Natural Supplements & Botanical Medicine Blog

Botanical Medicines Cryptolepis sanguinolenta, Artemisia annua, Scutellaria baicalensis, Polygonum cuspidatum, and Alchornea cordifolia Demonstrate Inhibitory Activity Against Babesia duncani

Botanical Medicines Cryptolepis sanguinolenta, Artemisia annua, Scutellaria baicalensis, Polygonum cuspidatum, and Alchornea cordifolia Demonstrate Inhibitory Activity Against Babesia duncani
Introduction Babesiosis is a disease caused by the Babesia parasite that infects red blood cells. Babesia genus belongs to the apicomplexan phylum, and over 100 Babesia species have been identified (Birkenheuer et al., 2006). However, only a few of these have been documented to infect humans. Babesia divergens, Babesia microti, and Babesia duncani cause the most human babesiosis cases worldwide. Most Human Infections Caused by B. microti & B. duncani Most human babesiosis infections in the United States are caused by B. microti and B. duncani, and in Europe the majority of reported cases are due to B. divergens (Vannier and Krause,...
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Midgut Epithelial Dynamics Are Central to Mosquitoes’ Physiology and Fitness, and to the Transmission of Vector-Borne Disease

Midgut Epithelial Dynamics Are Central to Mosquitoes’ Physiology and Fitness, and to the Transmission of Vector-Borne Disease
Introduction Hematophagous mosquitoes vector many important human diseases, and a detailed understanding of their physiology is crucial for designing efficient vector-control strategies. The midgut epithelium plays a central role in mosquito physiology: as a digestive tissue, it transitions between processing diets of sugar and blood to support both nutrition and reproduction; as a niche for microbiota, it balances immunity and tolerance to maintain a functional microbiome; and in its capacity as an interface between the mosquito and human pathogens, it serves as a barrier that often bottlenecks parasites as they travel from gut lumen to hemocoel, en route to the salivary...
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Epigallocathechin-O-3-Gallate Inhibits Trypanothione Reductase of Leishmania infantum, Causing Alterations in Redox Balance and Leading to Parasite Death

Epigallocathechin-O-3-Gallate Inhibits Trypanothione Reductase of Leishmania infantum, Causing Alterations in Redox Balance and Leading to Parasite Death
Introduction Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is a neglected tropical disease caused by Leishmania infantum and L. donovani that affects 500,000 people and is fatal in over 95% of cases if left untreated. It is estimated that 50,000 to 90,000 new VL cases occur worldwide each year (World Health Organization, 2018). The disease has a high prevalence in the Americas, particularly in Brazil where 96% of the cases are reported (Pan American Health Organization, 2018). In the absence of a vaccine, VL treatment is largely based on chemotherapy, pentavalent antimonials and amphotericin B being the most used drugs. However, even though these treatments...
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Epidemiology of Leishmania Carriers in Tan Chang County, Gansu Province, China

Epidemiology of Leishmania Carriers in Tan Chang County, Gansu Province, China
Introduction Kala-azar, also known as visceral leishmaniasis (VL), is a regional infectious disease caused by the bite of Leishmania-carrying sandflies. Clinical symptoms include prolonged irregular fever, spleen enlargement, anemia, emaciation, leukopenia, and increased serum globulin levels. If not treated appropriately, most patients would die of VL-related complications within 1–2 years after the onset of illness (Desjeux, 1996; Boelaert et al., 2000; Alvar et al., 2006). The annual incidence of VL is around 200,000–400,000 cases globally; of these cases, over 90% are distributed in six countries including India, Bangladesh, Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia, and Brazil (Guerin et al., 2002; de Vries et al., 2015). Kala-azar is...
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Sickle Cell Trait Modulates the Proteome and Phosphoproteome of Plasmodium falciparum-Infected Erythrocytes

Sickle Cell Trait Modulates the Proteome and Phosphoproteome of Plasmodium falciparum-Infected Erythrocytes
Introduction Hemoglobin (Hb) S erythrocyte abnormality is due to a genetic mutation resulting from the replacement of a glutamate at the sixth position within the β-globin chain by a valine in normal Hb (HbA)  (Flint et al., 1998). The homozygous carriage of HbS (HbSS) results in sickle cell disease (SCD) which has serious pathological consequences such as anemia and vaso-occlusive crises and can be life-threatening. SCD is highly prevalent in human populations living in malaria endemic areas. The highest frequencies of HbS homozygous and heterozygous forms are indeed observed in sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and India, reaching up to 25%  (Migot-Nabias...
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Control Strategies for Carcinogenic-Associated Helminthiases: An Integrated Overview

