Protein Malnutrition Impairs Intestinal Epithelial Cell Turnover, a Potential Mechanism of Increased Cryptosporidiosis in a Murine Model.
ABSTRACT: Malnutrition and cryptosporidiosis form a vicious cycle and lead to acute and long-term growth impairment in children from developing countries. Insights into mechanisms underlying the vicious cycle will help to design rational therapies to mitigate this infection. We tested the effect of short-term protein malnutrition on Cryptosporidium parvum infection in a murine model by examining stool shedding, tissue burden, and histologic change and explored the mechanism underlying the interaction between malnutrition and cryptosporidiosis through immunostaining and immunoblotting. Protein malnutrition increased stool shedding and the number of intestine-associated C. parvum organisms, accompanied by significant suppression of C. parvum-induced caspase 3 activity and expression of PCNA and Ki67, but activation of the Akt survival pathway in intestinal epithelial cells. We find that even very brief periods of protein malnutrition may enhance (or intensify) cryptosporidiosis by suppressing C. parvum-induced cell turnover and caspase-dependent apoptosis of intestinal epithelial cells. This implicates a potential strategy to attenuate C. parvum's effects by modulating apoptosis and promoting regeneration in the intestinal epithelium.
Project description:Cryptosporidiosis is a leading cause of persistent diarrhea in children in impoverished and developing countries and has both a short- and long-term impact on the growth and development of affected children. An animal model of cryptosporidial infection that mirrors closely the complex interaction between nutritional status and infection in children, particularly in vulnerable settings such as post-weaning and malnourishment, is needed to permit exploration of the pathogenic mechanisms involved. Weaned C57BL/6 mice received a protein-deficient (2%) diet for 3-12 days, then were infected with 5 × 10(7) excysted C. parvum oocyts, and followed for rate of growth, parasite stool shedding, and intestinal invasion/morphometry. Mice had about 20% reduction in weight gain over 12 days of malnutrition and an additional 20% weight loss after C. parvum challenge. Further, a significantly higher fecal C. parvum shedding was detected in malnourished infected mice compared to the nourished infected mice. Also, higher oocyst counts were found in ileum and colon tissue samples from malnourished infected mice, as well as a significant reduction in the villous height-crypt depth ratio in the ileum. Tissue Th1 cytokine concentrations in the ileum were significantly diminished by malnutrition and infection. mRNA for toll-like receptors 2 and 4 were diminished in malnourished infected mice. Treatment with nitazoxanide did not prevent weight loss or parasite stool shedding. These findings indicate that, in the weaned animal, malnutrition intensifies cryptosporidial infection, while cryptosporidial infection further impairs normal growth. Depressed TLR2 and 4 signaling and Th1 cytokine response may be important in the mechanisms underlying the vicious cycle of malnutrition and enteric infection.
Project description:Cryptosporidiosis, a leading cause of diarrhea among infants, is caused by apicomplexan parasites classified in the genus Cryptosporidium The lack of effective drugs is motivating research to develop alternative treatments. With this aim, the impact of probiotics on the course of cryptosporidiosis was investigated. The native intestinal microbiota of specific pathogen-free immunosuppressed mice was initially depleted with orally administered antibiotics. A commercially available probiotic product intended for human consumption was subsequently added to the drinking water. Mice were infected with Cryptosporidium parvum oocysts. On average, mice treated with the probiotic product developed more severe infections. The probiotics significantly altered the fecal microbiota, but no direct association between ingestion of probiotic bacteria and their abundance in fecal microbiota was observed. These results suggest that probiotics indirectly altered the intestinal microenvironment or the intestinal epithelium in a way that favored proliferation of C. parvum IMPORTANCE The results of our study show that C. parvum responded to changes in the intestinal microenvironment induced by a nutritional supplement. This outcome paves the way for research to identify nutritional interventions aimed at limiting the impact of cryptosporidiosis.
