Distribution of the blinding and nonblinding strains of Onchocerca volvulus in Nigeria.
Onchocerciasis remains an important public health problem throughout much of sub-Saharan Africa. Nigeria is the country whose population is most afflicted by onchocerciasis; however, little is known concerning the epidemiology of onchocerciasis in this country. Previous studies demonstrated that onchocerciasis in West Africa exists in two forms, which differ in their clinical and epidemiologic characteristics. This is believed to be due to the existence of 2 strains of Onchocerca volvulus, the causative agent of onchocerciasis. The O-150 polymerase chain reaction has been developed to differentiate these 2 strains, and this method has been used to map the distribution of the blinding and nonblinding strains of O. volvulus in Nigeria. The strain distribution is consistent with what is known concerning the ecology and epidemiology of onchocerciasis in this country. The results also suggest that migration may be affecting the historic distribution of the 2 strains of the parasite in Nigeria. (+info)
Population biology of human onchocerciasis.
Human onchocerciasis (river blindness) is the filarial infection caused by Onchocerca volvulus and transmitted among people through the bites of the Simulium vector. Some 86 million people around the world are at risk of acquiring the nematode, with 18 million people infected and 600,000 visually impaired, half of them partially or totally blind. 99% of cases occur in tropical Africa; scattered foci exist in Latin America. Until recently control programmes, in operation since 1975, have consisted of antivectorial measures. With the introduction of ivermectin in 1988, safe and effective chemotherapy is now available. With the original Onchocerciasis Control Programme of West Africa coming to an end, both the new African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control and the Onchocerciasis Elimination Programme for the Americas, rely heavily on ivermectin self-sustained mass delivery. In consequence, the need for understanding the processes regulating parasite abundance in human and simuliid populations is of utmost importance. We present a simple mathematical framework built around recent analyses of exposure- and density-dependent processes operating, respectively, within the human and vector hosts. An expression for the basic reproductive ratio, R0, is derived and related to the minimum vector density required for parasite persistence in localities of West Africa in general and northern Cameroon in particular. Model outputs suggest that constraints acting against parasite establishment in both humans and vectors are necessary to reproduce field observations, but those in humans may not fully protect against reinfection. Analyses of host age-profiles of infection prevalence, intensity, and aggregation for increasing levels of endemicity and intensity of transmission in the Vina valley of northern Cameroon are in agreement with these results and discussed in light of novel work on onchocerciasis immunology. (+info)
An essential role for antibody in neutrophil and eosinophil recruitment to the cornea: B cell-deficient (microMT) mice fail to develop Th2-dependent, helminth-mediated keratitis.
Invasion of the corneal stroma by neutrophils and eosinophils and subsequent degranulation disrupts corneal clarity and can result in permanent loss of vision. In the current study, we used a model of helminth-induced inflammation to demonstrate a novel role for Ab in mediating recruitment of these inflammatory cells to the central cornea. C57BL/6 and B cell-deficient (microMT) mice were immunized s. c. and injected intrastromally with Ags from the parasitic helminth Onchocerca volvulus (which causes river blindness). C57BL/6 mice developed pronounced corneal opacification, which was associated with an Ag-specific IL-5 response and peripheral eosinophilia, temporal recruitment of neutrophils and eosinophils from the limbal vessels to the peripheral cornea and subsequent migration to the central cornea. In contrast, the corneas of microMT mice failed to develop keratitis after intrastromal injection of parasite Ags unless Ags were injected with immune sera. Eosinophils were recruited from the limbal vessels to the peripheral cornea in microMT mice, but failed to migrate to the central cornea, whereas neutrophil recruitment was impaired at both stages. With the exception of IL-5, T cell responses and peripheral eosinophils were not significantly different between C57BL/6 and microMT mice. Taken together, these findings not only demonstrate that Ab is required for the development of keratitis, but also show that recruitment of neutrophils to the cornea is Ab-dependent, whereas eosinophil migration is only partially dependent upon Ab interactions. (+info)
WHO celebrates triumph over river blindness.(4/68)
Macrofilaricidal activity of tetracycline against the filarial nematode Onchocerca ochengi: elimination of Wolbachia precedes worm death and suggests a dependent relationship.
Filarial nematodes are important and widespread parasites of animals and humans. We have been using the African bovine parasite Onchocerca ochengi as a chemotherapeutic model for O. volvulus, the causal organism of 'river blindness' in humans, for which there is no safe and effective drug lethal to adult worms. Here we report that the antibiotic, oxytetracycline is macrofilaricidal against O. ochengi. In a controlled trial in Cameroon, all adult worms (as well as microfilariae) were killed, and O. ochengi intradermal nodules resolved, by nine months' post-treatment in cattle treated intermittently for six months. Adult worms removed from concurrent controls remained fully viable and reproductively active. By serial electron-microscopic examination, the macrofilaricidal effects were related to the elimination of intracellular micro-organisms, initially abundant. Analysis of a fragment of the 16S rRNA gene from the O. ochengi micro-organisms confirmed them to be Wolbachia organisms of the order Rickettsiales, and showed that the sequence differed in only one nucleotide in 858 from the homologous sequence of the Wolbachia organisms of O. volvulus. These data are, to our knowledge, the first to show that antibiotic therapy can be lethal to adult filariae. They suggest that tetracycline therapy is likely to be macrofilaricidal against O. volvulus infections in humans and, since similar Wolbachia organisms occur in a number of other filarial nematodes, against those infections too. In that the elimination of Wolbachia preceded the resolution of the filarial infections, they suggest that in O. ochengi at least, the Wolbachia organisms play an essential role in the biology and metabolism of the filarial worm. (+info)
CD4(+) depletion selectively inhibits eosinophil recruitment to the cornea and abrogates Onchocerca volvulus keratitis (River blindness).
