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Darboe M.K.,MRC International Nutrition Group | Fulford A.J.C.,MRC International Nutrition Group | Secka O.,MRC Laboratories | Prentice A.M.,MRC International Nutrition Group
BMC Infectious Diseases | Year: 2010

Background: Streptococcus pneumoniae is an important cause of community acquired pneumonia, sepsis, meningitis and otitis media globally and has been incriminated as a major cause of serious childhood bacterial infections in The Gambia. Better understanding of the dynamics of transmission and carriage will inform control strategies.Methods: This study was conducted among 196 mother-infant pairs recruited at birth from six villages in the West Kiang region of The Gambia. Nasopharyngeal swabs were collected from mother-infant pairs at birth (within 12 hours of delivery), 2, 5 and 12 months. Standard techniques of culture were used to identify carriage and serotype S. pneumoniae.Results: Of 46 serotypes identified, the 6 most common, 6A, 6B, 14, 15, 19F and 23F, accounted for 67.3% of the isolates from infants. Carriage of any serotype among infants rose from 1.5% at birth to plateau at approximately 80% by 2 m (prevalence at 2 m = 77%; 5 m = 86%; 12 m = 78%). Likewise, maternal carriage almost doubled in the first 2 months post-partum and remained elevated for the next 10 m (prevalence at birth = 13%; 2 m = 24%; 5 m = 22%; 12 m = 21%). Carriage was significantly seasonal in both infants and mothers with a peak in December and lowest transmission in August. The total number of different serotypes we isolated from each infant varied and less than would be expected had the serotypes assorted independently. In contrast, this variability was much as expected among mothers. The half-life of a serotype colony was estimated to be 1.90 m (CI95%: 1.66-2.21) in infants and 0.75 m (CI95%: 0.55-1.19) in mothers. While the odds for a serotype to be isolated from an infant increased by 9-fold if it had also been isolated from the mother, the population attributable fraction (PAF) of pneumococcal carriage in infants due to maternal carriage was only 9.5%. Some marked differences in dynamics were observed between vaccine and non-vaccine serotypes.Conclusions: Colonisation of the nasopharynx in Gambian infants by S. pneumoniae is rapid and highly dynamic. Immunity or inter-serotype competition may play a role in the dynamics. Reducing mother-infant transmission would have a minimal effect on infant carriage. © 2010 Darboe et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


Braithwaite V.S.,MRC Human Nutrition Research | Braithwaite V.S.,University of Cambridge | Prentice A.,MRC Human Nutrition Research | Prentice A.,University of Cambridge | And 7 more authors.
Bone | Year: 2016

Fibroblast growth factor-23 (FGF23), a phosphate(Phos)-regulating hormone, is abnormally elevated in hypophosphataemic syndromes and an elevated FGF23 is a predictor of mortality in kidney disease. Recent findings suggest iron deficiency as a potential mediator of FGF23 expression and murine studies have shown in utero effects of maternal iron deficiency on offspring FGF23 and phosphate metabolism.Our aim was to investigate the impact of maternal iron status on infant FGF23 and mineral metabolites over the first 2. years of life. Infants born to mothers with normal (NI n= 25,) and low (LI n= 25) iron status during pregnancy, from a mother-infant trial (ISRCTN49285450) in rural Gambia, West Africa, had blood and plasma samples analysed at 12, 24, 52, 78 and 104. weeks (wk) of age.Circulating intact-FGF23 (I-FGF23), Phos, total alkaline phosphatase (TALP) and haemoglobin (Hb) decreased and estimated glomerular filtration rate increased over time [all P≤ 0.0001)]. C-terminal-FGF23 (C-FGF23) and TALP were significantly higher in LI compared with NI, from 52. wk for C-FGF23 [Beta coefficient (SE) 18.1 (0.04) %, P= 0.04] and from 24. wk for TALP [44.7 (29.6) U/L, P= 0.04]. Infant Hb was the strongest negative predictor of C-FGF23 concentration [- 21% (4%) RU/mL, P. ≤. 0.0001], Phos was the strongest positive predictor of I-FGF23 [32.0(3.9) pg/mL, P≤. 0.0001] and I-FGF23 did not predict C-FGF23 over time [- 0.5% (0.5%), P= 0.3].In conclusion, this study suggests that poor maternal iron status is associated with a higher infant C-FGF23 and TALP but similar I-FGF23 concentrations in infants and young children. These findings further highlight the likely public health importance of preventing iron deficiency during pregnancy. Whether or not children who are born to iron deficient mothers have persistently high concentrations of these metabolites and are more likely to be at risk of impaired bone development and pre-disposed to rickets requires further research. © 2015 The Authors.