Project description:Cryptosporidiosis has emerged as a leading cause of non-viral diarrhea in children under five years of age in the developing world, yet the current standard of care to treat Cryptosporidium infections, nitazoxanide, demonstrates limited and immune-dependent efficacy. Given the lack of treatments with universal efficacy, drug discovery efforts against cryptosporidiosis are necessary to find therapeutics more efficacious than the standard of care. To date, cryptosporidiosis drug discovery efforts have been limited to a few targeted mechanisms in the parasite and whole cell phenotypic screens against small, focused collections of compounds. Using a previous screen as a basis, we initiated the largest known drug discovery effort to identify novel anticryptosporidial agents. A high-content imaging assay for inhibitors of Cryptosporidium parvum proliferation within a human intestinal epithelial cell line was miniaturized and automated to enable high-throughput phenotypic screening against a large, diverse library of small molecules. A screen of 78,942 compounds identified 12 anticryptosporidial hits with sub-micromolar activity, including clofazimine, an FDA-approved drug for the treatment of leprosy, which demonstrated potent and selective in vitro activity (EC50 = 15 nM) against C. parvum. Clofazimine also displayed activity against C. hominis-the other most clinically-relevant species of Cryptosporidium. Importantly, clofazimine is known to accumulate within epithelial cells of the small intestine, the primary site of Cryptosporidium infection. In a mouse model of acute cryptosporidiosis, a once daily dosage regimen for three consecutive days or a single high dose resulted in reduction of oocyst shedding below the limit detectable by flow cytometry. Recently, a target product profile (TPP) for an anticryptosporidial compound was proposed by Huston et al. and highlights the need for a short dosing regimen (< 7 days) and formulations for children < 2 years. Clofazimine has a long history of use and has demonstrated a good safety profile for a disease that requires chronic dosing for a period of time ranging 3-36 months. These results, taken with clofazimine's status as an FDA-approved drug with over four decades of use for the treatment of leprosy, support the continued investigation of clofazimine both as a new chemical tool for understanding cryptosporidium biology and a potential new treatment of cryptosporidiosis.
Project description:Cryptosporidiosis, caused by the apicomplexan parasite Cryptosporidium parvum, is a diarrheal disease that has produced a large global burden in mortality and morbidity in humans and livestock. There are currently no consistently effective parasite-specific pharmaceuticals available for this disease. Bumped kinase inhibitors (BKIs) specific for parasite calcium-dependent protein kinases (CDPKs) have been shown to reduce infection in several parasites having medical and veterinary importance, including Toxoplasma gondii, Plasmodium falciparum, and C. parvum In the present study, BKIs were screened for efficacy against C. parvum infection in the neonatal mouse model. Three BKIs were then selected for safety and clinical efficacy evaluation in the calf model for cryptosporidiosis. Significant BKI treatment effects were observed for virtually all clinical and parasitological scoring parameters, including diarrhea severity, oocyst shedding, and overall health. These results provide proof of concept for BKIs as therapeutic drug leads in an animal model for human cryptosporidiosis.
Project description:Apolipoliprotein E (apoE), a critical targeting protein in lipid homeostasis, has been found to have immunoinflammatory effects on murine models of infection and malnutrition. The effects of apoE in undernourished and Cryptosporidium parvum-infected mice have not been investigated. In order to study the role of apoE in a model of C. parvum infection, we used the following C57BL6J mouse genetic strains: APOE-deficient, wild-type controls, and APOE targeted replacement (TR) mice expressing human APOE genes (E3/3; E4/4). Experimental mice were orally infected with 10(7)-unexcysted-C. parvum oocysts between post-natal days 34-35 followed by malnutrition induced with a low-protein diet. Mice were euthanized seven days after C. parvum-challenge to investigate ileal morphology, cytokines, and cationic arginine transporter (CAT-1), arginase 1, Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9), and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) expression. In addition, we analyzed stool oocyst shedding by qRT-PCR and serum lipids. APOE4/4-TR mice had better weight gains after infection plus malnutrition compared with APOE3/3-TR and wild-type mice. APOE4/4-TR and APOE knockout mice had lower oocyst shedding, however the latter exhibited with villus blunting and higher ileal pro-inflammatory cytokines and iNOS transcripts. APOE4/4-TR mice had increased ileal CAT-1, arginase-1, and TLR9 transcripts relative to APOE knockout. Although with anti-parasitic effects, APOE deficiency exacerbates intestinal inflammatory responses and mucosal damage in undernourished and C. parvum-infected mice. In addition, the human APOE4 gene was found to be protective against the compounded insult of Cryptosporidium infection plus malnutrition, thus extending our previous findings of the protection against diarrhea in APOE4 children. Altogether our findings suggest that apoE plays a key role in the intestinal restitution and immunoinflammatory responses with Cryptosporidium infection and malnutrition.
