Melbourne Medical School Collected Works - Research Publications

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    Human immune responses to infective stage larval-specific chitinase of filarial parasite, Onchocerca volvulus, Ov-CHI-1.
    Wu, Y ; Egerton, G ; McCarthy, JS ; Nutman, TB ; Bianco, AE (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2003-03-14)
    BACKGROUND: Ov-CHI-1 is a chitinase specifically expressed in the infective stage larvae of the human filarial parasite Onchocerca volvulus. Evidence has show that it could be a vaccine candidate, however, there is no data available regarding the immunological status of people naturally exposed to infective stage larvae and thus provoked by this antigen. METHOD: We analysed the Ov-CHI-1-specific immune response present in four endemic foci of human onchocerciasis (Ecuador, Nigeria, Togo and Cameroon) by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays and T-cell proliferation assays. RESULTS: In these foci of infection, antibodies to Ov-CHI-1 were found to be present in only 22% of individuals from Ecuador, but were detected in 42-62% of infected individuals in the three foci from West Africa (Nigeria, Togo and Cameroon). There was found to be no relationship between antibody level and age, gender, or infection intensity as indicated by microfilarial density and numbers of skin nodules. The isotype response to Ov-CHI-1 was dominated by the presence of IgG3, IgG1 was present to a lesser extent. Our results show a positive correlation between N- and C-termini of Ov-CHI-1 in their ability to provoke humoral and cellular immune responses in the human. Peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) proliferative responses to Ov-CHI-1 when assayed, were found to be significantly higher in the individuals from endemic areas and there was a statistically elevated response to Ov-CHI-1 in the infected individuals when compared to putative immune individuals. CONCLUSION: Ov-CHI-1 is an antigen that we have found strongly induces both humoral and cellular immune responses in humans.
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    Distinct roles for FOXP3 and FOXP3 CD4 T cells in regulating cellular immunity to uncomplicated and severe Plasmodium falciparum malaria.
    Walther, M ; Jeffries, D ; Finney, OC ; Njie, M ; Ebonyi, A ; Deininger, S ; Lawrence, E ; Ngwa-Amambua, A ; Jayasooriya, S ; Cheeseman, IH ; Gomez-Escobar, N ; Okebe, J ; Conway, DJ ; Riley, EM ; Kazura, JW (Public Library of Science (PLoS), 2009-04)
    Failure to establish an appropriate balance between pro- and anti-inflammatory immune responses is believed to contribute to pathogenesis of severe malaria. To determine whether this balance is maintained by classical regulatory T cells (CD4(+) FOXP3(+) CD127(-/low); Tregs) we compared cellular responses between Gambian children (n = 124) with severe Plasmodium falciparum malaria or uncomplicated malaria infections. Although no significant differences in Treg numbers or function were observed between the groups, Treg activity during acute disease was inversely correlated with malaria-specific memory responses detectable 28 days later. Thus, while Tregs may not regulate acute malarial inflammation, they may limit memory responses to levels that subsequently facilitate parasite clearance without causing immunopathology. Importantly, we identified a population of FOXP3(-), CD45RO(+) CD4(+) T cells which coproduce IL-10 and IFN-gamma. These cells are more prevalent in children with uncomplicated malaria than in those with severe disease, suggesting that they may be the regulators of acute malarial inflammation.