Previous studies demonstrated that in the murine model of Onchocerca volvulus keratitis, neutrophils and eosinophils are recruited into the cornea in a biphasic manner in response to intrastromal injection. To determine if CD4(+) T cells regulate migration of neutrophils and eosinophils into the cornea, CD4(+) cells were depleted using monoclonal antibody GK1.5 before intrastromal injection of parasite antigens. Depletion of CD4(+) cells abrogated corneal opacification at later but not early stages of disease. Consistent with this observation, CD4 depletion significantly impaired recruitment of eosinophils to the cornea but had no effect on neutrophils. These data indicate that CD4(+) T cells mediate sustained O. volvulus keratitis by regulating eosinophil recruitment to the cornea. (+info)
Impaired eosinophil recruitment to the cornea in P-selectin-deficient mice in Onchocerca volvulus keratitis (River blindness).
PURPOSE: A murine model of helminth-induced keratitis (river blindness) that is characterized by a biphasic recruitment of neutrophils (days 1-3) and eosinophils (days 3+) to the cornea has been developed. The purpose of this study was to determine the relative contribution of P- and E-selectin in recruitment of these inflammatory cells from limbal vessels to the corneal stroma. METHODS: P- and E-selectin gene knockout (-/-) mice were immunized with antigens extracted from the parasitic helminth Onchocerca volvulus. One week after the last immunization, parasite antigens were injected directly into the corneal stroma. Mice were killed on days 1 and 3 postchallenge, and eyes were immunostained with either anti-eosinophil major basic protein (MBP) or with anti-neutrophil Ab. The number of cells in the cornea was determined by direct counting. RESULTS: Recruitment of eosinophils to the cornea was significantly impaired in P-selectin(-/-) mice (63.9% fewer eosinophils on day 1 [P: = 0.0015], and 61% fewer on day 3 [P: < 0.0001]) compared with control C57BL/6 mice. In contrast, P-selectin deficiency had no effect on neutrophil recruitment to the cornea. There was no inhibition of eosinophil and neutrophil migration to the corneas of E-selectin(-/-) mice, indicating that there is no direct role for this adhesion molecule in helminth-induced keratitis. CONCLUSIONS: The present study demonstrates that P-selectin is an important mediator of eosinophil recruitment to the cornea. P-selectin interactions may therefore be potential targets for immunotherapy in eosinophil-mediated ocular inflammation. (+info)
CXC chemokine receptor 2 but not C-C chemokine receptor 1 expression is essential for neutrophil recruitment to the cornea in helminth-mediated keratitis (river blindness).
Infiltration of neutrophils and eosinophils into the mammalian cornea can result in loss of corneal clarity and severe visual impairment. To identify mediators of granulocyte recruitment to the corneal stroma, we determined the relative contribution of chemokine receptors CXC chemokine receptor (CXCR)-2 (IL-8R homologue) and CCR1 using a murine model of ocular onchocerciasis (river blindness) in which neutrophils and eosinophils migrate from peripheral vessels to the central cornea. CXCR2(-/-) and CCR1(-/-) mice were immunized s.c. and injected into the corneal stroma with Ags from the parasitic helminth Onchocerca volvulus. We found that production of macrophage-inflammatory protein (MIP)-2, KC, and MIP-1 alpha was localized to the corneal stroma, rather than to the epithelium, which was consistent with the location of neutrophils in the cornea. CCR1 deficiency did not inhibit neutrophil or eosinophil infiltration to the cornea or development of corneal opacification. In marked contrast, neutrophil recruitment to the corneas of CXCR2(-/-) mice was significantly impaired (p < 0.0001 compared with control, BALB/c mice) with only occasional neutrophils detected in the central cornea. Furthermore, CXCR2(-/-) mice developed only mild corneal opacification compared with BALB/c mice. These differences were not due to impaired KC and MIP-2 production in the corneal stroma of CXCR2(-/-) mice, which was similar to BALB/c mice. Furthermore, although MIP-1 alpha production was lower in CXCR2(-/-) mice than BALB/c mice, eosinophil recruitment to the cornea was not impaired. These observations demonstrate the critical role for CXCR2 expression in neutrophil infiltration to the cornea and may indicate a target for immune intervention in neutrophil-mediated corneal inflammation. (+info)