Shimakawa Y.,London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine | Lemoine M.,Imperial College London | Njai H.F.,Medical Research Council MRC Unit | Bottomley C.,London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine | And 13 more authors.
Gut | Year: 2015

Background The natural history of chronic HBV infection in sub-Saharan Africa is unknown. Data are required to inform WHO guidelines that are currently based on studies in Europe and Asia. Methods Between 1974 and 2008, serosurveys were repeated in two Gambian villages, and an open cohort of treatment-naive chronic HBV carriers was recruited. Participants were followed to estimate the rates of hepatitis B e (HBeAg) and surface antigen (HBsAg) clearance and incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). In 2012-2013, a comprehensive liver assessment was conducted to estimate the prevalence of severe liver disease. Results 405 chronic carriers (95% genotype E), recruited at a median age of 10.8 years, were followed for a median length of 28.4 years. Annually, 7.4% (95% CI 6.3% to 8.8%) cleared HBeAg and 1.0% (0.8% to 1.2%) cleared HBsAg. The incidence of HCC was 55.5/100 000 carrier-years (95% CI 24.9 to 123.5). In the 2012-2013 survey (n=301), 5.5% (95% CI 3.4% to 9.0%) had significant liver fibrosis. HBV genotype A (versus E), chronic aflatoxin B1 exposure and an HBsAg-positive mother, a proxy for mother-to-infant transmission, were risk factors for liver fibrosis. A small proportion (16.0%) of chronic carriers were infected via mother-to-infant transmission; however, this population represented a large proportion (63.0%) of the cases requiring antiviral therapy. Conclusions The incidence of HCC among chronic HBV carriers in West Africa was higher than that in Europe but lower than rates in East Asia. High risk of severe liver disease among the few who are infected by their mothers underlines the importance of interrupting perinatal transmission in sub-Saharan Africa. © 2015 BMJ Publishing Group Ltd & British Society of Gastroenterology.


Begus K.,University of London | Lloyd-Fox S.,University of London | Lloyd-Fox S.,University College London | Halliday D.,University College London | And 7 more authors.
Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology | Year: 2016

A pilot study was conducted to assess the feasibility of using fNIRS as an alternative to behavioral assessments of cognitive development with infants in rural Africa. We report preliminary results of a study looking at working memory in 12– 16-month-olds and discuss the benefits and shortcomings for the potential future use of fNIRS to investigate the effects of nutritional insults and interventions in global health studies. © Springer Science+Business Media, New York 2016.


Prentice S.,London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine | Jallow M.W.,MRC International Nutrition Group | Prentice A.M.,MRC International Nutrition Group
Vaccine | Year: 2015

Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccination has been reported to protect neonates from non-tuberculous pathogens, but no biological mechanism to explain such effects is known. We hypothesised that BCG produces broad-spectrum anti-microbial protection via a hepcidin-mediated hypoferraemia, limiting iron availability for pathogens.To test this we conducted a trial in 120 Gambian neonates comparing iron status in the first 5-days of life after allocation to: (1) All routine vaccinations at birth (BCG/Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV)/Hepatitis B Vaccine (HBV)); (2) BCG delayed until after the study period (at day 5); and (3) All routine vaccinations delayed until after the study period.Vaccine regime at birth did not significantly impact on any measured parameter of iron metabolism. However, the ability to detect an effect of BCG on iron metabolism may have been limited by short follow-up time and high activation of the inflammatory-iron axis in the study population. © 2015 The Authors.


