Detection and genotyping of Trypanosoma cruzi from acai products commercialized in Rio de Janeiro and Para, Brazil.
ABSTRACT: Several cases of food-borne acute Chagas disease (ACD) have been reported in the Brazilian Amazon so far. Up to 2004, the occurrence of ACD by oral transmission, associated with food consumption, was rare. Recent cases of ACD in Brazil have been attributed to the consumption of juice from the açai palm containing reservoir animals or insect vectors waste, infected with Trypanosoma cruzi. This study aimed to determine the T. cruzi contamination rate and to genotype the parasite in food samples prepared from açai, which are commercialized in Rio de Janeiro and the Pará States in Brazil.The amplificability of DNA extracted from açai samples, and T. cruzi and Triatominae detection were performed by conventional PCR. Molecular characterization was done by multilocus PCR analysis, to determine the parasite discrete type units (DTUs) based on the size of PCR products in agarose gels, using the intergenic region of the spliced leader (SL), 24 Sα rDNA and nuclear fragment A10 as targets.From the 140 samples of açai-based products analyzed, T. cruzi DNA was detected in 14 samples (10%); triatomine DNA was detected in one of these 14 samples. The parasite genotyping demonstrated that food samples containing açai showed a mixture of T. cruzi DTUs with TcIII, TcV and TcI prevailing.In this study, the molecular detection and identification of T. cruzi from açai-based manufactured food samples, was performed for the first time. Although parasite DNA is a marker of possible contamination during food manufacturing, our findings do not indicate that açai is a source of Chagas disease via oral transmission per se, as live parasites were not investigated. Nevertheless, a molecular approach could be a powerful tool in the epidemiological investigation of outbreaks, supporting previous evidence that açai-based food can be contaminated with T. cruzi. Furthermore, both food quality control and assessment of good manufacturing practices involving açai-based products can be improved, assuring the safety of açai products.
Project description:Trypanosoma cruzi infection via oral route results in outbreaks or cases of acute Chagas disease (ACD) in different Brazilian regions and poses a novel epidemiological scenario. In the Espírito Santo state (southeastern Brazil), a fatal case of a patient with ACD led us to investigate the enzootic scenario to avoid the development of new cases. At the studied locality, Triatoma vitticeps exhibited high T. cruzi infection rates and frequently invaded residences.Sylvatic and domestic mammals in the Rio da Prata locality, where the ACD case occurred, and in four surrounding areas (Baia Nova, Buenos Aires, Santa Rita and Todos os Santos) were examined and underwent parasitological and serological tests. Triatomines were collected for a fecal material exam, culturing and mini-exon gene molecular characterization, followed by RFLP-PCR of H3/Alul. Paraffin-embedded cardiac tissue of a patient was washed with xylene to remove paraffin and DNA was extracted using the phenol-chloroform method. For genotype characterization, PCR was performed to amplify the 1f8, GPI and 18S rRNA genes. In the case of V7V8 SSU rRNA, the PCR products were molecularly cloned. PCR products were sequenced and compared to sequences in GenBank. Phylogenetic analysis using maximum likelihood method with 1000 bootstrap replicates was performed.None of the animals showed positive hemocultures. Three rodents and two dogs showed signs of infection, as inferred from borderline serological titers. T. vitticeps was the only triatomine species identified and showed T. cruzi infection by DTUs TcI and TcIV. The analysis of cardiac tissue DNA showed mixed infection by T. cruzi (DTUs I, II, III and IV) and Trypanosoma dionisii.Each case or outbreak of ACD should be analyzed as a particular epidemiological occurrence. The results indicated that mixed infections in humans may play a role in pathogenicity and may be more common than is currently recognized. Direct molecular characterization from biological samples is essential because this procedure avoids parasite selection. T. dionisii may under certain and unknown circumstances infect humans. The distribution of T. cruzi DTUS TcIII and TcIV in Brazilian biomes is broader than has been assumed to date.
