SciCombinator

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Concept: Meningitis

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Neisseria meningitidis is one of the leading causes of bacterial meningitis globally and can also cause sepsis, pneumonia, and other manifestations. In countries with high endemic rates, the disease burden places an immense strain on the public health system. The worldwide epidemiology of invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) varies markedly by region and over time. This review summarizes the burden of IMD in different countries and identifies the highest-incidence countries where routine preventive programs against Neisseria meningitidis would be most beneficial in providing protection. Available epidemiological data from the past 20 years in World Health Organization and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control collections and published articles are included in this review, as well as direct communications with leading experts in the field. Countries were grouped into high-, moderate-, and low-incidence countries. The majority of countries in the high-incidence group are found in the African meningitis belt; many moderate-incidence countries are found in the European and African regions, and Australia, while low-incidence countries include many from Europe and the Americas. Priority countries for vaccine intervention are high- and moderate-incidence countries where vaccine-preventable serogroups predominate. Epidemiological data on burden of IMD are needed in countries where this is not known, particularly in South- East Asia and Eastern Mediterranean regions, so evidence-based decisions about the use of meningococcal vaccines can be made.

Concepts: Public health, Epidemiology, Bacteria, Meningitis, World Health Organization, Neisseria meningitidis, Meningococcal disease, Preventive medicine

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Enterovirus 71 (EV71) is a group of viruses that belongs to the Picornaviridae family, which also includes viruses such as polioviruses. EV71, together with coxsackieviruses, is widely known for its association with Hand Foot Mouth Disease (HFMD), which generally affects children age five and below. Besides HFMD, EV71 can also trigger more severe and life-threatening neurological conditions such as encephalitis. Considering the lack of a vaccine and antiviral drug against EV71, together with the increasing spread of these viruses, the development of such drugs and vaccines becomes the top priority in protecting our younger generations. This article, hence, reviews some of the recent progress in the formulations of anti-therapeutics and vaccine generation for EV71, covering (i) inactivated vaccines; (ii) baculovirus-expressed vaccines against EV71; (iii) human intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) treatment; and (iv) the use of monoclonal antibody therapy as a prevention and treatment for EV71 infections.

Concepts: Immune system, Enterovirus, Monoclonal antibodies, Immunology, Influenza, Meningitis

138

Listeria monocytogenes can asymptomatically inhabit the human intestine as a commensal bacterium. However, the mechanism by which L. monocytogenes is able to inhabit the intestine without pathogenic symptoms remains unclear. Here, we compared the invasion efficiency of L. monocytogenes strains with the 268- and 385-bp-long actA gene. Clinical strains SMFM-CI-3 and SMFM-CI-6 with 268-bp actA isolated from patients with listeriosis and strains SMFM-SI-1 and SMFM-SI-2 with the 385-bp gene isolated from carcasses were used for inoculum preparation. The invasion efficiency of these strains was evaluated using Caco-2 cells (intestinal epithelial cell line), prepared as normal and healthy cells with tightened tight junctions and senescent cells with loose tight junctions, which were loosened by adriamycin treatment. The invasion efficiency of L. monocytogenes strains with the 268-bp-long actA gene was 1.12.6-times lower than that of the strains with the 385-bp-long gene in normal and healthy cells. However, the invasion efficiency of both types of strains did not differ in senescent cells. Thus, L. monocytogenes strains with the 268-bp-long actA gene can inhabit the intestine asymptomatically as a commensal bacterium, but they may invade the intestinal epithelial cells and cause listeriosis in senescent cells.

