Life & Health Sciences

Middle Longitudinal Fasciculus in the Human Brain from Fiber Dissection


ABSTRACT

Although the middle longitudinal fasciculus (MdLF) is not part of the insular lobe, it penetrates the temporal operculum, which is manipulated or partially removed during surgical approaches to the insula. We present a comprehensive description of that fascicle and its anatomical relationships with neighboring structures that have been described in previous chapters. It has been hypothesized that MdLF plays a role in attention and language processing; however studies with peroperative subcortical electrostimulation or temporal lobectomies did not demonstrate permanent language deficits following resection of its anterior segment. The MdLF has close relationships to adjacent bundles, such as the arcuate fasciculus and the inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus that are required to be recognized and differentiated for adequate interpretation of tractography images and surgical planning.

Gross Anatomy of the Human Insula


ABSTRACT

When the lips of the lateral fissure are separated from each other, a new group of sulci and gyri appear. They are arrayed together in the form of an island, which is the reason why the German anatomist, Johann Christian Reil, named them “the insular lobe”. Bordered by the limiting sulci, its general form resembles that of an oblique pyramid with a triangular base and low height. Although some anatomical variation exists, the insula presents a systematizable internal organization and well-defined anatomical relationships with deep and superficial cerebral structures, such as the extreme capsule and the cerebral opercula. In this chapter we review concepts of the insular morphology that are important to the fields of neurosurgery and neuroimaging.

Zoonotic helminth exposure and risk of allergic diseases: A study of two generations in Norway


ABSTRACT

Background: Animal and human studies indicate that definitive host helminth infections may confer protection from allergies. However, zoonotic helminths, such as Toxocara species (spp.), have been associated with increased allergies. Objective: We describe the prevalence of Toxocara spp. and Ascaris spp. seropositivity and associations with allergic diseases and sensitization, in 2 generations in Bergen, Norway. Methods: Serum levels of total IgG4, anti-Toxocara spp. IgG4 and Ascaris spp. IgG4 were established by ELISA in 2 cohorts: parents born 1945-1972 (n = 171) and their offspring born 1969-2003 (n = 264). Allergic outcomes and covariates were recorded through interviews and clinical examinations including serum IgEs and skin prick tests. Results: Anti-Ascaris spp. IgG4 was detected in 29.2% of parents and 10.3% of offspring, and anti-Toxocara spp. IgG4 in 17.5% and 8.0% of parents and offspring, respectively. Among offspring, anti-Toxocara spp. IgG4 was associated with pet keeping before age 15 (OR = 6.15; 95% CI = 1.37-27.5) and increasing BMI (1.16 [1.06-1.25] per kg/m2). Toxocara spp. seropositivity was associated with wheeze (2.97[1.45- 7.76]), hayfever (4.03[1.63-9.95]), eczema (2.89[1.08-7.76]) and cat sensitization (5.65[1.92-16.6]) among offspring, but was not associated with allergic outcomes among parents. Adjustment for childhood or current pet keeping did not alter associations with allergies. Parental Toxocara spp. seropositivity was associated with increased offspring allergies following a sex-specific pattern. Conclusions & Clinical Relevance: Zoonotic helminth exposure in Norway was less frequent in offspring than parents; however, Toxocara spp. seropositivity was associated with increased risk of allergic manifestations in the offspring generation, but not among parents. Changes in response to helminth exposure may provide insights into the increase in allergy incidence in affluent countries.

Emergomyces africanus in Soil, South Africa


ABSTRACT

We detected Emergomyces africanus, a thermally dimorphic fungus that causes an HIV-associated systemic mycosis, by PCR in 18 (30%) of 60 soil samples from a wide range of habitats in South Africa. Direct and indirect culture techniques were unsuccessful. Experimental intraperitoneal inoculation of conidia induced murine disease.