Project description:Trypanosoma cruzi, the causative agent of Chagas disease, exhibits a high genetic variability and has been classified into six discrete typing units (DTUs) named TcI through TcVI. This genetic diversity is believed to be associated with clinical characteristics and outcomes, but evidence supporting such associations has been limited. Herein, we performed a phylogenetic analysis of T. cruzi sequences of the mini-exon intergenic region obtained from a large cohort of pregnant women and newborns from Argentina, Honduras, and Mexico, to assess parasite genetic diversity and possible associations with congenital transmission. Analysis of 105 samples (including five paired samples) from maternal and umbilical cord blood indicated that T. cruzi DTU distribution was similar among pregnant women and newborns from these three countries, with a high frequency of TcII-TcV-TcVI DTUs, including mixed infections with TcI. However, phylogenetic analysis revealed that although the same parasite haplotypes circulated in these three countries, they were present at different frequencies, leading to significant geographic differences. Of importance, a strong association was observed between parasite haplotypes and congenital infection of newborns. Thus, the identification of parasite haplotypes in pregnant women, but not of parasite DTUs, may help predict congenital transmission of T. cruzi.
Project description:Chagas disease is an endemic zoonosis native to the Americas and is caused by the kinetoplastid protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi. The parasite is also highly genetically diverse, with six discrete typing units (DTUs) reported TcI - TcVI. These DTUs broadly correlate with several epidemiogical, ecological and pathological features of Chagas disease. In this manuscript we report the most comprehensive evaluation to date of the genetic diversity of T. cruzi in Venezuela. The dataset includes 778 samples collected and genotyped over the last twelve years from multiple hosts and vectors, including nine wild and domestic mammalian host species, and seven species of triatomine bug, as well as from human sources. Most isolates (732) can be assigned to the TcI clade (94.1%); 24 to the TcIV group (3.1%) and 22 to TcIII (2.8%). Importantly, among the 95 isolates genotyped from human disease cases, 79% belonged to TcI - a DTU common in the Americas, however, 21% belonged to TcIV- a little known genotype previously thought to be rare in humans. Furthermore, were able to assign multiple oral Chagas diseases cases to TcI in the area around the capital, Caracas. We discuss our findings in the context of T. cruzi DTU distributions elsewhere in the Americas, and evaluate the impact they have on the future of Chagas disease control in Venezuela.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Trypanosoma cruzi, the causative agent of Chagas disease, and T. rangeli are kinetoplastid parasites endemic to Latin America. Although closely related to T. cruzi and capable of infecting humans, T. rangeli is non-pathogenic. Both parasite species are transmitted by triatomine bugs, and the presence of T. rangeli constitutes a confounding factor in the study of Chagas disease prevalence and transmission dynamics. Trypanosoma cruzi possesses high molecular heterogeneity: seven discrete typing units (DTUs) are currently recognized. In Ecuador, T. cruzi TcI and T. rangeli KP1(-) predominate, while other genetic lineages are seldom reported. METHODS:Infection by T. cruzi and/or T. rangeli in different developmental stages of triatomine bugs from two communities of southern Ecuador was evaluated via polymerase chain reaction product size polymorphism of kinetoplast minicircle sequences and the non-transcribed spacer region of the mini-exon gene (n = 48). Forty-three mini-exon amplicons were also deep sequenced to analyze single-nucleotide polymorphisms within single and mixed infections. Mini-exon products from ten monoclonal reference strains were included as controls. RESULTS:Trypanosoma cruzi genetic richness and diversity was not significantly greater in adult vectors than in nymphal stages III and V. In contrast, instar V individuals showed significantly higher T. rangeli richness when compared with other developmental stages. Among infected triatomines, deep sequencing revealed one T. rangeli infection (3%), 8 T. cruzi infections (23.5%) and 25 T. cruzi + T. rangeli co-infections (73.5%), suggesting that T. rangeli prevalence has been largely underestimated in the region. Furthermore, deep sequencing detected TcIV sequences in nine samples; this DTU had not previously been reported in Loja Province. CONCLUSIONS:Our data indicate that deep sequencing allows for better parasite identification/typing than amplicon size analysis alone for mixed infections containing both T. cruzi and T. rangeli, or when multiple T. cruzi DTUs are present. Additionally, our analysis showed extensive overlap among the parasite populations present in the two studied localities (c.28 km apart), suggesting active parasite dispersal over the study area. Our results highlight the value of amplicon sequencing methodologies to clarify the population dynamics of kinetoplastid parasites in endemic regions and inform control campaigns in southern Ecuador.