Control Strategies for Carcinogenic-Associated Helminthiases: An Integrated Overview
Helminth Infections and Cancer More than 10% of all cancers in the developing world are believed to be associated with infections (IARC, 2012). Whereas the infection with viruses as human papilloma virus (HPV), hepatitis C and D virus (HCV, HDV) (Ji et al., 2012; Yi and Yuan, 2017) and some bacteria are well-established biological carcinogens, helminthiases associated with malignancy remain largely unexplored (Blattner, 1999; Parkin, 2006; Brindley et al., 2015; Mentis et al., 2019). Infections with the blood fluke, Schistosoma haematobium (S. haematobium) and the Asian liver flukes, Opisthorchis viverrini (O. viverrini) and Clonorchis sinensis (C. sinensis) have been classified as Group 1 biological...
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Development and Evaluation of Active Case Detection Methods to Support Visceral Leishmaniasis Elimination in India

Development and Evaluation of Active Case Detection Methods to Support Visceral Leishmaniasis Elimination in India
Introduction Complete and timely case detection has become increasingly crucial as India moves toward elimination of visceral leishmaniasis (VL) as a public health problem, defined as a target incidence of less than 1 case per 10,000 population per year at the sub-district level (Rijal et al., 2019). Households with high VL attack rates disproportionately come from the most disadvantaged segments of Indian society (Boelaert et al., 2009). People living in high-risk areas often have limited knowledge about the disease (Hirve et al., 2010; Khatun et al., 2014; Govil et al., 2018). Lack of knowledge impedes treatment-seeking behavior, while poverty and societal disadvantage may lead patients to...
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Optimizing Village-Level Targeting of Active Case Detection to Support Visceral Leishmaniasis Elimination in India

Optimizing Village-Level Targeting of Active Case Detection to Support Visceral Leishmaniasis Elimination in India
Introduction India has made major strides in the control of visceral leishmaniasis (VL, also known as kala-azar) over the past 8 years. Annual incidence has fallen from over 20,000 cases in 2012 to 3,143 in 2019, the lowest level in six decades (National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme, 2020a). As of 2019, 596 of 633 endemic blocks reported case-loads below the kala-azar elimination program target of one case per 10,000 population per year. When CARE India began providing support to the national VL program in 2013, research publications estimated that reported VL incidence represented a four- to eight-fold underestimate (Singh et al.,...
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Therapeutic Efficacy of Excretory-Secretory Products of Trichinella spiralis Adult Worms on Sepsis-Induced Acute Lung Injury in a Mouse Model

Therapeutic Efficacy of Excretory-Secretory Products of Trichinella spiralis Adult Worms on Sepsis-Induced Acute Lung Injury in a Mouse Model
Introduction Sepsis is life-threatening organ dysfunction caused by a dysregulated severe host immune response to an infection (Singer et al., 2016). It can lead to multiple organ injuries and even death affecting the lives of millions of people around the world (Butt et al., 2016; Novosad et al., 2016; Rello et al., 2017). Acute lung injury (ALI) occurs earliest in sepsis and is a main cause of death (Rubenfeld et al., 2005; Rudd et al., 2020). Although there are various therapeutic strategies for ALI which include the administration of nitric ox surfactant and glucocorticoids, none of them reduces the mortality in sepsis-induced ALI (Li et al., 2020). Thus,...
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Trypanosome KKIP1 Dynamically Links the Inner Kinetochore to a Kinetoplastid Outer Kinetochore Complex

Trypanosome KKIP1 Dynamically Links the Inner Kinetochore to a Kinetoplastid Outer Kinetochore Complex
Introduction Kinetochores are complex multi-protein machines that ensure the faithful segregation of eukaryotic chromosomes by coupling them to the mitotic spindle and coordinating their movement. The kinetochores of the most closely-studied eukaryotes consist of two major networks: the inner kinetochore constitutive centromere-associated network (CCAN) of ~16 proteins, and the outer kinetochore KMN network consisting of the Knl1-Mis12-Ndc80 complexes [for reviews see (Varma and Salmon, 2012; Nagpal and Fukagawa, 2016; Musacchio and Desai, 2017)]. These major networks approximately correspond to the inner and outer plates of electron-opaque material seen at kinetochores by electron microscopy (Pesenti et al., 2016). Microtubules attach to the outer...
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Dangerous Duplicity: The Dual Functions of Casein Kinase 1 in Parasite Biology and Host Subversion

