TGF-beta+ Treg cells is associated with pathogenesis of the disease, as the vaccine strain of MDV did not induce TGF-beta+ Treg cells. Similar to human haematopoietic malignant cells, MDV-induced lymphoma cells expressed high levels of TGF-beta but very low levels of TGF-beta receptor I and II genes. The results confirm that COX-2/ PGE2 pathway is involved in immunosuppression induced by MDV-lymphoma cells. Taken together, our results revealed a novel TGF-beta+ Treg subset in chickens that is activated during MDV infection and tumour formation.

Stably expressed APOBEC3H forms a barrier for cross-species transmission of simian immunodeficiency virus of chimpanzee to humans.

APOBEC3s (A3s) are potent restriction factors of human immunodeficiency virus type 1/simian immunodeficiency viruses (HIV-1/SIV), and can repress cross-species transmissions of lentiviruses. HIV-1 originated from a zoonotic infection of SIV of chimpanzee (SIVcpz) to humans. However, the impact of human A3s on the replication of SIVcpz remains unclear. By using novel SIVcpz reporter viruses, we identified that human APOBEC3B (A3B) and APOBEC3H (A3H) haplotype II strongly reduced the infectivity of SIVcpz, because both of them are resistant to SIVcpz Vifs. We further demonstrated that human A3H inhibited SIVcpz by deaminase dependent as well independent mechanisms. In addition, other stably expressed human A3H haplotypes and splice variants showed strong antiviral activity against SIVcpz. Moreover, most SIV and HIV lineage Vif proteins could degrade chimpanzee A3H, but no Vifs from SIVcpz and SIV of gorilla (SIVgor) lineages antagonized human A3H haplotype II. Expression of human A3H hapII in human T cells efficiently blocked the spreading replication of SIVcpz. The spreading replication of SIVcpz was also restricted by stable A3H in human PBMCs. Thus, we speculate that stably expressed human A3H protects humans against the cross-species transmission of SIVcpz and that SIVcpz spillover to humans may have started in individuals that harbor haplotypes of unstable A3H proteins.

Impact of genistein on the gut microbiome of humanized mice and its role in breast tumor inhibition.

Since dietary polyphenols can have beneficial effects in prevention and treatment of cancer, we tested the hypothesis that breast cancer patients' intestinal microbiota is modulated by genistein (GE), an isoflavone found in soy, and that microbial alterations may offset the side effects brought about by chemotherapy. We demonstrated successful humanization of germ-free mice by transplanting fecal samples from breast cancer patients before and after chemotherapy. Mice were then grouped based on chemotherapy status and GE or control diet. We did not find any significant differences between pre-chemotherapy and post-chemotherapy bacterial composition and abundances. Germ-free mice on a GE diet showed differences in microbial composition as compared to mice on control diet. Four weeks after introduction of the customized GE diet, there was distinct clustering of GE-fed mice as compared to the control-fed group. In the gut microbiome of GE-treated humanized mice, there was an increase in abundance of genera Lactococcus and Eubacterium. Phylum Verrucomicrobia showed statistically significant (p = 0.02) differences in abundances between the GE-fed and control-fed groups. There was an increase in bacteria belonging to family Lachnospiraceae and Ruminococcaceae in GE-fed mice. Marked changes were observed in GE catabolism in mice humanized with fecal material from two of three patients' post-chemotherapy with complete disappearance of 4-ethylphenol and 2-(4-hydroxyphenol) propionic acid conjugates. The post-tumor samples did not show any distinct clustering of the gut microbiota between the two diet groups. There was an increase in latency of about 25% for tumor growth of the humanized mice that were on a GE diet as compared to humanized mice on a control diet. The average tumor size for the GE group was significantly decreased compared to the non-GE group. Collectively, our results suggest that the intestinal microbiota becomes altered with a GE diet before induction of tumor. Our findings indicate that GE modulates the microbiome in humanized mice that may contribute to its effects on increasing the latency of breast tumor and reducing tumor growth.

Distinct virulence of Rift Valley fever phlebovirus strains from different genetic lineages in a mouse model.

