Abstract: Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) is a chronic and immunosuppressive viral disease that is responsible for substantial economic losses for the swine industry. Honeybee venom (HBV) is known to possess several beneficial biological properties, particularly, immunomodulatory effects. Therefore, this study aimed at evaluating the effects of HBV on the immune response and viral clearance during the early stage of infection with porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) in pigs. HBV was administered via three routes of nasal, neck, and rectal and then the pigs were inoculated with PRRSV intranasally. The CD4+/CD8+ cell ratio and levels of interferon (IFN)-γ and interleukin (IL)-12 were significantly increased in the HBV-administered healthy pigs via nasal and rectal administration. In experimentally PRRSV-challenged pigs with virus, the viral genome load in the serum, lung, bronchial lymph nodes and tonsil was significantly decreased, as was the severity of interstitial pneumonia, in the nasal and rectal administration group. Furthermore, the levels of Th1 cytokines (IFN-γ and IL-12) were significantly increased, along with up-regulation of pro-inflammatory cytokines (TNF-α and IL-1β) with HBV administration. Thus, HBV administration—especially via the nasal or rectal route—could be a suitable strategy for immune enhancement and prevention of PRRSV infection in pigs.
Abstract: Superantigens (SAgs) are potent microbial toxins that function to activate large numbers of T cells in a T cell receptor (TCR) Vβ-specific manner, resulting in excessive immune system activation. Staphylococcus aureus possesses a large repertoire of distinct SAgs, and in the context of host-pathogen interactions, staphylococcal SAg research has focused primarily on the role of these toxins in severe and invasive diseases. However, the contribution of SAgs to colonization by S.aureus remains unclear. We developed a two-week nasal colonization model using SAg-sensitive transgenic mice expressing HLA-DR4, and evaluated the role of SAgs using two well-studied stains of S.aureus. S.aureus Newman produces relatively low levels of staphylococcal enterotoxin A (SEA), and although we did not detect significant TCR-Vβ specific changes during wild-type S.aureus Newman colonization, S.aureus Newman Δsea established transiently higher bacterial loads in the nose. S.aureus COL produces relatively high levels of staphylococcal enterotoxin B (SEB), and colonization with wild-type S.aureus COL resulted in clear Vβ8-specific T cell skewing responses. S.aureus COL Δseb established consistently higher bacterial loads in the nose. These data suggest that staphylococcal SAgs may be involved in regulating bacterial densities during nasal colonization.
Abstract: The aim of this study was to explore the serum peptide profiles from honeybee stung and non-stung individuals. Two groups of serum samples obtained from 27 beekeepers were included in our study. The first group of samples was collected within 3 h after a bee sting (stung beekeepers), and the samples were collected from the same person a second time after at least six weeks after the last bee sting (non-stung beekeepers). Peptide profile spectra were determined using MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry combined with Omix, ZipTips and magnetic beads based on weak-cation exchange (MB-WCX) enrichment strategies in the mass range of 1–10 kDa. The samples were classified, and discriminative models were established by using the quick classifier, genetic algorithm and supervised neural network algorithms. All of the statistical algorithms used in this study allow distinguishing analyzed groups with high statistical significance, which confirms the influence of honeybee sting on the serum peptidome profile. The results of this study may broaden the understanding of the human organism’s response to honeybee venom. Due to the fact that our pilot study was carried out on relatively small datasets, it is necessary to conduct further proteomic research of the response to honeybee sting on a larger group of samples.
Abstract: During official shellfish control for the presence of marine biotoxins in Greece in year 2012, a series of unexplained positive mouse bioassays (MBA) for lipophilic toxins with nervous symptomatology prior to mice death was observed in mussels from Vistonikos Bay–Lagos, Rodopi. This atypical toxicity coincided with (a) absence or low levels of regulated and some non-regulated toxins in mussels and (b) the simultaneous presence of the potentially toxic microalgal species Prorocentrum minimum at levels up to 1.89 × 103 cells/L in the area’s seawater. Further analyses by different MBA protocols indicated that the unknown toxin was hydrophilic, whereas UPLC-MS/MS analyses revealed the presence of tetrodotoxins (TTXs) at levels up to 222.9 μg/kg. Reviewing of official control data from previous years (2006–2012) identified a number of sample cases with atypical positive to asymptomatic negative MBAs for lipophilic toxins in different Greek production areas, coinciding with periods of P. minimum blooms. UPLC-MS/MS analysis of retained sub-samples from these cases revealed that TTXs were already present in Greek shellfish since 2006, in concentrations ranging between 61.0 and 194.7 μg/kg. To our knowledge, this is the earliest reported detection of TTXs in European bivalve shellfish, while it is also the first work to indicate a possible link between presence of the toxic dinoflagellate P. minimum in seawater and that of TTXs in bivalves. Confirmed presence of TTX, a very heat-stable toxin, in filter-feeding mollusks of the Mediterranean Sea, even at lower levels to those inducing symptomatology to humans, indicates that this emerging risk should be seriously taken into account by the EU to protect the health of shellfish consumers.
Abstract: Botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs) cause the disease called botulism, which can be lethal. BoNTs are proteins secreted by some species of clostridia and are known to cause paralysis by interfering with nerve impulse transmission. Although the human lethal dose of BoNT is not accurately known, it is estimated to be between 0.1 μg to 70 μg, so it is important to enable detection of small amounts of these toxins. Our laboratory previously reported on the development of Endopep-MS, a mass-spectrometric‑based endopeptidase method to detect, differentiate, and quantify BoNT immunoaffinity purified from complex matrices. In this work, we describe the application of Endopep-MS for the analysis of thirteen blinded samples supplied as part of the EQuATox proficiency test. This method successfully identified the presence or absence of BoNT in all thirteen samples and was able to successfully differentiate the serotype of BoNT present in the samples, which included matrices such as buffer, milk, meat extract, and serum. Furthermore, the method yielded quantitative results which had z-scores in the range of −3 to +3 for quantification of BoNT/A containing samples. These results indicate that Endopep-MS is an excellent technique for detection, differentiation, and quantification of BoNT in complex matrices.
Abstract: Autoimmune diseases are usually accompanied by tissue injury caused by autoantigen-specific T-cells. KV1.3 channels participate in modulating calcium signaling to induce T-cell proliferation, immune activation and cytokine production. Effector memory T (TEM)-cells, which play major roles in many autoimmune diseases, are controlled by blocking KV1.3 channels on the membrane. Toxins derived from animal venoms have been found to selectively target a variety of ion channels, including KV1.3. By blocking the KV1.3 channel, these toxins are able to suppress the activation and proliferation of TEM cells and may improve TEM cell-mediated autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis and type I diabetes mellitus.