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Rockville, MD, United States

Fink D.L.,National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases | Fink D.L.,Office of Vaccine Research and Regulation | Fahle G.A.,U.S. National Institutes of Health | Fischer S.,U.S. National Institutes of Health | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Clinical Microbiology | Year: 2011

The diagnosis of filarial infections among individuals residing in areas where the disease is not endemic requires both strong clinical suspicion and expert training in infrequently practiced parasitological methods. Recently developed filarial molecular diagnostic assays are highly sensitive and specific but have limited availability and have not been closely evaluated for clinical use outside populations residing in areas of endemicity. In this study, we assessed the performance of a panel of real-time PCR assays for the four most common human filarial pathogens among blood and tissue samples collected from a cohort of patients undergoing evaluation for suspected filarial infections. Compared to blood filtration, real-time PCR was equally sensitive for the detection of microfilaremia due to Wuchereria bancrofti (2 of 46 samples positive by both blood filtration and PCR with no discordant results) and Loa loa (24 of 208 samples positive by both blood filtration and PCR, 4 samples positive by PCR only, and 3 samples positive by blood filtration only). Real-time PCR of skin snip samples was significantly more sensitive than microscopic examination for the detection of Onchocerca volvulus microfiladermia (2 of 218 samples positive by both microscopy and PCR and 12 samples positive by PCR only). The molecular assays required smaller amounts of blood and tissue than conventional methods and could be performed by laboratory personnel without specialized parasitology training. Taken together, these data demonstrate the utility of the molecular diagnosis of filarial infections in mobile populations. Copyright © 2011, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.

Schramm L.M.,Office of Vaccine Research and Regulation | Kirschman K.D.,Office of Vaccine Research and Regulation | Heuer M.,Office of Vaccine Research and Regulation | Chen A.A.,Office of Vaccine Research and Regulation | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Interferon and Cytokine Research | Year: 2012

Rhesus macaques provide a valuable research and preclinical model for cancer and infectious diseases, as nonhuman primates share immune pathways with humans. Interferons (IFNs) are key cytokines in both innate and adaptive immunity, so a detailed analysis of gene expression in peripheral blood and tissues may shed insight into immune responses. Macaques have 18 IFN genes, of which 14 encode for 13 distinct IFN-α subtypes, and one for IFN-β. Here, we developed a high-throughput array to evaluate each of the IFN-α subtypes, as well as IFN-β, IFN-γ and 2 subtypes of IFN-λ. With this array, expression of each IFN species may be quantified as relative to a reference (housekeeping) gene (ΔCq) or fitted to its own 4-point standard curve for absolute quantification (copy number per mass unit RNA). After validating the assay with IFN complementary DNA, we determined the IFN expression profile of peripheral blood mononuclear cells from 3 rhesus macaques in response to TLR agonists, and demonstrated that the profiles are consistent among animals. Furthermore, because the IFN expression profiles differ depending on the TLR stimuli, they suggest different biological functions for many of the IFN species measured, including individual subtypes of IFN-α. © 2012 Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

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