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LaCourse E.J.,Aberystwyth University | LaCourse E.J.,Molecular and Biochemical Parasitology Group | Perally S.,Aberystwyth University | Morphew R.M.,Aberystwyth University | And 11 more authors.
PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases

Background: Liver fluke infection of livestock causes economic losses of over US$ 3 billion worldwide per annum. The disease is increasing in livestock worldwide and is a re-emerging human disease. There are currently no commercial vaccines, and only one drug with significant efficacy against adult worms and juveniles. A liver fluke vaccine is deemed essential as short-lived chemotherapy, which is prone to resistance, is an unsustainable option in both developed and developing countries. Protein superfamilies have provided a number of leading liver fluke vaccine candidates. A new form of glutathione transferase (GST) family, Sigma class GST, closely related to a leading Schistosome vaccine candidate (Sm28), has previously been revealed by proteomics in the liver fluke but not functionally characterised. Methodology/Principal Findings: In this manuscript we show that a purified recombinant form of the F. hepatica Sigma class GST possesses prostaglandin synthase activity and influences activity of host immune cells. Immunocytochemistry and western blotting have shown the protein is present near the surface of the fluke and expressed in eggs and newly excysted juveniles, and present in the excretory/secretory fraction of adults. We have assessed the potential to use F. hepatica Sigma class GST as a vaccine in a goat-based vaccine trial. No significant reduction of worm burden was found but we show significant reduction in the pathology normally associated with liver fluke infection. Conclusions/Significance: We have shown that F. hepatica Sigma class GST has likely multi-functional roles in the host-parasite interaction from general detoxification and bile acid sequestration to PGD synthase activity. © 2012 LaCourse et al. Source

Bell D.J.,University of Liverpool | Bell D.J.,Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Programme | Nyirongo S.K.,Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Programme | Mukaka M.,Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Programme | And 3 more authors.
Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics

In addition to parasite resistance, inadequate levels of exposure to antimalarial drugs may contribute to treatment failure. We developed population pharmacokinetic (PK) models to describe the distribution of sulfadoxine (SDX) and pyrimethamine (PYM) in children with uncomplicated malaria in Malawi. The concentration levels of antimalarial drugs in whole blood were determined using high-performance liquid chromatography. We found no evidence of underdosing in children as compared with adults; the children had drug exposure levels similar to those described in adults. Treatment failure was more likely in children with lower PYM concentrations on day 14 (P = 0.024), and there was a trend for lower SDX concentrations on day 14 (P = 0.061). SDX and PYM concentrations at levels predictive of treatment failure have been identified at day 14. Less than one-third of the children displayed drug concentration levels above these thresholds after receiving the recommended SDX-pyrimethamine (SP) dose. Our findings suggest that PK factors contributed to the observed high rate of treatment failure, and we therefore recommend a higher SP dose for children under the age of 5 years. © 2011 american Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics. Source

Seshadri S.,University of Liverpool | Bates M.,Molecular and Biochemical Parasitology Group | Vince G.,Lancaster University | Lewis Jones D.I.,Reproductive Medicine Unit

Cytokines are released by various immunocompetent cell subsets in the male urogenital tract and are thought to affect sperm cell function and reproductive process. The aim of the study was to evaluate the levels and a possible role of seven seminal plasma cytokines with fertilisation rates in men attending an in vitro fertilisation (IVF) programme. A total of 36 men of couples who were undergoing traditional IVF in a regional reproductive medicine unit were recruited into this prospective study. Cytokines such as interleukin (IL)-6, IL-8, IL-10, IL-11, IL-12, tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) and interferon gamma (IFN-γ) in the seminal plasma were determined using enzyme linked immunosorbent assay. IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, IL-11 and IFN-γ were detected in all samples. IL-12, and TNF-α were detected in most samples. Levels of IL-11 were significantly higher in the good fertiliser group (P≤0.05). Positive correlation between cytokines such as IL-6 and IL-8 (P<0.03), IL-10 and IL-11 (P<0.001) and IFN-γ and IL-10 and IL-11 (P<0.04 and P<0.0001 respectively) were found. Our study confirms that the six cytokines other than IL-11 do not affect spermatozoon-oocyte interaction and fertilisation rates in IVF. IL-11 could have a role in the fertilising capacity of the spermatozoa. Significant correlation exists among these cytokines which shows that cytokines rarely act in isolation but rather in a network. © 2011 Blackwell Verlag GmbH. Source

Currier R.B.,Alistair Reid Venom Research Unit | Harrison R.A.,Alistair Reid Venom Research Unit | Rowley P.D.,Alistair Reid Venom Research Unit | Laing G.D.,Molecular and Biochemical Parasitology Group | Wagstaff S.C.,Alistair Reid Venom Research Unit

Bitis arietans is considered one of the most medically significant snakes in Africa, primarily due to a combination of its extensive geographical distribution, common occurrence and highly potent haemorrhagic and cytotoxic venom. Our investigation has revealed a remarkable degree of intra-species variation between pooled venom samples from different geographical origins across sub-Saharan Africa and Arabia, and within a group of individual specimens from the same origin in Nigeria as determined by a combination of immunological, biochemical and proteomic assays. We demonstrate significant quantitative and qualitative differences between B. arietans venom in terms of protein expression, immunogenicity and activity of snake venom metalloproteinases (SVMPs); toxins with a primary role in the haemorrhagic and tissue-necrotic pathologies suffered by envenomed victims. Specifically, we have identified a processed PII SVMP that exhibits striking inter-specimen variability. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Nduati E.,KEMRI Wellcome Trust Collaborative Research Program | Gwela A.,KEMRI Wellcome Trust Collaborative Research Program | Gwela A.,University of Oxford | Karanja H.,KEMRI Wellcome Trust Collaborative Research Program | And 6 more authors.
Journal of Infectious Diseases

Malaria-specific antibody responses in children often appear to be short-lived but the mechanisms underlying this phenomenon are not well understood. In this study, we investigated the relationship between the B-cell activating factor (BAFF) and its receptors expressed on B cells with antibody responses during and after acute malaria in children. Our results demonstrate that BAFF plasma levels increased during acute malarial disease and reflected disease severity. The expression profiles for BAFF receptors on B cells agreed with rapid activation and differentiation of a proportion of B cells to plasma cells. However, BAFF receptor (BAFF-R) expression was reduced on all peripheral blood B cells during acute infection, but those children with the highest level of BAFF-R expression on B cells maintained schizont-specific immunoglobin G (IgG) over a period of 4 months, indicating that dysregulation of BAFF-R expression on B cells may contribute to short-lived antibody responses to malarial antigens in children. In summary, this study suggests a potential role for BAFF during malaria disease, both as a marker for disease severity and in shaping the differentiation pattern of antigen-specific B cells. © The Author 2011. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. All rights reserved. Source

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