Rift Valley fever phlebovirus (RVFV) causes high rates of abortions and fetal malformations in ruminants, and hemorrhagic fever, encephalitis, or blindness in humans. Viral transmission occurs via mosquito vectors in endemic areas, which necessitates regular vaccination of susceptible livestock animals to prevent the RVF outbreaks. Although ZH501 strain has been used as a challenge strain for past vaccine efficacy studies, further characterization of other RVFV strains is important to optimize ruminant and nonhuman primate RVFV challenge models. This study aimed to characterize the virulence of wild-type RVFV strains belonging to different genetic lineages in outbred CD1 mice. Mice were intraperitoneally infected with 1x103 PFU of wild-type ZH501, Kenya 9800523, Kenya 90058, Saudi Arabia 200010911, OS1, OS7, SA75, Entebbe, or SA51 strains. Among them, mice infected with SA51, Entebbe, or OS7 strain showed rapid dissemination of virus in livers and peracute necrotic hepatitis at 2-3 dpi. Recombinant SA51 (rSA51) and Zinga (rZinga) strains were recovered by reverse genetics, and their virulence was also tested in CD1 mice. The rSA51 strain reproduced peracute RVF disease in mice, whereas the rZinga strain showed a similar virulence with that of rZH501 strain. This study showed that RVFV strains in different genetic lineages display distinct virulence in outbred mice. Importantly, since wild-type RVFV strains contain defective-interfering RNA or various genetic subpopulations during passage from original viral isolations, recombinant RVFV strains generated by reverse genetics will be better suitable for reproducible challenge studies for vaccine development as well as pathological studies.

Quantifying the burden of vampire bat rabies in Peruvian livestock.

Knowledge of infectious disease burden is necessary to appropriately allocate resources for prevention and control. In Latin America, rabies is among the most important zoonoses for human health and agriculture, but the burden of disease attributed to its main reservoir, the common vampire bat (Desmodus rotundus), remains uncertain.

Early detection of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis infection in cattle with multiplex-bead based immunoassays.

Johne's Disease (JD), caused by Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP), results in significant economic loss to livestock production. The early detection of MAP infection in animals with extant serological assays has remained challenging due to the low sensitivity of commercially available ELISA tests, a fact that has hampered the development of effective JD control programs. Our recent protein microarray-based studies identified several promising candidate antigens that are immunogenic during different stages of MAP infection. To evaluate these antigens for use in diagnostic assays and reliably identify animals with MAP infection, a multiplex (Luminex®) assay was developed using color-coded flourescent beads coupled to 6 MAP recombinant proteins and applied to screen 180 serum and 90 milk samples from cows at different stages of MAP infection including negative (NL), fecal test positive/ELISA negative (F+E-), and fecal positive/ELISA positive (F+E+). The results show that while serum antibody reactivities to each of the 6 antigens were highest in F+E+ group, antibody reactivity to three of the six antigens were identified in the F+E- group, suggesting that these three antigens are expressed and provoke antibody responses during the early infection stages with MAP. Further, antibodies against all six antigens were elevated in milk samples from both the F+E- and F+E+ groups in comparison to the NL group (p<0.01). Taken together, the results of our investigation suggest that multiplex bead-based assays are able to reliably identify MAP infection, even during early stages when antibody responses in animals are undetectable with widely used commercial ELISA tests.

High association of Cryptosporidium spp. infection with colon adenocarcinoma in Lebanese patients.

The association between Cryptosporidium and human colon cancer has been reported in different populations. However, this association has not been well studied. In order to add new strong arguments for a probable link between cryptosporidiosis and colon human cancer, the aim of this study was to determine prevalence and to identify species of Cryptosporidium among Lebanese patients.

Increased soluble IL-7 receptor concentrations associate with improved IL-7 therapy outcomes in SIV-infected ART-treated Rhesus macaques.

The use of interleukin-7 (IL-7) as an immunorestorative therapeutic has proven effective in HIV infection, cancer and bone marrow transplantation. Mediating its activity through membrane-bound IL-7 receptor α (mCD127), IL-7 therapy increases T-cell numbers and survival. A soluble form, sCD127, is found in plasma, and we have previously identified increased plasma sCD127 concentrations in HIV infection. Furthermore, patients with high sCD127 exhibited the best viral control, implicating a role for IL-7 or sCD127 directly in improved virologic/immunologic outcomes. The role of the cytokine IL-7 in elevating sCD127 levels was addressed here through assessment of retrospective samples obtained from SIV-infected antiretroviral (ART)-treated Rhesus macaques. IL-7 was administered in clustered weekly doses, allowing for an assessment prior, during and following IL-7 administration. The levels of sCD127 remained relatively unchanged during both early SIV infection and following initiation of ART. However, treatment with IL-7 increased sCD127 concentrations in most animals, transiently or persistently, paralleling increased T-cell numbers, correlating significantly with CD8+ T-cell levels. In addition, proliferating CD4+ or CD8+ T-cells (measured by Ki67) increased in association with elevated sCD127 concentrations. Finally, a high concentration of sCD127 in IL7-treated animals was associated with increased retention of T-cells (measured by BrDU). In addition, a lack, or loss of viral control was associated with more pronounced and frequent elevations in plasma sCD127 concentrations with IL-7 therapy. In summary, plasma sCD127 levels in SIV-infected ART-treated macaques was associated with therapeutic IL-7 administration, with higher sCD127 levels in macaques demonstrating the best T-cell responses. This study furthers our knowledge regarding the interrelationship between increased IL-7 levels and elevated sCD127 levels that may have implications for future IL-7 immunotherapeutic approaches in HIV-infected patients.