Disruption of maternal gut microbiota during gestation alters offspring microbiota and immunity


ABSTRACT

Background Early life microbiota is an important determinant of immune and metabolic development and may have lasting consequences. The maternal gut microbiota during pregnancy or breastfeeding is important for defining infant gut microbiota. We hypothesized that maternal gut microbiota during pregnancy and breastfeeding is a critical determinant of infant immunity. To test this, pregnant BALB/c dams were fed vancomycin for 5 days prior to delivery (gestation; Mg), 14 days postpartum during nursing (Mn), or during gestation and nursing (Mgn), or no vancomycin (Mc). We analyzed adaptive immunity and gut microbiota in dams and pups at various times after delivery. Results In addition to direct alterations to maternal gut microbial composition, pup gut microbiota displayed lower α-diversity and distinct community clusters according to timing of maternal vancomycin. Vancomycin was undetectable in maternal and offspring sera, therefore the observed changes in the microbiota of stomach contents (as a proxy for breastmilk) and pup gut signify an indirect mechanism through which maternal intestinal microbiota influences extra-intestinal and neonatal commensal colonization. These effects on microbiota influenced both maternal and offspring immunity. Maternal immunity was altered, as demonstrated by significantly higher levels of both total IgG and IgM in Mgn and Mn breastmilk when compared to Mc. In pups, lymphocyte numbers in the spleens of Pg and Pn were significantly increased compared to Pc. This increase in cellularity was in part attributable to elevated numbers of both CD4+ T cells and B cells, most notable Follicular B cells. Conclusion Our results indicate that perturbations to maternal gut microbiota dictate neonatal adaptive immunity.

Elevated IgG Responses in Infants Are Associated With Reduced Prevalence of Mycobacterium tuberculosis Infection


ABSTRACT

Background: It is unclear whether antibodies can prevent Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) infection. In this study, we examined the relationship between total plasma IgG levels, IgG elicited by childhood vaccines and soil-transmitted helminths, and Mtb infection prevalence, defined by positive QuantiFERON (QFT) test. Methods: We studied 100 Mtb uninfected infants, aged 4–6 months. Ten infants (10%) converted to positive QFT test (QFT+) within 2 years of follow-up for Mtb infection. Antibody responses in plasma samples acquired at baseline and tuberculosis investigation were analyzed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and ImmunoCAP® assay. Results: QFT− infants displayed a significant increase in total IgG titers when re-tested, compared to IgG titers at baseline, which was not observed in QFT+ infants. Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine-specific IgG2 and live-attenuated measles vaccine-specific IgG were raised in QFT− infants, and infants who acquired an Mtb infection did not appear to launch a BCG-specific IgG2 response. IgG titers against the endemic helminth Ascaris lumbricoides increased from baseline to QFT re-testing in all infants. Conclusion: These data show raised IgG associates with a QFT-status. Importantly, this effect was also associated with a trend showing raised IgG titers to BCG and measles vaccine. Our data suggest a possible protective association between raised antibody titers and acquisition of Mtb infection, potentially mediated by exposure to antigens both related and unrelated to Mtb.

Chronic schistosomiasis suppresses HIVspecific responses to DNA-MVA and MVAgp140 Env vaccine regimens despite antihelminthic treatment and increases helminth-associated pathology in a mouse model


ABSTRACT

Future HIV vaccines are expected to induce effective Th1 cell-mediated and Env-specific antibody responses that are necessary to offer protective immunity to HIV infection. However, HIV infections are highly prevalent in helminth endemic areas. Helminth infections induce polarised Th2 responses that may impair HIV vaccine-generated Th1 responses. In this study, we tested if Schistosoma mansoni (Sm) infection altered immune responses to SAAVI candidate HIV vaccines (DNA and MVA) and an HIV-1 gp140 Env protein vaccine (gp140) and whether parasite elimination by chemotherapy or the presence of Sm eggs (SmE) in the absence of active infection influenced the immunogenicity of these vaccines. In addition, we evaluated helminth-associated pathology in DNA and MVA vaccination groups. Mice were chronically infected with Sm and vaccinated with DNA+MVA in a prime+boost combination or MVA+gp140 in concurrent combination regimens. Some Sm-infected mice were treated with praziquantel (PZQ) prior to vaccinations. Other mice were inoculated with SmE before receiving vaccinations. Unvaccinated mice without Sm infection or SmE inoculation served as controls. HIV responses were evaluated in the blood and spleen while Smassociated pathology was evaluated in the livers. Sm-infected mice had significantly lower magnitudes of HIV-specific cellular responses after vaccination with DNA+MVA or MVA

