Pasteur Institute of Tunis

Tunis, Tunisia

Pasteur Institute of Tunis

Tunis, Tunisia

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Galai Y.,Pasteur Institute of Tunis | Chabchoub N.,Pasteur Institute of Tunis | Ben-Abid M.,Pasteur Institute of Tunis | Ben-Abda I.,Pasteur Institute of Tunis | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Clinical Microbiology | Year: 2011

Current methods for diagnosis of visceral leishmaniasis (VL) require invasive sampling procedures such as visceral aspiration and/or blood drawing. The use of diagnostic tests using oral fluid, which is easier to collect, would be more simple and practical for VL diagnosis, especially under field conditions. Oral fluids from 37 VL patients and 40 healthy controls were collected using Oracol devices. Blood samples and oral fluid specimens from both groups were analyzed by recombinant protein K39 (rK39) enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and quantitative real-time PCR. Detection of antibodies in the oral fluid had a sensitivity of 100% and a specificity of 97.5%. Antibody levels measured in serum and oral fluid showed a significant positive correlation (p = 0.655 and P = 0.01). Detection of Leishmania DNA in oral fluid had a sensitivity of 94.6% and a specificity of 90%. The median parasite load estimated in blood was 133 parasites/ml (interquartile range [IR], 10 to 1,048), whereas that in oral fluid specimens was 3 parasites/ml (IR, 0.41 to 92). However, there was no significant linear relationship between parasite loads assessed in the two biological samples (p = 0.31 and P = 0.06). VL diagnosis based on specific antibody detection and Leishmania DNA identification using oral fluid samples was equivalent in accuracy to that using blood and therefore is promising for clinical use. Copyright © 2011, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.


Griseri P.,University of Nice Sophia Antipolis | Griseri P.,Institute Giannina Gaslini | Bourcier C.,University of Nice Sophia Antipolis | Hieblot C.,University Paul Sabatier | And 4 more authors.
Human Molecular Genetics | Year: 2011

Post-transcriptional regulation plays a central role in cell differentiation and proliferation. Among the regulatory factors involved in this mechanism, Tristetraprolin (ZFP36 or TTP) is the prototype of a family of RNA-binding proteins that bind to adenylate and uridylate (AU)-rich sequences in the 3'UTR of mRNAs, which promotes their physiological decay. Here, we investigated whether TTP correlates with tumor aggressiveness in breast cancer and is a novel prognostic factor for this neoplasia. By immunoblot analysis, we determined the amount of TTP protein in different breast cancer cell lines and found an inverse correlation between aggressiveness and metastatic potential. TTP mRNA levels were very variable among cells lines and did not correlate with protein levels. Interestingly, by sequencing the entire TTP coding region in Hs578T cells that do not express the TTP protein, we identified a synonymous polymorphism (rs3746083) that showed a statistically significant association with a lack of response to Herceptin/Trastuzumab in HER2-positive-breast cancer patients. Even though this genetic change did not modify the corresponding amino acid, we performed functional studies and showed an effect on protein translation associated with the variant allele with respect to the wild-type. These data underline the importance of synonymous variants on gene expression and the potential role of TTP genetic polymorphisms as a prognostic marker for breast cancer. © The Author 2011. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.


Iraqi W.,Pasteur Institute of Tunis | Iraqi W.,Mohammed V University
Journal of Helminthology | Year: 2016

Canine echinococcosis is caused by the adult tapeworm of Echinococcus granulosus. As intermediate hosts, humans and livestock become infected following ingestion of eggs that are passed in the faeces of dogs. Mature eggs develop into hydatid cysts in different organs, leading to hydatid disease, which is a serious public health problem. In the present study, we investigated the proportion of mature eggs of E. granulosus in 140 dogs from three regions of Tunisia. The results showed the predominance of immature E. granulosus eggs in infected dogs and the occurrence of a small proportion of oncospheres. The ability of immature eggs to infect humans and livestock is discussed. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2016


Ben Abda I.,Pasteur Institute of Tunis | De Monbrison F.,Service Paludisme | Bousslimi N.,Pasteur Institute of Tunis | Aoun K.,Pasteur Institute of Tunis | And 2 more authors.
Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene | Year: 2011

Cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL). , a public health problem in Tunisia, is associated to three species: Leishmania (L.) infantum, L. major and L. killicki. Accurate and sensitive procedures for the diagnostic of Leishmania infection and for species identification are required to enable adequate treatment and appropriate control measures. Several PCR-methods are applied for the diagnosis and the identification of Leishmania parasites such as PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP), DNA sequencing, hybridization probes and real-time PCR (RT-PCR). In this study, PCR-RFLP and RT-PCR were performed on skin scrapings from 27 patients with confirmed CL by microscopic examination, in order to compare their usefulness and efficiency for identification of Leishmania species in routine diagnostic laboratories. Identification of Leishmania species was successfully achieved in 96.3% and 81.5% respectively. Agreement between using internal transcribed spacer 1 (ITS1)-PCR-RFLP and kDNA-RT-PCR assays was 70% (19/27). Characterization problems using RT-PCR were mainly due to the difficulties in analyzing the melting temperatures.ITS1-PCR-RFLP and kDNA-RT-PCR presented an interesting alternative to conventional methods for the identification of Leishmania parasites from clinical samples. Both PCR assays can be used in a routine diagnostic, however, further prospective studies including largest sampling, are required to determine their performances in a routine use. © 2010 Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.


Kefi F.J.,University of Carthage | Boubaker S.,Pasteur Institute of Tunis | Menif N.T.E.,University of Carthage
Helgoland Marine Research | Year: 2014

Relative growth and the reproductive cycle of the date mussel Lithophaga lithophaga were studied from September 2002 to October 2003 in the Bizerte Bay (Northern Tunisia). Relationships between shell length and shell width, shell height as well as volume-related variables (shell dry weight, soft tissues dry weight and total wet weight) showed negative allometries in both sexes except for shell width in males (isometry) and shell height in both sexes (positive allometry). The sex ratio was unbalanced, within the length range of 6-48 mm, 49.43 % of the animals were males, 24.39 % females and 26.17 % sexually undifferentiated; within the length range of 49-92 mm, the respective values were 41.19, 52.7 and 6.1 %. Histological investigations as well as analyses of the condition index and the gonadosomatic index (CI and GSI) revealed the presence of a single reproductive cycle per year. Spawning occurred at the end of August and early September and was associated with a decrease in seawater temperature and salinity. A resting phase occurred in winter, coinciding with the lowest water temperatures. Histological examinations of the gonads of a total of 130 specimens revealed only two cases of hermaphroditism. The present study constitutes a useful baseline for a sustainable management of local wild stocks of L. lithophaga. © 2014 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg and AWI.


Toumi A.,Pasteur Institute of Tunis | Chlif S.,Pasteur Institute of Tunis | Bettaieb J.,Pasteur Institute of Tunis | Alaya N.B.,Pasteur Institute of Tunis | And 3 more authors.
PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases | Year: 2012

Background: Old world Zoonotic Cutaneous Leishmaniasis (ZCL) is a vector-borne human disease caused by Leishmania major, a unicellular eukaryotic parasite transmitted by pool blood-feeding sand flies mainly to wild rodents, such as Psammomys obesus. The human beings who share the rodent and sand fly habitats can be subverted as both sand fly blood resource. ZCL is endemic in the Middle East, Central Asia, Subsaharan and North Africa. Like other vector-borne diseases, the incidence of ZCL displayed by humans varies with environmental and climate factors. However, so far no study has addressed the temporal dynamics or the impact of climate factors on the ZCL risk. Principal Findings: Seasonality during the same epidemiologic year and interval between ZCL epidemics ranging from 4 to 7 years were demonstrated. Models showed that ZCL incidence is raising i) by 1.8% (95% confidence intervals CI:0.0-3.6%) when there is 1 mm increase in the rainfall lagged by 12 to 14 months ii) by 5.0% (95% CI: 0.8-9.4%) when there is a 1% increase in humidity from July to September in the same epidemiologic year. Conclusion/Significance: Higher rainfall is expected to result in increased density of chenopods, a halophytic plant that constitutes the exclusive food of Psammomys obesus. Consequently, following a high density of Psammomys obesus, the pool of Leishmania major transmissible from the rodents to blood-feeding female sand flies could lead to a higher probability of transmission to humans over the next season. These findings provide the evidence that ZCL is highly influenced by climate factors that could affect both Psammomys obesus and the sand fly population densities. © 2012 Toumi et al.


