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J Microbiol Methods ; 173: 105935, 2020 06.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-32376283


BACKGROUND: Molecular detection techniques using peripheral blood are preferred over invasive tissue aspiration for the diagnosis and post-treatment follow-up of visceral leishmaniasis (VL) patients. This study aims to identify suitable stabilizing reagents to prevent DNA and RNA degradation during storage and transport to specialized laboratories where molecular diagnosis is performed. METHODOLOGY: The stabilizing capacities of different commercially available reagents were compared using promastigote-spiked human blood and peripheral blood of Syrian golden hamsters subjected to experimental infection, treatment (miltefosine or aminopyrazole DNDi-1044) and immunosuppression. The impact of various storage temperature conditions was tested in combination with an established kinetoplast DNA (kDNA) qPCR and a recently developed spliced leader RNA (SL-RNA) assay for Leishmania detection. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Irrespective of the blood type and stabilizer used, threshold (cT) values obtained with the SL-RNA qPCR were systematically lower than those obtained with the kDNA assay, confirming the advantage of the SL-RNA assay over the widely used kDNA assay for low-level Leishmania detection. Peripheral blood parasite levels correlated relatively well with hepatic burdens. RNA protect cell reagent provided the most optimal simultaneous DNA and RNA stabilization in both human and hamster blood. However, this stabilizer requires an erythrocyte lysis step, which can be challenging under field conditions. DNA/RNA shield provides a good alternative for downstream kDNA and SL-RNA assays, especially if sample storage capacity at 4 °C can be guaranteed. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The recommended stabilizing reagents are compatible with RNA- and DNA-based Leishmania detection in peripheral blood in the VL hamster model and spiked human blood. Since molecular detection techniques using peripheral blood are less invasive than microscopic assessment of tissue aspirates, the findings of this study may be applied to human VL clinical studies.

J Antimicrob Chemother ; 74(2): 395-406, 2019 02 01.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30412253


Objectives: Miltefosine is currently the only oral drug for visceral leishmaniasis, and although deficiency in an aminophospholipid/miltefosine transporter (MT) is sufficient to elicit drug resistance, very few naturally miltefosine-resistant (MIL-R) strains have yet been isolated. This study aimed to make a detailed analysis of the impact of acquired miltefosine resistance and miltefosine treatment on in vivo infection. Methods: Bioluminescent versions of a MIL-R strain and its syngeneic parental line were generated by integration of the red-shifted firefly luciferase PpyRE9. The fitness of both lines was compared in vitro (growth rate, metacyclogenesis and macrophage infectivity) and in BALB/c mice through non-invasive bioluminescence imaging under conditions with and without drug pressure. Results: This study demonstrated a severe fitness loss of MT-deficient parasites, resulting in a complete inability to multiply and cause a typical visceral leishmaniasis infection pattern in BALB/c mice. The observed fitness loss could not be rescued by host immune suppression with cyclophosphamide, whereas episomal reconstitution with a wild-type MT restored parasite virulence, hence linking parasite fitness to MT mutation. Remarkably, in vivo miltefosine treatment or in vitro miltefosine pre-exposure significantly rescued MIL-R parasite virulence. The in vitro pre-exposed MIL-R promastigotes showed a longer and more slender morphology, suggesting an altered membrane composition. Conclusions: The profound fitness loss of MT-deficient parasites most likely explains the low frequency of MIL-R clinical isolates. The observation that miltefosine can reverse this phenotype indicates a drug dependency of the MT-deficient parasites and emphasizes the importance of resistance profiling prior to miltefosine administration.

Aptidão Genética/efeitos dos fármacos , Leishmania infantum/efeitos dos fármacos , Leishmania infantum/genética , Macrófagos/parasitologia , Proteínas de Membrana Transportadoras/genética , Fosforilcolina/análogos & derivados , Animais , Feminino , Imunossupressão , Leishmania infantum/crescimento & desenvolvimento , Leishmaniose Visceral/parasitologia , Luciferases/metabolismo , Medições Luminescentes , Macrófagos/efeitos dos fármacos , Camundongos , Camundongos Endogâmicos BALB C , Camundongos Endogâmicos C57BL , Mutação , Testes de Sensibilidade Parasitária , Fosforilcolina/farmacologia , Virulência/efeitos dos fármacos
J Mol Diagn ; 20(2): 253-263, 2018 03.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29355825


Several methods have been developed for the detection of Leishmania, mostly targeting the minicircle kinetoplast DNA (kDNA). A new RNA real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR) assay was developed targeting the conserved and highly expressed spliced-leader (SL) mini-exon sequence. This study compared the limits of detection of various real-time PCR assays in hamsters infected with Leishmania infantum, in spiked human blood, and in clinical blood samples from visceral leishmaniasis patients. The SL-RNA assay showed an excellent analytical sensitivity in tissues (0.005 and 0.002 parasites per mg liver and spleen, respectively) and was not prone to false-positive reactions. Evaluation of the SL-RNA assay on clinical samples demonstrated lower threshold cycle values than the kDNA qPCR, an excellent interrun stability of 97%, a 93% agreement with the kDNA assay, and an estimated sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of 93.2%, 94.3%, and 93.8%, respectively. The SL-RNA qPCR assay was equally efficient for detecting Leishmania major, Leishmania tropica, Leishmania mexicana, Leishmania guayensis, Leishmania panamensis, Leishmania braziliensis, L. infantum, and Leishmania donovani and revealed similar SL-RNA levels in the different species and the occurrence of polycistronic SL-containing transcripts in Viannia species. Collectively, this single SL-RNA qPCR assay enables universal Leishmania detection and represents a particularly useful addition to the widely used kDNA assay in clinical studies in which the detection of viable parasites is pivotal to assess parasitological cure.