Project description:Cryptosporidium is a major cause of severe diarrhea, especially in malnourished children. Using a murine model of C. parvum oocyst challenge that recapitulates clinical features of severe cryptosporidiosis during malnutrition, we interrogated the effect of protein malnutrition (PM) on primary and secondary responses to C. parvum challenge, and tested the differential ability of mucosal priming strategies to overcome the PM-induced susceptibility. We determined that while PM fundamentally alters systemic and mucosal primary immune responses to Cryptosporidium, priming with C. parvum (106 oocysts) provides robust protective immunity against re-challenge despite ongoing PM. C. parvum priming restores mucosal Th1-type effectors (CD3+CD8+CD103+ T-cells) and cytokines (IFN?, and IL12p40) that otherwise decrease with ongoing PM. Vaccination strategies with Cryptosporidium antigens expressed in the S. Typhi vector 908htr, however, do not enhance Th1-type responses to C. parvum challenge during PM, even though vaccination strongly boosts immunity in challenged fully nourished hosts. Remote non-specific exposures to the attenuated S. Typhi vector alone or the TLR9 agonist CpG ODN-1668 can partially attenuate C. parvum severity during PM, but neither as effectively as viable C. parvum priming. We conclude that although PM interferes with basal and vaccine-boosted immune responses to C. parvum, sustained reductions in disease severity are possible through mucosal activators of host defenses, and specifically C. parvum priming can elicit impressively robust Th1-type protective immunity despite ongoing protein malnutrition. These findings add insight into potential correlates of Cryptosporidium immunity and future vaccine strategies in malnourished children.
Project description:Intestinal cells grown in microgravity produce a three-dimensional tissue assembly, or "organoid," similar to the human intestinal mucosa, making it an ideal model for enteric infections such as cryptosporidiosis.HCT-8 cells were grown in a reduced-gravity, low-shear, rotating-wall vessel (RWV) and were infected with Cryptosporidium parvum oocysts. Routine and electron microscopy (EM), immunolabeling with fluorescein-labeled Vicia villosa lectin and phycoerythrin-labeled monoclonal antibody to a 15-kD surface-membrane protein, and quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) using probes for 18s rRNA of C. parvum and HCT-8 cells were performed.The RWV allowed development of columnar epithelium-like structures. Higher magnification revealed well-developed brush borders at the apical side of the tissue. Incubation with C. parvum resulted in patchy disruption of the epithelium and, at the surface of several epithelial cells, in localized infection with the organism. EM revealed irregular stunting of microvilli, foci of indistinct tight junctions, and areas of loose paracellular spaces. qPCR showed a 1.85-log (i.e., 70-fold) progression of infection from 6 h to 48 h of incubation.The HCT-8 organoid displayed morphologic changes indicative of successful and quantifiable infection with C. parvum. The HCT-8 organoid-culture system may have application in interventional in vitro studies of cryptosporidiosis.
Project description:Diarrhea is the second leading cause of death in children < 5 years globally and the parasite genus Cryptosporidium is a leading cause of that diarrhea. The global disease burden attributable to cryptosporidiosis is substantial and the only approved chemotherapeutic, nitazoxanide, has poor efficacy in HIV positive children. Chemotherapeutic development is dependent on the calf model of cryptosporidiosis, which is the best approximation of human disease. However, the model is not consistently applied across research studies. Data collection commonly occurs using two different methods: Complete Fecal Collection (CFC), which requires use of confinement housing, and Interval Collection (IC), which permits use of box stalls. CFC mimics human challenge model methodology but it is unknown if confinement housing impacts study end-points and if data gathered via this method is suitable for generalization to human populations.Using a modified crossover study design we compared CFC and IC and evaluated the impact of housing on study end-points. At birth, calves were randomly assigned to confinement (n = 14) or box stall housing (n = 9), or were challenged with 5 x 107 C. parvum oocysts, and followed for 10 days. Study end-points included fecal oocyst shedding, severity of diarrhea, degree of dehydration, and plasma cortisol.Calves in confinement had no significant differences in mean log oocysts enumerated per gram of fecal dry matter between CFC and IC samples (P = 0.6), nor were there diurnal variations in oocyst shedding (P = 0.1). Confinement housed calves shed significantly more oocysts (P = 0.05), had higher plasma cortisol (P = 0.001), and required more supportive care (P = 0.0009) than calves in box stalls.Housing method confounds study end-points in the calf model of cryptosporidiosis. Due to increased stress data collected from calves in confinement housing may not accurately estimate the efficacy of chemotherapeutics targeting C. parvum.
Project description:Respiratory cryptosporidiosis is recognized as a late-stage complication in persons with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and AIDS. However, respiratory signs and symptoms are common in otherwise healthy children with intestinal cryptosporidiosis, which suggests that respiratory infection may occur in immunocompetent hosts.We recruited children 9-36 months of age who presented with diarrhea to Mulago Hospital in Kampala, Uganda, from November 2007 through January 2009. Children with stool samples positive or negative for Cryptosporidium species were selected for further evaluation, including sputum induction in those with cough or unexplained respiratory signs and collection of saliva and blood specimens. Sputum samples were subjected to comprehensive bacteriologic testing, and both sputum and saliva specimens were tested for Cryptosporidium species by nested polymerase chain reaction.Of 926 fecal samples screened, 116 (12.5%) were positive for Cryptosporidium. Seventeen (35.4%) of 48 sputum samples tested from children with positive stool samples were positive for Cryptosporidium. Sixteen (94.1%) of the 17 children with confirmed respiratory cryptosporidiosis were HIV seronegative, and 10 (58.8%) of 17 children were not malnourished. None of the 12 sputum specimens from children with negative stool samples tested positive for Cryptosporidium (P = .013, compared with children who tested positive for Cryptosporidium in the stool). Parasite DNA was detected in only 2 (1.9%) of 103 saliva samples (P < .001, compared with sputum samples).Respiratory cryptosporidiosis was documented in one-third of HIV-seronegative children who were tested. These novel findings suggest the potential for respiratory transmission of cryptosporidiosis. Trial registration. ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT00507871.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Cryptosporidiosis has been shown to be a common cause of diarrhoea in both immunocompetent and immunosuppressed individuals. There are very few data on the distribution of Cryptosporidium parvum along the gastrointestinal tract. AIMS: To evaluate the location of Cryptosporidium parasites in the digestive tract of patients with AIDS. METHODS: Gastrointestinal localisation of C parvum was studied in 71 patients with AIDS who underwent upper and/or lower endoscopy with biopsy for chronic diarrhoeal illness and/or other gastrointestinal disorders of unexplained origin. RESULTS: Twenty four individuals (33.8%) were positive for C parvum, of which 16 (88.9%) had parasites in the gastric epithelium. Most patients with gastric localisation of C parvum did not show specific symptoms indicating the presence of this parasite in the stomach. CONCLUSIONS: Gastric involvement in AIDS related cryptosporidiosis is more frequent than expected, but no clear correlation between gastric location and related clinical and pathological features was observed.