Project description:The protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi is the etiologic agent of Chagas disease, an infection that afflicts approximately 8 million people in Latin America. Diagnosis of chronic Chagas disease is currently based on serological tests because this condition is usually characterized by high anti-T. cruzi IgG titers and low parasitemia. The antigens used in these assays may have low specificity due to cross reactivity with antigens from related parasite infections, such as leishmaniasis, and low sensitivity caused by the high polymorphism among T. cruzi strains. Therefore, the identification of new T. cruzi-specific antigens that are conserved among the various parasite discrete typing units (DTUs) is still required. In the present study, we have explored the hybrid nature of the T. cruzi CL Brener strain using a broad genome screening approach to select new T. cruzi antigens that are conserved among the different parasite DTUs and that are absent in other trypanosomatid species. Peptide arrays containing the conserved antigens with the highest epitope prediction scores were synthesized, and the reactivity of the peptides were tested by immunoblot using sera from C57BL/6 mice chronically infected with T. cruzi strains from the TcI, TcII or TcVI DTU. The two T. cruzi proteins that contained the most promising peptides were expressed as recombinant proteins and tested in ELISA experiments with sera from chagasic patients with distinct clinical manifestations: those infected with T. cruzi from different DTUs and those with cutaneous or visceral leishmaniasis. These proteins, named rTc_11623.20 and rTc_N_10421.310, exhibited 94.83 and 89.66% sensitivity, 98.2 and 94.6% specificity, respectively, and a pool of these 2 proteins exhibited 96.55% sensitivity and 98.18% specificity. This work led to the identification of two new antigens with great potential application in the diagnosis of chronic Chagas disease.
Project description:Chagas disease caused by Trypanosoma cruzi is considered a major public health problem in America. After an acute phase the disease changes to a chronic phase with very low parasitemia. The parasite presents high genetic variability with seven discrete typing units (DTUs): TcI-TcVI and Tc bat. The aim of this work is to evaluate fluctuation of parasitemia and T. cruzi DTUs in naturally infected Octodon degus.After animal capture parasitemia was obtained by qPCR and later the animals were evaluated by three serial xenodiagnoses using two insect vector species, Mepraia spinolai and Triatoma infestans. The parasites amplified over time by insect xenodiagnosis were analyzed by conventional PCR and after that the infective T. cruzi were characterized by means of hybridization tests.The determination of O. degus parasitemia before serial xenodiagnosis by qPCR reveals a great heterogeneity from 1 to 812 parasite equivalents/ml in the blood stream. The T. cruzi DTU composition in 23 analyzed animals by xenodiagnosis oscillated from mixed infections with different DTUs to infections without DTU identification or vice versa, this is equivalent to 50% of the studied animals. Detection of triatomine infection and composition of T. cruzi DTUs was achieved more efficiently 40 days post-infection rather than after 80 or 120 days.Trypanosoma cruzi DTUs composition fluctuates over time in naturally infected O. degus. Three replicates of serial xenodiagnosis confirmed that living parasites have been studied. Our results allow us to confirm that M. spinolai and T. infestans are equally competent to maintain T. cruzi DTUs since similar results of infection were obtained after xenodiagnosis procedure.
