Selected articles July/ August 2015
No difference in vitamin D levels in HIV patients and healthy controls
Vitamin D status in Well-Controlled Caucasian HIV Patients in Relation to Inflammatory and Metabolic Markers – A Cross-Sectional Cohort Study in Sweden (pages 55–62)
C. Missailidis, J. Höijer, M. Johansson, L. Ekström, G. Bratt, B. Hejdeman and P. Bergman
In this study, performed by researchers at Karolinska Institutet, it was found that vitamin D levels do not differ between chronic HIV patients and healthy controls. The researchers also found that despite perfect viral control, the HIV patients in the study still express higher levels of biomarkers of systemic inflammation than the control group. Vitamin D levels do not associate with this higher degree of systemic inflammation.
Catharina Missailidis is a PhD student in the group of Peter Bergman and she took an active part in all aspects of this study, from formulating study plan, objectives and ethical proposal, collecting samples, performing some of the assays, analysing data and drafting the manuscript.
– I thoroughly enjoyed all aspects of the study from hypothesis to written presentation.
Primary HIV infection causes massive damage to lymphoid and mucosal tissues leading to microbial translocation across a defective gut mucosa and progressive immunodeficiency. The overall aim of the current study was to provide baseline data for a future interventional trial testing the hypothesis that vitamin D could reduce this microbial translocation. However, the results from this study do not support such a study, where vitamin D is given to chronic HIV patients in Sweden.
Immunoinformatic design of new Ebola vaccine
Epitope-based peptide vaccine design and target site depiction against Ebola viruses: an immunoinformatics study (pages 25–34)
M. A. Khan, M. U. Hossain, S. M. Rakib-Uz-Zaman and M. N. Morshed
Researchers from Bangladesh here use immunoinformatics to design an epitope-based vaccine against the Ebola virus. In addition, the group also performed a genome wide search to recognize the most suitable drug target site and simulated inhibition of the target site by a predicted inhibitor molecule.
Arif Khan, is a M.Phil student in professor Mohammad Neaz Morshed´s Chemoinformatics research group. He worked with conception and design of the study, performed the immunoinformatics, acquisition, analysis and interpretation of data, molecular docking study and drafted the manuscript.
– Active and fruitful collaboration with the other authors especially professor Mohammad Neaz Morshed led to this successful publication, Arif Kahn says.
Many Ebola vaccine candidates have been developed over the last ten years, but none has yet been approved for clinical use in humans. The aim of this study was to recognize major immunogenic epitopes on Ebola viral proteins and predict a vaccine as well as effective inhibitor binding sites. This study will enhance future laboratory-based attempts to develop effective treatment and prevention of Ebola virus infection.
T cell activation status in diabetic patients after dialysis
Haemodialysis in Diabetic Patients Modulates Inflammatory Cytokine Profile and T Cell Activation Status (pages 135–141)
A. Almeida, O. Lourenço and A. M. Fonseca
In a study performed by researchers in Portugal it is shown that a haemodialysis session in patients with diabetic nephropathy affects their T cell activation status in the two major subpopulations and differentially modulates the production of inflammatory cytokines.
Dr Ana Mafalda Fonseca is a post doc in the research subgroup Human Integrative Immunology at the Health Sciences Research Centre at the University of Beira Interior in Covilhã, Portugal and coordinated the study.
– Lab work with human samples needs a dedicated and organized team and all steps contribute to the final work, she says.
The objective of the study was to assess the expression of activation-related markers on T cells, as well as to quantify inflammatory cytokines, before and after a single haemodialysis session in patients with diabetic nephropathy. A group of 17 patients where included in the study and the effect of haemodialysis on T cells and their major subpopulations, CD4 and CD8 was performed.
It is known that a significant proportion of patients with diabetes develop diabetic nephropathy. Dialysis causes some relevant changes in the immune system such as the activation of complement, the functions of monocyte-derived dendritic cells and their release of various pro-inflammatory cytokines. This study has focused on the effect of dialysis on T cells, specifically looking at changes that occur after a single haemodialysis session in the same individual. The Portuguese researchers find here a significant reduction of CD8 T cells after dialysis, but also an increase in the T CD4 subset, which promotes a continuous state of activation of T cells.
– With all the improvement in the haemodyialysis equipment, such as the dialyzer membranes, I didn´t expect the impact that the procedure has on the T cells activation status and inflammation. So, the immunomodulatory effects that haemodialysis sessions have on patients still impresses me, Ana Mafalda Fonseca says.