UK researchers find 'dormant' parasite cysts are actually quite active
(Press-News.org) LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 8, 2015) -- A new University of Kentucky study in the journal mBio shows that tissue cysts of the parasite Toxoplasma gondii, long thought to be dormant, are quite active.
Led by Anthony Sinai, professor at the UK College of Medicine, the study has significant implications on the understanding of chronic toxoplasmosis in the brain, a condition suggested to contribute to a range of neurological diseases including schizophrenia in humans, and the modulation of behavior in rodents.
Toxoplasmosis can be acquired from the droppings of infected cats as well as the consumption of tissue cyst contaminated meat,infects roughly one-third of the human population. Infected individuals rarely show symptoms as their immune systems tackle the actively growing parasite.
However, the immune system never clears the parasite. Immunity causes the parasite to morph into the "dormant" tissue cyst form, leading to a life-long chronic infection. Unfortunately, conditions leading to compromised immunity - such as HIV/AIDS, organ transplantation and chemotherapy - can cause reactivation that can be life-threatening. Until this study these enigmatic tissue cysts remained largely unstudied on account of the technical challenges their study presented.
The study required not only the development of novel methodologies, but also an entirely new mindset toward tackling a problem that remained largely untouched for decades. These approaches include an imaging application developed by the group of UK College of Engineering Professor Abhijit Patwardhan that permitted the actual quantification of individual parasites within cysts for the first time. This advance, together with other experiments, has led to new insights that reveal not only direct evidence for parasite growth, but also a surprising level of coordination of that growth within the cysts.
"This fundamentally alters our understanding of chronic toxoplasmosis," Sinai said.
Ongoing collaboration between the Sinai and Patwardhan groups aims at the refinement of computational approaches to model these newly discovered growth characteristics. These insights will will provide new impetus for drug development against a form of the parasite that has been resistant to all treatments to date.
"We hope that defining parasite growth properties in cysts will allow researchers to begin crafting new targeted therapies clear the parasite burden in immune-compromised patients," said Elizabeth Watts, lead author on the study. "Additionally, this work emphasizes the value of collaboration between different disciplines to make exciting new discoveries."
This study was supported by National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases funding awards R21AI098371 and R21AI099509 awarded to Sinai and does not necessarily represent the views of the National Institutes of Health.
ELSE PRESS RELEASES FROM THIS DATE:
Using metallic osmium (Os) in experimentation, an international group of researchers have demonstrated that ultra-high pressures cause core electrons to interplay, which results in experimentally observed anomalies in the compression behavior of the material.
Os is one of Earth's most exceptional elemental materials, possessing the highest known density at ambient pressure, one of the highest cohesive energies and melting temperatures, and an incompressibility that is almost comparable to that of diamond.
Researchers believe that the ability to affect core electrons ...
Open source lab equipment is the focus of a new study, published in Science and Public Policy. Joshua Pearce, an associate professor of materials science and engineering as well as electrical and computer engineering at Michigan Tech, led the research. Pearce proposes that instead of spending millions of dollars every year replacing quickly obsolescent equipment, that money could be redirected to developing open source tools that are "upgradeable and transformable--they will be continuously updated" using digital manufacturing techniques such as 3-D printing.
The benefits ...
The politics of climate change are often depicted as a simple battle, between environmentalists and particular industries, over government policy. That's not wrong, but it's only a rough sketch of the matter. Now a paper co-authored by MIT economist Christopher Knittel fills in some important details of the picture, revealing an essential mechanism that underlies the politics of the climate battle.
Specifically, as Knittel and his colleagues demonstrate, at least one climate policy enacted by Congress -- on transportation fuels -- contains a crucial asymmetry: It imposes ...
The aging process is associated with declines in brain function, including memory and how fast our brain processes information, yet previous research has found that higher levels of cardiorespiratory fitness in older adults leads to better executive function in the brain, which helps with reasoning and problem solving. Higher cardiorespiratory fitness levels have also been found to increase brain volume in key brain regions.
A new study from a team at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois reveals the connection between ...
UPTON, NY--In the Daya Bay region of China, about 55 kilometers northeast of Hong Kong, a research project is underway to study ghostlike, elusive particles called neutrinos. Today, the international Daya Bay Collaboration announces new findings on the measurements of neutrinos, paving the way forward for further neutrino research, and confirming that the Daya Bay neutrino experiment continues to be one to watch.
The latest findings involve measurements that track the way neutrinos change types or flavors as they move, a characteristic called neutrino oscillation. By ...
VIB and UGent scientists have developed a new method which allows them to predict the final size of a plant while it is still a seedling. Thanks to this method, which is based on the knowledge that a set of genes is associated with the final size of a leaf, scientists will be able to significantly accelerate plant breeding programs. The VIB/UGent scientists were able to identify this set of genes through advanced and highly detailed analyses. Expression analysis of specific genes will help breeders select the most useful crossing products at a very early stage.
Tyrosine kinase 2 (Tyk2) is an enzyme involved in intracellular signalling and has an important role in activating the immune system. But enzymatically active Tyk2 can also promote excessive immune reactions and growth of certain cancer types.
Since several years, scientists are developing substances to specifically inhibit the kinase activity of Tyk2 for the treatment of inflammatory diseases and for potential use in cancer therapy. However, complications may occur: Tyk2 crucially contributes to the maturation and activation of natural killer (NK) cells. NK cells form ...
After being diagnosed with a chest wall sarcoma, a 54-year-old Spanish man's surgical team made the decision to remove his sternum and a portion of his rib cage and replace it with an implant.
The implant was designed and manufactured by medical device company, Anatomics, who utilised the CSIRO's 3D printing facility, Lab 22 in Melbourne, Australia.
The surgical team, Dr José Aranda, Dr Marcelo Jimene and Dr Gonzalo Varela from Salamanca University Hospital, knew the surgery would be difficult due to the complicated geometries involved in the chest cavity.
An approach to converting the data from MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) machines, mammograms and other medical equipment gives doctors a much clearer picture of your insides and a chance to detect disease and other problems earlier, according to research published in the International Journal of Biomedical Engineering and Technology. The technique known as the wavelet transform was first reported in 1910, but it was during the early 1990s that its applications in medicine and biomedical research first emerged and it is now reaching maturity as a technique to supplement ...
Arterial wall stiffness and reduced arterial dilation are the first signs of cardiovascular diseases that can be measured. The Physical Activity and Nutrition in Children Study (PANIC) carried out in the Institute of Biomedicine at the University of Eastern Finland shows that low levels of physical activity, weaker physical fitness and higher body fat content are linked to arterial stiffness already in 6-8 year-old children. The study sample included 160 children, and the findings were published in Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports.
Physically active ...
LAST 30 PRESS RELEASES: