IMMUNOLOGY News

Researchers develop vaccine against potentially deadly tick-transmitted disease

Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine researchers have made an important advancement toward developing a vaccine against the debilitating and potentially deadly tick-transmitted disease, human granulocytic anaplasmosis (HGA).

During the past several years, experts have seen a steady rise in the incidence of human infections caused by tick-transmitted bacterial pathogens - making the need for a vaccine critical. Successful vaccine development hinges on knowing what to target to prevent disease, and the VCU team has identified three such proteins on the surface of the HGA agent.

HGA is caused by a bacterium called Anaplasma phagocytophilum. HGA is transmitted by the same ticks that transmit Lyme disease,  and it is the second most-common tick-borne disease in the United States. Between 2003 and 2012, the number of cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention increased more than sixfold. However, evidence indicates that many more cases go undocumented. The disease is also found in Europe and Asia and can affect dogs, cats, horses and sheep.

In a study, published in the August issue of the journal Cellular Microbiology, researchers report the discovery of a protein called A. phagocytophilum invasion protein A, or AipA, found on the surface of the bacterium. It is a key player in mammalian cell invasion. They identified the specific region of this protein that is necessary for infection.

Further, they discovered that AipA works together with two other previously identified A. phagocytophilum surface proteins, OmpA and Asp14, to enable the pathogen to optimally invade host cells.

Published on July 30, 2014http://www.news-medical.net/news/20140730/Researchers-develop-vaccine-against-potentially-deadly-tick-transmitted-disease.aspx

Antioxidants, inflammation and cardiovascular disease

Multiple factors are involved in the etiology of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Pathological changes occur in a variety of cell types long before symptoms become apparent and diagnosis is made. Dysregulation of physiological functions are associated with the activation of immune cells, leading to local and finally systemic inflammation that is characterized by production of high levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Patients suffering from inflammatory diseases often present with diminished levels of antioxidants either due to insufficient dietary intake or, and even more likely, due to increased demand in situations of overwhelming ROS production by activated immune effector cells like macrophages. Antioxidants are suggested to beneficially interfere with diseases-related oxidative stress, however the interplay of endogenous and exogenous antioxidants with the overall redox system is complex. Moreover, molecular mechanisms underlying oxidative stress in CVD are not fully elucidated. Metabolic dybalances are suggested to play a major role in disease onset and progression. Determination of plasma antioxidants in patients with CVD and related clinical settings can be helpful to improve the understanding of redox-regulation in health and disease and might provide a rationale for potential antioxidant therapies in CVD.

Published in World J Cardiol. 2014 Jun 26;6(6):462-77

Researchers develop vaccine against potentially deadly tick-transmitted disease

Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine researchers have made an important advancement toward developing a vaccine against the debilitating and potentially deadly tick-transmitted disease, human granulocytic anaplasmosis (HGA).

During the past several years, experts have seen a steady rise in the incidence of human infections caused by tick-transmitted bacterial pathogens - making the need for a vaccine critical. Successful vaccine development hinges on knowing what to target to prevent disease, and the VCU team has identified three such proteins on the surface of the HGA agent.

HGA is caused by a bacterium called Anaplasma phagocytophilum. HGA is transmitted by the same ticks that transmit Lyme disease,  and it is the second most-common tick-borne disease in the United States. Between 2003 and 2012, the number of cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention increased more than sixfold. However, evidence indicates that many more cases go undocumented. The disease is also found in Europe and Asia and can affect dogs, cats, horses and sheep.

In a study, published in the August issue of the journal Cellular Microbiology, researchers report the discovery of a protein called A. phagocytophilum invasion protein A, or AipA, found on the surface of the bacterium. It is a key player in mammalian cell invasion. They identified the specific region of this protein that is necessary for infection.

Further, they discovered that AipA works together with two other previously identified A. phagocytophilum surface proteins, OmpA and Asp14, to enable the pathogen to optimally invade host cells.

Published on July 30, 2014http://www.news-medical.net/news/20140730/Researchers-develop-vaccine-against-potentially-deadly-tick-transmitted-disease.aspx

Interleukin-22-Associated Mucosal Response is key for protection against P. aeruginosa-induced lung injury

Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Candida albicans are two pathogens frequently encountered in the intensive care unit microbial community. C. albicans airway exposure protected against P. aeruginosa-induced lung injury. Airway exposure by C. albicans led to the recruitment and activation of natural killer cells, innate lymphoid cells (ILCs), macrophages, and dendritic cells. This recruitment was associated with the secretion of interleukin-22 (IL-22), whose neutralization abolished C. albicans-induced protection. Depletion of ILCs by anti-CD90.2 antibodies was associated with a decreased IL-22 secretion and impaired survival after P. aeruginosa challenge. This study demonstrates that the production of IL-22, mainly by ILCs, is a major and inducible step in protection against P. aeruginosa-induced lung injury. This cytokine may represent a clinical target in Pseudomonas aeruginosa-induced lung injury.

Published in Infect Immun. 2014 Jan;82(1):306-15: http://iai.asm.org/content/82/1/306.long

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