Project description:Chagas disease is still a major public health issue in many Latin American countries. One of the current major challenges is to find an association between Trypanosoma cruzi discrete typing units (DTUs) and clinical manifestations of the disease. In this study, we used a multilocus conventional PCR and quantitative real time PCR (qPCR) approaches to perform the molecular typing and parasite load quantification directly from blood specimens of 65 chronic Chagas disease patients. All patients were recruited at the same health center, but their place of birth were widely distributed in different geographic regions of Brazil. Of the 65 patients, 35 (53.8%) presented positive amplification by real time qPCR, being 20 (30.7%) with the clinical indeterminate form and 15 (23.1%) with the cardiac form of the disease. The parasite load median for all positive patients was 2.54 [1.43-11.14] parasite equivalents/mL (par. Eq./mL), with the load ranging from 0.12 to 153.66 par. Eq./mL. Noteworthy, the parasite load was significantly higher in patients over 70 years old (median 20.05 [18.29-86.86] par. Eq./mL). Using guanidine-EDTA blood samples spiked with reference T. cruzi strains, belonging to the six DTUs, it was possible to genotype the parasite up to 0.5 par. Eq./mL, with high specificity. Of the patients with positive qPCR, it was possible to identify the T. cruzi DTU in 28 patients (80%). For the remaining patients (20%), at least a partial result was obtained. Analysis of specimens showed prevalences of TcVI, TcII and mixed infection TcVI+TcII equal to 40%, 17.1% and 14.3%, respectively. In addition, two patients were infected by TcV, and one patient was coinfected by TcIII+TcVI, These last three patients were in stage A of chronic chagasic cardiomyopathy (CCC), and they were born at the Bahia State (northeast region of Brazil). When T. cruzi genotypes were compared with the parasite load, more elevated parasite loads were observed in patients infected by TcII in general (parasite load median of 7.56 par. Eq./mL) in comparison to patients infected by TcVI (median of 2.35 par. Eq./mL). However, while the frequency of CCC was 50% in patients infected by TcVI and TcV, only 16.7% of patients infected by TcII evolved to CCC. Taking together, our results contribute to update the epidemiological knowledge of T. cruzi DTUs in Brazil, and highlight the age of patient and infection by TcII as important features that lead to the observation of higher parasitemia levels.
Project description:Chagas disease is an anthropozoonosis caused by the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi that represents a major public health problem in Latin America. Although the United States is defined as non-endemic for Chagas disease due to the rarity of human cases, the presence of T. cruzi has now been amply demonstrated as enzootic in different regions of the south of the country from Georgia to California. In southeastern Louisiana, a high T. cruzi infection rate has been demonstrated in Triatoma sanguisuga, the local vector in this area. However, little is known about the role of small mammals in the wild and peridomestic transmission cycles.This study focused on the molecular identification and genotyping of T. cruzi in both small rodents and T. sanguisuga from a rural area of New Orleans, Louisiana. DNA extractions were prepared from rodent heart, liver, spleen and skeletal muscle tissues and from cultures established from vector feces. T. cruzi infection was determined by standard PCR using primers specific for the minicircle variable region of the kinetoplastid DNA (kDNA) and the highly repetitive genomic satellite DNA (satDNA). Genotyping of discrete typing units (DTUs) was performed by amplification of mini-exon and 18S and 24S? rRNA genes and subsequent sequence analysis.The DTUs TcI, TcIV and, for the first time, TcII, were identified in tissues of mice and rats naturally infected with T. cruzi captured in an area of New Orleans, close to the house where the first human case of Chagas disease was reported in Louisiana. The T. cruzi infection rate in 59 captured rodents was 76%. The frequencies of the detected DTUs in such mammals were TcI 82%, TcII 22% and TcIV 9%; 13% of all infections contained more than one DTU.Our results indicate a probable presence of a considerably greater diversity in T. cruzi DTUs circulating in the southeastern United States than previously reported. Understanding T. cruzi transmission dynamics in sylvatic and peridomestic cycles in mammals and insect vectors will be crucial to estimating the risk of local, vector-borne transmission of T. cruzi to humans in the United States.