Abstract: An understanding of common human diversity in innate immune pathways should be beneficial in understanding autoimmune diseases, susceptibility to infection, and choices of anti-inflammatory treatment. Such understanding could also result in definition of currently unknown components of human inflammation pathways. A cellular genome-wide association studies (GWAS) platform, termed Hi-HOST (High-throughput human in vitro susceptibility testing), was developed to assay in vitro cellular phenotypes of infection in genotyped lymphoblastoid cells from genetically diverse human populations. Hi-HOST allows for measurement of multiple host and pathogen parameters of infection/inflammation including: bacterial invasion and intracellular replication, host cell death, and cytokine production. Hi-HOST has been used to successfully define a significant portion of the heritable human diversity in inflammatory cell death in response to Salmonella typhimurium. It also led to the discovery of genetic variants important to protection against systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) and protection against death and bacteremia in individuals with SIRS. Our laboratory is currently using this platform to define human diversity in autophagy and the NLPR3 inflammasome pathways, and to define new components that can impact the expression of phenotypes related to these pathways.
Abstract: Streptococcus suis is an important swine pathogen and emerging zoonotic agent worldwide causing meningitis, endocarditis, arthritis and septicemia. Among the 29 serotypes identified to date, serotype 2 is mostly isolated from diseased pigs. Although several virulence mechanisms have been characterized in S. suis, the pathogenesis of S. suis infections remains only partially understood. This study focuses on the response of S. suis P1/7 to sub-inhibitory concentrations of amoxicillin. First, capsule expression was monitored by qRT-PCR when S. suis was cultivated in the presence of amoxicillin. Then, the pro-inflammatory potential of S. suis P1/7 culture supernatants or whole cells conditioned with amoxicillin was evaluated by monitoring the activation of the NF-κB pathway in monocytes and quantifying pro-inflammatory cytokines secreted by macrophages. It was found that amoxicillin decreased capsule expression in S. suis. Moreover, conditioning the bacterium with sub-inhibitory concentrations of amoxicillin caused an increased activation of the NF-κB pathway in monocytes following exposure to bacterial culture supernatants and to a lesser extent to whole bacterial cells. This was associated with an increased secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines (CXCL8, IL-6, IL-1β) by macrophages. This study identified a new mechanism by which S. suis may increase its inflammatory potential in the presence of sub-inhibitory concentrations of amoxicillin, a cell wall-active antibiotic, thus challenging its use for preventive treatments or as growth factor.
Abstract: Asymptomatic bacteriuria, also called asymptomatic urinary infection, is a common finding in healthy women, and in women and men with abnormalities of the genitourinary tract. The characterization and introduction of the quantitative urine culture in the 1950s first allowed the reliable recognition of asymptomatic bacteriuria. The observations that a substantial proportion of patients with chronic pyelonephritis at autopsy had no history of symptomatic urinary infection, and the high frequency of pyelonephritis observed in pregnant women with untreated asymptomatic bacteriuria, supported a conclusion that asymptomatic bacteriuria was harmful. Subsequent screening and long term follow-up programs for asymptomatic bacteriuria in schoolgirls and women reported an increased frequency of symptomatic urinary tract infection for subjects with asymptomatic bacteriuria, but no increased morbidity from renal failure or hypertension, or increased mortality. Treatment of asymptomatic bacteriuria did not decrease the frequency of symptomatic infection. Prospective, randomized, comparative trials enrolling premenopausal women, children, elderly populations, patients with long term catheters, and diabetic patients consistently report no benefits with antimicrobial treatment of asymptomatic bacteriuria, and some evidence of harm. Several studies have also reported that antimicrobial treatment of asymptomatic bacteriuria increases the short term risk of pyelonephritis. Current investigations are exploring the potential therapeutic intervention of establishing asymptomatic bacteriuria with an avirulent Escherichia coli strain to prevent symptomatic urinary tract infection for selected patients.
Abstract: Increasing antimicrobial resistance has stimulated interest in non-antibiotic prophylaxis of recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs). Well-known steps in the pathogenesis of UTIs are urogenital colonization and adherence of uropathogens to uroepithelial cell receptors. To prevent colonization in postmenopausal women, vaginal, but not oral, estrogens have been shown to restore the vagina lactobacilli flora, reduce vaginal colonization with Enterobacteriaceae, and reduce the number of UTIs compared to placebo. Different lactobacilli strains show different results in the prevention of recurrent UTIs. Intravaginal suppositories with Lactobacillus crispatus in premenopausal women and oral capsules with Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 and Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14 in postmenopausal women are promising. Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) cannot be recommended for the prevention of UTIs. Cranberries are thought to contain proanthocyanidins that can inhibit adherence of P-fimbriated E. coli to the uroepithelial cell receptors. Cranberry products decreased UTI recurrences about 30%–40% in premenopausal women with recurrent UTIs, but are less effective than low-dose antimicrobial prophylaxis. However, the optimal dose of cranberry product has still to be determined. Initially OM-89, a vaccine with 18 heat-killed E. coli extracts, seemed promising, but this was not confirmed in a recently randomized trial.
Abstract: Following nosocomial cases of Legionella pneumophila, the investigation of a hot water system revealed that 81.5% of sampled taps were positive for L. pneumophila, despite the presence of protective levels of copper in the water. A significant reduction of L. pneumophila counts was observed by culture after heat shock disinfection. The following corrective measures were implemented to control L. pneumophila: increasing the hot water temperature (55 to 60 °C), flushing taps weekly with hot water, removing excess lengths of piping and maintaining a water temperature of 55 °C throughout the system. A gradual reduction in L. pneumophila counts was observed using the culture method and qPCR in the 18 months after implementation of the corrective measures. However, low level contamination was retained in areas with hydraulic deficiencies, highlighting the importance of maintaining a good thermal regime at all points within the system to control the population of L. pneumophila.
Abstract: Autophagy plays an important role in maintaining cell homeostasis by providing nutrients during periods of starvation and removing damaged organelles from the cytoplasm. A marker in the autophagic process is the reversible conjugation of LC3, a membrane scaffolding protein, to double membrane autophagosomes. Recently, a role for LC3 in the elimination of pathogenic bacteria and fungi, including Candida albicans (C. albicans), was demonstrated, but these organisms reside in single membrane phagosomes. This process is distinct from autophagy and is termed LC3-associated phagocytosis (LAP). This review will detail the hallmarks of LAP that distinguish it from classical autophagy and review the role of autophagy proteins in host response to C. albicans and other pathogenic fungi.