Oncogenic Role of THOR, a Conserved Cancer/Testis Long Non-coding RNA.

Large-scale transcriptome sequencing efforts have vastly expanded the catalog of long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) with varying evolutionary conservation, lineage expression, and cancer specificity. Here, we functionally characterize a novel ultraconserved lncRNA, THOR (ENSG00000226856), which exhibits expression exclusively in testis and a broad range of human cancers. THOR knockdown and overexpression in multiple cell lines and animal models alters cell or tumor growth supporting an oncogenic role. We discovered a conserved interaction of THOR with IGF2BP1 and show that THOR contributes to the mRNA stabilization activities of IGF2BP1. Notably, transgenic THOR knockout produced fertilization defects in zebrafish and also conferred a resistance to melanoma onset. Likewise, ectopic expression of human THOR in zebrafish accelerated the onset of melanoma. THOR represents a novel class of functionally important cancer/testis lncRNAs whose structure and function have undergone positive evolutionary selection.

The ubiquitin-proteasome system is required for African swine fever replication.

Several viruses manipulate the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) to initiate a productive infection. Determined viral proteins are able to change the host's ubiquitin machinery and some viruses even encode their own ubiquitinating or deubiquitinating enzymes. African swine fever virus (ASFV) encodes a gene homologous to the E2 ubiquitin conjugating (UBC) enzyme. The viral ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme (UBCv1) is expressed throughout ASFV infection and accumulates at late times post infection. UBCv is also present in the viral particle suggesting that the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway could play an important role at early ASFV infection. We determined that inhibition of the final stage of the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway blocked a post-internalization step in ASFV replication in Vero cells. Under proteasome inhibition, ASF viral genome replication, late gene expression and viral production were severely reduced. Also, ASFV enhanced proteasome activity at late times and the accumulation of polyubiquitinated proteins surrounding viral factories. Core-associated and/or viral proteins involved in DNA replication may be targets for the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway that could possibly assist virus uncoating at final core breakdown and viral DNA release. At later steps, polyubiquitinated proteins at viral factories could exert regulatory roles in cell signaling.

Application of system dynamics and participatory spatial group model building in animal health: A case study of East Coast Fever interventions in Lundazi and Monze districts of Zambia.

East Coast Fever (ECF) is the most economically important production disease among traditional beef cattle farmers in Zambia. Despite the disease control efforts by the government, donors, and farmers, ECF cases are increasing. Why does ECF oscillate over time? Can alternative approaches such as systems thinking contribute solutions to the complex ECF problem, avoid unintended consequences, and achieve sustainable results? To answer these research questions and inform the design and implementation of ECF interventions, we qualitatively investigated the influence of dynamic socio-economic, cultural, and ecological factors. We used system dynamics modelling to specify these dynamics qualitatively, and an innovative participatory framework called spatial group model building (SGMB). SGMB uses participatory geographical information system (GIS) concepts and techniques to capture the role of spatial phenomenon in the context of complex systems, allowing stakeholders to identify spatial phenomenon directly on physical maps and integrate such information in model development. Our SGMB process convened focus groups of beef value chain stakeholders in two distinct production systems. The focus groups helped to jointly construct a series of interrelated system dynamics models that described ECF in a broader systems context. Thus, a complementary objective of this study was to demonstrate the applicability of system dynamics modelling and SGMB in animal health. The SGMB process revealed policy leverage points in the beef cattle value chain that could be targeted to improve ECF control. For example, policies that develop sustainable and stable cattle markets and improve household income availability may have positive feedback effects on investment in animal health. The results obtained from a SGMB process also demonstrated that a "one-size-fits-all" approach may not be equally effective in policing ECF in different agro-ecological zones due to the complex interactions of socio-ecological context with important, and often ignored, spatial patterns.