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    The Effect of Insecticide Synergists on the Response of Scabies Mites to Pyrethroid Acaricides
    Pasay, C ; Arlian, L ; Morgan, M ; Gunning, R ; Rossiter, L ; Holt, D ; Walton, S ; Beckham, S ; McCarthy, J ; Lehane, MJ (PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2009-01-01)
    BACKGROUND: Permethrin is the active component of topical creams widely used to treat human scabies. Recent evidence has demonstrated that scabies mites are becoming increasingly tolerant to topical permethrin and oral ivermectin. An effective approach to manage pesticide resistance is the addition of synergists to counteract metabolic resistance. Synergists are also useful for laboratory investigation of resistance mechanisms through their ability to inhibit specific metabolic pathways. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: To determine the role of metabolic degradation as a mechanism for acaricide resistance in scabies mites, PBO (piperonyl butoxide), DEF (S,S,S-tributyl phosphorotrithioate) and DEM (diethyl maleate) were first tested for synergistic activity with permethrin in a bioassay of mite killing. Then, to investigate the relative role of specific metabolic pathways inhibited by these synergists, enzyme assays were developed to measure esterase, glutathione S-transferase (GST) and cytochrome P450 monooxygenase (cytochrome P450) activity in mite extracts. A statistically significant difference in median survival time of permethrin-resistant Sarcoptes scabiei variety canis was noted when any of the three synergists were used in combination with permethrin compared to median survival time of mites exposed to permethrin alone (p<0.0001). Incubation of mite homogenates with DEF showed inhibition of esterase activity (37%); inhibition of GST activity (73%) with DEM and inhibition of cytochrome P450 monooxygenase activity (81%) with PBO. A 7-fold increase in esterase activity, a 4-fold increase in GST activity and a 2-fold increase in cytochrome P450 monooxygenase activity were observed in resistant mites compared to sensitive mites. CONCLUSIONS: These findings indicate the potential utility of synergists in reversing resistance to pyrethroid-based acaricides and suggest a significant role of metabolic mechanisms in mediating pyrethroid resistance in scabies mites.
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    PPAR Agonists and Cardiovascular Disease in Diabetes
    Calkin, AC ; Thomas, AC (HINDAWI LTD, 2008-01-01)
    Peroxisome proliferators activated receptors (PPARs) are ligand-activated nuclear transcription factors that play important roles in lipid and glucose homeostasis. To the extent that PPAR agonists improve diabetic dyslipidaemia and insulin resistance, these agents have been considered to reduce cardiovascular risk. However, data from murine models suggests that PPAR agonists also have independent anti-atherosclerotic actions, including the suppression of vascular inflammation, oxidative stress, and activation of the renin angiotensin system. Many of these potentially anti-atherosclerotic effects are thought to be mediated by transrepression of nuclear factor-kB, STAT, and activator protein-1 dependent pathways. In recent clinical trials, PPARalpha agonists have been shown to be effective in the primary prevention of cardiovascular events, while their cardiovascular benefit in patients with established cardiovascular disease remains equivocal. However, the use of PPARgamma agonists, and more recently dual PPARalpha/gamma coagonists, has been associated with an excess in cardiovascular events, possibly reflecting unrecognised fluid retention with potent agonists of the PPARgamma receptor. Newer pan agonists, which retain their anti-atherosclerotic activity without weight gain, may provide one solution to this problem. However, the complex biologic effects of the PPARs may mean that only vascular targeted agents or pure transrepressors will realise the goal of preventing atherosclerotic vascular disease.
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    Changes in serum adiponectin concentrations in critical illness: a preliminary investigation
    Venkatesh, B ; Hickman, I ; Nisbet, J ; Cohen, J ; Prins, J (BIOMED CENTRAL LTD, 2009-01-01)
    INTRODUCTION: Adiponectin plays an important role in the regulation of tissue inflammation and insulin sensitivity. Perturbations in adiponectin concentration have been associated with obesity and the metabolic syndrome. Data on adiponectin pathophysiology in critical illness are limited. METHODS: Twenty three critically ill patients (9 severe sepsis, 7 burns, 7 trauma). Adiponectin assays on Days 3 (D3) and 7 (D7). Simultaneous, cortisol, cortisone and CRP measurements. Data from 16 historical controls were used for comparison. RESULTS: The mean plasma adiponectin concentration for the ICU cohort on D3 and D7 were not significantly different (4.1 +/- 1.8 and 5.0 +/- 3.3 mcg/ml respectively, P = 0.38). However, these were significantly lower than the mean plasma adiponectin in the control population (8.78 +/- 3.81 mcg/ml) at D3 (P < 0.0001) and D7 (P = 0.002). Plasma adiponectin showed a strong correlation with plasma cortisol in the ICU group on both D3 (R2 = 0.32, P < 0.01) and D7 (R2 = 0.64, 0.001). There was an inverse correlation between plasma adiponectin and CRP on D7, R = -0.35. CONCLUSIONS: In this preliminary study, critical illness was associated with lower adiponectin concentrations as compared with controls. A significant relationship between plasma cortisol and adiponectin in critically ill patients was evident, both during the early and late phases. These data raise the possibility that adiponectin may play a part in the inflammatory response in patients with severe illness.