Dangerous Duplicity: The Dual Functions of Casein Kinase 1 in Parasite Biology and Host Subversion
Introduction Casein Kinase 1 (CK1) family members are serine/threonine signaling protein kinases, conserved in eukaryotes from protozoan to humans. They are involved in multiple cellular processes including protein trafficking, cell cycle regulation and apoptosis (Knippschild et al., 2005) and as a result display pleiotropic localisation and interact with various subcellular structures mediated by scaffolding proteins (Knippschild et al., 2005; Knippschild et al., 2014; Xu et al., 2019). To gain specificity, the activity of CK1 is regulated by different processes, including inhibitory autophosphorylation, phosphorylation by upstream kinases, protein-protein interactions, and subcellular sequestration (Knippschild et al., 2014). Defects in its regulation or mutations in its coding sequence are...
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Auranofin Resistance in Toxoplasma gondii Decreases the Accumulation of Reactive Oxygen Species but Does Not Target Parasite Thioredoxin Reductase

Auranofin Resistance in Toxoplasma gondii Decreases the Accumulation of Reactive Oxygen Species but Does Not Target Parasite Thioredoxin Reductase
Introduction For more than 50 years, the mainstay of treatment for acute toxoplasmosis has been a combination of a dihydrofolate reductase inhibitor and a sulfa antimicrobial. While this is currently a critical therapeutic strategy, currently approved drugs cannot eliminate latent parasites in cysts that are found in chronically infected individuals. Moreover, these drugs have significant bone marrow toxicity, are suspected teratogens and the emergence of resistance remains a potential threat to treatment. Repurposing FDA-approved drugs will accelerate drug discovery for neglected parasitic diseases. Most recently, auranofin, a reprofiled drug that is FDA-approved for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, has emerged as a...
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Phylogenomics of Tick Inward Rectifier Potassium Channels and Their Potential as Targets to Innovate Control Technologies

Phylogenomics of Tick Inward Rectifier Potassium Channels and Their Potential as Targets to Innovate Control Technologies
Introduction Ticks (Acari) are obligate blood feeding parasites and vectors of a diverse array of pathogens including bacteria, protozoa, and viruses that cause diseases among humans, livestock, and other domestic animals (Sonenshine and Roe, 2013). The health burden of tick-borne disease (TBD) increased globally (Paules et al., 2018; Madison-Antenucci et al., 2020). In the United States alone, the number of human TBD cases more than doubled increasing from 22,527 to 48,610 between 2004 and 2016 (Rosenberg et al., 2018). Several species of hard and soft ticks are vectors of the diverse pathogens causing tick-borne diseases (Brites-Neto et al., 2015). Recent studies have implicated ticks in...
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Taxon-Specific Proteins of the Pathogenic Entamoeba Species E. histolytica and E. nuttalli

Taxon-Specific Proteins of the Pathogenic Entamoeba Species E. histolytica and E. nuttalli
Introduction The intestinal protozoan Entamoeba histolytica is an important human parasite. Recent data clearly indicate that the life-threating amoebic liver abscess (ALA) continues to be a common clinical complication of amoebiasis infection in Asian, African and Latin American countries with estimated 26700 death in 2016 (Collaborators, 2018; Shirley et al., 2019). E. histolytica can become invasive and cause amoebic colitis or amoebic liver abscess (ALA) formation. The life cycle of this parasite consists of infectious cysts that survive outside the host and vegetative trophozoites that proliferate in the human gut. In general, trophozoites persist asymptomatically for months or years in the...
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Targeted Transcriptomic Analysis of C57BL/6 and BALB/c Mice During Progressive Chronic Toxoplasma gondii Infection Reveals Changes in Host and Parasite Gene Expression Relating to Neuropathology and Resolution