DNA de Cinetoplasto/análise , Leishmania infantum/genética , Leishmaniose Visceral/sangue , Leishmaniose Visceral/diagnóstico , Mesocricetus/parasitologia , RNA Líder para Processamento/análise , Reação em Cadeia da Polimerase em Tempo Real/métodos , Animais , Criança , Pré-Escolar , Cricetinae , Confiabilidade dos Dados , Feminino , Humanos , Fígado/parasitologia , Sensibilidade e Especificidade , Baço/parasitologia
Parasitol Res ; 115(10): 4061-70, 2016 Oct.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-27412759


Control of visceral leishmaniasis caused by Leishmania infantum and Leishmania donovani primarily relies on chemotherapy using an increasingly compromised repertoire of antileishmanial compounds. For evaluation of novel drugs, the Syrian golden hamster is considered as a clinically relevant laboratory model. In this study, two molecular parasite detection assays were developed targeting cathepsin-like cysteine protease B (CPB) DNA and 18S rRNA to achieve absolute amastigote quantification in the major target organs liver and spleen. Both quantitative PCR (qPCR) techniques showed excellent agreement with a strong correlation with the conventional microscopic reading of Giemsa-stained tissue smears. Using multiple single tissue pieces and all three detection methods, we confirmed homogeneity of infection in liver and spleen and the robustness of extrapolating whole organ burdens from a small single tissue piece. Comparison of pre- and post-treatment burdens in infected hamsters using the three detection methods consistently revealed a stronger parasite reduction in the spleen compared to the liver, indicating an organ-dependent clearance efficacy for miltefosine. In conclusion, this study in the hamster demonstrated high homogeneity of infection in liver and spleen and advocates the use of molecular detection methods for assessment of low (post-treatment) tissue burdens.

Leishmania donovani/efeitos dos fármacos , Leishmania infantum/efeitos dos fármacos , Leishmaniose Visceral/tratamento farmacológico , Fosforilcolina/análogos & derivados , Animais , Cricetinae , Modelos Animais de Doenças , Feminino , Leishmaniose Visceral/parasitologia , Fígado/parasitologia , Mesocricetus , Fosforilcolina/administração & dosagem , Fosforilcolina/uso terapêutico , Baço/parasitologia
PLoS One ; 11(4): e0154101, 2016.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-27123924


During the last decade miltefosine (MIL) has been used as first-line treatment for visceral leishmaniasis in endemic areas with antimonial resistance, but a decline in clinical effectiveness is now being reported. While only two MIL-resistant Leishmania infantum strains from HIV co-infected patients have been documented, phenotypic MIL-resistance for L. donovani has not yet been identified in the laboratory. Hence, a better understanding of the factors contributing to increased MIL-treatment failure is necessary. Given the paucity of defined MIL-resistant L. donovani clinical isolates, this study used an experimental amastigote-selected MIL-resistant L. infantum isolate (LEM3323). In-depth exploration of the MIL-resistant phenotype was performed by coupling genomic with phenotypic data to gain insight into gene function and the mutant phenotype. A naturally MIL-resistant L. infantum clinical isolate (LEM5159) was included to compare both datasets. Phenotypically, resistance was evaluated by determining intracellular amastigote susceptibility in vitro and actual MIL-uptake. Genomic analysis provided supportive evidence that the resistance selection model on intracellular amastigotes can be a good proxy for the in vivo field situation since both resistant strains showed mutations in the same inward transporter system responsible for the acquired MIL-resistant phenotype. In line with previous literature findings in promastigotes, our data confirm a defective import machinery through inactivation of the LiMT/LiRos3 protein complex as the main mechanism for MIL-resistance also in intracellular amastigotes. Whole genome sequencing analysis of LEM3323 revealed a 2 base pair deletion in the LiMT gene that led to the formation an early stop codon and a truncation of the LiMT protein. Interestingly, LEM5159 revealed mutations in both the LiMT and LiRos3 genes, resulting in an aberrant expression of the LiMT protein. To verify that these mutations were indeed accountable for the acquired resistance, transfection experiments were performed to re-establish MIL-susceptibility. In LEM3323, susceptibility was restored upon expression of a LiMT wild-type gene, whereas the MIL-susceptibility of LEM5159 could be reversed after expression of the LiRos3 wild-type gene. The aberrant expression profile of the LiMT protein could be restored upon rescue of the LiRos3 gene both in the LEM5159 clinical isolate and a ΔLiRos3 strain, showing that expression of LdMT is dependent on LdRos3 expression. The present findings clearly corroborate the pivotal role of the LiMT/LiRos3 complex in resistance towards MIL.

Proteínas de Transporte/genética , Resistência a Medicamentos/genética , Genoma de Protozoário , Leishmania infantum/efeitos dos fármacos , Estágios do Ciclo de Vida/efeitos dos fármacos , Proteínas de Protozoários/genética , Antiprotozoários/farmacologia , Transporte Biológico , Proteínas de Transporte/metabolismo , Regulação da Expressão Gênica , Teste de Complementação Genética , Genótipo , Sequenciamento de Nucleotídeos em Larga Escala , Leishmania infantum/genética , Leishmania infantum/crescimento & desenvolvimento , Leishmania infantum/metabolismo , Estágios do Ciclo de Vida/genética , Mutação , Testes de Sensibilidade Parasitária , Fenótipo , Fosforilcolina/análogos & derivados , Fosforilcolina/farmacologia , Proteínas de Protozoários/metabolismo , Seleção Genética