Concepts: Bacteria, Epithelium, Intestine, Meningitis, Listeria monocytogenes, Listeria, Listeriosis, Intestinal epithelium

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Commensal organisms with the potential to cause disease pose a challenge in developing treatment options. Using the example featured in this study, pneumococcal disease begins with Streptococcus pneumoniae colonization, followed by triggering events that prompt the release of a virulent subpopulation of bacteria. Current vaccines focus on colonization prevention, which poses unintended consequences of serotype niche replacement. In this study, noncovalent colocalization of two classes of complementary antigens, one to prevent the colonization of the most aggressive S. pneumoniae serotypes and another to restrict virulence transition, provides complete vaccine effectiveness in animal subjects and the most comprehensive coverage of disease reported to date. As a result, the proposed vaccine formulation offers universal pneumococcal disease prevention with the prospect of effectively managing a disease that afflicts tens to hundreds of millions globally. The approach more generally puts forth a balanced prophylactic treatment strategy in response to complex commensal-host dynamics.

Concepts: Microbiology, Pneumonia, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Streptococcus, Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, Meningitis

51

Current therapies for reducing raised intracranial pressure (ICP) under conditions such as idiopathic intracranial hypertension or hydrocephalus have limited efficacy and tolerability. Thus, there is a pressing need to identify alternative drugs. Glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor (GLP-1R) agonists are used to treat diabetes and promote weight loss but have also been shown to affect fluid homeostasis in the kidney. We investigated whether exendin-4, a GLP-1R agonist, is able to modulate cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) secretion at the choroid plexus and subsequently reduce ICP in rats. We used tissue sections and cell cultures to demonstrate expression of GLP-1R in the choroid plexus and its activation by exendin-4, an effect blocked by the GLP-1R antagonist exendin 9-39. Acute treatment with exendin-4 reduced Na(+)- and K(+)-dependent adenosine triphosphatase activity, a key regulator of CSF secretion, in cell cultures. Finally, we demonstrated that administration of exendin-4 to female rats with raised ICP (hydrocephalic) resulted in a GLP-1R-mediated reduction in ICP. These findings suggest that GLP-1R agonists can reduce ICP in rodents. Repurposing existing GLP-1R agonist drugs may be a useful therapeutic strategy for treating raised ICP.

Concepts: Adenosine triphosphate, Intracranial pressure, Receptor antagonist, Agonist, Cerebrospinal fluid, Hydrocephalus, Inverse agonist, Meningitis

50

Background Tuberculous meningitis is often lethal. Early antituberculosis treatment and adjunctive treatment with glucocorticoids improve survival, but nearly one third of patients with the condition still die. We hypothesized that intensified antituberculosis treatment would enhance the killing of intracerebral Mycobacterium tuberculosis organisms and decrease the rate of death among patients. Methods We performed a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial involving human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected adults and HIV-uninfected adults with a clinical diagnosis of tuberculous meningitis who were admitted to one of two Vietnamese hospitals. We compared a standard, 9-month antituberculosis regimen (which included 10 mg of rifampin per kilogram of body weight per day) with an intensified regimen that included higher-dose rifampin (15 mg per kilogram per day) and levofloxacin (20 mg per kilogram per day) for the first 8 weeks of treatment. The primary outcome was death by 9 months after randomization. Results A total of 817 patients (349 of whom were HIV-infected) were enrolled; 409 were randomly assigned to receive the standard regimen, and 408 were assigned to receive intensified treatment. During the 9 months of follow-up, 113 patients in the intensified-treatment group and 114 patients in the standard-treatment group died (hazard ratio, 0.94; 95% confidence interval, 0.73 to 1.22; P=0.66). There was no evidence of a significant differential effect of intensified treatment in the overall population or in any of the subgroups, with the possible exception of patients infected with isoniazid-resistant M. tuberculosis. There were also no significant differences in secondary outcomes between the treatment groups. The overall number of adverse events leading to treatment interruption did not differ significantly between the treatment groups (64 events in the standard-treatment group and 95 events in the intensified-treatment group, P=0.08). Conclusions Intensified antituberculosis treatment was not associated with a higher rate of survival among patients with tuberculous meningitis than standard treatment. (Funded by the Wellcome Trust and the Li Ka Shing Foundation; Current Controlled Trials number, ISRCTN61649292 .).