Virulence, pathology, and pathogenesis of Pteropine orthoreovirus (PRV) in BALB/c mice: Development of an animal infection model for PRV.

Cases of acute respiratory tract infection caused by Pteropine orthoreovirus (PRV) of the genus Orthoreovirus (family: Reoviridae) have been reported in Southeast Asia, where it was isolated from humans and bats. It is possible that PRV-associated respiratory infections might be prevalent in Southeast Asia. The clinical course of PRV is not fully elucidated.

The self-curing phenomenon of schistosome infection in rhesus macaques: insight from in vitro studies.

A reduction in the burden of schistosomiasis is potentially achievable by integrating a schistosomiasis vaccine with current control measures. Here, we determine parasite-specific in vitro responses of B, T, and NK cells from naive uninfected rhesus macaques to Schistosoma mansoni (Sm) egg (SmEA) and worm antigen (SmWA) preparations isolated from infected baboons. Pronounced B cell responses to SmEA and NK cell responses to both SmEA and SmWA were observed. High levels of IL-2 and IL-21 responses against Sm antigens were observed in T and non-T cells of lymph nodes (LNs) and gut lamina propria-derived lymphocytes (LPLs). Data analysis showed multifunctionality of LN-derived CD4+ , CD8+ , and CD4+ CD8+ double positive T cells against either SmWA or SmWA+SmEA antigen preparations. Distinct SmEA-specific multifunctional responses were observed in gut LPLs, suggesting simultaneous responses against egg antigens. These data provide insight into the immune effectors involved in schistosome responses by rhesus macaques.

Qualitative analysis of the viability of autogenous fat grafts grafted in different environments of interstitial pressure. Preliminary results and description of a new experimental model in mini-pigs.

To evaluate the feasibility of an experimental model of autologous fat graft (AFG) in different interstitial pressure (IP) environments.

Restoration of glycoprotein Erns dimerization via pseudoreversion partially restores virulence of classical swine fever virus.

The classical swine fever virus (CSFV) represents one of the most important pathogens of swine. The CSFV glycoprotein Erns is an essential structural protein and an important virulence factor. The latter is dependent on the RNase activity of this envelope protein and, most likely, its secretion from the infected cell. A further important feature with regard to its function as a virulence factor is the formation of disulfide-linked Erns homodimers that are found in virus-infected cells and virions. Mutant CSFV lacking cysteine (Cys) 171, the residue responsible for intermolecular disulfide bond formation, were found to be attenuated in pigs (Tews BA, Schürmann EM, Meyers G. J Virol 2009;83:4823-4834). In the course of an animal experiment with such a dimerization-negative CSFV mutant, viruses were reisolated from pigs that contained a mutation of serine (Ser) 209 to Cys. This mutation restored the ability to form disulphide-linked Erns homodimers. In transient expression studies Erns mutants carrying the S209C change were found to form homodimers with about wt efficiency. Also the secretion level of the mutated proteins was equivalent to that of wt Erns. Virus mutants containing the Cys171Ser/Ser209Cys configuration exhibited wt growth rates and increased virulence when compared with the Cys171Ser mutant. These results provide further support for the connection between CSFV virulence and Erns dimerization.

CXCR4 blockade decreases CD4+ T cell exhaustion and improves survival in a murine model of polymicrobial sepsis.

Sepsis is a dysregulated systemic response to infection involving many inflammatory pathways and the induction of counter-regulatory anti-inflammatory processes that results in a state of immune incompetence and can lead to multi-organ failure. CXCR4 is a chemokine receptor that, following ligation by CXCL12, directs cells to bone marrow niches and also plays an important role in T cell cosignaling and formation of the immunological synapse. Here, we investigated the expression and function of CXCR4 in a murine model of polymicrobial sepsis. Results indicate that CXCR4 is selectively upregulated on naïve CD4+ and CD8+ T cells and CD4+ central memory T cells following the induction of sepsis, and that CXCR4 antagonism resulted in a significant decrease in sepsis-induced mortality. We probed the mechanistic basis for these findings and found that CXCR4 antagonism significantly increased the number of peripheral CD4+ and CD8+ T cells following sepsis. Moreover, mice treated with the CXCR4 antagonist contained fewer PD-1+ LAG-3+ 2B4+ cells, suggesting that blockade of CXCR4 mitigates CD4+ T cell exhaustion during sepsis. Taken together, these results characterize CXCR4 as an important pathway that modulates immune dysfunction and mortality following sepsis, which may hold promise as a target for future therapeutic intervention in septic patients.