Maktouf C.,Pasteur Institute of Tunis
Saudi journal of kidney diseases and transplantation : an official publication of the Saudi Center for Organ Transplantation, Saudi Arabia | Year: 2014

Post-kidney transplant erythrocytosis (PTE) is one of the hematological complications in the renal transplant patients. While its pathogenesis still remains to be elucidated completely, a number of therapies are available for the management of PTE. The aim of this prospective study was to investigate whether angiogenesis may be involved in the pathogenesis of post-transplant erythrocytosis by comparing its level with those of different classes of erythrocytosis [polycythemia vera (PV), idiopathic erythrocytosis and secondary erythrocytosis]. The angiogenic activity was evaluated by the assessment of the serum vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) levels, as one of circulating angiogenic factor, using a standardized enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay commercial kit in 13 PTE (2 F/11 M), in 75 untreated erythrocytosis non-transplant patients and in 21 healthy subjects controls. The results indicated that VEGF was overproduced in advanced and untreated PV patients and to a lesser degree in idiopathic erythrocytosis thus confirming an increased angiogenic activity. However, there is no evidence of increased angiogenesis in PTE and in secondary erythrocytosis. The absence of angiogenesis in PTE and its presence in PV is another argument that the pathogenesis of these two entities is different.


Essafi-Benkhadir K.,Pasteur Institute of Tunis
Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.) | Year: 2010

Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor-A (VEGF-A) is one of the most important regulators of physiological and pathological angiogenesis. Constitutive activation of the ERK pathway and over-expression of VEGF-A are common denominators of tumours of different origins. Understanding VEGF-A regulation is of primary importance to better comprehend pathological angiogenesis. VEGF-A expression is regulated at all steps of its synthesis including transcription, mRNA stability, an under estimated way of VEGF regulation and translation. In this chapter, we present the link between VEGF mRNA stability through AU-rich sequences present in its 3'-untranslated region (3'-UTR) and the ERK pathway. We present several methods that have been used to demonstrate that ERKs increase VEGF mRNA half-life. This mRNA-stabilising effect is partly due to reduction of the mRNA destabilising effects of Tristetraprolin (TTP), an AU-Rich binding protein which binds to VEGF-A mRNA 3'-UTR.


Sand fly saliva plays an important role in both blood feeding and outcome of Leishmania infection. A cellular immune response against a Phlebotomus papatasi salivary protein was shown to protect rodents against Leishmania major infection. In humans, P. papatasi salivary proteins induce a systemic cellular immune response as well as a specific antisaliva humoral immune response, making these salivary proteins attractive targets as markers of exposure for this Leishmania vector. Surprisingly, the repertoire of salivary proteins reported for P. papatasi-a model sand fly for Leishmania-vector-host molecular interactions-is very limited compared with other sand fly species. We hypothesize that a more comprehensive study of the transcripts present in the salivary glands of P. papatasi will provide better knowledge of the repertoire of proteins of this important vector and will aid in selection of potential immunogenic proteins for humans and of those proteins that are highly conserved between different sand fly strains. A cDNA library from P. papatasi (Tunisian strain) salivary glands was constructed, and randomly selected transcripts were sequenced and analyzed. The most abundant transcripts encoding secreted proteins were identified and compared with previously reported sequences. Importantly, we identified salivary proteins not described before in this sand fly species. Comparative analysis between the salivary proteins of P. papatasi from Tunisia and Israel strains shows a high level of identity, suggesting these proteins as potential common targets for markers of vector exposure or inducers of cellular immune responses in humans for different geographic areas.


Bettaieb J.,Pasteur Institute of Tunis | Toumi A.,Pasteur Institute of Tunis | Chlif S.,Pasteur Institute of Tunis | Chelghaf B.,Pasteur Institute of Tunis | And 3 more authors.
Parasites and Vectors | Year: 2014

Background: Zoonotic Cutaneous Leishmaniasis (ZCL) due to Leishmania major (L. major) is still a serious public health problem in Tunisia. This study aimed to compare the prevalence and risk factors associated with L. major infection in old and new foci using leishmanin skin test (LST) in central Tunisia.Methods. A cross sectional household survey was carried out between January and May 2009 on a sample of 2686 healthy individuals aged between 5 and 65 years. We determined the prevalence of L. major infection using the LST. Risk factors of LST positivity were assessed using a logistic regression model. Results: The overall prevalence of LST positivity was 57% (95% CI: 53-59).The prevalence of L. major infection was significantly higher in the old focus (99%; 95% CI: 98-100) than in the emerging foci (43%; 95% CI: 39-46) (p = <0.001). Multivariate analysis of LST positivity risk factors showed that age, the nature of the foci (old/emerging), personal and family history of ZCL are determinants of positive LST results.Conclusion: The results updated the current epidemiologic profile of ZLC in central Tunisia. Past history of transmission in a population should be considered as a potential confounder in future clinical trials for drugs and vaccines against L. major cutaneous leishmaniasis. © 2014 Bettaieb et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

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