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    Adiponectin is associated with cardiovascular disease in male renal transplant recipients: baseline results from the LANDMARK 2 study
    Kaisar, MO ; Armstrong, K ; Hawley, C ; Campbell, S ; Mudge, D ; Johnson, DW ; Prins, JB ; Isbel, NM (BMC, 2009-10-12)
    BACKGROUND: Adiponectin is a major adipocyte-derived protein with insulin-sensitizing, anti-inflammatory and anti-atherogenic properties. Adiponectin levels correlate inversely with renal function and higher levels are predictive of lower cardiovascular disease (CVD) in patients with normal renal function and chronic kidney disease. No data exists on the association between adiponectin and CVD in renal transplant recipients (RTR). METHODS: Standard biochemistry, clinical data and adiponectin were collected from 137 RTR recruited to the LANDMARK 2 study at baseline. The LANDMARK 2 study is an ongoing randomized controlled study that compares the outcome of aggressive risk factor modification for cardiovascular disease versus standard post-transplant care in renal transplant recipients with impaired glucose tolerance or diabetes mellitus. RESULTS: Mean patient age was 53.4 +/- 12 years and the median post-transplantation period was 5 (0.5-31.9) years. Mean serum adiponectin level was 12.3 +/- 7.1 microg/mL. On univariate analysis, adiponectin was positively associated with female gender (P = 0.01) and serum high-density lipoprotein (HDL) concentration (P < 0.001), and inversely with body mass index (P = 0.009), metabolic syndrome (P = 0.047), abnormal glucose tolerance (P = 0.01), C-reactive protein (P = 0.001) and serum triglyceride (P < 0.001). On stepwise multivariate analysis, adiponectin in males was negatively correlated with combined baseline CVD (P = 0.03), waist-hip ratio (P = 0.003) and glomerular filtration rate (P = 0.046), and positively with HDL (P < 0.001). In contrast, in females adiponectin was inversely associated with C-reactive protein (P = 0.001) and serum triglyceride. CONCLUSION: In conclusion, adiponectin is positively correlated with inflammation, dyslipidemia and abnormal glucose tolerance in RTR. Furthermore, hypoadiponectinemia correlated with increased baseline CVD in male RTR.
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    RTKN2 Induces NF-KappaB Dependent Resistance to Intrinsic Apoptosis in HEK Cells and Regulates BCL-2 Genes in Human CD4(+) Lymphocytes.
    Collier, FM ; Loving, A ; Baker, AJ ; McLeod, J ; Walder, K ; Kirkland, MA (SAGE Publications, 2009)
    The gene for Rhotekin 2 (RTKN2) was originally identified in a promyelocytic cell line resistant to oxysterol-induced apoptosis. It is differentially expressed in freshly isolated CD4(+) T-cells compared with other hematopoietic cells and is down-regulated following activation of the T-cell receptor. However, very little is known about the function of RTKN2 other than its homology to Rho-GTPase effector, rhotekin, and the possibility that they may have similar roles. Here we show that stable expression of RTKN2 in HEK cells enhanced survival in response to intrinsic apoptotic agents; 25-hydroxy cholesterol and camptothecin, but not the extrinsic agent, TNFα. Inhibitors of NF-KappaB, but not MAPK, reversed the resistance and mitochondrial pro-apoptotic genes, Bax and Bim, were down regulated. In these cells, there was no evidence of RTKN2 binding to the GTPases, RhoA or Rac2. Consistent with the role of RTKN2 in HEK over-expressing cells, suppression of RTKN2 in primary human CD4(+) T-cells reduced viability and increased sensitivity to 25-OHC. The expression of the pro-apoptotic genes, Bax and Bim were increased while BCL-2 was decreased. In both cell models RTKN2 played a role in the process of intrinsic apoptosis and this was dependent on either NF-KappaB signaling or expression of downstream BCL-2 genes. As RTKN2 is a highly expressed in CD4(+) T-cells it may play a role as a key signaling switch for regulation of genes involved in T-cell survival.