Concepts: HIV, AIDS, Tuberculosis, Mycobacterium, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Randomness, Meningitis, Robert Koch

28

Vestibular schwannomas (VSs) are the most common tumours of the cerebellopontine angle. Ninety-five percent of people with VS present with sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL); the mechanism of this SNHL is currently unknown. To establish the first model to study the role of VS-secreted factors in causing SNHL, murine cochlear explant cultures were treated with human tumour secretions from thirteen different unilateral, sporadic VSs of subjects demonstrating varied degrees of ipsilateral SNHL. The extent of cochlear explant damage due to secretion application roughly correlated with the subjects' degree of SNHL. Secretions from tumours associated with most substantial SNHL resulted in most significant hair cell loss and neuronal fibre disorganization. Secretions from VSs associated with good hearing or from healthy human nerves led to either no effect or solely fibre disorganization. Our results are the first to demonstrate that secreted factors from VSs can lead to cochlear damage. Further, we identified tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNFα) as an ototoxic molecule and fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2) as an otoprotective molecule in VS secretions. Antibody-mediated TNFα neutralization in VS secretions partially prevented hair cell loss due to the secretions. Taken together, we have identified a new mechanism responsible for SNHL due to VSs.

Concepts: Cell, Secretion, Cochlear implant, Ototoxicity, Ear, Tinnitus, Sensorineural hearing loss, Meningitis

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A 39-year-old white man presented with intractable headaches and papilledema. The initial workup, with normal MRI and MRV but elevated cerebrospinal fluid protein raised concerns about the putative diagnosis of idiopathic intracranial hypertension, and his condition remained refractory to maximum medical treatment. Angiography revealed cerebral venous sinus stenosis, thought to represent chronic thrombosis. The diagnosis and treatment of cerebral venous sinus stenosis and thrombosis are discussed.

Concepts: Intracranial pressure, Neurology, Cerebrospinal fluid, Hydrocephalus, Meningitis, Headache, Cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, Dural venous sinuses

28

There is increased recognition of the high prevalence of osteitic changes affecting the bony framework of the sinuses in patients with chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) with or without nasal polyps. However, their grading, clinical significance, and management remain controversial.

Concepts: Sinusitis, Cystic fibrosis, Nasal polyp, Meningitis

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BACKGROUND: Human enterovirus 71 (HEV71) is a common cause of severe outbreaks of hand-foot- and mouth disease, aseptic meningitis and encephalitis in Asian populations but has not caused such epidemics in all populations. OBJECTIVES: To analyze the frequency of HEV71 in the background childhood population in Finland by screening in stool and serum samples and by measuring neutralizing antibodies against HEV71 in serum and to compare the genetic relationship of virus strains detected in asymptomatic children and those causing severe illness in Finland to the strains found in other countries. STUDY DESIGN: 4185 stool samples and 5686 serum samples were collected and clinical symptoms recorded from children who were observed from birth. Additional stool samples were available from four children hospitalized due to EV71 infection. Samples were screened for the presence of RNA of human enteroviruses using RT-PCR and HEV71 amplicons were identified by sequencing. Phylogenetic analyses were carried out to study genetic relationships between different virus strains. Neutralizing antibodies against HEV71 were screened from 522 children. RESULTS: A total of 0.3% of stool samples and two serum samples from healthy children were positive for HEV71 genome. 1.6% of the children had neutralizing antibodies against HEV71. Most infections were asymptomatic or mild in contrast to the clear symptoms in the children hospitalized due to HEV71. All viruses were C strains. CONCLUSIONS: HEV71 is circulating in Finland but it is rare. No clear difference was seen between strains circulating in the Finnish background population and those found in hospitalized patients or those causing severe outbreaks worldwide.

Concepts: Enterovirus, Bacteria, Virus, Genome, Infection, Meningitis, Aseptic meningitis, Computer virus