Hernandez-Vargas H.,International Agency for Research on Cancer IARC | Castelino J.,University of Leeds | Silver M.J.,MRC International Nutrition Group | Silver M.J.,University of Cambridge | And 16 more authors.
International Journal of Epidemiology | Year: 2015

Background: Exposure to environmental toxins during embryonic development may lead to epigenetic changes that influence disease risk in later life. Aflatoxin is a contaminant of staple foods in sub-Saharan Africa, is a known human liver carcinogen and has been associated with stunting in infants. Methods: We have measured aflatoxin exposure in 115 pregnant women in The Gambia and examined the DNA methylation status of white blood cells from their infants at 2-8 months old (mean 3.6±0.9). Aflatoxin exposure in women was assessed using an ELISA method to measure aflatoxin albumin (AF-alb) adducts in plasma taken at 1-16 weeks of pregnancy. Genome-wide DNA methylation of infant white blood cells was measured using the Illumina Infinium HumanMethylation450beadchip. Results: AF-alb levels ranged from 3.9 to 458.4 pg/mg albumin. We found that aflatoxin exposure in the motherswas associated to DNAmethylation in their infants for 71 CpG sites (false discovery rate<0.05), with an average effect size of 1.7% change in methylation. Aflatoxin-associated differential methylationwas observed in growth factor genes such as FGF12 and IGF1, and immune-related genes such as CCL28, TLR2 and TGFBI. Moreover, one aflatoxin-associated methylation region (corresponding to themiR-4520b locus)was identified. Conclusions: This study shows that maternal exposure to aflatoxin during the early stages of pregnancy is associated with differential DNA methylation patterns of infants, including in genes related to growth and immune function. This reinforces the need for interventions to reduce aflatoxin exposure, especially during critical periods of fetal and infant development. © The Author 2015.


Papademetriou M.D.,University College London | Lloyd Fox S.,Birkbeck, University of London | Everdell N.L.,University College London | Darboe M.K.,MRC International Nutrition Group | And 5 more authors.
Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology | Year: 2014

We used optical topography (OT) to investigate cognitive function in infants in rural Gambia. Images of changes in oxyhaemoglobin and deoxyhaemoglobin concentrations were reconstructed using a multispectral algorithm which uses the finite element method (FEM) to model the propagation of light through scattering tissue using the diffusion equation. High quality OT data enabled us to reconstruct images with robust representation of haemodynamic changes. OT is a feasible neuroimage technology for this resource-poor setting. © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2014.


PubMed | Birkbeck, University of London, Central European University, University of Victoria, MRC International Nutrition Group and 2 more.
Type: | Journal: Developmental cognitive neuroscience | Year: 2016

Brain and nervous system development in human infants during the first 1000days (conception to two years of age) is critical, and compromised development during this time (such as from under nutrition or poverty) can have life-long effects on physical growth and cognitive function. Cortical mapping of cognitive function during infancy is poorly understood in resource-poor settings due to the lack of transportable and low-cost neuroimaging methods. Having established a signature cortical response to social versus non-social visual and auditory stimuli in infants from 4 to 6 months of age in the UK, here we apply this functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS) paradigm to investigate social responses in infants from the first postnatal days to the second year of life in two contrasting environments: rural Gambian and urban UK. Results reveal robust, localized, socially selective brain responses from 9 to 24 months of life to both the visual and auditory stimuli. In contrast at 0-2 months of age infants exhibit non-social auditory selectivity, an effect that persists until 4-8 months when we observe a transition to greater social stimulus selectivity. These findings reveal a robust developmental curve of cortical specialisation over the first two years of life.