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    Tim-2 regulates T helper type 2 responses and autoimmunity.
    Chakravarti, S ; Sabatos, CA ; Xiao, S ; Illes, Z ; Cha, EK ; Sobel, RA ; Zheng, XX ; Strom, TB ; Kuchroo, VK (Rockefeller University Press, 2005-08-01)
    Identification of the T cell immunoglobulin mucin-domain containing (Tim) gene family introduced a new family of cell surface molecules that is involved in the regulation of immune responses. We previously demonstrated that Tim-3 is expressed on terminally differentiated T helper (Th)1 cells, and serves to regulate Th1 immune responses. Here, we describe the identification and function of Tim-2, a novel member of the Tim gene family. In contrast with Tim-3, we demonstrate that Tim-2 is expressed preferentially in differentiated Th2 cells. Blockade of the Tim-2/Tim-2 ligand interaction, by administration of soluble Tim-2 fusion protein (Tim-2 immunoglobulin [Ig]), results in T cell hyperproliferation and the production of Th2 cytokines. Administration of Tim-2 Ig during the induction phase reduces the severity of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, a Th1-mediated autoimmune disease model of multiple sclerosis. We propose that Tim-2, an orthologue of human Tim-1, is critical for the regulation of Th2 responses during autoimmune inflammation.
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    Oligonucleotide array for simultaneous detection of respiratory viruses using a reverse-line blot hybridization assay
    Coiras, MT ; Lopez-Huertas, MR ; Lopez-Campos, G ; Aguilar, JC ; Perez-Brena, P (WILEY-LISS, 2005-06-01)
    The interest in developing new diagnostic methods based on arrays of multiple probes to detect and type simultaneously a wide range of different infectious agents is increasing. This becomes a necessity in the case of infectious agents such as respiratory viruses that cause diseases with very similar signs and symptoms. Such tools will permit rapid and accurate diagnosis of different agents causing respiratory infection leading to the most adequate prevention and/or treatment measures. In this article a reverse-line blot hybridization (RLB) assay for the detection of a wide range of respiratory viruses is presented and evaluated for its usefulness in routine diagnosis. This assay employs an array of 18 oligonucleotide probes immobilized on a nylon membrane. Biotin-labeled PCR products obtained with two multiplex reverse transcription (RT)-polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays described previously, which allow for the detection of fourteen different groups of respiratory viruses, were hybridized to the oligonucleotide array. Detection was performed using a chemiluminescent method. The standardization of the method showed that the RLB assay could be an alternative to the nested PCR assay for enhancing the sensitivity in the detection of the amplified products, avoiding the problem of cross-over contamination, increasing the specificity, and therefore simplifying the method. This is of main interest in laboratories with few facilities. The feasibility and accuracy of the RT-PCR-RLB assay for detecting respiratory viruses proves that such approach could be a first stage to develop a microarray assay for routine diagnosis of infectious diseases.
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    Can physical activity improve the mental health of older adults?
    Lautenschlager, NT ; Almeida, OP ; Flicker, L ; Janca, A (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2004-06-29)
    The world population is aging rapidly. Whilst this dramatic demographic change is a desirable and welcome phenomenon, particularly in view of people's increasing longevity, it's social, financial and health consequences can not be ignored. In addition to an increase of many age related physical illnesses, this demographic change will also lead to an increase of a number of mental health problems in older adults and in particular of dementia and depression. Therefore, any health promotion approach that could facilitate introduction of effective primary, secondary and even tertiary prevention strategies in old age psychiatry would be of significant importance. This paper explores physical activity as one of possible health promotion strategies and evaluates the existing evidence that supports its positive effect on cognitive impairment and depression in later life.