Low-energy extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT) improves metaphyseal fracture healing in an osteoporotic rat model.

As result of the current demographic changes, osteoporosis and osteoporotic fractures are becoming an increasing social and economic burden. In this experimental study, extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT), was evaluated as a treatment option for the improvement of osteoporotic fracture healing.

Serological detection of Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever in Texan domestic dogs.

Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever (TBRF) is caused by spirochetes in the genus Borrelia. Very limited information exists on the incidence of this disease in humans and domestic dogs in the United States. The main objective of this study is to evaluate exposure of dogs to Borrelia turicatae, a causative agent of TBRF, in Texas. To this end, 878 canine serum samples were submitted to Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory from October 2011 to September 2012 for suspected tick-borne illnesses. The recombinant Borrelial antigen glycerophosphodiester phosphodiesterase (GlpQ) was expressed, purified, and used as a diagnostic antigen in both ELISA assays and Immunoblot analysis. Unfortunately, due to significant background reaction, the use of GlpQ as a diagnostic marker in the ELISA assay was not effective in discriminating dogs exposed to B. turicatae. Nevertheless, immunoblot assays showed that 17 out of 853 samples tested were considered to be seropositive, which constitutes 1.99% of all Texas samples tested in this study. The majority of positive samples were from central and southern Texas. Exposure to TBRF spirochetes may be seasonal, with 70.59% (12 out of 17) of the cases detected between June and December. In addition, 2 out of the 17 sero-reactive cases (11.76%) showed reactivity to both B. burgdorferi (causative agent of Lyme disease) and B. turicatae (a causative agent of TBRF). This is the first report of TBRF sero-prevalence in companion animals in an endemic area. Our findings further indicate that B. turicatae is maintained in domestic canids in Texas in regions where human disease also occurs, suggesting that domestic dogs could serve as sentinels for this disease.

Remote ischemic preconditioning attenuates cardiopulmonary bypass-induced lung injury.

The use of cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) in cardiac surgeries is known to induce pathological changes in vital organs such as lungs. Remote ischemic preconditioning (RIPC) is a protective strategy that has shown to be able to reduce tissue damage related to ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI). The current study seeks to evaluate the beneficial effects of limb RIPC on lung tissues and function in a rat CPB model. RIPC, which consisted of three cycles of 5-min ischemia and subsequently 5-min reperfusion, was induced in the hind limbs of the animals via a tourniquet. Bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid analysis and hematoxylin and eosin staining revealed that limb RIPC could significantly attenuate CPB-induced pulmonary injury, as evidenced by a combination of lower total BAL protein content, less severe alveolar wall thickening and reduced intra-alveolar neutrophil infiltration. Consistently, RIPC was also found to improve the proliferation capacity of the bronchioalveolar stem cells isolated from the lung tissues in rats subjected to surgical procedure with CPB. These beneficial effects translated into significantly improved lung function. Further investigation suggested that RIPC could up-regulate the serum levels of several anti-inflammatory cytokines such as interleukin (IL)-4 and 10, which might play a role in its pulmonoprotective effects. Taken together, the current study provided convincing evidence that limb RIPC could be a useful strategy for minimizing CPB-induced organ injuries in patients undergoing CPB surgery.

More than the eyes can see: The worrying scenario of canine leishmaniasis in the Brazilian side of the triple border.