Targeted Transcriptomic Analysis of C57BL/6 and BALB/c Mice During Progressive Chronic Toxoplasma gondii Infection Reveals Changes in Host and Parasite Gene Expression Relating to Neuropathology and Resolution
Introduction Toxoplasma gondii is a resilient parasite that infects ~ 10% of the population older than 6 years in the United States alone and more than 60% of populations in other countries worldwide (Prevention, 2018). Following a period of systemic infection and inflammation, the parasite is sequestered within neurons in the brain creating a lifelong infection. A requirement for continuous peripheral inflammation including CD4 and CD8 T cells is required to prevent uncontrolled parasite replication and potentially fatal pathology (Gazzinelli et al., 1992). Despite the presence of parasites and inflammation, infection is subclinical. However, infection in the immunocompromised can result in reactivation...
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Extracellular Vesicles: Schistosomal Long-Range Precise Weapon to Manipulate the Immune Response

Extracellular Vesicles: Schistosomal Long-Range Precise Weapon to Manipulate the Immune Response
Introduction Schistosomiasis is caused by the trematode helminth of the genus Schistosoma. The three main species that infect humans, the definite hosts, are S. mansoni (Africa, South America, Caribbean, and Middle East), S. japonicum (China and South East Asia), and S. haematobium (Africa and Middle East) (McManus et al., 2018). Humans are infected in freshwater bodies, where the schistosomal cercariae penetrate the skin, transform into schistosomula that migrate to the lungs, and then to the liver. In the liver, the male and female copulate and mature into adult worms that further migrate together to their final destination–either urogenital venules for S. haematobium...
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Revival of Leishmanization and Leishmanin

Revival of Leishmanization and Leishmanin
Highlights Newer technologies have made the live leishmanization vaccine and the leishmanin skin test safer and re-introduction of these interventions can support the elimination of leishmaniasis. Introduction Leishmaniasis includes a spectrum of diseases ranging from disfiguring cutaneous to fatal visceral infections. This disease is caused by the parasitic protozoa of the genus Leishmania that is transmitted by infected sandflies. Over 1 billion people are at risk of leishmaniasis with an annual incidence of over 2 million cases throughout tropical and subtropical regions in close to 100 countries. Strategies to eliminate Visceral Leishmaniasis in the Indian subcontinent, that has a current goal...
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High Anti-Leishmania IgG Antibody Levels Are Associated With Severity of Mucosal Leishmaniasis

High Anti-Leishmania IgG Antibody Levels Are Associated With Severity of Mucosal Leishmaniasis
Introduction American tegumentary leishmaniasis (ATL) is widely distributed around the world, and often presents high morbidity due to the possibility of developing destructive lesions that can disfigure and disable individuals, significantly impacting their quality of life (World Health Organization - Control of Leishmaniasis, 2010). In endemic areas of Leishmania braziliensis transmission, mucosal leishmaniasis (ML), a disease also known as mucocutaneous leishmaniasis, occurs in 3% of patients concomitantly or following the cure of cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL). ML can also be caused by other Leishmania species, such as Leishmania amazonensis and Leishmania guaianensis (Grimaldi et al., 1987). In about 15% of cases, no previous...
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Plasmodium Reproduction, Cell Size, and Transcription: How to Cope With Increasing DNA Content?

Plasmodium Reproduction, Cell Size, and Transcription: How to Cope With Increasing DNA Content?
Introduction Malaria is caused by unicellular eukaryotic parasites of the genus Plasmodium. Several species of this evolutionary very distinct genus cause malaria in humans, with Plasmodium falciparum (P. falciparum) being the most virulent one. Plasmodium spp. display a complex life cycle, alternating between a mosquito and a vertebrate host. Observing the parasite population size throughout its life cycle reveals two striking numerical bottlenecks, which occur each time the parasite changes its host (Cowman et al., 2016; Matthews et al., 2018). To compensate for these losses the parasite proliferates massively. After transmission to the mosquito, one cell cycle produces hundreds to thousands of daughter...
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Transcription Factors Interplay Orchestrates the Immune-Metabolic Response of Leishmania Infected Macrophages

Transcription Factors Interplay Orchestrates the Immune-Metabolic Response of Leishmania Infected Macrophages
Introduction Leishmania spp. are protozoan parasites that affects millions of people around the world. They are the causative agent of leishmaniasis, a group of heterogeneous diseases endemic in various countries. Depending on the parasite specie, and the immune status of the patient, leishmaniasis can present a spectrum of clinical manifestations. In the mammalian host, this parasite targets the immune cells that represent the first line of defense against infections and uses macrophage as a final host making Leishmania-macrophages interactions central to the outcome of the disease. Different Leishmania species trigger distinct immune responses and macrophage polarization, upon their infection by the...
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