Article Open Access Published: 01 August 2018 Hookworm exposure decreases human papillomavirus uptake and cervical cancer cell migration through systemic regulation of epithelial-mesenchymal transition marker expression


ABSTRACT

Persistent infection with human papillomavirus (HPV) is responsible for nearly all new cervical cancer cases worldwide. In low- and middle-income countries (LMIC), infection with helminths has been linked to increased HPV prevalence. As the incidence of cervical cancer rises in helminth endemic regions, it is critical to understand the interaction between exposure to helminths and the progression of cervical cancer. Here we make use of several cervical cancer cell lines to demonstrate that exposure to antigens from the hookworm N. brasiliensis significantly reduces cervical cancer cell migration and global expression of vimentin and N-cadherin. Importantly, N. brasiliensis antigen significantly reduced expression of cell-surface vimentin, while decreasing HPV type 16 (HPV16) pseudovirion internalization. In vivo infection with N. brasiliensis significantly reduced vimentin expression within the female genital tract, confirming the relevance of these in vitro findings. Together, these findings demonstrate that infection with the hookworm-like parasite N. brasiliensis can systemically alter genital tract mesenchymal markers in a way that may impair cervical cancer cell progression. These findings reveal a possible late-stage treatment for reducing cervical cancer progression using helminth antigens.

Helminth-induced IL-4 expands bystander memory CD8+ T cells for early control of viral infection


ABSTRACT

Infection with parasitic helminths can imprint the immune system to modulate bystander inflammatory processes. Bystander or virtual memory CD8+ T cells (TVM) are non-conventional T cells displaying memory properties that can be generated through responsiveness to interleukin (IL)-4. However, it is not clear if helminth-induced type 2 immunity functionally affects the TVM compartment. Here, we show that helminths expand CD44hiCD62LhiCXCR3hiCD49dlo TVM cells through direct IL-4 signaling in CD8+ T cells. Importantly, helminth-mediated conditioning of TVM cells provided enhanced control of acute respiratory infection with the murid gammaherpesvirus 4 (MuHV-4). This enhanced control of MuHV-4 infection could further be explained by an increase in antigen-specific CD8+ T cell effector responses in the lung and was directly dependent on IL-4 signaling. These results demonstrate that IL-4 during helminth infection can non-specifically condition CD8+ T cells, leading to a subsequently raised antigen-specific CD8+ T cell activation that enhances control of viral infection.

Human Hookworm Infection Enhances Mycobacterial Growth Inhibition and Associates With Reduced Risk of Tuberculosis Infection


ABSTRACT

Soil-transmitted helminths and Mycobacterium tuberculosis frequently coincide geographically and it is hypothesized that gastrointestinal helminth infection may exacerbate tuberculosis (TB) disease by suppression of Th1 and Th17 responses. However, few studies have focused on latent TB infection (LTBI), which predominates globally. We performed a large observational study of healthy adults migrating from Nepal to the UK (n = 645). Individuals were screened for LTBI and gastrointestinal parasite infections. A significant negative association between hookworm and LTBI-positivity was seen (OR = 0.221; p = 0.039). Hookworm infection treatment did not affect LTBI conversions. Blood from individuals with hookworm had a significantly greater ability to control virulent mycobacterial growth in vitro than from those without, which was lost following hookworm treatment. There was a significant negative relationship between mycobacterial growth and eosinophil counts. Eosinophil-associated differential gene expression characterized the whole blood transcriptome of hookworm infection and correlated with improved mycobacterial control. These data provide a potential alternative explanation for the reduced prevalence of LTBI among individuals with hookworm infection, and possibly an anti-mycobacterial role for helminth-induced eosinophils.