PubMed | Imperial College London, Medical Research Council MRC Unit, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, International Agency for Research on Cancer IARC and 2 more.
Type: | Journal: Gut | Year: 2015

The natural history of chronic HBV infection in sub-Saharan Africa is unknown. Data are required to inform WHO guidelines that are currently based on studies in Europe and Asia.Between 1974 and 2008, serosurveys were repeated in two Gambian villages, and an open cohort of treatment-naive chronic HBV carriers was recruited. Participants were followed to estimate the rates of hepatitis B e (HBeAg) and surface antigen (HBsAg) clearance and incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). In 2012-2013, a comprehensive liver assessment was conducted to estimate the prevalence of severe liver disease.405 chronic carriers (95% genotype E), recruited at a median age of 10.8years, were followed for a median length of 28.4years. Annually, 7.4% (95% CI 6.3% to 8.8%) cleared HBeAg and 1.0% (0.8% to 1.2%) cleared HBsAg. The incidence of HCC was 55.5/100000 carrier-years (95% CI 24.9 to 123.5). In the 2012-2013 survey (n=301), 5.5% (95% CI 3.4% to 9.0%) had significant liver fibrosis. HBV genotype A (versus E), chronic aflatoxin B1 exposure and an HBsAg-positive mother, a proxy for mother-to-infant transmission, were risk factors for liver fibrosis. A small proportion (16.0%) of chronic carriers were infected via mother-to-infant transmission; however, this population represented a large proportion (63.0%) of the cases requiring antiviral therapy.The incidence of HCC among chronic HBV carriers in West Africa was higher than that in Europe but lower than rates in East Asia. High risk of severe liver disease among the few who are infected by their mothers underlines the importance of interrupting perinatal transmission in sub-Saharan Africa.


PubMed | MRC International Nutrition Group
Type: | Journal: BMC infectious diseases | Year: 2010

Streptococcus pneumoniae is an important cause of community acquired pneumonia, sepsis, meningitis and otitis media globally and has been incriminated as a major cause of serious childhood bacterial infections in The Gambia. Better understanding of the dynamics of transmission and carriage will inform control strategies.This study was conducted among 196 mother-infant pairs recruited at birth from six villages in the West Kiang region of The Gambia. Nasopharyngeal swabs were collected from mother-infant pairs at birth (within 12 hours of delivery), 2, 5 and 12 months. Standard techniques of culture were used to identify carriage and serotype S. pneumoniae.Of 46 serotypes identified, the 6 most common, 6A, 6B, 14, 15, 19F and 23F, accounted for 67.3% of the isolates from infants. Carriage of any serotype among infants rose from 1.5% at birth to plateau at approximately 80% by 2 m (prevalence at 2 m = 77%; 5 m = 86%; 12 m = 78%). Likewise, maternal carriage almost doubled in the first 2 months post-partum and remained elevated for the next 10 m (prevalence at birth = 13%; 2 m = 24%; 5 m = 22%; 12 m = 21%). Carriage was significantly seasonal in both infants and mothers with a peak in December and lowest transmission in August. The total number of different serotypes we isolated from each infant varied and less than would be expected had the serotypes assorted independently. In contrast, this variability was much as expected among mothers. The half-life of a serotype colony was estimated to be 1.90 m (CI95%: 1.66-2.21) in infants and 0.75 m (CI95%: 0.55-1.19) in mothers. While the odds for a serotype to be isolated from an infant increased by 9-fold if it had also been isolated from the mother, the population attributable fraction (PAF) of pneumococcal carriage in infants due to maternal carriage was only 9.5%. Some marked differences in dynamics were observed between vaccine and non-vaccine serotypes.Colonisation of the nasopharynx in Gambian infants by S. pneumoniae is rapid and highly dynamic. Immunity or inter-serotype competition may play a role in the dynamics. Reducing mother-infant transmission would have a minimal effect on infant carriage.

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