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The factors influencing variation in the clinical forms of Chagas disease have not been elucidated; however, it is likely that the genetics of both the host and the parasite are involved. Several studies have attempted to correlate the T. cruzi strains involved in infection with the clinical forms of the disease by using hemoculture and/or PCR-based genotyping of parasites from infected human tissues. However, both techniques have limitations that hamper the analysis of large numbers of samples. The goal of this work was to identify conserved and polymorphic linear B-cell epitopes of T. cruzi that could be used for serodiagnosis and serotyping of Chagas disease using ELISA. METHODOLOGY: By performing B-cell epitope prediction on proteins derived from pair of alleles of the hybrid CL Brener genome, we have identified conserved and polymorphic epitopes in the two CL Brener haplotypes. The rationale underlying this strategy is that, because CL Brener is a recent hybrid between the TcII and TcIII DTUs (discrete typing units), it is likely that polymorphic epitopes in pairs of alleles could also be polymorphic in the parental genotypes. We excluded sequences that are also present in the Leishmania major, L. infantum, L. braziliensis and T. brucei genomes to minimize the chance of cross-reactivity. A peptide array containing 150 peptides was covalently linked to a cellulose membrane, and the reactivity of the peptides was tested using sera from C57BL/6 mice chronically infected with the Colombiana (TcI) and CL Brener (TcVI) clones and Y (TcII) strain. FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS: A total of 36 peptides were considered reactive, and the cross-reactivity among the strains is in agreement with the evolutionary origin of the different T. cruzi DTUs. Four peptides were tested against a panel of chagasic patients using ELISA. A conserved peptide showed 95.8% sensitivity, 88.5% specificity, and 92.7% accuracy for the identification of T. cruzi in patients infected with different strains of the parasite. Therefore, this peptide, in association with other T. cruzi antigens, may improve Chagas disease serodiagnosis. Together, three polymorphic epitopes were able to discriminate between the three parasite strains used in this study and are thus potential targets for Chagas disease serotyping.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Chagas disease, caused by the intracellular parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, is one of the most important parasitological infections in the Americas. It is estimated to infect approximately 6 million people from mostly low income countries in Latin America, although recent infections have been reported in southern US states. Several studies have described an extensive genetic diversity among T. cruzi isolates throughout its geographic distribution in the American continent. This diversity has been correlated with the pathology developed during an infection. However, due to a lack of a single reliable test, current diagnosis practices of the disease are not straightforward since several different tests are applied. The use of current genomic sequence data allows for the selection of molecular markers (MM) that have the ability to identify the Discrete Typing Unit (DTU) of T. cruzi in a given infection, without the need of any sequencing reaction. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:Applying three criteria on the genomic sequencing data of four different phylogenetic lineages of T. cruzi, we designed several molecular tests that can be used for the molecular typing of the parasite. The criteria used were: (1) single-copy orthologs of T. cruzi, (2) T. cruzi unique loci, and (3) T. cruzi polymorphic loci. All criteria combined allowed for the selection of 15 MM, 12 of which were confirmed to be functional and replicable in the laboratory with sylvatic samples. Furthermore, one MM produced distinct polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplicon sizes among distinct T. cruzi DTUs, allowing the use of a AFLP-PCR test to distinguish DTUs I, II/IV, V and VI. Whereas two MM can differentiate DTUs I, II, IV and V/VI out of the six current DTUs with a PCR-RFLP test. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE:The designed molecular tests provide a practical and inexpensive molecular typing test for the majority of DTUs of T. cruzi, excluding the need to perform any sequencing reaction. This provides the scientific community with an additional specific, quick and inexpensive test that can enhance the understanding of the correlation between the DTU of T. cruzi and the pathology developed during the infection.