A cross-sectional epidemiological study in the extreme-west of the state of Paraná was carried out to access the prevalence, distribution, and risk variables of canine Visceral Leishmaniases (cVL). This study was conducted in three areas, two cities of far west of Parana state: Foz do Iguaçu (FI) and Santa Terezinha de Itaipu (STI), and along two transects between these two municipalities. To sample the entire urban area, the cities (FI and STI) were divided into a grid of squares of 400 m2 (patch). Among the 526 patches, 123 in FI, 40 in the transects and 33 in STI were selected according to the 'worst scenario' criterion. In the transect areas, in each 0.86 km five dogs from houses were surveyed to leishmaniasis. In each patch, blood of five dogs from houses (and from neighborhood when necessary) in the areas that seemed to be the most appropriate for the proliferation of vector were surveyed. The infection of the dogs by cVL were assessed using two serological tests were used (cELISA and TR-DPP®), and, for those seropositive for both methods, the PCR method were used. Moreover, dogs presenting clinical signs or cutaneous lesions were sampled to PCR. The identification of Leishmania species was confirmed using PCR-RFLP followed by DNA sequencing. Micro, meso and macro scale environmental variables were also surveyed and statistically analyzed. The prevalence rate Leishmania infantum was 23.8% in FI, 4.7% in STI and 9.1% in the transects areas. Among the extrinsic variables analysed, the number of vectors and the presence of infected dogs in neighbouring were positively correlated with the occurrence of infected dogs. Dog size was positively correlated with cVL infection, while the quality of the dog's nutrition affected cVL negatively. As for cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL), the first registry of dogs infected with L. braziliensis in the region shows that there is potential for transmission in peri-urban areas, since environmental conditions allow the proliferation of vectors capable of transmitting this species of parasite. cVL is widely spread in FI, with high prevalence. This supports the hypothesis that the parasite has been present in the region for longer than previously believed, despite the fact that the presence of leishmaniais in the region has only been recognized recently. It is important to control the population of dogs infected with L. infantum (parasite and non-antibodies) to prevent the spread of the disease to other dogs and also to people in the region.

Lymphocyte-Dominant Encephalitis and Meningitis in Simian Immunodeficiency Virus-Infected Macaques Receiving Antiretroviral Therapy.

A retrospective neuropathologic review of 30 SIV-infected pigtailed macaques receiving combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) was conducted. Seventeen animals with lymphocyte-dominant inflammation in the brain and/or meninges that clearly was morphologically distinct from prototypic SIV encephalitis and human immunodeficiency virus encephalitis were identified. Central nervous system (CNS) infiltrates in cART-treated macaques primarily comprised CD20+ B cells and CD3+ T cells with fewer CD68+ macrophages. Inflammation was associated with low levels of SIV RNA in the brain as shown by in situ hybridization, and generally was observed in animals with episodes of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) viral rebound or sustained plasma and CSF viremia during treatment. Although the lymphocytic CNS inflammation in these macaques shared morphologic characteristics with uncommon immune-mediated neurologic disorders reported in treated HIV patients, including CNS immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome and neurosymptomatic CSF escape, the high prevalence of CNS lesions in macaques suggests that persistent adaptive immune responses in the CNS also may develop in neuroasymptomatic or mildly impaired HIV patients yet remain unrecognized given the lack of access to CNS tissue for histopathologic evaluation. Continued investigation into the mechanisms and outcomes of CNS inflammation in cART-treated, SIV-infected macaques will advance our understanding of the consequences of residual CNS HIV replication in patients on cART, including the possible contribution of adaptive immune responses to HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders.

The gut-liver axis: impact of a mouse model of small-bowel bacterial overgrowth.

The mechanisms by which intestinal bacteria impact liver diseases remain poorly understood. The aim of this study was to develop a mouse model of small-bowel bacterial overgrowth and to determine its impact on hepatobiliary injury.

Transplantation of canine olfactory ensheathing cells producing chondroitinase ABC promotes chondroitin sulphate proteoglycan digestion and axonal sprouting following spinal cord injury.

Olfactory ensheathing cell (OEC) transplantation is a promising strategy for treating spinal cord injury (SCI), as has been demonstrated in experimental SCI models and naturally occurring SCI in dogs. However, the presence of chondroitin sulphate proteoglycans within the extracellular matrix of the glial scar can inhibit efficient axonal repair and limit the therapeutic potential of OECs. Here we have used lentiviral vectors to genetically modify canine OECs to continuously deliver mammalian chondroitinase ABC at the lesion site in order to degrade the inhibitory chondroitin sulphate proteoglycans in a rodent model of spinal cord injury. We demonstrate that these chondroitinase producing canine OECs survived at 4 weeks following transplantation into the spinal cord lesion and effectively digested chondroitin sulphate proteoglycans at the site of injury. There was evidence of sprouting within the corticospinal tract rostral to the lesion and an increase in the number of corticospinal axons caudal to the lesion, suggestive of axonal regeneration. Our results indicate that delivery of the chondroitinase enzyme can be achieved with the genetically modified OECs to increase axon growth following SCI. The combination of these two promising approaches is a potential strategy for promoting neural regeneration following SCI in veterinary practice and human patients.

Looking out for avian influenza in backyard and small poultry flocks.

This article has been prepared by David Welchman, veterinary lead of the Avian Expert Group, and Anna Brzozowska, surveillance data scientist, of the APHA's Surveillance Intelligence Unit.